Another Bucket List Band ticked off. I’d always loved The Pretenders, so it was great to get the opportunity to see them. Especially so as they rarely play Belfast, 2001 was their last visit according to internet research.

As I walked towards The Limelight, I could see Venue Staff unloading beverages, presumably for the band. All bags from Tesco. Nothing but Tesco Finest for Chrissie Hynde.

This was billed as “Unreleased songs and absolutely no hits whatsoever. Well, maybe a few” on the poster. That is exactly what we got. Even though some of the big hits were missing, there was enough to keep people happy.

The first of those hits caused the crowd to think that Chrissie didn’t know where she was.

As she shouted “It’s great to be here in …………” followed by silence, before people started shouting “BELFAST!!!!!”

Turns out, she was waiting for the drum solo to Message Of Love. It was the Drummer’s fault. It’s always the Drummer’s fault. Oldest rule in rock n roll.

The unreleased songs referred to in the build-up? The Pretenders have a new album coming out in September 2023.

Hynde loved not quite a story, but rants and statements inbetween songs. Known for being a bit of a Sweary Mary, she did not disappoint in that regard.

She had the whole crowd bamboozled as she recalled the places they have visited during their brief Irish tour, naming some place that she wasn’t sure what the correct pronunciation was.

There was an awkward silence as nobody knew where she was referring to. Nobody could even try and guess where she was referring to. To this day, everybody who was still is still confused.

Although, her lack of knowledge of how to pronounce place names might be down to the fact that she declared herself to be the only American with no Irish ancestry whatsover.

A big fan of The Smiths, she recalled conversations with Johnny Marr and wished a Happy Birthday to Morrissey. The Belfast crowd were agreeable to him getting Birthday wishes, although he might not have been in the mood to celebrate following the death of Andy Rourke.

Also on her hit list of rants was to ask why bands prefer to play stadiums instead of venues such as The Limelight.

We even had a quiz, with fans being asked what band’s t-shirt they were wearing. It looked like an easy one, as nearly everybody shouted out Joy Division.

Turns out the answer was Low, she even went to see them in concert in London.

There might not have been a prize for guessing what t-shirt she was wearing or for guessing what place she was talking about. However, there were some people who left the venue feeling like winners.

Chrissie Hynde threw some of her plectrums into the crowd. It was like in The Crystal Maze in that round where people are in a glass box scrambling to get prizes.

And I was one of the lucky ones to get a plectrum.

Photo Album


With Linfield’s season (thankfully) over, it didn’t mean my football watching for 2022-2023 was over, as I headed to Old Trafford, my second visit of the season.

As soon as the title fell out of reach, the goal was now Top 4.

That looked like being a routine exercise, until one point out of nine away to Spurs, Brighton and West Ham allowed Liverpool and Brighton to have ambitions of finishing in the Top 4.

If results away were a blot on United’s season, they made up for it at home. Unbeaten in the League since the Opening Day, United were thankful that three of their last four games, of which they only need to win three, were at home.

The first of those was against a Wolverhampton Wanderers side that had just secured safety from relegation. It would be a game without Marcus Rashford, who was missing through injury.

It was Wolves who had the first chance of the game when Craig Dawson volleyed goalwards from a low corner, going over the bar.

A few minutes later, United had the first real chance of the game when a slip by a Wolves player played in Anthony, who curled wide when trying to place the ball in, when he probably should have ran through and smashed it.

Anthony’s unwillingness to use his right foot can be a real pain in the arse at times.

At the other end, David De Gea looked shot. Wolves weren’t getting enough of a sight on goal to give United a worry. Passes were going out or to a Wolves player, meaning United were giving away cheap possession and territory.

As a result, it felt like his own team mates didn’t comfortable passing the ball to him, which was putting them at risk of losing the ball in areas where you shouldn’t be losing the ball.

Next to be frustrated was Anthony, who headed over from close range after a cross.

I was sat behind the goal at the other end. It was only when I viewed the TV replays that I realised how good a chance it was. He really should have scored. All he needed to do was to get it on target.

There wasn’t long to wait for the opening goal, just a few more minutes in fact.

Bruno Fernandes played Anthony through on goal. As it looked like he was going to score, he squared it to Anthony Martial to put the ball into the empty net to put United 1-0.

You could feel the sense of relief around Old Trafford. More dropped points in this game would leave them with no room for error in the race for Top 4.

It was a race they were helped by Newcastle United dropping points in the lunchtime kick-off, a game that was shown live in the concourses of the stand.

