We go back to the end of the 1960s this week, to Charles Buchan’s Football Monthly, which is set to preview the last FA Cup Final of the decade.

There is a four page feature on Leeds United, who are described as “Champions elect”, which turned out to be an accurate description.

There is also an article on the organisation of the FA Cup Final. Manchester City were in the final, having defeated the previous season’s finalists Everton in the Semi-Final.

They would meet either Leicester City or holders West Bromwich Albion. Leicester won that match, meaning both the previous season’s finalists lost in the Semi-Final.

There is a double page feature on British teams in Europe, with Manchester United (European Cup) and Newcastle United and Rangers (UEFA Cup) advancing to the Semi-Finals, but there were Quarter-Final exits for Celtic (European Cup) and Leeds United (UEFA Cup)

Elsewhere, there is a photo special on Benfica’s exit to Ajax in the Quarter-Finals.

Celebrating silverware was Swindon Town, and their win over Arsenal in the League Cup Final gets a double page profile.

Dunfermline Athletic get a feature, dubbed “THE PROUD PROVINCIALS” after winning the Scottish Cup and then reachign the Semi-Finals of the European Cup Winners Cup, and have ambitions to go even higher.

Dunfermline’s replacement as Scottish Cup winners will be Rangers or Celtic, who meet in the final, which gets previewed.

Hungarian referee Istvan Zsolt gets interviewed, where he reveals that he is a fan of British football.

There are adverts in this magazine for other publications such as Goal and Melody Maker.


AKA, Bangor Is An Energy II.

You may remember in 2018, I headed to Bangor for Seaside Revival and got some photos of Street Art in the town.

It struck me that there was a lot of potential for Bangor to become a Street Art Haven, and it looks like that potential is being realised.

Covid has meant that Seaside Revival hasn’t happened in 2020 or 2021, the fact it is a large and open outdoor event meant it never stood a chance.

Despite that, Open House Festival have been able to continue with their work.

They usually have events on in Bangor in August (They have some this year, check their website for listings and all that).

Part of that includes commissioning Street Art, such as the mural of Johnny Rotten to promote his appearance in the town as part of the festival.

On the weekend that should have been Seaside Revival 2021, they posted a series of images on Social Media of artwork in progress. It got my spider senses tingling.

With a Vintage Market being planned for a Sunday morning, looks like I had a good excuse to come down and cover two things at the same time.

All of the Street Art in Bangor is easy to find. Bangor is very easy to navigate your way around. Even though I haven’t been a frequent visitor to the town in adult life, it is very easy to pick up from previous visits where everything is.

In fact, I spotted my first piece as I entered the Vintage Market, a mural containing the lines “If you’re fond of sand dunes and salty air”, from the song Old Cape Cod made famous by being sampled for At The River by Groove Armada.

Unfortunately, as it was the entrance to the Vintage Market, I was unable to get some decent photos.

Then, at the other end of the Car Park hosting the Vintage Market, more pieces, at the back of Donegan’s.

After having a look at the Vintage Market, I headed to Bangor Marina, where most of the new artwork was based, a lot of them paintings by local artist Sharon Regan.

Across the road, there was a mural on an alleyway taking progress.

Around the side from those Sharon Regan pieces, was a wall with various paintings, including one of Seagulls saying “Gizachip”.

I told a Seagull to fuck off when it was looking at my lunch in Whitehead a few weeks back, now my car and shed is covered in their excrement. Purely coincidental.

If you’re looking to find those pieces, it’s where the mural to promote a Snow Patrol concert in 2019 is.

That was done by adopted Bangorian Friz, and Kev Largey did the piece round the back of Donegans.

Open House Festival have some better photos of the pieces on their Instagram.

Though the weather was roasting, it was a bit problematic for taking photos due to the shade at times, though I tried my best.

Since you ask, that Johnny Rotten piece is still there.

I’m led to believe that there will be more pieces to follow, so there might be a Bangor Is An Energy III.

