2016 IN PICTURES – NOVEMBER

November 2016 began with an eventful trip to Lurgan to see Linfield recover from being both two goals and two men down against Glenavon to secure an unlikely draw.

It was followed by a busy week. I was out on the road again to see Linfield take on Ballymena, before heading to The Odyssey to see Bastille in concert.

Two days later, I was at Windsor Park to see Northern Ireland take on Azerbaijan, before heading back on the road to see Linfield take on Dungannon Swifts.

I then headed to near the Royal Mail’s office to photograph a new mural of various popculture icons such as David Bowie, Christopher Walken, Kes and Adam Ant.

The following midweek, I was back at Windsor Park to see Northern Ireland take on Croatia in a friendly, before heading back to Windsor Park the following Saturday to see Linfield take on Cliftonville.

November ended with a weekend in Manchester, going to see United take on Feyenoord and West Ham, see Bury take on Millwall via Broadhurst Park, as well as capturing Street Art in Manchester and Salford Quays, and some stickers left by Feyenoord fans around the city.

Those trips to Old Trafford were my first since Jose Mourinho became United manager.

Glenavon v Linfield

Ballymena United v Linfield

Bastille live at The Odyssey

Bastille live at The Odyssey Photo Album

Northern Ireland v Azerbaijan

Northern Ireland v Azerbaijan Photo Album

Dungannon Swifts v Linfield

Down By The Royal Mail II

Down By The Royal Mail II Photo Album

Northern Ireland v Croatia

Northern Ireland v Croatia Photo Album

Linfield v Cliftonville

Manchester Street Art

Manchester Street Art Photo Album

Manchester United v Feyenoord

Manchester United v Feyenoord Photo Album

Salford Quays Street Art

Salford Quays Street Art Photo Album

Feyenoord Stickers

Feyenoord Stickers Photo Album

Bury v Millwall

Bury v Millwall Photo Album

Broadhurst Park

Manchester United v West Ham United

Manchester United v West Ham United Photo Album

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2016 IN PICTURES – OCTOBER

October began with a trip to The Oval, to see Linfield take on Glentoran, play awful but grind out a 2-1 win.

The following Saturday, I went to see Northern Ireland take on San Marino, the first game at a fully redeveloped Windsor Park.

I then went home, and got a bit of sleep, before an early morning boat to Dumfries to see Linfield take on Queen of the South in the Scottish Challenge Cup.

The following Saturday, it was back to Windsor Park to see Linfield take on Ballinamallard United.

Two days later, I was Limelight bound to see Feeder in concert.

There were then two frustrating weekends as I was then Coleraine bound the following Saturday to see Linfield held to a frustrating draw, just as they were at home to Crusaders the following Saturday.

The month ended by going to see KT Tunstall in concert at Mandela Hall.

Glentoran v Linfield

Northern Ireland v San Marino

Northern Ireland v San Marino Photo Album

Queen of the South v Linfield

Linfield v Ballinamallard United

Feeder live at The Limelight

Feeder live at The Limelight Photo Album

Coleraine v Linfield

Linfield v Crusaders

KT Tunstall live at Mandela Hall

KT Tunstall live at Mandela Hall Photo Album

2016 IN PICTURES – SEPTEMBER

It was a musical start to September 2016, by going to see Squeeze in concert at Ulster Hall, then going to see The Divine Comedy perform at HMV two days later.

It was back to football the following weekend as Linfield took on Portadown.

I was then off to Liverpool for a wedding and made a trip out of it, getting some Street Art photos in Liverpool.

The following weekend after my return from Liverpool, it was back to Windsor Park to see Linfield take on Ards.

Having photographed Street Art in Liverpool, I was photographing Street Art in Belfast, of North Street and surrounding areas, having missed Culture Night due to being in Liverpool.

Squeeze live at Ulster Hall

Squeeze live at Ulster Hall Photo Album

The Divine Comedy live at HMV Belfast

The Divine Comedy live at HMV Belfast Photo Album

Linfield v Portadown

Liverpool Street Art

Liverpool Street Art Photo

Linfield v Ards

North Street Art

North Street Art Photo Album

LINFIELD 2-1 BALLYMENA UNITED 17.12.2016

David Jeffrey made his first return to Windsor Park as an opposition manager, and Linfield paid tribute by getting a dramatic late winner that would have made him smile during his 17 years in charge.

There wasn’t many chances in the opening moments of the game. Andrew Waterworth stretched to get on the end of a cross, but couldn’t get the direction to put the ball in the net, the ball going over, while a Kirk Millar cross went agonisingly across the penalty area. Ballymena’s best attacking moment came when Roy Carroll had to rush out of his penalty area to stop a through ball becoming dangerous for Linfield.