Someone even went to celebrate when Newcastle conceded a late equaliser, starting to clap and then realising that it was Leeds.

Even though the half was winding down, that didn’t stop United, with Martial having a shot easily saved before Bruno Fernandes fired a shot over.

A decent half for United, although the most glaring observation is that they could do with a second goal. It would just make things a lot more relaxing if they could get it.

The second-half continued in the same way as the first, with Anthony firing a low shot past the Wolvers keeper, but also just past the post.

A sloppy pass from Wolves was capitalised on by Bruno Fernandes, who cut inside but saw his low shot blocked.

It felt like it was only a matter of time before United got their second. It would be nice if it could, just to relax everybody.

Jadon Sancho looked like he was going to get it when he cut inside, fired low, Wolves keeper got a hand on it but couldn’t stop the ball, but he did enough to just tip it past the post at the expense of a corner. Flip sake.

Daniel Bentley was having one of those games in his debut in goal for Wolves.

In injury time, he was at it again, getting a strong arm to turn around a shot from Anthony.

Even though Wolves didn’t offer much of an attacking threat, you still had the fear going into the final minutes with only a 1-0 lead. Especially given the recent history of results against Wolves.

The nerves got even worse when United’s clearances weren’t getting as far away as you would hope.

Ironically, a few seconds after I was internally groaning at Luke Shaw clearing the ball with his left foot, United got a second when Alejandro Garnacho was played through and side footed it in off the post to make it 2-0.

And relax, points in the bag. Might as well enjoy the final two minutes.

Two visits to Old Trafford this season and two wins. Feel free to have a whipround for Season Ticket.

Hopefully, two more wins to secure European Cup football in 2023-2024, where United will be aiming to take the trophy from Inter Milan.

I’ll definitely be back to Old Trafford at some point in late 2023, i’ll have to work it around other trip plans, as I will probably be returning to pre Covid of two to three games a season.

Annoyingly, there was a pre-season game against Lyon announced in Edinburgh for 19th July. The previous week would have been so much handier due to being off work.

2022-2023 almost, done, just Northern Ireland v Kazakhstan on 19th June. Then a short break before Linfield’s pre-season and European games.

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Was over to see Untied v Wolves recently, and had a brief opportunity to venture into Manchester City Centre to get some Street Art photos.

When I say brief, I mean brief, just over an hour on the morning of the game.

Thankfully, I know my way around Manchester, so I knew where to hit.

I didn’t have enough time to head to Ancoats, which is a bit out of the way, so I headed to the Northern Quarter, focusing on Tibb Street and Stevenson Square.

Not a great haul, but still some nice pieces. Hopefully, the next time I visit Manchester i’ll be able to get a lot more.

Photo Album

Manchester Street Art – October 2022

Manchester Street Art – August 2021

Manchester Street Art – January 2020

Manchester Street Art – November 2019

Manchester Street Art – May 2019

Manchester Street Art – January 2019

Manchester Street Art – November 2018

Manchester Street Art – May 2018

Manchester Street Art – December 2017

Manchester Street Art – May 2017

Manchester Street Art – February 2017

Manchester Street Art – November 2016

Manchester Street Art – May 2016

Manchester Street Art – January 2016

Manchester Street Art – November 2015

Manchester Street Art – May 2015


I’ve been trying to get a photoshoot like this for a long time.

Having really got into hiking and rambling during Lockdown, Lisnabreeny Hill has been one of my favourite places to visit.

The last time I was there, was in November 2022. I was very bleary eyed, but it was worth it, as I snapped the Sunrise.

I had such a great time, I vowed to return to get the Sunset.

The problem was, trying to get the opportunity to do so.

Any day when I was available to do so, the weather was crap. I’m not walking up a hill to get photos of grey skies or pissing rain.

Sat in the house on another grey Bank Holiday Monday, I was resigned to missing out again.

Then, suddenly, the sun came out. I monitored the situation. Well, I looked out the window occasionally.

Having decided to go for it, I went for it.

The previous time I attempted to get Sunset photos at Lisnabreeny Hill, I got the timings all wrong.

I arrived at the time the sun was scheduled to set. Amateur mistake.

As I arrived then, I got some nice photos but I didn’t get as far up as I hoped.

The plan, is to arrive an hour before the scheduled Sunset.

