STATISTICAL ANALYSIS OF A FOOTBALL YEAR : 2013

So, my football watching is over for 2013. Time to look back at the year just gone. And what better way to do it than with a load of stats.

Games : 48

Goals Seen : 135

Red Cards : 19

Missed/Saved Penalties : 5

Hat-Tricks : 2

Matthew Tipton (Linfield v Coleraine)
Cristiano Ronaldo (Northern Ireland v Portugal)

Teams Seen : 35

Ards, Ballinamallard United, Ballymena United, Bangor, Cliftonville, Coleraine, Crystal Palace (1st time), Crusaders, Derriaghy CC, Drogheda United, Dundee United (1st time), Dungannon Swifts, Falkirk (1st time), Fulham, Glenavon, Glentoran, Hibernian, IF Fuglafjordur (1st time), Israel (1st time), Linfield, Lisburn Distillery, Manchester United, Northern Ireland, Norwich City, Portadown, Portugal, Queens Park Rangers, Rangers, Reading (1st time), Russia (1st time), Shamrock Rovers (1st time), Skoda Xanthi (1st time), St Patrick’s Athletic, Tobermore United (1st time) Warrenpoint Town (1st time)

Stadiums Visited : 21

Ballymena Showgrounds, Clandeboye Park, Coleraine Showgrounds, Craven Cottage (1st time), Dixon Park (1st time), Easter Road, Ferney Park, Hampden Park, Ibrox (1st time), Loftus Road (1st time), Mourneview Park, Old Trafford, Richmond Park, Seaview, Seycon Park, Shamrock Park, Solitude, Stangmore Park, Tallaght Stadium (1st time), The Oval, Windsor Park

Competitions : 11

FA Premier League, IFA Championship, IFA Premiership, Irish Cup, League Of Ireland, Northern Ireland League Cup, Setanta Cup, Scottish Cup, Scottish Premier League, UEFA Cup, World Cup,

Curiousities :

2nd Feb/6th Apr : Two matches in one day

2nd Feb : First ever floodlight failure at a match attended, Fulham v Manchester United

Feb – Apr : Visiting, Queen’s Park, Rangers, and Queens Park Rangers grounds.

UEFA 100 Club : Dundee United (now at 30 clubs)

Top Five Matches :

1. Northern Ireland 2-4 Portugal
2. Falkirk 3-4 Hibernian AET
3. Fulham 0-1 Manchester United
4. Linfield 3-1 Cliftonville
5. Coleraine 2-3 Linfield

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GLENTORAN 1-2 LINFIELD 26.12.2013

It’s Boxing Day, it’s Derby Day, and the only thing that matters is winning ……… and Linfield did that.

Deserved it for the second-half performance. Could, and possibly should, have had a third goal. Needed it too. You had the feeling that if Glentoran got a goal back, it would be a nervous finish, and so it proved.

The free-kick that the goal came from, was awarded for a tactical foul. Yep, you read that right, Jamie Mulgrew was the one doing the fouling to stop someone attacking, instead of the other way around.

It was Jordan Stewart who he fouled, who was the focal point of Glentoran’s attacking play. If Stewart was Glentoran’s main attacking threat, Andrew Waterworth was Linfield’s main attacking outlet.

Quiet in the first-half, he made up for it early in the second-half by firing home from close range after a Mark McAllister played it to him after his original shot was saved.

Linfield had their tails up and went for a second. A nice piece of play by Mark McAllister saw him get into a position to shoot, before being brought down. Aaron Burns slotted the penalty home, making up for his red card against Glentoran in August.

Linfield had enough chances to make it 3-0, but weren’t able to take them.

Glentoran got a goal back near the end through David Scullion. Glentoran sensed they could get a draw. They had lots of balls into the box without any chances, but it was still nervous.

In Injury Time, Mark Clarke was sent-off. The third time in 2013 against Linfield, and fourth time against Linfield in twenty two months. Betting on him to get sent-off is easy money.

Talking of walking red cards, Steven McAlorum, sent-off inside the first five minutes last Boxing Day, tried to get involved with Linfield players after the full-time whistle. He was substituted during the game.