Like Andrew Waterworth, Niall Quinn got a foot on a cross but couldn’t direct it in, the ball again going over.

In the final minutes of the first-half, Waterworth had the ball in the net after a Sean Ward pass but it was ruled offside. I haven’t seen TV footage of it yet, but it didn’t look offside from where I was.

A score of 0-0 was bad enough for Linfield fans, but they were treated to the worst case of the continued deterioration of the music on the tannoy at Windsor Park. I was looking out for someone to sort me out for some Es and some glow sticks, that’s how bad the music was.

The second-half still had the same lack of urgency from Linfield, though it wouldn’t be long until a goal, when Jimmy Callacher headed home from a free-kick, his third goal in two games.

Linfield couldn’t build on this advantage, with players having a lack of options on the ball, too often taking the easy option or being forced to play it backwards.

In short, Linfield had a lot of the ball but were not doing a lot with it.

Roy Carroll was forced into a save from a header, while Cahir Friel fired just wide from outside the box.

A reminder, if it was needed, that Linfield had not yet won this match.

One way Linfield were trying to wrap up the game was by getting Jamie Mulgrew on the ball, to run at Ballymena’s defence and trying to make things happen.

You could say it was Classic Mulgrew. Unfortunately, that meant he was usually fouled within five seconds of getting the ball. A lack of yellow cards only encouraged Ballymena with their tactical fouling.

Linfield sent on Aaron Burns from the bench to try and clinch the game. His first touch was to flick on for Stephen Lowry to run on to. Lowry made contact with the ball, unfortunately so did Alan Blayney, getting his body in the way to make a save.

Burns then had a shot saved in the penalty area, from the rebound of an Andrew Waterworth shot that was blocked from close range.

The one positive for Linfield was that Ballymena didn’t look like scoring in open play.

Unfortunately, the referee gave Ballymena a penalty on 87 minutes when Niall Quinn was judged to have handled the ball after a shot came at him from close range. A soft penalty, made even worse when you see the one Carrick didn’t get for a similar incident. Irish League referees never one for consistency.

Naturally, Tony Kane made it 1-1.

Linfield seemed stunned, and unable to raise themselves to win the game again.

However, in injury time, an Aaron Burns cross was headed in by Mark Stafford. The South Stand had it’s first LimbsAOTS moment. A lesson that if you take a chance and get the ball into the box, and take a chance by making a run, you will get rewarded.

There were two more lessons as well.

If you act the big lad running to the opposition fans after scoring, don’t concede an injury time winner, You’ll just look stupid.

If you boot the ball into an empty stand when the game is stopped for an offside decision, don’t complain if there is enough added time for the opposition to score.

New manager, same old Ballymena.

With Crusaders and Cliftonville winning, it was an understatement to say that Linfield needed to win as well.

It sets things up nicely for next Monday and a match so big it gets introduced as “The small matter …….” by the media. The small matter of Boxing Day.

With Cliftonville facing Crusaders, it means that if Linfield win, they’ll either get closer to Crusaders or pull away from Cliftonville. Or possibly both if it ends a draw.

No point worrying about the Half Scarf Derby, all that matters is that Linfield do the business, just as they did today. Just about.

Where Linfield are “Lucky”, Crusaders are labelled “Resilient”.

You may remember that I critcised the club for inconvenient arrangements for selling tickets. I think it’s only fair to congratulate them on having extended opening hours last Thursday for supporters to get tickets.

There is no first team match next Saturday, but the Swifts have the Steel and Sons Cup Final against Dundela. I was always planning to go this year as it was on Christmas Eve (won’t happen again until 2022, calendar fans) and Linfield being in it is a nice bonus.

Getting out of bed for a 10.45am kick-off will be fun after a week off (Sorry for the humblebrag that my Christmas Holidays began at 4pm yesterday)

Talking of Cup Finals, Ballymena United and Carrick Rangers will face each other in the League Cup Final in February at an as yet undecided venue. Tempted to go to this as a neutral. Well, in the Carrick end.

I am a sort of good luck charm for them, having attended the 2014 Steel and Sons Cup Final and the penultimate game of their 2014-2015 promotion season.

Over the next week, it is anticipated the 2017 League Of Ireland fixture list will be published, allowing me the opportunity to look at possible games to go to when the Irish League is in pre-season.

Already planning my football watching in 2017, there’s still three games for me to go to in 2016. Hopefully it brings six points and a trophy.

Photo Album

2016 IN PICTURES – AUGUST

August began for me with a trip to Fermanagh to see Linfield take on Ballinamallard United in the opening game of the Irish League season.

The following day, I ventured to Cupar Way to check out the Peace Wall in Belfast, something I do every six months to have a look at the Street Art.

