THE FRIDAY FIVE – 30.6.2017

1. Liam Gallagher – Bold
2. George Ezra – Don’t Matter Now
3. The Killers – The Man
4. Rogue Emperor – Holy Ghost
5. Dagny – Wearing Nothing

A couple of national celebrations days this week giving me an excuse to do some charts, starting with Canada Day tomorrow

FIVE SONGS BY CANADIAN ACTS

1. Men Without Hats – The Safety Dance
2. Tegan and Sara – The Con
3. Celine Dion – It’s All Coming Back To Me Now
4. K’Naan – Wavin Flag
5. Glass Tiger – Don’t Forget Me

Not only that, it’s Dan Aykroyd’s birthday. Surely the two should just combined and called Danada Day?

A bit further, Trumpistan will be celebrating Independence Day. So, here’s a couple of charts commemorating the musical talents and inspiration of Murica.

FIVE SONGS BY AMERICAN ACTS

1. Tom Petty – Freefallin
2. Jane Wiedlin – Rush Hour
3. Ryan Adams – So Alive
4. Blondie – Heart Of Glass
5. Katy Perry – Wide Awake

SONGS WITH USA OR AMERICA(N) IN THE TITLE

1. Razorlight – America
2. U2 – The Hands That Built America
3. Miley Cyrus – Party In The USA
4. David Bowie – Young Americans
5. Green Day – American Idiot

SONGS WITH AMERICAN CITIES OR STATES IN THE TITLE

1. Ryan Adams – New York, New York
2. Bruce Springsteen – Streets Of Philadelphia
3. Beach Boys – California Girls
4. Tony Christie – Is This The Way To Amarillo
5. Bran Van 3000 – Drinking In LA

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LINFIELD 1-0 LA FIORITA 28.6.2017

Just over three weeks after the Road to Cardiff disembarked, The Road to Kiev got underway, with Linfield hoping to have a stop-off in Glasgow along the way.

You may have noticed I avoided the obvious reference to the Green Day concert across South Belfast, and linking it to how Linfield were aiming for a Green and White Day.

I do like Green Day (I would be more of a singles fan, so don’t even ask me what my favourite b-side from Dookie is. I’m not even going to claim I saw them at Richardson’s Social Club in 1991) but I was always going to give their concert at Ormeau Park a miss as it was going to attract pure shitebags. Every large concert in Belfast sadly does.

That’s not me sticking the boot into Green Day fans, it’s just a Belfast thing sadly.

Plus, i’ve already seen them. T In The Park, 2002.

While those in Ormeau Park were hoping for a Boulevard Of Broken Dreams, that’s what Linfield were hoping to aovid.

There was a lot of people urging Linfield on, with people who don’t usually cheer Linfield on wanting them to win, for some reason, I don’t know why.

The prize on offer for the winners of this tie was a 2nd Round tie against Celtic, the famed feeder club to the striped superheroes of Southampton.

I am excited about the prospect of Scotland’s most famous outfit coming to Belfast, and it promises to be an occasion not to be missed.

Anyway, that’s enough about Bay City Rollers playing The Limelight in December.

Onto the match, and it didn’t quite go to plan, though Linfield did get a win and a clean sheet, the tie is far from over.

Even though they made three signings this summer, Linfield only made one change from last season’s Irish Cup Final, with Jimmy Callacher rested to protect him from injury and replaced by Chris Casement.

Linfield were on top from kick-off, and as the chances and possession piled up, it looked like only a matter of time before they scored.

Just after the hour, all that frustration looked to be forgotten when Linfield were award a penalty after high feet from La Fiorita’s keeper, who was lucky to get away with a yellow card.

He took advantage of his good fortune by saving Aaron Burns resulting penalty, albeit a few yards off his line.

It was Linfield’s fifth penalty in their last eight games, and they have missed three of them.

It was beginning to look like a repeat of the 0-0 draw at home to B36 in 2012.