Talking of seaside towns, i’m off to Bray in August, but i’m hoping to stop off for a while in Dun Laoghaire while there, which has a similar project.

And then of course, all being well, Brighton in November, where i’ll hope to get some Street Art photos while i’m there, amongst other things.

Oh I do like to be beside the seaside, oh I do like to be beside the sea.

Photo Album

Bangor Street Art 2018


Might as well make the most of this heatwave.

I had to use up a certain amount of Annual Leave by the end of July, so, I had another day off. It was my last of this current run, so I might as well make the most of it.

Where to go? That was the question. It was going to be either Colin Glen Forest Park, North Down Coastal Walk or Blackhead Path.

In the end, I plumped for Blackhead Path in Whitehead. I’d picked a good day to be off with the heat.

I found it advantageous to walk by the sea as there was a nice cooling breeze. I was certainly grateful for it.

On this walk, I decided to take a detour, turning left instead of going straight ahead.

Turns out, it was a steep hill which took me towards the Lighthouse. I’ll give it a miss in future, just going straight ahead and past the rocks.

The rocks featured heavily in my photos, very kind weather for photos. I even managed to get some photos of the Lighthouse.

You may know I keep writing about new routes I want to try out.

Last week, I won a Mourne Activity Map in a competition run by Trailhead Central.

I guess i’ll have to get myself into gear and use it.

Photo Album

Blackhead Path – June 2021


The theme of this match was European History – past, present and hopefully future.

This match was always going to be historic, as it was Linfield’s first match in the new Euro Conference. It turned out to be one that would be talked about for years to come, regardless of what competition it was in.

Sadly, Linfield’s European past would become part of the story with the announcement earlier in the day of the death of Tommy Leishman, manager when Linfield reached the European Cup Quarter-Finals in 1967.

The future? Well, hopefully a place in the 3rd Round of the Euro Conference in a few weeks time.

If you’re curious about the opponents name, they take it from their home city of Banja Luka. Borac? That’s their nickname, The Fighters. Basically, a Bosnian version of Crusaders, although they turned up wearing something similar to Crystal Palace’s away kit from 2017-2018.

Despite not knowing much about them, the fact that they took serial Group Stage qualifiers Cluj to extra-time, and would have won if the Away Goals Rule was still in place meant that this should have been a difficult game for Linfield.

Linfield were straight on the attack, with Cameron Palmer getting taken out inside the first thirty seconds with a late tackle that had some members of the crowd shouting for a red card. Looking at the replay, they had some justification, but only a yellow was issued. So little time being on the clock probably did him a favour

From the play from the resulting free-kick, Linfield’s long wait (What? We’re an impatient bunch) for a goal in this competition came to an end, when Christy Manzinga’s header from a cross was saved, but Michael Newberry scored the rebound at the second attempt to become immortalised as an answer in every Linfield Supporters Club Quiz Night in the future, when they’re allowed to happen.

He will join Kirk Millar in that regard. Last goal before Irish League Football was suspended due to Coronavirus. You’ll thank me one day.

For Linfield, it wouldn’t be a case of shutting up shop after getting the early goal, they sensed there could be more in it for them.

Christy Manzinga got in behind Borac’s defence but was thwarted by a headed clearance from the keeper, who had to be alert to grab a low cross from Matthew Clarke a few minutes later. If he spilt it, it was going into his own net, or giving Manzinga an open net.

Chris Johns was then forced into his first save of the game, a low shot from six yards out that he got in the right position for. A warning for Linfield that one goal wouldn’t be enough.

That save proved to be even more important a few minutes later, when Christy Manzinga got one on one with a defender, cut in on his left foot, and smashed home to make it 2-0.

Sitting in The Kop, I had a clear view of it. As soon as he set himself up to shoot, there was only going to be one outcome.

Famous last words, but I was surprised at how bad Borac were, considering how well they did against CFR Cluj.

It almost got even better for Linfield, but Stephen Fallon curled a shot wide, but a thumbs up was the half-time verdict.

