TITANIC MEN

Was out in Sandy Row last week researching murals in the area, and came across one i’d never seen before.

It was one depicting workers in the shipyard building the Titanic. It featured a row of men, while behind them is the Samson and Goliath, and the newly opened Titanic Building.

It’s not far from the Sandy Row Hall Of Fame mural, which I blogged about last year.

Quick web research suggests that it was painted last August. My bad for noticing it until now, as I have hardly ventured to Sandy Row lately.

The launch of the Hall Of Fame mural got some good media coverage, here in the Belfast Telegraph, and here on UTV Live.

It is quite funny, six months on, to hear the reporter say that part of the mural is to encourage people not to leave the area, as a mural of Albert Watson, who recently emigrated to Canada comes into shot.

I went and got some further shots of the Wall Of Fame.

Meanwhile, I got some further shots of Graffiti/Street Art round the back of The Fly, and Catalyst Arts Centre.

Enjoy

Photo Album

Advertisements

LINFIELD 2-0 PORTADOWN 23.2.2013

For the first time in six weeks, I was at Windsor Park, with Portadown the visitors.

For Linfield, there are only two aims left this season : To qualify for Europe via the league, and to try and win the Setanta Cup.

I’m hoping today’s game was to lull Shamrock Rovers into a false sense of security. It was awful, following on from last week where even the simple pass seemed like an impossible task.

Portadown didn’t really create a lot of chances, but had promising situations.

As the first-half looked like ending 0-0, Michael Gault put Linfield in front, after a wayward Robert Garrett shot landed at his feet.

The second-half was much better, but again the final pass was always going astray.

Ross Clarke was a massive positive from the game, the most likely to make things happen, even if he was a bit ball greedy at times. That said, it was great to see a player want the ball, run with it, and try to make things happen.

Eventually, Linfield made it 2-0 after Mark McAllister miscontrolled in a shooting position, before a Portadown clearance hit him and went in. If ever a goal summed up a game, that was it. They all count, as they say.

Importantly, Portadown became the first away team to fail to score at Windsor Park since October. It was Linfield’s 5th home clean sheet of the season. It took until October to reach that stat last season.

Talking of stats, Linfield are now unbeaten in 15 league games, 10 wins and 5 draws, 14 more points than the preceding 15 games.

However, such an unbeaten run is too late. Hopefully, we can finish the season strongly, to have a bit of momentum for next season.

Coleraine’s draw today means were are 10 points clear of 4th, but that is deceptive, as if Glentoran win their two games in hand, they will be 5 points behind us.

That’s why throwing away the win last week was so costly.

Pre-match, I got myself a ticket for the Setanta Cup game away to Shamrock Rovers. I’ve never been to Tallaght Stadium, so i’m looking forward to it. After this, I think UCD Bowl will be the only Dublin stadium I haven’t been to.

Just seen on the official website that the club shop is opening late on Wednesday when the tickets go on sale for guests of Season Ticket holders go on sale. Later opening of the club shop (even if it’s one day a week) in the build-up to a ticketed game is something that should be happening, as people who worked 9-5 can’t get to Windsor during the week.

It’s good to see that the club are listening to fans regarding making tickets available to non ST holders/Members via the “Plus 1” system. They should never have been told to though.

Speaking from experience, I spent 8 years in employment which meant in some cases Saturday work, and thus couldn’t commit to a Season Ticket, but still went to the vast majority of games.

Why the Security Meeting is taking place after tickets go on sale baffles me. Surely all arrangements should be decided before tickets go on sale? Could this not have been brought forward to this week?

In October 2010, I blogged about the hassle and inconvenience involved in purchasing tickets for Linfield games. Over 2 years on, this is still the case.

Photo Album

THE KILLERS – LIVE AT THE ODYSSEY 21.2.2013

Was at The Odyssey last night to see The Killers, a band i’d always wanted to see play live. For a variety of reasons, i’d never seen them play before.

I’ve been a fan of them since 2003, when I heard ‘All These Things I’ve Done’ on a goals montage on Soccer AM. My first reaction upon hearing their name, was “Oh! That’s the band from the New Order” referring to the video for Crystal by New Order, starring a band called The Killers.

It wasn’t actually The Killers. The Killers took their name from this fictional band.

