THE FRIDAY FIVE – 15.1.2016

1. Blossoms – At Most A Kiss
2. Nina Nesbitt – Chewing Gum
3. David Bowie – Sound and Vision
4. Last Shadow Puppets – Bad Habits
5. Chaka Khan – Ain’t Nobody


It’s the summer of 1989, and a jumping Lenny Henry is the cover star of Number One.

In chart news, the “What’s Up” column has Sybil, River Detectives, Lil Louis, Doobie Brothers and Martika as their featured singles.

There is a double pages feature on Stock Aitken Waterman, and their views of the current hit parade.

They started their own label as nobody else would give them a job, despite providing CBS with a Number 1 for Dear Or Alive in 1985.

Waterman is on the warpath describing The Smiths, U2 and Clannad as “The Perry Como and Al Martino of the 1980s”, adding “U2 and The Smiths are boring and old fashioned. Kids today see it as their brother’s music”

Bono gets even more ire, with Waterman describing him as “Bono’s old. He’s got long hair. He’s scruffy”

It’s not just Bono, Waterman also has it in for Acid House, describing it as “The acid house thing …. it’s just a trendy thing, not working class Britain. It’s middle class university students who’ve got £15 to go to the acid house gig and £30 to buy the ecstacy”

Waterman then compares S/A/W to Elvis and Little Richard, and says they are the Liverpool FC of pop, as they work to a winning forumla.

In news, Lenny Henry is about to launch a pop career, albeit in the guise of one of his characters, Theophilius P Wilderbeest. Deacon Blue have announced a tour for December 1989, which begins at King’s Hall in Belfast.

On TV that week, Kylie was on Wogan, Channel 4 had a documentary on Yazz, and BBC 1 has a concert for Stevie Wonder’s birthday.

The Primitives get a full page interview, mostly focusing on what annoys them.

In adverts, tickets for Bros at Wembley were advertised, with support coming from Debbie Gibson and Salt N Pepa, with DJ sets from Simon Mayo and Pat Sharp.

Tony James from Transvision Vamp, Trev and Simon, Roland Gift from Fine Young Cannibals and Paula Abdul take part in Genius Of Pop, Number One’s quiz, with Trev and Simion winning with 6 out of 10.

In the centre pages, yout could get a lyrics poster of Kylie Minogue’s new single, Wouldn’t Change A Thing.

Milli Vanilli get a double page Q and A with Number One. I couldn’t possibly comment if it was Frank Farian answering the questions for them.

Cover star Lenny Henry gets a double page interview, in the guise of his characters Theophilus Wildebeest and Delbert Wilkins.

There is a full page review of the recent Prince’s Trust Concert. Beside it, is Bruno Brooks Radio 1 Roadshow Diary.

A few pages later, there is a half page interview with Eartha Kitt, who is releasing a single recorded with Bronski Beat.

Singles are reviewed by Shirley Manson, future Garbage singer, then fronting Goodbye Mr Mackenzie. Her favourite single that week was Stand by REM.


Linfield began their attempt to win the Irish Cup for the first time in four years, with a home tie against the side that eliminated them in 2014, Ballymena United. It was the first of three games between the sides in January.

The yoof of today were spoilt by winning the trophy six times in seven years under David Jeffrey. When I turned 18, Linfield had only won the trophy twice in my lifetime.

Linfield’s first attack saw Jamie Mulgrew taken down as he ran towards Ballymena’s goal at the Railway End, and then the ball just hoofed towards The Kop by a Ballymena player before Linfield could take the free-kick. Ballymena’s Mission Statement was clear to see, they were carrying on where they left off in the league meeting last month..

Linfield started well, mostly camped in Ballymena’s half. Their first real chance came when Chris Hegarty, in for the suspended Mark Stafford, hit the woodwork with a right foot effort from a corner.

Hegarty not quite as deadly with his feet as he was with his head when Ballymena came to Windsor Park in October last season.

Matthew Clarke was then played through by Niall Quinn but he fired straight at Alan Blayney, when going across him would surely have resulted in a goal.

Johnny Taylor then got booked, then spent the rest of the game managing to avoid being booked, despite committing a lot of fouls that were deserving of him being booked.

