So, Euro 2012 is almost upon us, why not liven up the action by doing bingo or a drinking game based on the inane analysis given by our esteemed broadcasters, as they demonstrate their knowledge of international football.

“You can never write off the Germans”

(Before Poland/Ukraine games) “They’ll have a passionate home crowd behind them”

“Holland really have a colourful support”

“Ireland really deserved to qualify for this after what happened in Paris”

“Spain just look unstoppable”

“This is the worst German team in history”

(When talking about a player who has never played in the Premier League) “To be honest, i’ve never heard of him”

“When Wayne Rooney gets back ……”

(If England’s group qualification is still in the balance ahead of the third group game) “England, are in Donekst, they’ll be hoping that their Euro 2012 isn’t done yet”

“England (dramatic pause) HAVE to deliver”

(If England are still in when Wimbledon starts, and Andy Murray goes out) “Well, it was a bad day for Scotland, can it be a good day for England?”

(Before an England game) “Well …… I don’t know how you are feeling back home”

(If England are playing a knock-out game) “Remember, this could go to penalties”

(If there’s a 3 or more goal margin in a Poland match) “The two sides are poles apart”

(If Greece score a goal inside the first five minutes of a match) “It’s literally, Greece Lightning”

“You have to wonder how the uncertainty over who the manager is has affected England”

“What experience does Roy Hodgson have at international level?”

“John Terry, looking to make up for the personal trauma of missing the Champions League Final”

“Spain will be looking to make up for a disappointing year in the Champions League for La Liga”

“Italy went into the 1982 and 2006 World Cups on the back of a match fixing scandal as well”

“John Terry, a controversial selection for this competition”

“For me, Harry should have been England manager”

“France, a different side from that in 2010”


Previously on this blog, I have posted about the UEFA 100 Club, where people try to attend a match of every club who has reached a European final (29 and counting is my score, since you ask), the trip home from Holland got me thinking of an international version, and I came up with two – The FIFA Six Club and the UEFA Nine Club.

The FIFA Six Club is seeing an international team from all Six FIFA confederations (AFC, CAF, CONCACAF, CONMEBOL, OFC and UEFA) play live.

All of my international football watching has been consigned to Northern Ireland matches (though that could change in a few months time, more of that, later) and thus, will have already ticked UEFA off my list.

Sometimes, exotic foreign teams turn up at Windsor for friendlies, and two of them, Canada and Morroco, have been non European, meaning I can tick off CAF and CONCACAF from my list.

This leaves me needing OFC, AFC and CONMEBOL. As this list will include only full internationals, that means I can’t include seeing Brazil’s Under 19 side play Northern Ireland in the 2003 Milk Cup.

In August, I shall hope to be in Edinburgh for the Edinburgh Festival (not yet booked), and the week I am hoping to be there, Scotland play Australia in a friendly at Easter Road.

When I am in Edinburgh for the festival, I like to take in a match if there is one on, but this would also mean that I can tick off OFC from this list, meaning I need to see an Oceana and a South American team to complete this list.

But, FIFA’s continents are different from world documents. Australia play football in Asia, but is part of the continent of Australia while Israel (who I saw play Northern Ireland in 2009) play in Europe.

So, if we count world continents, I have Africa (Morocco) North America (Canada) Asia (Israel) Europe (Northern Ireland plus various others) and then I could tick off Australia (Australia) in August meaning South America the only one to get.

Come on IFA, pull the finger out for the next friendly date.

And what of the UEFA Nine Club? I hear you ask.

Well, nine countries have won the European Championship, which is impressive from fourteen tournaments, especially when you consider the World Cup only has eight from nineteen.

Eastern European politics of the late 1980s and early 1990s make this a controversial topic, with former winners Soviet Union (1960) and Czechoslovakia (1976) no longer in existence.

According to Wikipedia, Russia have inherited Soviet Union’s statistical history. So, if I go to see Northern Ireland v Russia in the 2014 World Cup Qualifiers, technically, I can tick them off the list?

Having been to Northern Ireland v Czech Republic in 2008, can I claim to do the same for Czechoslovakia?

Other European Champions I have seen live include : Spain (1964, 2008) Italy (1968) Germany (1972, 1980 as West Germany 1996) France (1984, 2000) and Holland (1988)

The only two I don’t have are Denmark (1992) and Greece (2004)

Denmark and Greece have both been to Windsor Park in recent(ish) years too. I couldn’t be arsed when Greece visited in 2003 and couldn’t get a ticket for Denmark in 2007.

So, that’s six out of nine European Champions, hopefully seven when Russia visit Windsor Park in 2013.

For the record, if Poland, Portugal or England win the European Championship for the first time this summer, I can automatically add them to the list.

For what it’s worth, I calculated how many games i’d been to, and I have 33 ‘caps’, the same as Sammy Clingan (I checked on Wikipedia)

For the record, the foreign side I have seen play the most?

Joint between Norway and Serbia on 3, though that includes one game as Serbia and Montenegro, with Austria, Canada, Spain, Wales and Scotland not far behind with 2.

One day, there will be a pointless football list that I will be able to tick off in it’s entirity.


Must we really talk about the football?

In truth, Northern Ireland actually weren’t *that* bad. It was great to see young players not being afraid to have a go. The only problem was, the opposition were bloody brilliant.

If it wasn’t the fact that Northern Ireland were the opposition, i’d have enjoyed it a lot more. It was similar to their performance against Yugoslavia in Euro 2000 Quarter-Final. The Dutch could at least have had the decency to play the “4 goal rule” seeing as it was a friendly.

When the game was announced, I wasn’t originally planning to go, but I won free flights which needed to be used by June 30th. If it wasn’t a tournament year and La Liga ran on later, i’d have went to Malaga or Alicante for a game, or if Villa faced United at Villa Park, I probably would have headed to Birmingham to try and go to that.

An excellent trip, result aside. Spent some time in Oranje Park, a fanzone set up for Holland fans pre-match with some really bad techno outfit fronted by Jens Lehmann and Frank McAvennie lookalikes. They loved it.

Got some not bad photos, unfortunately my seat wasn’t handy for match action shots. Amsterdam Arena is a fantastic stadium worth visiting, I can’t suggest it enough.

The game marked my first match attended of the 2012-2013 season, only the 17 days since my last game of 2011-2012. So much for pre-season. By my maths, it was my 4th game been to in June ever.

Onwards and upwards I guess, it’s all about Finland in August (and hopefully, three points in Moscow in September)

Photo Album


Was in Amsterdam over the weekend just past, my second visit this year.

When I was last there in February, I got some Street Art photos, and some extra from when I spent a day in Rotterdam.

Took some photos of ones I missed on my first visit, and ones that have appeared since.

Got some fantastic pieces, my favourite was the one of the Big Cat.

Also got some sunset photos on the Friday night. Not worth doing a whole blog on, but some nice shots.

Got some photos of my shadow, one of which is now my Facebook photo.


Street Art Photo Album

Amsterdam Sunset

THE FRIDAY FIVE – 1.6.2012

1. Can Bonomo – Love Me Back
2. Lloyd Cole – Lost Weekend
3. Alex Clare – Too Close
4. Queen – Bicycle Races
5. Dana – Yer Man

This week, saw the 44th birthday of Kylie Minogue, the actress best known for the role of Charlene Robinson in Neighbours. What many people won’t know is that she also has a singing career omn the side. So here, are five songs from that project, enjoy.


1. Some Kind Of Bliss
2. I Believe In You
3. 2 Hearts
4. Better Than Today
5. I Should Be So Lucky