The award of the penalty brought out some ill discipline from La Fiorita, but Linfield couldn’t take advantage. La Fiorita were getting bodies in the way, or the ball was bouncing to their defenders.

Jordan Stewart was introduced from the bench and was immediately involved in the game, creating attacks and chances as Linfield sought a winner.

That came right at the end when a Cameron Stewart pass to his namesake Jordan hit Andrew Waterworth and fell perfectly for him.

It looked like he had lost the opportunity, but was able to get past two defenders and round the keeper and put the ball into the back of the net.

If it had come earlier, Linfield could have won by a more convincing scoreline, but they’ll have to make do with 1-0.

The tie is far from won, but I would expect Linfield to have enough to get through in the second leg which won’t be a Holiday, as La Fiorita had some half chances which gave Linfield a Warning.

As you know by now, the winner of this tie will face Celtic in the 2nd Round.

The possibility of Linfield facing Celtic has generated a lot of column inches. The vast majority of which has been sensationalist, shitstirring, inaccurate and irresponsible.

Let’s take a look at this.

A lot of news organisations were excited at the prospect of Linfield taking on Celtic on 12th July. The truth is, that was never going to happen. History has told us that.

The last time 12th July fell on a Wednesday was in 2006. Linfield were in the European Cup that year, and brought forward their home game to 11th July with a teatime kick-off.

In 2001, 11th July fell on a Wednesday. Again, Linfield were in the European Cup. They played their home match that day with a teatime kick-off.

In 2007, 11th July fell on a Wednesday again, but this time, Linfield were able to move their game to Tuesday 10th.

By 2013, Linfield were in the UEFA Cup, and 11th July fell on the designated Thursday night, but Linfield were able to move their match to Wednesday 10th.

So, when Linfield are scheduled to be at home on 12th July, they’ll play it on 11th July with an earlier kick-off, and when scheduled to be at home on 11th July, they’ll play it on the 10th July.

Regardless of who Linfield were drawn against, they were always going to try to play on 11th July with an earlier kick-off if they were to be at home that week.

And yet, several news organisations ignored this and salivated at the prospect of Linfield v Celtic on 12th July, even though it was never going to happen on that date.

The two biggest serial offenders in this circus have been Belfast Telegraph and Daily Record. Let’s have a look at their reporting.

Belfast Telegraph only has three types of stories these days.

1. Singing culchies
2. Pictures of the inside of houses you’ll never afford
3. Themmuns and thosuns.

Their coverage of this match clearly falling under 3.

The best example of this was a story from June last year about the world’s biggest bonfire being built in Norway.

You’re naive if you think they considered the architectural achievement to be newsworthy.

They just wanted people to get worked up and angry about bonfires in Northern Ireland, so they can boast about how much responses their articles get, when trying to sell advertising.

The first story here is a poll asking if “Celtic v Linfield” should be moved to Glasgow. Apologies for being pedantic, but with Celtic being first, that would be their home game, of course it would be in Glasgow.

No Officials from Linfield suggested moving their home game, nor even did any Supporters Group. So where did they get the notion that there was an appetite from Linfield to move their home leg away from Windsor Park?

The second story, is that a Celtic Blogger wouldn’t feel safe travelling to Windsor Park. I wonder how many Bloggers they had to ask before they got the “right answer”?

The opinions of Bloggers are not news stories. It is just one person and their opinion.

If a Celtic Blogger said they were looking forward to visiting Belfast and seeing Celtic in a stadium they’ve never played in before, would it have been a story? Of course not.

The next story, is about residents fears about Linfield playing Celtic on 12th July.

We’ve already clearly established that Linfield were never going to play a home game on 12th July.

So, a Belfast Telegraph Journalist went into a community, willingly gave people misinformation and asked them for their opinion on it?

If I didn’t know any better, I’d suggest that was irresponsible journalism, and that is being kind.

Next up, is the Daily Record, who,haven’t been much better.

First up, is a column stating the First Leg should be moved from Windsor Park if Linfield can’t guarantee safety.