No point worrying about other team’s problems.

To top it off, Crusaders and Cliftonville drew, meaning Linfield are now six points clear. Hopefully, we won’t lose two of the next three games, like the last time we were six points clear.

January is a busy month, but it’s a generous fixture list, with Glenavon, Warrenpoint Town, Ballymena United and Ards to face. There is a game against Crusaders sandwiched amongst that. Hopefully, we’ll turn up and put in a performance.

After that, is a trip to Solitude. Hopefully, we’ll turn up and put in a performance.

Six points clear, and a run of six games that will decide the season. Hopefully after that point, we’ll still be in a commanding.

Got some photos, not a great standard. It doesn’t matter, Linfield won, that’s all that matters on Boxing Day.

Photo Album

THE SOUND OF 2013 : 1-25

1. Haim – The Wire
2. The 1975 – Chocolate
3. Phoenix – Entertainment
4. Arctic Monkeys – Do I Wanna Know?
5. Frank Turner – The Way I Tend To Be
6. One Republic – Counting Stars
7. Bastille – Pompei
8. U2 – Ordinary Love
9. Foxes – Youth
10. Editors – A Ton Of Love
11. The Wombats – Your Boys Is A Weapon
12. Beady Eye – Iz Rite
13. Macklemore and Ryan Lewis – Same Love
14. Olly Murs – Army Of Two
15. The Courteeners – Van Der Graaff
16. Birdy – Light Me Up
17. Foals – My Number
18. Eminem – Berzerk
19. Matthew Koma – One Night
20. Franz Ferdinand – Right Action
21. Selena Gomez – Come And Get It
22. Mark Owen – Stars
23. Suede – It Starts And Ends With You
24. Professor Green ft Miles Kane – Are You Getting Enough?
25. The Killers – Shot At The Night

So, congratulations to Haim for winning The Sound Of 2013. See you all again this time next year for The Sound Of 2014.

If you haven’t heard the winning song, here it is, as well as the previous winners.

The Sound Of 2012

The Sound Of 2011

The Sound Of 2010

The Sound Of 2009

The Sound Of 2008

The Sound Of 2007

The Sound Of 2006

2013 IN PICTURES – DECEMBER (SO FAR)

December began for me chasing angels …….. graffiti on shutter of angels in East and North Belfast that is.

The first Saturday of the month saw me head for Coleraine to see Linfield take on Coleraine. It was my first visit in two years, and was enjoyable despite the rain, mainly because Linfield won 3-2 with a late goal.

The following week, Ballinamallard visited Windsor Park.

That is what i’ve been up to in December, concluding a photographic look back at 2013.

Here’s to more phototaking in 2014.

Angel

Shutter Angels

Coleraine v Linfield

Linfield v Ballinamallard United

2013 IN PICTURES – NOVEMBER

November wasn’t planned to be a busy month, but it resulted in me seeing Stereophonics in concert, Batman in West Belfast, and a couple of football matches.

The first football match I was at, Linfield v Ards, didn’t result in any good photos. My second match, Linfield v Warrenpoint Town, saw me get some ok photos.

The following day, based on a tip-off from another website, I headed to Springfield Road, to get some photos of a mural dedicated to comic book superheroes such as Batman, Spiderman, Superman and Wonder Woman.

Random, but well worth checking out. It’s at the entrance of the Sliabh Dubh estate.

No rest for the wicked, the following night, I was at The Odyssey to see Stereophonics, my second time seeing them this year, having seen them at Waterfront Hall in March.

That weekend, I was at Stangmore Park to see Linfield take on Dungannon Swifts. One of my favourite grounds to visit, I got some ok shots as Linfield lost 1-0.

The rest of my photo adventures for the month were confined to football matches, Linfield’s games over the following Saturdays against Glenavon and Cliftonville.

