It’s the summer of 1986, and Diego Maradona, holding aloft the World Cup is the cover star of World Soccer, with Mexico 86 still a recent memory.

As you open the magazine, there is a tribute to former FIFA President Sir Stanley Rous, described as “The Father Of Football”, who was taken ill in Mexico, and died a few weeks later on his return to London.

World Soccer views Mexico 86 as a success, but the tournament was not without flaws. Having 24 teams in the finals and allowing some 3rd placed teams to qualify, in their view, encouraged Bulgaria to employ negative tactics against Argentina, as a narrow defeat would put them through.

Azeglio Vicini is the favourite for the Italy job, should Enzo Bearzot leave his job as manager of the recently dethroned champions.

There is a double page profile of Argentina’s winning squad.

France get a post-mortem, having reached the Semi-Finals for the second successive tournament, where it is declared that their glorious midfield is a thing of the past.

Denmark get previewed, but are looking forward, not back, to an upcoming friendly against West Germany as they aim for revenge against a team they beat in Mexico. Why revenge? West Germany manager Franz Beckenbauer described their style of play as primitive.

England’s post-mortem focuses om the future of Bobby Robson, with writer Eric Batty saying he must stay in the job.

Bayern Munich get a double page feature as they aim to win the European Cup. They came close, losing to Porto in he final that season.

There is a feature on two young Scottish managers in big jobs, Kenny Dalglish who won the League and FA Cup in his first season as Liverpool manager, and Graeme Souness, given his first job at Rangers, and caused a stir by calling them the biggest club in Britain.

In Yugoslavia, Partizan Belgrade have been stripped of the league title as a result of alleged match fixing.

The draws for the 1st Round of the three European trophies are reviewed, with the tie of the round being the meeting of PSV Eindhoven and Bayern Munich in the European Cup.

There is a feature about club football in Canada, or rather, the lack of, something which World Soccer says is vital is they want to capitalise on reaching their first World Cup.

PSNI 1-1 LINFIELD 24.7.2018

It had been a while since I had seen Linfield take on the PSNI. So long in fact, that they were known as the RUC.

That was back in the Summer of 1995, but it had similarities with the Summer 2018, as Linfield added a host of new names to their squad to regain the title after a poor defence of it the previous season.

We all now how the next few years went after 1995, hopefully there won’t be a repeat this time around.

This was a game I was looking forward to as soon as it was announced. Not too far to travel, easy to get to, and a ground I hadn’t seen Linfield play at, though I did visit the ground in 2015.

No floodlights at Newforge, which made the 7.30pm kick-off a bit of a surprise, though a lovely summer evening negated the need for lights.

There were nor Trialists for Linfield, but some new signings getting an opportunity in the case of starts for Joel Cooper and Michael O’Connor, and a debut for Ryan McGivern, who had signed earlier that day.

A central midfielder is a priority, but when a player of McGivern’s ability becomes available, it would be rude not to take advantage.

Cooper and O’Connor were in the thick of the action when Linfield went forward, both of whom hitting the bar, while Cooper had a low shot saved after cutting in from the right.

There was a moment of worry for Linfield in the first-half when Kirk Millar went down in agony after a tackle. Thankfully, a bit of magic sponge and he was better. The pitch wasn’t in the best condition, so it was always going to cause concern when a player went down.

As well as a new centre midfielder, a right foot for Jordan Stewart wouldn’t be a bad purchase.

On Saturday, he wasted a great opportunity to shoot by wanting to get the ball onto his left foot, and missed a great opportunity to cross in this game.

When games are decided on small margins, Linfield can’t afford to pass up on attacking opportunities.

Though pre-season is all about fitness and players settling in, it is nice to win. Linfield had the chances in the first-half but couldn’t really say they were dominant.

Only ten minutes for half-time, due to wanting to make the most of the sunlight, Linfield were straight on the attack in the early minutes. There looked to be only one team going to win this game.

Of course, that could only mean one thing, a PSNI goal, and the Peelers issued some rough justice with a lobbed finish to go 1-0 up.

From where I was, at the opposite end of the pitch, it looked like Gareth Deane could have done better with his positioning.

If he was at fault for the goal, he more than redeemed himself throughout the rest of the game with a series of saves to keep Linfield in the game.