That was my plan. Unfortunately, my plan hit a snag in the form of roadworks and road closures in Stranmillis, forcing me to be rerouted in the opposite direction and add an extra twenty minutes to my journey, meaning that I lost twenty minutes of Sunset watching.

At that time of night, I thought I would be the only one there. It was actually quite busy.

I managed to get close to the end point of the walk, the National Trust Car Park.

As I was timebound, I decided to not go the full way and turn around, to try and get as many Sunset photos as possible.

The sunset made the greeness (is that even a word?) of the grass stand out in the photos, as well as the light reflecting onto the electricity pylons.

A productive visit, but it was frustrating after those lost twenty minutes.

I do intend on coming back at some point this year to get Sunset photos. However, the next time there is a decent Sunset, i’ll give Minnowburn a try.

Photo Album

Lisnabreeny Hill – November 2022

Lisnabreeny Hill – August 2022

Cregagh Glen/Lisnabreeny Hill – April 2022

Cregagh Glen/Lisnabreeny Hill – July 2021

Cregagh Glen/Lisnabreeny Hill – April 2021

Cregagh Glen/Lisnabreeny Hill – July 2020


It’s the May Bank Holiday Weekend, it must be Hit The North, even though the calendar does say April. This is an event which has it’s own Calendar.

Now established over the May Bank Holiday, having moved from September, this is always an event worth looking forward to.

Due to the nature of the pieces and the volume of work involved, it is unsurprising that some Artists started early on their pieces.

I was unable to get out on foot on Saturday to get some photos, but as I was driving home from Solitude, I did observe some pieces being started.

On the Sunday, I headed into Belfast City Centre. I had a few things to get sorted before the Street Art festivities, which were scheduled to start at 2pm.

I went to Lush to attend a Bath Bomb Class as part of International Bath Bomb Day. What do you mean you’ve never heard of it?

I’m not sure i’ll be giving up the day job to start a Bath Bomb company. Mine split in two. So now I have two bath bombs.

From there, I was planning to head to Caffe Nero to spend a £5 voucher, but I forgot to bring it with me. Good job it’s valid for a year.

Eventually I arrived at the hub of the activity, North Street and Kent Street.

In short, around where The Sunflower is.

It was the usual drill, have a walk around, get as many photos as I can.

Then of course, disappear for a short while to let the art develop so I can get more photographs as it progresses. And repeat.

Off work on the Monday, I headed over that morning to get some photos of the finished pieces.

Not all of them were finished, so I decided to wait a week to head back out. Well, nearly a week.

I headed over on the Sunday morning to snap the final pieces

Photo Album

Aftermath Photo Album

Hit The North 2022

Hit The North 2021

Hit The North 2020

Hit The North 2019

Hit The North 2018

Hit The North 2017

Hit The North 2016

Hit The North 2015

Hit The North 2014


Season over. Thankfully. I couldn’t be arsed with the Play-Offs. Linfield won’t be part of it.

A draw would have done, just as it was on the exact same date in 2017. It was a lot more straightforward than it was in 2017.

It might not have felt like it, but Linfield had a bit of form going into this game. Unbeaten in ten matches, eight clean sheets and a trophy in that run.

The problem was, three draws in the last four games had meant that 2nd place was still in the balance when it should have already been secured.

If Linfield were being considered a form team, Cliftonville were a form team, but not in a good way.

In their four split games, Cliftonville hadn’t won any of them and had conceded ten goals.

Going back further, they had conceded at least two goals in seven out of their last eight games and no clean sheets in ten matches.

In short, Linfield don’t concede many goals and Cliftonville concede lots of goals. Linfield, for all their goalscoring problems should be sticking a few in the back of the net and keep Cliftonville out no problem.

If only it was that simple. Let’s hope it ends up that way.

Curiously, this match kicked off two minutes early, at 5.28pm. If Linfield could get a goal inside the opening two minutes, Glentoran would already be deflated before they kicked off their own match.

Both teams went out determined to get an early goal.

In the first minute, Kirk Millar had won a corner. Daniel Finlayson looked set to get on the end of the corner, but a Cliftonville defender got there just in time. If Finlayson had got to the ball first, he was so close, a goal was certain.

From the resulting second corner, the ball went into the same area but was headed away unchallenged by a Cliftonville defender.

Having joked about it, Linfield were looking frustrated not to have taken advantage of the early start and been 1-0 up already before Glentoran kicked off.

Straight away, it was a Linfield head frustrating Cliftonville at the expense of a corner as Joe Gormley looked to get on the end of a cross.