Finally, the wait was over, they came on stage, and went straight into Mr Brightside. It had been a while since The Killers were last in Belfast, four years exactly to the day, pointed out by frontman Brandon Flowers.

Unsurprisingly, the set list was hit based. Album themes seem to switch back and forth, starting off with Dancey (Somebody Told Me, Mr Brightside), Rock (When We Were Young), back to Dancey (Human) then back to Rock (Runaways)

The early part of the show focused on the Dancey songs, before moving into a more Rock based direction.

Here’s a scary thought, the song Somebody Told Me, features the line “You had a boyfriend, who looked like a girlfriend, that I had in February of last year”

Somebody Told Me was released in 2004. The “Girlfriend, that I had in February of last year” is referring to events almost exactly ten years ago.

Almost a decade since being released, it’s still a fantastic song.

I didn’t have that good a shooting position, but I made the most of what I had. Thankfully, frontman Brandon Flowers was running about all parts of the stage, everybody will have got a glimpse of him at some point. The lighting was fantastic and helped with shooting.

There was a brief acoustic moment, as they played a cover of Brown Eyed Girl. Unsurprisingly, a tribute album to Van Morrison went down very well in his native East Belfast.

They left the stage to a rapturous reception, as an expectant crowd awaited an encore. They got one.

The crowd were chanting the chorus to “All These Things I’ve Done”, they didn’t get what they wanted at first, with them playing Jenny Was A Friennd Of Mine, before giving the crowd what they wanted.

After four years away from Belfast, The Killers were worth the wait. Let’s hope it’s no four years before they return.

Photo Album

THE FRIDAY FIVE – 22.2.2013

1. Olly Murs – Army Of Two
2. Stereophonics – Indian Summer
3. Gabrielle Aplin – Please Don’t Say You Love Me
4. Arlissa – Sticks And Stones
5. Bridget Mendler – Ready Or Not

Last week saw the start of the drip feeding of announcement of events at Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival. It’s 80s tastis this year, with Adam Ant and Dexy’s Midnight Runners headlining.

So, to commemorate this, here’s a Dexy’s/Adam Ant joint chart for you.

FIVE SONGS BY DEXY’s MIDNIGHT RUNNERS OR ADAM ANT

1. Adam Ant – Stand and Deliver
2. Dexy’s Midnight Runners – Geno
3. Dexy’s Midnight Runners – The Celtic Soul Brother
4. Dexy’s Midnight Runners – Come On Eileen
5. Adam Ant – Puss N Boots

GLENTORAN 1-1 LINFIELD 16.2.2013

A low-key build-up to this game with the North Belfast Derby getting all the build-up. When I arrived, the atmosphere was low key, the weather was low key. It was no surprise that the football was low key.

I even thought I had to check my ticket stub, to make sure it wasn’t a County Antrim Shield game.

What a load of utter dross on offer today. Glentoran presenting chances to Linfield and Linfield unable to take advantage of them due to poor decision making or just general poor play.

Linfield eventually went 1-0 up just before half-time. It was an awful goal. It seemed quite apt, keeping with the poor quality of the game.

If you scored it in the park, you wouldn’t even celebrate it.

For the last five minutes of the second-half, there was a brief glimmer, that it might have went to 2-0. If the first goal was scored earlier in the first-half, Linfield could easily have got that decisive lead.

The second-half, wasn’t much better, as Linfield seemed content to defend a 1-0 lead, even against ten men.

Considering that Linfield have only kept one clean sheet since November, that was going to only have one result.

Glentoran got a penalty with five minutes to go, scored it, and got a draw. Two points dropped. It’s as though we are determined to finish 4th and hope that two of Cliftonville, Coleraine and Crusaders meet in the Irish Cup Final.

A win today would have seen Glentoran totally out of the running for that.

As a side note, Glentoran had a change from their usual awful tannoy music by mixing Mr Brightside into Dakota into Sex On Fire at half-time. A pleasant reminder that i’ll bee seeing The Killers and Stereophonics in coming weeks.

It would be nice to put 3rd place to bed, in order to concentrate on the Setanta Cup, our only chance of silver this season.

The draw is on Monday, and i’m hoping for Drogheda away in the first leg. I’ve never been there and it’s not far to travel.

The scheduled date would be Monday 4th March. but Linfield have no game on Saturday 2nd March. With no League Of Ireland games that day, hopefully, our Quarter-Final will be brought forward to the Saturday.