Ain’t no problem at Linfield’s end. Windsor Park’s geography and matchday operations is more than capable of accommodating Celtic and their fans, it’s the local authorities who wanted the date and kick-off moved, and there’s nothing Linfield can do about it.

Next up, is that a Celtic Supporters Club in Brendan Rodgers hometown urging fans not to travel to Windsor Park.

Well duh. If Celtic aren’t going to accept tickets, what is the point of them travelling to Windsor Park if they won’t get in? That’s just basic common sense.

And finally, claims by former Celtic player Joe Miller that he faced “red dots” when playing for Aberdeen against Linfield at Windsor Park in 1995.

I genuinely have no recollection of this match ever taking place.

I started going regularly to Linfield matches around 1995. I went to pre-season friendlies in the mid/late 90s against Liverpool, St Johnstone and Burnley. I definitely would have went to a friendly against Aberdeen.

A few questions. Why did he not walk off the pitch in protest? Why did he not report the matter to the RUC? Why did he wait 22 years before speaking about it?

This paragraph here interests me, especially the alleged presence of Derek Whyte.

Is this the same Derek Whyte who began his career at Celtic, went to the 1998 World Cup and played in the Premier League for Middlesbrough in five years at the club between 1992 and 1997?

Wait a minute, if Derek Whyte was a Middlesbrough player in 1995, what was he doing playing for Aberdeen against Linfield in a friendly?

This story is falling apart. I’m calling bullshit here. Big thick steaming bullshit.

On Monday night, Linfield issued a statement on the media coverage around this proposed game, specifically addressing Daily Record and Joe Miller.

They have covered the issue in a way I can only dream of. Credit to whoever wrote it. You can find it here.

On Tuesday, the Daily Record sort of backtracked, hanging Joe Miller out to dry.

The story says that Joe Miller has apologised for comments made in an interview with Scottish daily newspapers.

What they failed to report, that Daily Record was the only newspaper (as far as I know) to report these claims. The story did not appear in any other publication. Daily Record fails to acknowledge they published the erroneous claims.

Joe1

The story begins by describing him as “Devastated Joe Miller”

That almost makes him a victim in all of this. He is not.

What is he devastated about? Being caught out lying and publicly humiliated?

He then claims it was a simple misunderstanding, that he got the grounds mixed up, and blaming it on a memory lapse. Memory lapse, how convenient.

Amazing that he can vividly remember these alleged events, but not where they took place.

Forgive me for lacking in sympathy for “Devastated Joe”.

Not so much an apology, more a face saving exercise from someone who knows they’re in a lot of trouble.

So, to the proposed date of the Celtic match, Friday 14th July at 5pm. 5pm on a Friday, it’s almost as if they want to make it inconvenient for people to attend.

I’m not naive. I know that Northern Ireland can go a bit “full moon” during July. But if the PSNI had concerns, surely bringing it forward to Monday 10th was the most sensible option?

Friday 14th is a bit of a pickle for me. I’m off work that day, due to the fact I was planning to go to Dublin that day, and I have a uncancellable room booking. Looks like i’m taking a £50 hit to see Linfield.

I’m hoping to do my Annual Dublin Day Trip on either of the next two Fridays following that instead, and make UCD my match I go to, meaning I will be one ground short of visiting all of Dublin’s senior football grounds.

Sandwiched inbetween La Fiorita and Celtic is a friendly against Hearts. As Celtic face Hearts on the opening day of the season, this works out brilliantly for Celtic, as they can scout two teams for the price of one. A great chance to Know Your Enemy. I would expect the starting XIs against Hearts and Celtic to be very different though.

There’ll be no Celtic fans at Windsor Park on 14th July. That’s disappointing. It makes a mockery of the tie and the competition. They’re cheating their own fans, who have every right to be angry about it.

Sadly, this farce will seriously dent Belfast’s chances of hoping the 2019 European Super Cup Final. It could all have been so easily avoided and the match easily managed of those in power wanted to

And from Celtic, we move to Rangers. The Carrickfergus one that is.