Linfield responded to the goal by bringing on Andrew Waterworth and Jamie Mulgrew.

It was a game similar to a League Cup tie at Ballyclare in 2014. Only one team winning it at 0-0, then conceded a goal which gave them something to hold on to, which they did.

As the game wore on, Linfield put more pressure on the PSNI goal, hitting the bar for a third time as they searched for a get out of jail card.

Eventually, the pressure was rewarded in injury time when the ball fell to Andrew Waterworth in the box, and he made no mistake.

It felt like last season all over again. Hopefully, we’re just getting it out of our system before the seasons starts.

Hopefully, it will have been a distant memory by the time the sides meet next, in the County Antrim Shield in late September, the draw taking place on Tuesday teatime.

Another draw that took place this week was the UEFA Cup draw, meaning that both Hibs and Rangers are away on the week i’m in Scotland, so i’ll have to make do with Edinburgh City v Albion Rovers when i’m there.

In other news, the away match against Glentoran in October will be live on Sky Sports. Hopefully, there’ll be a repeat of the time we beat Cliftonville 2-0 rather than when we lost 5-2 to Crusaders. Set your recorders.

Up next is a friendly against Ballyclare, where it is expected that players not involved in this game will take part, as Linfield look to make the most of their squad.

It is a squad that if it had one more centre midfielder, is more than capable of a title challenge.

Where do you get that player? There’s no point signing somebody for the sake of it.

If we get him, there is cause to be optimistic for 2018-2019.

We’ll have to do better than this game though.

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It was a new ground for me to visit as Linfield continued their pre-season preparation with a trip to Knockbreda, based on the Upper Braniel Road. It’s as close as you’ll probably get to High Altitude Training for an Irish League team.

Unsurprisingly, it was Linfield who dominated the early minutes, Chris Casement was played in behind the defence but played it across when he should have been selfish and shot, a Knockbreda defender getting in a last ditch tackle.

Last ditch tackles and sliced clearances were a theme throughout the first-half, and Knockbreda almost scored an own goal on a couple of occasions.

Eventually, Linfield’s pressure was rewarded when quick thinking from a corner saw a cross come in which was dropped by Knockbreda’s goalkeeper straight to Andrew Waterworth, who made no mistake

Knockbreda’s keeper would make up for that mistake later in the half with a superb one handed save from a Josh Robinson header.

A bit of pinball in the penalty area saw Chris Casement finish to make it 2-0. That was the game won for Linfield.

I presume it would have been planned anyway, but the commanding lead allowed Linfield to make changes at half-time. Caomihan McGuiness, Jordan Stewart, Michael O’Connor and youngster Lewis Houston entering the action.

O’Connor was the mystery man who scored twice to win the friendly against Waterford on Wednesday as a Trialist. When I heard his name, I thought we had signed the former Crewe player.

There was a Trialist on the field for Linfield today, wearing number 6 and playing in midfield. He was neat and tidy and did the simple things well, though we didn’t really see much of him as an attacking force.

Even though Knockbreda forced Gareth Deane into a few saves, Linfield’s win was never in doubt. The second-half was a non event.

The most exciting thing about the second-half was that there was a dog fetching the ball every time it went behind the goal.

Glenavon’s defeat to Molde confirmed that Linfield’s trip to Mourneview Park will definitely take place on Saturday 4th August. It was perhaps apt that a European match involving Ole Gunnar Solskjaer should be decided by two goals in injury time. Sorry, any excuse to sneak in a reference to the 1999 European Cup Final.

Meanwhile, Cliftonville manager Barry Gray was complaining in the Belfast Telegraph about the IFA not doing enough to help Irish League teams in Europe.

He has some cheek, as his side shouldn’t even have been in this season’s UEFA Cup, but the Irish League believes in Play-Offs rather than merit. The whole League being dragged down because Ballymena fans moaned about their 7th place side having nothing to play for in April every year.

And in ten year’s time, we’ll be sitting about wondering why our co-efficient is so low.

Talking of Ballymena, their pitch has suffered some damage due to stock cars being more wayward than a Tony Kane pass.

Due to work on the pitch, you won’t be seeing any football at Ballymena until October. Or indeed after October when Ballymena start playing home matches again.

They should write a letter to their local MP to get the issue resolved, but I hear he’s busy.