After that, came a triple whammy if Irish League matches, taking in Linfield’s games against Coleraine, Crusaders and Glenavon.

That was then followed by a triple whammy of concerts – Madness and Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds at Belsonic, then Red Hot Chili Peppers at Vital.

The month ended with a trip to Windsor Park to see Linfield take on Dungannon Swifts.

Ballinamallard United v Linfield

Belfast Peace Wall

Belfast Peace Wall Photo Album

Linfield v Coleraine

Crusaders v Linfield

Linfield v Glenavon

Madness live at Titanic Belfast

Madness live at Titanic Belfast Photo Album

Catfish and the Bottlemen Photo Album

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds live at Titanic Belfast

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds live at Titanic Belfast Photo Album

Red Hot Chili Peppers live at Boucher Road Playing Fields

Red Hot Chili Peppers live at Boucher Road Playing Fields Photo Album

Linfield v Dungannon Swifts

THE SOUND OF 2016 : 26-51

26. Rory Lavelle – All These Horrors
27. Blink 182 – Bored To Death
28. Foxes – Feet Don’t Fail Me Now
29. Bloc Party – Virtue
30. Rag n Bone Man – Human
31. Manic Street Preachers – Feels Like Heaven
32. Blossoms – At Most A Kiss
33. ABC – The Flames Of Desire
34. The Afghan Whigs – Regret
35. KT Tunstall – Hard Girls
36. Tegan and Sara – Boyfriend
37. Two Door Cinema Club – Bad Decisions
38. The 1975 – The Sound
39. Bloc Party – Stunt Queen
40. Taylor Swift – Out Of The Woods
41. Sophie Ellis-Bextor – Come With Us
42. Jamie T – Power Over Men
43. Oasis – D’Ya Know What I Mean (Mustique Demo)
44. The Last Shadow Puppets – Bad Habits
45. Jake Bugg – Gimme The Love
46. The Coral – Miss Fortune
47. The Last Shadow Puppets – Aviation
48. Richard Ashcroft – These People
49. Oasis – Don’t Go Away (Mustique Demo)
50. Lukas Graham – 7 Years

2016 IN PICTURES – JUNE

June 2016 was a month that was dominated by Euro 2016.

The early days of the month were spent chronicling a mural in East Belfast to commemorate Northern Ireland’s qualification, getting pictures of the final piece upon my return from France.

Oh yes, I was in France. Wasn’t that fussed about France as a country, but loved the three matches (France v Romania, Northern Ireland v Poland, Republic of Ireland v Sweden) I was at.

I also got some Street Art photos in Paris, and London, as I flew back from Gatwick due to there being no Paris-Belfast flights on a Tuesday.

Not a lot else happened in the rest of the month. That was, until, the final, when I attended two Belsonic concerts.

Belsonic? Yes, this year, it moved to June (though there were later concerts in August) and I went to see Elli Goulding and Stereophonics.

And it was at a new venue, Titanic Belfast.

There was even some domestic club football this month, as the last day of the month saw Linfield lose 1-0 at home to Cork City in the UEFA Cup.

Pride, Passion Belief

Pride, Passion, Belief Photo Album

Paris Street Art

Paris Street Art Photo Album

France v Romania

France v Romania Photo Album

Northern Ireland v Poland

Northern Ireland v Poland Photo Album

Republic of Ireland v Sweden

Republic of Ireland v Sweden Photo Album

London Street Art

London Street Art Photo Album

Ellie Goulding live at Titanic Belfast

Ellie Goulding live at Titanic Belfast Photo Album

Stereophonics live at Titanic Belfast

Stereophonics live at Titanic Belfast Photo Album

Linfield v Cork City

THE CANVAS FORMERLY KNOWN AS BLANK

Just as he did in life, Prince in mural form (in Belfast at least) seems to go away for a while and then make a spectacular comeback, as a new tribute to him as appeared in Botanic on India Street. If you head to Alphabet Street, you’re in the wrong street.

If you don’t know where India Street is, it’s beside the Cancer Research shop, the kind of second hand store where you can find a Raspberry Beret ……. or possibly even some Diamonds and Pearls.

You may remember that a mural paying tribute to him appeared in Garfield Street within 24 hours of his death, of the symbol he was associated with, and the colour purple that he was associated with.

I usually cycle through Botanic on a Sunday and it wasn’t there last week. I noticed it when I got a bus through Botanic on Tuesday, so it was clear the artist in question had a Manic Monday.

I don’t usually travel by bus in Belfast, I only do so when it is raining. The rain wasn’t purple on Tuesday, by the way.

Even though I aim to bring you the Cream of Street Art in Belfast, I didn’t Gett Off the bus, deciding to wait until today.

There’s still a bit of space on the canvas, so i’ll bring you any news of updates if there any.

Photo Album