Carrick will visit Windsor Park on the opening day. Without sounding arrogant, Linfield’s start is generous (Carrick, Ards, Dungannon) and represents an opportunity to get off to a great start.

The first big away game (Crusaders, 2nd September) will be postponed due to the Scottish Challenge Cup as well.

Not only that, by facing Glentoran at home on 9th September, we get our annual stupid home draw against them out of the way early.

Christmas will be fun – Cliftonville, Glentoran and Crusaders in the space of seven days.

Interestingly, for the fourth successive year, Crusaders will be our first match after Boxing Day.

In the Scottish Challenge Cup, Linfield will be at home when they enter in September. Hopefully, we’ll get a decent run and some decent away days. Bray are in it this season. Bray away would be amazing.

Fixtures are also out in England, and I’m hoping to make Bournemouth and Watford my trips to Old Trafford this season. Hopefully, I actually get to see a game against Bournemouth, unlike in May 2016.

I’ll also be going to the friendly against Sampdoria at Lansdowne Road in early August.

I’m also looking around for a footballing weekend in Mainland Europe in early 2018. I’m toying with the idea of giving Paris another try, even though I thought it was a smelly shithole when I visited for Euro 2016.

I’m going to Edinburgh in early August for the Festival but plan on taking in some football as well. My choice is Hibs v Partick or Edinburgh City v Montrose. I’m leaning towards Edinburgh City as I’ve never been to Ainslie Park. TV scheduling might enable me to do both.

Back to Celtic, and there’s no reason why Linfield should be fearful. We have our own European history. In 1967, we reached the European Cup Quarter-Finals. What did Celtic do in 196…..

Oh.

In the last ten years, Linfield lost 1-0 to Elfsborg, who lost 1-0 to Celtic, while drawing away to Dinamo Zagreb who beat Celtic in 2014.

There’s no reason why Linfield can’t compete with Celtic. It’s scoring more goals over two legs that’s the big issue.

Celtic might have a long European history, but it’s not all glorious.

Remember Neuchatel? Remember Artmedia? Remember Lincoln Red Imps?

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MAGAZINE ARCHIVE : NI FOOTBALL – AUTUMN 2008

It’s a new era for Irish League football, as the top flight is reduced from 16 clubs to 12, with Michael Gault and David Rainey being the cover stars.

Northern Ireland have just started their campaign to qualify for the 2010 World Cup, and there is a full page review of their opening games against Slovakia and Czech Republic, where they only got one point from those two games.

Prior to that, Northern Ireland travelled to Scotland, and this game also got reviewed, as well as supporters experience of the trip.

Aaron Hughes gets interviewed, telling NI Football that he enjoys living in London now that he plays for Fulham, having been an Aston Villa player the last time he spoke to them.

From one Northern Ireland player who used to wear claret and blue to one who does, there is an interview with Burnley striker Martin Paterson.

Iain Dowie also reviews those opening two World Cup Qualifiers, stating that Northern Ireland really missed Kyle Lafferty in those two games.

Irish League sides in Europe during the summer of 2008 also gets reviewed and analysed.

There was a story which was a load of balls. The IFA agreed a deal with Umbro to supply matchballs. In competitions, you could win a pair of Umbro boots endorsed by Peter Thompson.

Roy Walker gets a double page interview, having just been appointed as Ballymena United manager, a year after a two day stint as Glentoran manager.

Relegated on a technicality, there is a full page feature on Portadown, as they aim to return to the top flight at the first time of asking.

There is also a double page feature on Northern Ireland’s underage sides, as they prepare for a busy run of fixtures.

Tim Mouncey is interviewed, spilling the beans on his team-mates, revealing that Andy Hunter is the grumpiest player at Portadown.

Warren Feeney gets interviewed having signed for Dundee United, and his ambitious to win trophies at Tannadice.

There is also a full page feature on newly promoted Bangor, who have just made Irish League history by playing in the first game to be played on a Sunday, against Glentoran at The Oval.