The resulting corner saw Colin Coates left unmarked but he completely missed the ball.

Linfield were almost 1-0 down before Glentoran kicked off.

The start of the game was too exciting for me (great if you were watching as a neutral). I’m not sure I could take another 89 minutes of this.

Linfield then won another corner. Again, Daniel Finlayson got on the end of it, but was never in a position to send the ball goalwards, the ball eventually went wide.

It was Linfield’s turn next to have a scare, as Chris Johns dropped a free-kick. Thankfully, it landed right beside Chris Shields, who booted the ball away. Just as well, with Joe Gormley loitering with intent.

Naturally, it was Linfield’s turn to have an attack next. It didn’t look like there was one coming as Joel Cooper had the ball on the touchline surrounded by Cliftonville defenders.

No bother, he just casually glided past them before pulling the ball back to Stephen Fallon to strike at goal, a strike which was blocked by a defender at the expense of a corner.

Frustration for Linfield, but the reprieve was only brief for Cliftonville, as Jimmy Callacher headed home from inside the six yard box to put Linfield 1-0 up.

He was so close and had so much of the goal to aim at, it was harder to miss.

This meant it was now four goals at Solitude for Callacher. All three previous games had brought wins for Linfield/

Pointless fact for you, but Jimmy Callacher has scored for Linfield against Cliftonville at both ends of Solitude and Windsor Park.

Linfield had so much joy in the opening minutes from set pieces in the opening minutes of the game, there was no way they weren’t going to score from one.

What it meant was that a lot of the pressure had just lifted from Linfield.

Needing a draw, they now had a lead against opposition low on confidence.

As Linfield looked for a second goal, Eetu Vertainen was frustrated as he tried to squeeze the ball through from a tight angle.

Double frustration then followed for Linfield, as a Joel Cooper shot from a wide angle was saved by the keeper’s legs. From the save, the ball fell to Kirk Millar, who cut inside and shot, which was spectacularly tipped over.

This match could have been over already at this early stage. Linfield really needed to make these chances count.

Every time that Linfield had a set piece, you felt like a goal was coming. Cliftonville just weren’t convincing when defending set pieces.

Linfield fans thought their team was going to pay for not making the most of these chances when David Parkhouse had a free header which looped goalwards past Chris Johns, who slipped. To the relief of everybody behind the goal, the ball went wide.

As the half neared it’s end, Joe Gormley nutmegged Jimmy Callacher was set to fire home to make it 1-1, before Jamie Mulgrew made a last ditch block to deny him.

A satisfactory first-half for Linfield. They were getting the result they needed. There was a sense of frustration that they didn’t have a bigger lead that could put the result beyond doubt, especially against a side lacking in confidence.

As fans were sitting about at half-time, there was a further boost for Linfield with the announcement of the half-time scores from elsewhere, with Glentoran being held 0-0 by Crusaders.

This announcement turned out to be erroneous, as it turned out that Glentoran had gone 1-0 up five minutes into injury time at the end of the first-half.

As long as Linfield did what they had to do, it didn’t matter what Glentoran did.

No matter how bad Cliftonville are playing, you always fear an onslaught at the start of the second-half, especially whenever they attack where their fans are sat.

Even more so, as they went from 0-1 to 2-1 very quickly at the start of the second-half the previous week against Crusaders.

That didn’t materialise thankfully.

The only moment of worry came when Chris Johns dropped a cross. Thankfully, at the feet of Matthew Clarke, who took no chances and put the ball out for a corner. From the resulting corner, he redeemed himself by catching the cross and relieving the pressure.

Having rode out a storm that never really happened, Linfield then had an opportunity to go 2-0 up when Eetu Vertainen was fouled in the box as he tried to create space for himself.

I was initially complaining about the Referee not playing advantage to allow Joel Cooper to hit a shot, until I realised that a penalty had been awarded to Linfield.

A penalty to Linfield means a goal these days. Chris Shields stepped up and made it 2-0.

Even someone as nervous as me knew the points, and European football, were in the bag.

Cliftonville look deflated, like a team resigned to their fate. They looked like they didn’t have the belief to come back from this. As long as Linfield didn’t do anything stupid, the game was won.

Eetu Vertainen, already on a yellow card, stretched for a tackle he didn’t need to make but thankfully pulled out in time.

Running the risk, he was replaced by Ethan Devine.

Kyle McClean also came on as a substitute, and almost added to the score with a free-kick that just went over the bar.