Linfield v Warrenpoint Town

Springfield Superheroes

Springfield Superheroes Photo Album

Stereophonics Live At The Odyssey

Stereophonics Live At The Odyssey Photo Album

Dungannon Swifts v Linfield

Linfield v Glenavon

Cliftonville v Linfield

FOOTBALL IN 2014

So, Thursday afternoon will see me attend my last football match of 2013. Once that is over, i’ll be looking back at the year, looking at the stats, and oddities witnessed, and choosing my Top 5 games been to.

But this blog, isn’t about looking back, it’s about looking forward. So here, are my football wishes for 2014.

Obviously, I want United and Linfield to win as many trophies as possible, and Northern Ireland to make a winning start to their Euro 2016 campaign.

But what else will I wish for in 2014?

LINFIELD

Getting way too far ahead of myself, having a pre-season wishlist of Stranraer away. Would also love an away game against Dundela, haven’t been there for a while.

I’d love to visit the recently redeveloped Clandeboye Park for a Linfield game. Hopefully an Irish Cup Quarter-Final, a pre-season friendly, or Ards avoiding relegation and Linfield visiting in 2014-2015.

Bangor, unfortunately, haven’t applied for a Premiership licence. Of the clubs who can get promoted, I hope either Carrick Rangers and Institute go up, preferrably Carrick.

An early match to look forward to in 2014 is Linfield’s trip to Warrenpoint on January 4th. Always love visiting new grounds.

Talking of new(ish) grounds, i’m looking forward to seeing the results of the Windsor Park Redevelopment. I’m hoping this blog will become a photo diary for the Redevelopment process.

EDINBURGH

Every August I go to Edinburgh, primarily for the festival, but I like to catch a football match when i’m over. The last two years have taken me to Easter Road, so i’m guessing i’m due a trip to Tynecastle.

I get the feeling it’s an absolute cert that it’ll be Hearts v Rangers on the weekend i’m there, meaning trying to get a ticket will be difficult.

Even if the fixture list sends me to Easter Road, i’m hoping to visit Tynecastle to get a look at the plaque, unveiled earlier this year, dedicated to the Hearts players who died in World War I.

When i’m in Edinburgh, i’m hoping that this will be the year I go and see The Spartans, hopefully by then they’ll be in SFL3.

CARDIFF

Undecided about this one as yet, but i’m tempted to visit Cardiff in August for the European Super Cup Final, regardless of who is in it, hoping to pick up a ticket when i’m over.

As well as visiting a new ground, it would be my first visit to Cardiff since the Wales v Northern Ireland World Cup Qualifier in 2004. It was such a great trip. Wish I had a camera in order to have taken some photos of it.

While i’m there (the match is on a Friday night) i’m tempted to go to Bristol on the Saturday to do the Street Art Tour, then go and see whichever of City or Rovers is at home that day.

MANCHESTER UNITED

As far as the rest of the 2013-2014 season is concerned, i’m hoping to get over to Old Trafford for another game this season (I’ve already been to the Crystal Palace game in September)

Hoping to go the Olympiakos game in March. Haven’t confirmed anything yet, but hoping I can get sorted to go to this game in the coming weeks.

NORTHERN IRELAND

The first big event for Northern Ireland in 2014 will come off the pitch, with the Euro 2016 draw. I’m actually hoping to go to Euro 2016, regardless if Northern Ireland qualify, basing myself in Paris and hopefully visiting Lens and/or Lille.

Anyway, here’s my hopes for the draw. I’d love us to draw England, but with the game at Wembley to be in March 2015. I’ve already been to New Wembley, but i’d love to go there for a Northern Ireland match.

I’d love us to drawn in the same group as Gibraltar, and to play them at home in the first game of the group.

It would be Gibraltar’s first competitive international, and it would be nice to go to a historic game.

As a bonus, would it be too much to ask for the August international date to be used for a friendly against Scotland at Easter Road?

LONDON

Heading to London for a short break in February, and hoping to take in a game while i’m there. Of the games taking place that weekend, Leyton Orient v Peterborough on the Saturday looks the most tempting, though Brentford v Crawley Town is my back-up game.

Spurs are at home to Everton on the Sunday and tempted by that. Had a look for tickets online last night and they are 58 quid. Not sure if adding Everton to my UEFA 100 Club is worth that. Think I might stick with Leyton Orient.