An off the ball with Paul Smyth, where he was squaring up to his opponent, could and possibly should have been a second yellow for him. Luckily for him, there was no 4th official today, as the incident took place right in front of the Technical Areas.

Linfield searched for the opening goal, and next had opportunities when Andrew Waterworth had a shot saved, and Paul Smyth’s shot across goal was deflected out for a corner by Jim Ervin.

At the start of the second-half, Linfield went in front straight away, when Matthew Clarke broke down the left and played it across goal, which hit a Ballymena player and landed straight to Andrew Waterworth, who fired home.

Logically, that would be the end of the game as a contest. Well, not quite. Ballymena were able to equalise on 62 minutes when a corner was cleared, then not cleared again, and again, before Gary Thompson headed home a few seconds after Niall Quinn almost put the ball into his own net.

Ballymena were suddenly in the game, after Linfield were looking likely to kill it off, after a couple of crosses that just couldn’t quite find a blue shirt, Mark Haughey missing a chance by having too much time, and nobody being there to react when Alan Blayney surprisingly dropped a cross, the only one he dropped all day.

The game had swung to the point where Linfield fans were more than happy to take extra-time.

Paul Smyth fired a shot wide as Linfield were struggling to get out of their own half. Kirk Millar was forced into blocking a Nathan Hanley shot when a goal looked certain, and Jimmy Callacher clearing a shot off the line.

With the possibility of extra-time, Linfield held off with their substitutions. The first of which, was Ross Gaynor, making his debut after joining from Cork City last month.

Linfield had one last chance when a dangerous cross was turned out for a corner. This was going to be the last chance to win the game, but Linfield took so long to take it, the referee blew for full-time.

In a bygone age, we would have all been looking forward to a Tuesday night trip to Ballymena, but not now, with ties being played to a finish. So, we were all set for extra-time.

Guy Bates came on as a substitute for Andrew Waterworth, and was immediately in the thick of the action, seeing a close range shot saved by Blayney when he perhaps should have scored, and then creating space on the edge of the box and having his shot saved by Blayney.

The game then took a dramatic turn when Paul Smyth was sent-off for a second bookable offence.

It didn’t have that dramatic change on Linfield, as Mulgrew and Millar continued to support the front man. It was still a big loss.

Ballymena thought they were going into the lead when Glendinning saved a shot but the rebound was loose in the penalty area, only for Jimmy Callacher to be alert to the danger.

From the moment Ballymena equalised, you had the feeling this game was going to be 2-1 to somebody if there was to be an outright winner.

It was Linfield who got the goal, when Kirk Millar broke down the right wing and got himself free. The crowd were crying for him to pass it to Reece Glendinning, a substitute for the injured Chris Hegarty, who had broken free into the box.

Supporters around me groaned as he opted for the cross. The wrong decision, they cried. Football is such an easy game in the stand.

Except, it turned out to be the right decision, as Guy Bates got space in the box to head home.

Ballymena were deflated and never looked like getting another equaliser. The only thing a Ballymena player managed to hit was Ross Gaynor, with Johnny Taylor seeing a straight red for violent conduct towards him.

It might have taken 118 minutes, but we got the answer to the question we were looking for. The question being, what does Johnny Taylor have to do to get sent-off?

As he left the pitch, he greeted the fans in the North Stand to what is universally known as “The Wanker Sign”. He’ll have plenty of time to greet the fans in the North Stand that way again on Tuesday night from his seat in the Railway Stand, rather than being out on the pitch.

The win set up a home tie against Armagh City in the next round. Without sounding arrogant, that’s a game that Linfield should win. I would have been more excited by the draw if it was away. My only previous visit to Holm Park was in 2006 to see Linfield win the league.

Depending on how the building work goes, that could be the first game that Linfield fans get to use the South Stand.

A sunny day at Windsor Park in May is still a long way away. I know last season’s final was played in torrential rainfall, but that’s because it was at The Oval.

Not as far away is the County Antrim Shield Final, on Tuesday night. Pointless competition, but we’re in the final, so we might as well go out and try to win it.

It would be a good platform to have for the final months of the season.