The abolition of the Away Goals Rule changes your perspective. Conceding a goal to make it 2-1 would have been inconvenient, but not potentially fatal, not that Linfield were planning it.

You would have expected a backlash for Borac at the start of the second-half, but it never materialised. In fact, Linfield looked quite comfortable.

That was, until midway through the half when Borac had a bit of pressure. The best opportunity they had was a shot easily saved by Chris Johns and a free header from a corner which went over.

They were left to rue that when Jamie Mulgrew was found in space on the edge of the box, and fired home low to make it 3-0.

There was me thinking he was to preserve his energy in his advanced (in footballing terms) years.

As the final whistle approached, Linfield had one final chance when Trai Hume made his way into the box and fired the ball over Borac’s keeper, only to be denied by a dramatic headed clearance from a defender.

The respite was only brief, as Jimmy Callacher headed home to make it 4-0. It wouldn’t be a goalfest without him.

Even as cautious and pessimistic as I usually am, surely that should be job done for Linfield?

Assuming they do, there will be no rest, with a 3rd Round tie against Shakhtyor Soligorst or Fola Esch.

Dare I dream of a Group Stage match against Hibs or Aberdeen giving me a trip to Scotland this year?

If Linfield do get through, the home leg will be 5th August, which is convenient, to avoid a clash with Chelsea v Villarreal on August 11th if that was on the 12th.

Just get through, don’t balls this up

Photo Album


David Beckham is the cover star of Manchester United’s official magazine as the Winter of 1999 has arrived.

Talking of Beckham, the magazine reveals, exclusively, that David Beckham will be crowned European Football Of The Year this year.

With United due to play Palmieras in the World Club Cup, Nobby Stiles looks back at his experiences of playing in it for United, a two legged home and away competition in them days.

Cover star Beckham gets a three page interview.

United have made three new signings since the last magazine – Mikael Silvestre, Massimo Taibi and Quinton Fortune, and they are all profiled in a nine page special pull-out.

There is a look back at recent matches, where United made progress in their European Cup group, but dropped points domestically and fell off the top of the League, while there is also a look at the TV highlights amongst the programming on MUTV.


Heatwave? Might as well walk up a hill.

Truth was, i’d set aside this particular Saturday morning to walk up Cregagh Glen and Lisnabreeny Hill, the weather was coincidental.

Having travelled up this route frequently over the past year, there’s nothing much else for me to explore.

I would say that this walk was uneventful, but it felt like I was getting attacked by bees every two minutes.

Up early, arriving around about 8.20am, there was barely anyone about, which was very convenient.

With the weather being nice, I knew I was going to get some decent shots, so I might as well go for it.

What struck me was how dark it felt it was in Cregagh Glen, the trees that hadn’t fallen (there were a lot that had that were lying about) blocking out the sunlight.

I also took a shortcut through the American War Cemetery on the way back.

There were cows on Lisnabreeny Hill as per usual, but they were too busy sunbathing to say hello to me.

So, that was my monthly trip to Cregagh Glen, hope you enjoy the photos.

This coming Friday, i’m off work (I habve to use up a certain amount of Annual Leave by the end of July) so i’ll be planning Colin Glen Forest Park (Hopefully, remembering my camera this time), North Down Coastal Path or Blackhead Path. We shall see.

I will be heading to North Down anyway in the next seven days, to go to a Vintage Market in Bangor and to get some Street Art photos of new murals that have appeared in the town.

It’s been a while since i’ve posted some Street Art photos, so i’ll just give you something to look forward to.

Photo Album

Cregagh Glen/Lisnabreeny Hill – April 2021

Cregagh Glen/Lisnabreeny Hill – August 2020

Cregagh Glen – July 2020


Football didn’t come home, but Linfield fans did, ending a near seven month wait to see their side playing at Windsor Park in the flesh, when they arrived to see their team take on Zalgiris Vilnius in the European Cup.

To be playing in the European Cup in 2021-2022 seemed like a long shot the last time they entered Windsor Park, with Larne unbeaten and racing into a four point lead.