When I was looking forward to 2012, I didn’t imagine i’d be watching Northern Ireland playing in Amsterdam.

When I was looking forward to 2013, I didn’t imagine i’d be going to a Scottish Cup Semi-Final.

In life, like in football, you never know what’s going to happen next. Here’s to more football watching in 2014. Hopefully, I might enjoy some of it.

2013 IN PICTURES – OCTOBER

October began for me with a trip to Mourneview Park, to see Linfield take on Glenavon, one of the early season pacesetters.

It was a good day all round …… Linfield won, other results saw them go top of the league, and it stayed dry and I got some nice photos.

Enthused by that performance, I headed to The Oval three days later for a League Cup tie …….. and my enthusiasm was soon gone.

An awful game, an awful performance by Linfield, the only positive was that they won the tie on penalties.

Later that week, I went to my usual Ulster European game, against Leicester Tigers, getting a chance to see the redeveloped, but not yet finished, Ravenhill. It’s very impressive. Looking forward to visiting when it’s completely done.

The next day, I went to see Linfield have a routine win over Dungannon Swifts.

Meanwhile, the day after that, I was out and about in Belfast getting photos of Street Art.

The following Saturday, I was at Windsor Park for the match between Linfield and Crusaders. It was a 0-0 draw. Not an awful 0-0 draw, but not a lot of photo opportunities.

My only concert of the month, saw me see Primal Scream at The Limelight.

Two days later, I headed to Ballymena for the first time since January 2012 to see Linfield win 4-1 in four seasons in 90 minutes.

My final photo adventure of the month, was to get some satirical anti Barack Obama stencils which had appeared in Belfast recently.

Glenavon v Linfield

Glentoran v Linfield

Ulster v Leicester Tigers

Ulster v Leicester Tigers Photo Album

Linfield v Dungannon Swifts

Anyfin Is Possible

Linfield v Crusaders

Primal Scream Live At The Limelight

Primal Scream Live At The Limelight Photo Album

Ballymena United v Linfield

I See You

THE FRIDAY FIVE – 20.12.2013

1. Nina Nesbitt – Selfies
2. Gary Barlow ft Elton John – Face To Face
3. Pixie Lott – Heart Cry
4. Pharrell Williams – Happy
5. Chvrches – Gun

So, this is the last Friday Five before Christmas. I hope you’ve enjoyed what i’ve been listening to every week. Here’s to more in 2014 and beyond.

So, to get you in the mood for Christmas, here’s a Christmas Top Five. Merry Christmas and all that.

1. Robert Goulet – Jingle Bells, Batman Smells
2. Greg Lake – I Believe In Father Christmas
3. The Waitresses – Christmas Wrapping
4. Band Aid – Do They Know It’s Christmas?
5. John Lennon – Merry Christmas (War Is Over)

THE SOUND OF 2013 : 26-50

26. Phoenix – Trying To Be Cool
27. Classified ft Olly Murs – Inner Ninja
28. Primal Scream – It’s Alright, It’s OK
29. Miles Kane – Give Up
30. Vampire Weekend – Diane Young
31. Nick Mulvey- Nitrous
32. The Uncluded – Delicate Cycle
33. Frank Turner – Recovery
34. Nina Nesbitt – Way In The World
35. Emmelie De Forest – Only Teardrops
36. Stereophonics – Indian Summer
37. Gary Barlow – Let Me Go
38. Tom Odell – Hold Me
39. Katy Perry -Roar
40. Mutya Keisha Siobhan – Flatline
41. Arlissa – Into The Light
42. Vampire Weekend – Step
43. Simple Minds – Broken Glass Park
44. Bastille – Things We Lost In The Fire
45. Bruce Springsteen – High Hopes
46. Franz Ferdinand – Evil Eye
47. Gabrielle Aplin – Please Don’t Say You Love Me
48. Taylor Swift – I Knew You Were Trouble
49. Haim – Don’t Save Me
50. The Vaccines – Melody Calling