There are also interviews with Peter Thompson (Stockport County) and Steven Davis (Rangers, loan move made permanent) as they begin the season at new clubs.

MAGAZINE ARCHIVE : MELODY MAKER – 24.11.1999

A Union Jack made up of pills is this week’s cover image, as Melody Maker promises “Thr truth about Britain’s rock n roll narcotics culture”

Melody Maker’s drugs survey revealed that 41% of readers have tried marijuana and 62% believe it should be legalised and 24% believe that Cliff Richard has taken drugs.

A series of stars such as Tim Burgess (E), Kelly Jones (Booze) and Charlotte Hatherley (Coke) talk about their experiences of taking drugs.

Brett Anderson of Suede is interviewed about his five obsessions, listing sex as one of them.

In concert reviews, Melody Maker paid a visit to see The Offspring in London.

Album reviews see Lightning Seeds latest effort be given four stars out of five.

Grant Nicholas of Feeder is subject of a Q and A, where he reveals he would avenge a friend’s death.

MAINE OVAL

There have been strange goings on in East Belfast lately, most recently in Parkgate Avenue, where the entrances of The Oval have been painted …….. of all colours, blue.

Signage has gone up to indicate that it is the home of Manchester City.

Before you get excited at the thought of Pep Guardiola sipping lattes in Ballyhackamore, or consider setting up a shop in Connswater that sells inflatable bananas, it’s not what it seems.

The reason for this, is that The Oval is being used to film scenes for a forthcoming movie about Bert Trautmann and has been set up to replicate Maine Road in the 1950s and 1960s.

A sign has been left to explain this for any confused locals.

It’s not the first time The Oval has been used for filming. In the 00s, DoubleBand Films, a Belfast based film company used the venue for link shots when producing documentaries as part of the Football Stories series on Channel 4.

Glentoran and Manchester City fans have some things in common. Not only do they support teams living in the shadow of more famous and successful city rivals, they also have nightmares of when Alan Kernaghan was at their club.

Cliftonville are also in on the act, with their ground also being used to replicate Stoke City’s Victoria Ground.

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THE 1975 – LIVE AT ORMEAU PARK 16.6.2017 (BELSONIC)

The last time The 1975 played in Belfast, singer Matt Healy declared that they were getting so big they were running out of venues to play in Belfast. So it appears the solution was to give them a park.

Ormeau Park is the new venue for Belsonic, hosting it’s second gig of this year’s event, with Arcade Fire playing on the Tuesday before.

I’m not really that into Arcade Fire but I did consider going, but mainly for The Kooks, who were supporting. However, a cost of £45 a ticket just to see the support band was a bit offputting.

The Kooks announced a Dublin gig for January 2018 on Monday. I suspect it was embargoed as Belsonic were hoping Republic of Ireland based Kooks fans would travel to this, under the impression they wouldn’t be coming to Dublin.

It’s not uncommon for bands to announce Belfast gigs soon after playing Belsonic (KT Tunstall did last year), so i’m crossing my fingers for a Kooks headline gig in Belfast in early 2018.

Anyway, back to The 1975. The band were regular visitors to Northern Ireland during the period of their self-titled first album.

However, Northern Ireland had been a noticable absence from their touring to promote their not in any way creepily titled second album I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unware Of It, so this gig was to be welcomed by their Northern Ireland fans.

Matt Healy welcomed this support, speaking about how so many people from “To be fair, such a small place” had come out to see the band.

As if there wasn’t enough pressure on the band to perform, there was added pressure in the fact that I was missing out on Paramore at Waterfront Hall to see this, that gig being announced for the same night, and I already had my ticket for this.

This was my first Belsonic at Ormeau Park, the only entrance being closer to the Ravenhill Road, which felt like a never ending walk on a warm evening, a rare occasion when the weather in Belfast behaved itself.

The band came on an burst into Love Me, the lead single from ILIWYS,FYASBYSUOI. Already a dancey song you can boogie to, partly due to it’s close resemblance to Fame by David Bowie, the thumping bass when played live made it sound so much better and dancier.