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THE FRIDAY FIVE – 8.1.2016

1. Ellie Goulding – Army
2. Phil Lynott – Yellow Pearl
3. Eliza and the Bear – It Gets Cold
4. Kygo ft Maty Noyes – Stay
5. Taylor Swift – Out Of The Woods

Tonight, sees Top Of The Pops : The Story Of 1981 on BBC Four (10pm) looking back at the music of 1981 in anticipation for the repeats of 1981 episodes of Top Of The Pops on BBC Four next Thursday.

As is now tradition, here’s a 1981 chart to get you in the mood.


1. Kim Wilde – Kids In America
2. Human League – Don’t You Want Me Baby
3. Aneka – Japanese Boy
4. Tenpole Tudor – Swords Of A Thousand Men
5. Jo Dolce – Shaddap You Face

Honourable mention for Ossie’s Dream. Even though it’s a rival football team, it’s still a quality tune.

Also, a new series of The Life Of Rock begins on BBC Four next Thursday as well. I cannot recommend that show enough.


It’s Cup Final Day in England and Scotland, but it’s the English game that is on the cover of this week’s edition of Shoot, as Brighton take on Manchester United at Wembley.

As you open the magazine, there is a double page spread with Bryan Robson, Jimmy Case and Michael Robinson giving their thoughts on the game, with Robson wanting to win the cup for Remi Moses, who was suspended for he game, alongside Steve Foster of Brighton.

There is also a double page interview with the two managers, Ron Atkinson and Jimmy Melia, both Scousers.

There is a feature on the two referees in London and Glasgow, with David Syme achieving a rare double, referee the Scottish Cup Final 16 years after his dad did.

In ads, you could buy a Paolo Rossi branded boot, made by Pony.

In posters, the centre page spread is a poster collage of Manchester United and Brighton players.

Gary Shaw previews the European Cup Final between Juventus (who eliminated holders Aston Villa) and Hamburg, with Shaw predicting a win for Juventus, and addressing rumours of a move for him and Gordon Cowans to Italy, stating he is well suited to continental football.

Shaw also previews the FA Cup Final, stating he wants United to win, only because it would secure a UEFA Cup place for Aston Villa.

Staying in the West Midlands, West Brom’s Dutch duo of Romeo Zondervan and Martin Jol being annoyed about their exile from the national team, and declaring that the standard of football in England is better than in Holland. Jol speaks about Holland’s best young players, including Frank Rijkaard, stating “He would only last one game in England, he twists and turns too much and holds the ball too long”

1983 was the year Everton won the league …….. for Liverpool, with a 2-0 win over Manchester United at Goodison Park which ended United’s title challenge, with Everton defender Mark Higgins believing the club are on the verge of making a serious challenge in future years to send the title to the blue half, rather than the red half of Merseyside.

Another Blue (of the Manchester variety) hoping for a big future was Alex Williams, who had a breakthrough season at Manchester City, and was setting his sights on being England’s goalkeeper.

It wasn’t a World Cup year, but there was news about the competition this week, with the official film of the 1982 tournament being broadcast on TV after cinemas in the country deemed it too expensive to show., while Toluca was rejected as a host city for Mexico 86 sue to security fears.

From the World Cup to the British Championship, Northern Ireland head to Hampden Park looking to get their first win in 7 visits. A more prouder record, is Sammy McIlroy, who has played in Northern Ireland’s last 22 games and is looking to continue that run.

There was also coverage of the Scottish Cup Final, with a poster of Aberdeen and Rangers, and interviews with John McClelland, Peter McCloy and Jim Leighton.


Linfield began 2016 against the same opponents they opened 2015, but this time, the circumstances were different, and i’m not referring to the change in venues.

This time last year, Linfield kicked-off four points clear, lost, lost momentum and their season fell apart. Today, they kicked-off nine points behind their opponents.

The hope was, that they would win, and kick on in the second-half of the season. If only it was that simple.

A win would have seen Linfield go to within six points of Crusaders, albeit with Crusaders having a game in hand. It would be a small hope of winning the title. It’s better than the no hope they had on Christmas morning

Both teams exchanged blows in the early moments, Paul Heatley firing at Ross Glendinning while Paul Smyth was causing worry for Crusaders defenders that they were having to foul him in order to stop him. Linfield had two set pieces they couldn’t take advantage of.