Linfield looked the more likely team to get the next goal, Matthew Clarke looked certain to get it when he got on the end of a cross, but was unable to replicate his headed goal at Solitude last season.

Clarke was then frustrated again when he had a shot turned around for a corner.

As time began to run out, Niall Quinn came on for Jamie Mulgrew as Linfield looked to see the game out.

Just as it looked like the game was going to meander in the final minutes, we had something of note in the shape of a red card for Cliftonville.

I’d initially thought it was a robust tackle and the red was for raising his hands to Kyle McClean. Looking back at the red card on the replays, he deserved a red card for the tackle. Two red cards in the one incident if you will, take your pick.

There was a rare appearance for Max Haygarth, coming on for Kirk Millar.

2-0, job done, and European football secured with no drama. Thank goodness for that.

Long-term readers will know my view on the European Play-Offs, they are a reward for mediocrity,

Thank goodness Linfield won’t be involved.

This win also means that Linfield also qualified for the Scottish Challenge Cup. Stranraer away please.

Or at least someone in the Central Belt.

A frustrating season. Ultimately, it was two bad runs that did for Linfield.

One point from nine available against Coleraine, Glentoran and Larne in October, and then three midweek defeats in January and February to Cliftonville, Crusaders and Glentoran.

At least the season ended strongly. Eleven unbeaten and nine clean sheets.

And a trophy. Not the one we all wanted, but a trophy.

The problem with the Euro Conference is that there is more work to do in order to reach the group stages. You can’t drop into any other competition.

My Linfield watching is over for 2022-2023, but not my football watching. Still two more games to go, a trip to Old Trafford for Manchester United v Wolves and then Northern Ireland v Kazakhstan in June.

And then 2023-2024 gets up and running a matter of a few days later.

Photo Album


This wasn’t a match or that deserved anything as dramatic as a last minute, but thankfully it came for Linfield, being on the right side of a late goal this week. The result means that Europe is tantalisingly close for Linfield, but not quite job done. Still two more points to get.

An injury to Joel Cooper meant that he missed out, with Eetu Vertainen coming in.

Sat in the stand, ready for the start of the game, I was up on my feet, as there was a change in ends, with Linfield unusually attacking their own fans in the first-half instead of the second-half.

Linfield had a decent enough start, albeit having more of the ball rather than creating any clear opportunities.

The first real moment of note for Linfield came when Matthew Clarke fired the ball across goal, but nobody could get on the end of it.

Chris Shields then took possession, ran with it, and as nobody was bothering to tackle him, decided to have a go for goal. His effort was saved by Gareth Deane, with a Coleraine defender getting to the rebound before Kirk Millar.

Millar was then frustrated when he received the ball in space, but his low effort went just wide.

Matthew Clarke was next to be frustrated after Eetu Vertainen made space for himself in the box with some neat footwork and pulled it back to Matthew Clarke who fired over under pressure from Coleraine defenders.

A half where Linfield were the better team, but you couldn’t say it was outright dominance, far from it.

It was the same old story, a lot of the ball but you never felt that a goal was imminent.

That continued into the second-half. It was hard to see where a Linfield goal was going to come.

Eventually, Coleraine came into it, with Chris Johns being forced into making the best save of the match tipping over a shot from Andy Scott who had cut inside.

Having already lost Chris McKee to injury, replaced by Ethan Devine, Linfield made a double substitution with Kyle Lafferty and Jamie Mulgew coming on for Stephen Fallon.

There would soon be another injury blow for Linfield, with Kirk Millar being forced off.

Logically, Max Haygarth would have been a like for like option but David Healy sprung a surprise by bringing on Niall Quinn.

Turns out I know nothing about football as it was a change which brought rewards for Linfield within minutes.

Kyle Lafferty burst down the right win and crossed for Kyle McClean. Back to goal, instead of trying to make space to go for goal, McClean spotted Niall Quinn free and teed him up, Quinn finishing low to put 1-0 up.

Just as Linfield were contemplating a third successive draw, now they were looking at a win which puts them five clear with two games to go in the race for Europe.

They still had to see the game out, which they did without any scares.

It completed a remarkable run against Coleraine where they went a whole season (five games) without conceding a goal against them. Six games in a row if you include last season.

One ground they will (hopefully) be visiting next season will be Lakeland Park to take on Loughgall, who won promotion.

Hopefully, Linfield can get the points on the board to visit some European grounds at the start of next season.

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