Unfortunately, as with any outdoor event in Belfast, Ormeau Park was riddled with smelly tramps, puffing and vaping away with no consideration for others.

They’ll probably gurn about their human rights being breached (ignoring my human right of some clean air when out enjoying myself), but seriously, just dig a fucking hole at the back and stick them in there and let the rest of us enjoy ourselves in peace.

As a city we need to have a serious conversation about this. It’s a sad state of affairs when you have to hold your nose and cover your mouth when walking in the City Centre and when at outdoor concerts.

I am absolutely no civic pride in Belfast. It’s a smelly shithole. No amount of Game Of Thrones related advertising can change that.

Although, one highlight was seeing a fat millbeg drop her feg, bend down to pick it up and then fall over. Not going to lie, it put a massive smile on my face.

As well as fagbreaths, crowd members were treated to a recent phenomenon of backpacks at concerts. Seriously, why the fuck do you need to bring a backpack to a one day concert?

There appears to be a correlation that the vast majority of fuckwits who aimlessly walk about from side to side (literally, every concert) appear to be wearing backpacks.

Hopefully, Belsonic will start banning people wearing backpacks like other events, or at least ask them to use their brains and make them put them down by their side.

I know these rules have been brought in as part of the fight against international terrorism, but stopping fuckwits banging into people is a happy spin-off

After a dancey start, the concert then had a few iffy moments, most notably an avant garde instrumental solo. The 1975 do music to dance to, people want to dance. Do the maths.

If I wanted to watch four men arse about on keyboards, I would have went to see Kraftwerk at the Waterfront Hall a few weeks ago.

Eventually, we got back on track, but then took a detour as Matt Healy started to talk about politics. I didn’t actually hear what he said, as a man behind me shouted “Oh for fuck sake, stop talking about about politics”

A very sound observation.

The main complaint was that there were too many slow songs. People wanted to dance, and made the most of it when the opportunity came.

Healy then introduced Chocolate, describing it as “self explanatory”.

In a weird way, I was tempted to eat a bar of chocolate I had in my coat pocket in a way of life imitating music, like that time I listened to Rotterdam by The Beautiful South on my ipod whenever I was in Rotterdam.

Before finishing their set, Healy spoke about their first gig in Belfast, in front of 25 people at The Oh Yeah Centre.

When he reminisced about it at their last Belfast gig, Ulster Hall in 2014, he said there were 15 people in attendance.

It’s like Oasis at The Limelight, the crowd gets bigger each year.

The next time The 1975 play in Belfast, he’ll be reminiscing about the time they played in front of 35 people at The Oh Yeah Centre.

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The 1975 Live At Ulster Hall February 2014

HILL STREET WALL OF FAME

If you’ve been in the Cathedral Quarter over the past month, chances are you’ve seen Glen Molloy hard at work on a new mural beside The Harp Bar, covering building work taking place at what is/was (sorry for not being up to date with Civil Service locations) NIEA offices in Hill Street.

It began for me with a social media post that there was a new mural of David Holmes in Hill Street. So, armed with my camera, I went to investigate.

I was busy doing other stuff and actually forgot to check out the main thing I was in Belfast City Centre for.

So, I came back later, saw a mural of David Holmes, and other works which were works in progress. Naturally, I got snapping.

There was a clear theme of music legends developing, so I went back every lunchtime and evening to snap the work that was in progress.

There was a brief stop in the work here as Glen Molloy was working elsewhere on a mural at Filthy McNasty. You can see a write-up of that here

Gradually, the wall was getting filled. Frustratingly, I missed photographing a key day in the painting of Van Morrison and Bap Kennedy due to biblical rain.

It wan’t the first mural of Morrison to appear in Belfast. There was one near the away entrance to The Oval in 2007, but that soon disappeared due to housing being build on that site.