Meanwhile, does any one know any good blogs that cover Sri Lankan club football? I’m going there for a free trip soon and would like to take in a game while i’m there. This blog post is brought to you in association with the Sri Lankan Tourist Office and is perfectly above board.

Back in the real world, up next for Linfield is a trip to the PSNI. They’ll be ready for this game and will have gathered intelligence on, I mean, scouted Linfield.

It is one of two games next week for Linfield, their last before the League season starts.

It’s been a busy schedule for Linfield this week and last week, it’s all about getting ready for Glenavon. One more midfielder and we should be ready to go.

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The only way is up for Yazz, as she is this week’s Smash Hits cover star, having been victorious in the Reader’s Poll.

As you open the magazine, there is a feature on Wet Wet Wet, who won Best LP.

Joey Tempest of Europe gives his life advice, revealing that he is obsessed with women.

Beside that, there is a feature on Milli Vanilli. Wether they mimed when being interviewed is not known.

There is a double paged feature on acts who used to be popular but aren’t any more. The featured hasbeens include Bucks Fizz, Human League, Nik Kershaw, Five Star and Hue and Cry.

Another Poll Winner gets a double page profile, Salt N Pepa.

Tanita Tikaram is the subject of a Q and A, revealing that her specialist subject on Mastermind would be Virginia Woolf.

Yazz won Most Exciting New Pop Star, revealing that her real name is Yasmin Evans, but has never been to Wales despite having a Welsh surname.

There is a double page feature on a new trend called Acid House, profiling stars of the scene such as Jungle Brothers, Baby Ford and Carl Fysh.

Bros get a triple page feature (well yes, because there are three of them) after winning a lot of awards, some for their looks and some for their music.

Brother Beyond review the singles, and there is a split in the camp – Nathan and David vote for Habit as Best Single, while Carl and Steve go for Scritti Politti.

Deacon Blue get a lyrics poster accompanied with an interview, where they state they would like to be Dundee’s answer to Bruce Springsteen.

The magazine ends with a poster of U2.


The last time I visited Tolka Park, I met the incmubent England manager Sven Goran Eriksson. I did keep an eye out for Gareth Southgate, but I couldn’t see him. He must have had other things on his mind.

As it was a Bank Holiday period on a Thursday and Friday, I decided to head to Dublin for an overnight stay on the Friday. Naturally, i’d be doing all the touristy stuff and spotting Street Art, the trip would also include a football match.

I had a choice of two games on the Friday night : Bohs v Sligo Rovers or Shelbourne v Drogheda United.

I plumped for Shelbourne v Drogheda, as it presented me with an opportunity for a potential last visit to Tolka Park, the future of the ground looking uncertain, with Shelbourne planning to move to a redeveloped Dalymount Park.

This would be my only game while I was in Dublin. Shamrock Rovers v AIK wasn’t postponed and needed to be played on the Friday, while there were no friendlies in Dublin on the Saturday, with Oxford United (v UCD) and Newcastle United (v St Patrick’s Athletic) playing in Dublin a few days either side of my visit.

Shelbourne and Drogheda kicked-off a couple of points of the top of the table. During the 00s, both of these teams were challenging at the top of the table, but in the top flight.

They kicked-off in a sandwich, a few points behind UCD who are in the automatic promotion place, while themselves occupying a place in the Play-Offs, with the teams below them looking to take advantage of any points dropped and leap above them.

Getting to the ground was very easy. It did help that I had been there before. Certainly a lot easier than last year trying to get to UCD.

This was my fifth game seeing Drogheda United. The previous four (Linfield in 2006 and 2007, St Patrick’s Athletic in 2013, Bray Wanderers in 2014) had brought two wins and two draws. They were hoping I would continue to bring them good luck.

In the opening minutes of the game, Shelbourne had a glorious chance to score when Drogheda’s keeper was caught in possession, but the Shelbourne attacker dragged his shot wide. Drogheda responded immediately with a low shot that was easily saved.

It was a game where neither side really looked like scoring. There were very few clear goalscoring chances in the game.

With each passing minute, it was looking likely the game was going to finish 0-0. If there was to be a goal, it would more than likely be the only goal of the game.

On 89 minutes, Drogheda had a free-kick in a shooting position just outside the penalty area.

You know when somebody lines up a dead ball, you have a hunch that the ball is going in? This was one of those moments.