Having overtaken that deficit, Linfield fans were hoping that would be an omen for them, as they were looking to overcome a deficit in this game, being 3-1 down from the first leg.

Normally, you’d be focusing on the goal scored as a positive, “The vital away goal” as pundits would call it. Not any more, with the Away Goals Rule being scrapped.

Part of me was hoping that Linfield would win this match 4-2, with half the crowd leaving as they thought Linfield were out, and then missing their team going through 5-2 in extra-time.

There has been a lot going on, not just since Linfield fans were last at Windsor Park, but since most attended a game. For those who were last at the Irish Cup Final in May, they were glad to see they finished off the job a few days later by winning the League at Coleraine.

As with any Summer, there are always ins and outs. For Linfield, this Summer is a big one that needs to be done right.

The move to full-time meant that some of the older players wouldn’t be able to commit left, such as Andrew Waterworth, Mark Haughey and Mark Stafford.

Joel Cooper returned to Oxford United while Shayne Lavery secured a move to Blackpool. That is a gap of five 40+ game a season players that would need filled.

That work has already started, with Chris Shields joining from Dundalk. A midfielder was high on the priority list due to a long-term injury to Kyle McClean, as well as an extra body giving the opportunity to rest Jamie Mulgrew through the season.

Not featuring in this game, but also joining were Ahmed Salam and Billy Chadwick signed on loan from Hull City.

A new striker is a key priority, but it’s important to remember that there are still six weeks until the start of the domestic season.

Frustratingly, in Pre-Covid Times, Vilnius would have been a great away trip, having made a visit there in 2019.

If this was normal times, I would have seriously considered heading to the away leg.

There are a lot of new things people have to get used to, one of those was squad numbers, with Kirk Millar wearing number 7. I probably wasn’t the only one wondering why Andrew Waterworth was spending so much of the game out wide.

Also having a new number was Trai Hume, back after a loan spell at Ballymena and wearing number 8.

Both teams made solid starts to this game.

Linfield’s first attack saw Christy Manzinga do a rabona into the box, but nobody could get on the end of it. Zalgiris responded with a low shot that easily saved by Chris Johns.

Zalgiris next opportunity, was a lot closer, when a cross from the byline fell perfectly to one of their attackers, who could only direct an instinctive shot over the bar.

It felt like every Linfield cross was agonisingly evading attackers rushing in. It seemed like the theme of the night.

Just as they did in the first leg, Zalgiris made Linfield pay with clinical finishing. A corner was only cleared to the edge of the box, and a low shot went into the back of the net to make it 1-0.

Chris Johns appealed for offside against a striker blocking his view. Unfortunately, TV replays showed that he was onside.

Just as in the first leg, Zalgiris made it 2-0 in the final minutes of the first-half after a neat passing move resulted in a shot from outside the area hitting the back of the net.

Before I could even shout to watch for the shot, the ball was in the back of the net. Such are the fine lines at this level.

At half-time, Jordan Stewart came on for Matthew Clarke. He was instantly on the ball and giving Linfield more of an attacking threat.

Trai Hume headed over as Linfield went in search of a goal, getting a golden opportunity when a Jimmy Callacher header was handled just underneath the crossbar by a Vilnius defender.

Sometimes, when you see a ball flying in the box and hands raised, you claim for it even if you’re not sure.

The guilty look and apologetic shrug towards his own goalkeeper as he was getting sent-off suggested that the correct decision had been made.

Chris Shields stepped up to reduce the deficit to 2-1. He obviously didn’t get the memo that Linfield players have to be rubbish penalties.

In the olden days, the two away goals conceded would have made it impossible for Linfield, but a 4-2 win for Linfield would have taken the game to extra-time. Though, where would they get those three goals from?

It looked like it might come when Niall Quinn flicked on a cross with his left foot, only to be denied by a spectacular save from the goalkeeper.

Despite the introductions of Cameron Palmer and Navid Nasseri and another red card for Zalgiris, Linfield couldn’t get an equaliser.