The faces appearing on the mural are : David Holmes, Gary Lightbody, Nathan Connolly, Una Healy, Van Morrison, Bap Kennedy, Brian Kennedy, Fatboy Slim.

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THE UEFA 102 CLUB – 2017 UPDATE

It’s that time of year again folks when the draws for both European competitions are made, and I keep you up to date on a pointless list I am trying to complete.

What is The UEFA 102 Club? Simple really, it was inspired by an article in When Saturday Comes of a man trying to see every team that has played in a European club competition (European Cup, European Cup Winners Cup, UEFA Cup) final in the flesh.

So, I made my own list, and began updating it every year.

2016-2017 was a disappointing season though, with no new additions.

If a team reaches a European club final for the first time, it will then be renamed The 103 Club ….. and so forth.

In last season’s European Cup, Leicester City were the only non-member in the Quarter-Finals, and were eliminated in that round.

The UEFA Cup Semi-final draw gave us the possibility that it could be The 103 Club or even The 104 Club.

With ten minutes to go, Celta Vigo and Lyon were both two goals away from being new members. Celta got one, but couldn’t get a second due to John Guidetti thankfully being useless in front of goal, meaning that instead of two new members, the UEFA Cup Final was between two clubs with a combined fifteen previous European finals between them.

This is the stage when Irish League and League of Ireland teams join in, meaning there is the possibility of me adding to the list without having to venture too far.

In the European Cup, Irish League champions (and it still feels good typing that) Linfield will be in the 1st Round, and won’t be facing any club on the list.

However, should they advance to the 2nd Round, that’s where the fun begins. Linfield would be unseeded, as would Dundalk, who enter at that round.

Possible member club opponents for both clubs include : Celtic (already ticked off), Red Bull Salzburg, Malmo and Partizan Belgrade.

Should Linfield and/or Dundalk advance to the 3rd Round, there will be no member clubs entering at that stage, meaning they can’t play a member club other than the four mentioned until the Group Stage.

Turning attention to the UEFA Cup, Irish League and League Of Ireland clubs enter in the 1st Round. Crusaders will be seeded, while Ballymena United, Coleraine, Derry City, Shamrock Rovers and Cork City will all be unseeded.

There are no possible member clubs that Crusaders could face in the 1st Round.

For the unseeded teams, possible member club opponents include : Videoton, Slovan Bratislava, Red Star Belgrade (yes please!!!), Ferencvaros and Rangers (already ticked off)

Should any of the Irish League or League Of Ireland teams reach the 2nd Round, that’s where the fun begins.

Possible 2nd Round opponents include : 2000 winners Galatasaray or Aberdeen (already ticked off).

The 3rd Round is where some big hitters join in, including : 2008 winners Zenit St Petersburg, 2012 runners-up Athletic Bilbao, AC Milan, PSV Eindhoven (already ticked off), 2011 runners-up Braga (already ticked off), 1996 runners-up Bordeaux, Everton (already ticked off), Marseille (already ticked off), Dinamo Zagreb (already ticked off), Austria Vienna and Panathiniakos.

If you’re dreaming of a trip to The Emirates, you’ll have to reach the Group Stage, where Arsenal (already ticked off) are one of three member clubs entering at that stage, the others being Koln and Lazio.

When the draw for the Group Stages of the European Cup is done, i’m going to look at going to one of Manchester United’s home matches, so hoping that would be against a member club i’ve never seen.

My first United match of 2017-2018 will be a pre-season friendly at Lansdowne Road against Sampdoria, so i’ll be adding them to my collection.

Dubliners are in for a treat that week, if you can call it that, as Liverpool play Athletic Bilbao at Lansdowne Road a few days later in a doubler. A Dublin Doubler, if you will. Or, if you prefer, a Double Dublin Doubler.

Not far from Dublin, Drogheda United will be playing Ipswich Town in a friendly at United Park on July 8th. If you’re wanting to add to your list.

As yet, there are no Irish League clubs with friendlies against a member club.