And some positivity, Rangers haven’t agreed a date for their promised friendly at Ibrox, but have stated they want to get a date finalised by the end of the season.

Looking at both clubs schedules, the best date in my opinion is Monday 6th May.

Linfield’s season ends on Saturday 27th April, Rangers on Saturday 4th May, and as it’s a Bank Holiday, a 3pm kick-off could easily be accommodated

Hoping a date gets sorted soon so I can get arrangements sorted as i’d love to go. Never been to Ibrox, so it would be good to visit another new stadium.

Saturday 11th May has also been suggested, but that’s the date of the Setanta Cup Final. You never know, Linfield might be involved. As a bonus, they might even keep a clean sheet getting there.

Photo Album

THE FRIDAY FIVE – 15.2.2013

1. Olly Murs – Army Of Two
2. Stereophonics – Indian Summer
3. Ocean Colour Scene – Painting
4. Little Mix – Change Your Life
5. Bridget Mendler – Ready Or Not

This week, saw Ash Wednesday. So, here’s a Top Five of songs by the band Ash. It was either this, a Leslie Ash Top Five films/TV shows.

FIVE SONGS BY ASH

1. Envy
2. A Life Less Ordinary
3. Oh Yeah
4. Girl From Mars
5. True Love (1980)

DUNGANNON SWIFTS 1-4 LINFIELD 9.2.2013

If you’d told me a couple of months ago that i’d be watching Linfield play at Stangmore Park on the second Saturday in February, my reaction would have been ……. Tricky Irish Cup tie.

I had not anticipated that Linfield would be, um, taking advantge of their early Irish Cup exit to play a rearranged League game against Dungannon Swifts, postponed a few weeks back.

My first visit to Dungannon was in 2009, and my personal record there is not very good. Linfield won my first visit there, but not in my next three League visits (I did see an Irish Cup win in 2011)

Not only that, but Linfield’s last three League wins came when I was out of the country.

So me being there looked like i’d put the scud on, especially when we went 1-0 down midway through the first-half.

The whole day felt surreal, the novelty of playing a League game on this date, the weather, and the lower than usual crowd led to a very flat atmosphere as Linfield struggled to get going.

Amazingly, Dungannon’s goal prompted Linfield into life. Usually, when Linfield concede, performance levels drop on the immediate aftermath as players start to feel sorry for themselves.

Within minutes, Linfield equalised through a Brian McCaul header. Soon afterwards, Matthew Tipton should have scored when he was through.

There are two stats which really sum up Linfield this season, and the last few months especially.

Only once (17 games) since November 3rd have Linfield kept a clean sheet.

Only once (11 games) since December 15th have neither Matthew Tipton or Brian McCaul scored.

What it means is that Linfield are heavily reliant on two players for goals, and need to score at least three goals just to be sure of actually winning a game.

Rather worryingly, Tipton (at 1-1) and McCaul (late on, at 4-1) were both substituted with knocks. Hopefully, just as a precaution.

Linfield were far better in the second-half, dominating possession and creating chances. But this being Linfield, you always worried Dungannon would score every time they crossed the halfway line with the ball, simply because of the way Linfield have defended this season.

The crucial goal came when Billy Joe Burns ran onto a pass to set up Gary Browne. He didn’t intend to, Browne took the ball off him.

Soon after, Phil Lowry made it 3-1, before Mark McAllister made it 4-1 late on.

Once it went to 3-1, it was a matter of how many, as Linfield created chance after chance.

The title was gone long before throwing away a 2-0 lead against Ballymena last week, the goal for the League season now is to secure 3rd place and UEFA Cup football.

The really frustrating thing about last Saturday, was that Ballinamallard (4th) and Coleraine (5th) drew. The real winners last Saturday.

Though there is an 8 point gap to 4th, it’s a bit deceptive, as 6th place Glentoran can go 2 points behind Linfield if they win their 2 games in hand, as well as beating Linfield next Saturday.

That’s why last Saturday was such a major disappointment, and why next Saturday is so important.

Stangmore Park is one of the more photofriendly ground for amateur photography, even if the lack of natural daylight wasn’t helpful. Managed to even catch the linesman losing his bearings and being on the pitch while the ball was in play. Naughty naughty.

Photo Album