It wouldn’t have made much difference to the tie, but it would have helped with the co-efficient.

Even though they won, the two red cards made it a costly night for Zalgiris.

In the past two years, Linfield dropped into the UEFA Cup after exiting the European Cup, but this year will be different as they drop into the Euro Conference, a tertiary competition starting this season.

On Thursday night, they will face Borac Banja Luka of Bosnia, who took CFR Cluj to extra-time. They would have won the tie if the Away Goal Rule was still in place.

A tough tie, but to give some perspective, Coleraine held their own across two legs against Velez Mostar, also from Bosnia.

This year’s Final will be in Tirana, at a 22,000 capacity venue. That is the sort of venues that will be hosting it.

2023 will be in Crete. Now, if Hearts or Hibs could put in a bid to host the 2024 Final, that would be great. Two trips to Edinburgh in three months would make up for not going in 2020 or (most likely) 2021.

Talking of European Finals in 2024, Lansdowne Road has been confirmed as the venue for the 2024 UEFA Cup Final. Will definitely be heading down to that to try and get a ticket. I was there in 2011 when it hosted the UEFA Cup Final.

Having not been able to go to Euro 2020, then Euro 2021, i’m going to look at Euro 2024.

Looking at the host cities, there’s a cluster of cities within an hour of each other (Cologne, Dusseldorf, Gelsenkirchen, Dortmund) with Cologne and Dusseldorf having flights from Dublin.

Of course they don’t have flights from Belfast. Belfast doesn’t have any decent flights to Mainland Europe.

Just waiting for the tournament schedule to be announced so I can plan further.

I did plan on going to London for the weekend of the Euro 2021 Final.

I ended up rescheduling (as my flights were for Gatwick, i’m going to Brighton instead) because London has just given up with Covid. They don’t give a shit.

It says something staying in Belfast in mid July is a better option.

I think I got a lucky escape with all the public disorder on Sunday, then the flooding on Monday.

Last week saw the publishing of the Irish League Fixture Lists. I was hoping for Linfield to be away to Carrick early on, so I could go to Blackhead Path in the morning, then on to the match in the afternoon.

And also, I wanted Coleraine away in mid December rather than early December, so I could spend the train journey circling what I want to watch in Christmas Radio Times.

I’m hoping that Linfield’s opening match, at home to Crusaders, is moved to the Friday night so I can go to Harland and Wolff Welders home game to check out their new stadium, all being well.

With the Irish League season starting a bit later, i’m planning on heading to Old Trafford to see Manchester United take on Leeds United on 14 August. I’d thought that 2021 was going to be the first year since 1992 that I wouldn’t visit Old Trafford.

I was hoping to see United play Chelsea on 11 August, but for flip sake, let’s not talk about Gdansk.

So, 2021-2022 football watching is underway. I’ve no idea how many games i’ll get to go to.

Folks, can we just behave ourselves and get through this final straight?

I really don’t want to spend another Saturday afternoon in the house listening to Radio Ulster.

Photo Album


Peter Schmeichel is the cover star of Football Europe in the early months of 1998, as the magazine looks at the season so far across Europe.

There are four pages dedicated to the draw for Euro 2000, with all nine groups being previewed.

Getting just the three pages is Lillian Thuram, who will be joined at Parma by Faustino Asprilla, who returned to the club from Newcastle United this month.

There are six pages dedicated to the season so far in Europe, in all the major leagues.

Meanwhile in France, Basile Boli has been forced to retire as a result of a head injury while Sean Dundee wants to leave Kalrsruhe after a poor run of form.

Mouscron are making a complaint to UEFA after they weren’t allowed to play a home UEFA Cup tie against Metz in Lille.

As preparation for the World Cup nears, it has emerged that Scottish FA officials have booked flights home two days after their last group match, while Andy Hunt of West Bromwich Albion could be heading to the World Cup with Austria, after his Austrian Granny contacted Austria’s manager.