And so it proved, Sean Brennan fired home to give Drogheda the lead. Shelbourne still had time to equalise.

They had the ball in Drogheda’s half but never in their penalty area. Drogheda were able to hold out and get the three points.

Someone at Linfield must have been reading this blog, as they’ve just announced an away friendly against Knockbreda on Saturday. A new ground for me to visit. Looking forward to it.

This week, saw Easyjet announce new routes to Salzburg and Prague. That is very tempting. Prague especially. There’s a weekend in March 2019 where Sparta Prague, Dukla Prague and Bohemians Prague are all at home.

Might as well get a football trip to Mainland Europe before Brexit.

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Made a short trip to Dublin over the Holiday Period. I was doing all the usual touristy stuff, but it would have been rude not to go and get some Street Art photos while I was there.

I would usually visit Dublin once a year, so I know where to go in search of Street Art. Despite that, I do enjoy stumbling on pieces.

I got off my bus at Custom House Quay, and immediately spotted some pieces on Tara Street. Unfortunately, there were vehicles parked in font of it, denying me any backlift.

Parked vehicles and smokers loitering about are the two biggest pains in the arse when photographing Street Art, had Dublin had plenty of it.

I then headed to Smithfield, and noticed that the mural of Stormzy has been replaced.

Something that is noticeable is the work of Dublin Canvas, putting paintings on electric boxes. Hopefully, something similar will start to happen in Belfast.

Featured on this are famous people from Dublin such as Ronnie Drew, or Bang Bang, a local character in Dublin in the 1950s and 1960s.

I also visited Tivoli Theatre Car Park and was able to get photos of it, for once, including a 3D piece, which is either a man or a dog, depending on which side of the 3D glasses you view it with.

I also managed to spot a new piece on the lane that leads into one of the entrances to Olympia Theatre, replacing a previous piece.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t get the picture I wanted of it due to a lack of backlift.

While in Temple Bar, I also spotted a mural of Kanye West. That was one of many pieces I spotted in Temple Bar.

Recently, there have been murals of Bob Marley and Phil Lynott appearing at Dalymount Park. There was a game on while I was there, but I didn’t go to it, so I didn’t get photos of it. Obviously.

Saturday was spent mopping up some pieces I missed in Temple Bar, and walking along Custom House Quay and spotting some pieces.

Photo Album

Dublin Street Art July 2017

Dublin Street Art May 2016

Dublin Street Art June 2015

Dublin Street Art July 2014

Dublin Street Art August 2013

THE FRIDAY FIVE – 13.7.2018

1. The Lightning Seeds – All I Want
2. The Lightning Seeds – Pure
3. The Lightning Seeds – Sense
4. The Lightning Seeds – Lucky You
5. The Lightning Seeds – What If

Oh, I see you’re all Lightning Seeds fans these days. You should really check out their back catalogue if you only know that song everybody has been singing the last few weeks.

Annoyingly, they’ve done plenty of festivals and supported Madness on tour, but haven’t been to Belfast in ages.

On a World Cup theme, France will be there, the day after Bastille Day. Sounds like a good excuse for some French tunes.


1. Daft Punk – Da Funk
2. Desireless – Voyage Voyage
3. Phoenix – Entertainment
4. Daft Punk – Robot Rock
5. Air – Sexy Boy


Teddy Sheringham dressed as a 1970s Medallion Man is the cover star of Manchester United’s official magazine, as he shows off the medals he won during United’s historic treble season.

In news, there is a report on United’s friendly against Omagh Town which United won 9-0. The game was arranged to raise funds for victims of the bomb in the town the previous year, while Andy Cole has launched a music career with the release of a single called Outstanding.

Cover star Sheringham gets a five page interview as he looks back on a change in fortune after a difficult first year at United which failed to bring a trophy and he got criticism from fans and press.

Mark Bosnich has rejoined United from Aston Villa, and there is a look back at his first spell at the club, and the formative years of his career.

United have just brought out a dark blue away kit, and there is a behind the scenes feature of the promotional campaign and photo shoot for the kit.

An advert for the kit appears a few pages later.

The recently knighted Sir Alex Ferguson uses his monthly column to declare himself an honourary Mancunian.

There is a review of United’s pre-season games, which includes a match against Australia.