As well as playing in European competition, Linfield and Crusaders fans will have the chance to see their side face Dundee United (already ticked off) in the Scottish Challenge Cup, should the draw be so kind to them.

Bray Wanderers and Sligo Rovers fans will have the same opportunity.

So, my total? I’m currently on 35, hopefully 36 come early August.

I know, i’ve got a bit to go. I’d need a huge lottery win to complete it. What sort of loser would spend a lottery win travelling around Europe to watch fallen East German giants? Erm, me.

Here’s the full list of member clubs. Teams i’ve seen are in bold with the year first seen in brackets.

1. FC Lokomotive Leipzig
1. FC Magdeburg
1860 Munich
Aberdeen (2011)
Ajax (2012)

Anderlecht
Arsenal (2003)
AS Monaco
Aston Villa (1993)
Athletic Bilbao
Atlético Madrid (2011)
Austria Wien
AZ Alkmar
Barcelona (2011)
Bastia
Bayer Leverkusen
Bayern Munich
Benfica (2000)
Birmingham City (2010)

Bordeaux
Borussia Dortmund
Borussia Mönchengladbach
Braga (2011)
Carl Zeiss Jena
Casino Salzburg
Celtic (2009)
Chelsea (1997)

Club Brugge
CSKA Moscow
Deportivo Alavés
Dinamo Tbilisi
Dinamo Zagreb (2008)
Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk
Dundee United (2013)
Dynamo Kyiv
Dynamo Moscow
Eintracht Frankfurt
Espanyol (2015)
Everton (2014)

Ferencváros
Feyenoord (1999)
Fiorentina
Fortuna Düsseldorf
Fulham (2001)
Galatasaray
Górnik Zabrze
Hamburg
IFK Göteborg
Internazionale
Ipswich Town
Juventus
Köln
KV Mechelen
Lazio
Leeds United (1999)
Liverpool (1994)

Malmö FF
Manchester City (2000)
Manchester United (1993)
Marseille (1992)

Mechelen
Middlesbrough (1995)
AC Milan
MTK Hungária
Napoli
Newcastle United (1993)
Nottingham Forest (1996)

Panathinaikos
Paris Saint-Germain
Parma
Partizan Belgrade
Porto (2011)
PSV Eindhoven (2015)
Rangers (2002)

Rapid Wien
Real Madrid (2003)
Real Mallorca
Real Zaragoza
Red Star Belgrade
Roma (2007)
Royal Antwerp
Saint-Étienne
Sampdoria
Schalke 04
Sevilla (2014)
Shakhtar Donetsk
Slovan Bratislava
Sporting CP
Stade de Reims
Standard Liège
Steaua București
Torino
Tottenham Hotspur (2010)
Twente
Újpest
Valencia (2015)
VfB Stuttgart
Videoton
Werder Bremen
West Ham United (1997)
Wolverhampton Wanderers (2010)

Zenit Saint Petersburg

THE FRIDAY FIVE – 16.6.2017

1. The Killers – The Man
2. George Ezra – Don’t Matter Now
3. Adam West – Minding My Business
4. Lindsay Buckingham and Christine McVie – Red Sun
5. Nerina Pallot – Stay Lucky

It was announced that Paul Weller is coming to Belfast in February next year. It’s the day after my birthday too. Wish me luck in getting a ticket for this, even though he was a grumpy arse the last time he was in Belfast.

So, to celebrate, here’s a Paul Weller chart

FIVE SONGS BY PAUL WELLER

1. Paul Weller – Changingman
2. The Jam – Beat Surrender
3. Paul Weller – Sunflower
4. Paul Weller – Mermaids
5. The Jam – Start

Apparently, there’s a thing called Manchester Day. It’s this Sunday. That sounds like an excuse for a Manchester themed chart.

FIVE SONGS BY ACTS FROM MANCHESTER

1. Oasis – Don’t Go Away
2. Puressence – It Doesn’t Matter Anymore
3. The Courteeners – Van Der Graaff
4. New Order – True Faith
5. The Smiths – Panic