Linfield were getting a lot of joy attacking Crusaders, you could see the fear in the defence at players running at them. Crusaders players were qually shellshocked to see opponents tackling them. Linfield were up for it, and were asking the question of Crusaders.

Millar, Waterworth and Smyth were all worrying Crusaders with their pace but not getting a clear shot on goal. That was until the 28th minute when Andrew Waterworth got in behind Crusaders defence and cut in from a wide position and shot, but it was saved by the keeper.

Against Portadown in November, a similar incident happened. Portadown cleared the danger and within a minute, had went up to the other end of the pitch and score. That was indicative of what was happening in November.

Not today, when everything seems to be falling Linfield’s way. The ball fell straight back to Waterworth, who made no mistake second time around.

What happened next, was pure comedy gold, as during the celebrations, the corner flag was broken by an over exuberant Linfield player. On the TV footage, it looks like Matthew Clarke.

No doubt Crusaders will be demanding he be banned, the most shocking violence seen in an Irish League game since Jamie Mulgrew bit Colin Coates in 2011, as proved by a grainy screenshot produced by Crusaders fans.

This resulted in a five minute stoppage, as ground staff tried to fix the flag, and then try to find a replacement.

The stoppage didn’t affect Linfield too much, though Crusaders had the next shot on goal, when a Jordan Forsythe free-kick was easily saved by Glendinning.

It wasn’t long before the next stoppage, when the linesman at the South Stand was the meat in a sandwich when Craig McLean and Kirk Millar went in for a challenge. He had to be replaced by the 4th official.

There were no other attacks in a half, which eventually finished in the 53rd minute.

Half-time saw three substitutions. Magowan and Clarke for Crusaders (neither player could complain) and Haughey for Linfield (presumably injured) replaced by David Kee.

Crusaders came out for the second-half strongly, but Linfield withstood the pressure.

Not only did Linfield withstand the pressure, they doubled their lead, when a corner was bundled home by Jimmy Callacher.

The corner came about when Smyth and Millar got in behind Crusaders defence but couldn’t make the most of it.

Linfield got a lot of joy down their right, with Criag McLean misjudging the bounce of the ball on two occasions which sent Linfield clear.

He wasn’t the only one. Everytime a Crusaders player had the ball in a defensive position they looked nervous and panicky, more often than not giving possession away in a dangerous position or conceding a throw-in.

Soon after, Smyth got in behind Crusaders defence and shot wide when he perhaps should have scored.

Having not looked like scoring at 0-0 and 0-1, suddenly, Crusaders were having chances. Everytime, Glendinning was on hand to make a save.

Neither defence was on top, the game went from end to end with both sides chasing the goal that would either kill the game or start a comeback.

Linfield brought on Bates and Frazer in the final stages, both of them having chances to score on the break.

It was a performance and result against Crusaders that had been missing for a long time. If only we had done that in early November, the league table could be a lot different today,

But that’s gone now, it’s all about looking forward.

But looking back at the Christmas/New Year period, it has been very productive for Linfield. Three wins out of three, and a performance in each one.

Other results went our way too, gaining ground on Crusaders (five points), Cliftonville (seven points), Coleraine (three points) and Glenavon (two points)

Cliftonville’s draw at home to Warrenpoint today allowed Linfield to overtake them into 2nd, albeit Cliftonville have a game in hand.

It’s just a pity that the next league game isn’t for another two weeks.

Until then, it’s cup action, with two games (Irish Cup and County Antrim Shield) against Ballymena coming up.

The three remaining league games this month are against Dungannon, Ballymena and Carrick. Without sounding arrogant, that is a generous run of games.

Looking at other games in January, Glenavon face Cliftonville, and Crusaders face Glentoran and Portadown and Glenavon in early February, while Cliftonville also face Portadown.

Cliftonville’s trip to The Oval in February, where they always struggle, has been postponed due to the League Cup Final with no new date confirmed yet.

That’s a lot of potential points dropped by our rivals. Hopefully.

The important thing is, that Linfield help themselves by getting points on the board.

But until then, progress in the Irish Cup and getting the County Antrim Shield in the cabinet is top of the agenda.

That would be a rather good start to 2016.

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