FOOTBALL IN 2018

At this time of year, I usually write about my footballing hopes for the year ahead. In truth, you never really know what is going to happen, but i’ll give it a try.

LINFIELD

Where do you start with this? First half of the year good, second half of the year not so good. Can we go more than four matches unbeaten? That would be a good start. Winning the League is looking a bit much, but at least have a strong finish to the season and win the Irish Cup. Please.

Talking of the Irish Cup, you’d like to think we will beat Glebe Rangers next Saturday. If we do, an away game against a lower league team in the next round would be great, but not too far as i’m going to Shed Seven that night. PSNI would be perfect as it would be a lunchtime kick-off.

The worst thing about our current poor form is that we might not even qualify for the Scottish Challenge Cup, although I have a hunch they might expand the competition to accommodate us.

If we don’t qualify for Europe, that will give us a lot of free dates in pre-season. Even if we do reach Europe (hopefully we do), we’ll still have some dates free. So here’s the pre-season wishlist, away games against any of Dundela, HW Welders, Moyola Park, Barn United, Brantwood, PSNI, Knockbreda.

Basically, a ground I haven’t been to or haven’t been to in a while.

If we qualify for the Scottish Challenge Cup or a pre-season game, hopefully, Ayr United, Queen of the South or Stranraer. Stranraer being one i’d love to see happen.

MANCHESTER UNITED

Top 4 finish and win one of the two cups we’re still in. Not asking for much. I’m hoping to do another European group game in late 2018, hopefully in the European Cup. It’s a legacy of the David Moyes era that I even have to include the word “if”.

Also, another pre-season friendly in Dublin again, but on a Saturday.

NORTHERN IRELAND

Was hoping for a friendly away to Scotland or a neutral game at a random EFL ground, but they’ve decided to do a tour of North America instead.

UEFA Nationas League draw in late January. Hopefully, avoid Republic of Ireland but get Wales. I’d be very tempted by a trip to Cardiff in late 2018.

LEAGUE OF IRELAND

Doing an overnight in Dublin when i’m off for the July Holidays on Friday 13th July. Two matches that night, Bohs v Sligo and Shelbourne v Drogheda. Tempted by the Shelbourne match as it would give me one last chance to visit Tolka Park, with the future of the ground looking uncertain.

LONDON

Doing a weekend in London at the end of January. It’s not for football, but it would be rude not to take in a game while i’m there. It’s the weekend of the FA Cup 4th Round, so i’m not sure what matches are on, although Brentford, Millwall and Leyton Orient are at home, the first two games dependent on FA Cup ties.

SCOTLAND

I’m hoping to go to the Edinburgh Festival in August. I usually take in a game when i’m over and hope to do the same.

WORLD CUP

I’m not going, but if I see a competition anywhere to win a trip, you can bet i’ll be entering. Wish me luck.

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