PHOTO OF THE SEASON : 2010-2011

Apologies for the crap headline, but it was fated against me.

I’d hoped for “Newry to Nou Camp” but didn’t have any pictures from Newry on the list. For the same reason, “Ballymena to Barcelona” was canned.

Hope you enjoyed my month by month round-up of the football season just past, so I just thought i’d create a shortlist of my favourites, and allow people to vote in them.

I did something similar last season, and the winner was a picture of Windsor Park in the snow, while a picture of Michael Owen celebrating a goal came in second.

There a no pictures of snow or Michael Owen in this compilation, so enjoy, and feel free to vote.

For what it’s worth, my two main favourites are the pictures of Steven Douglas and Jim Ervin. It’s not that I have a throw-in fetish, but the composition just works.

Douglas at Dungannon

This came on the second Saturday of the Irish League season. Dungannon is a ground which is friendly to amateur photographers, so I was hopeful of getting a good shot.

Linfield got a throw where I was based, and play was stopped as a Dungannon player required treatment for an injury.

As Douglas waited, I siezed the opportunity to make the most of the framing, and this was the result.

Berbatov

Technically speaking, it’s not the greatest photo ever taken, but it’s just the emotion of it and people’s reaction which makes my love it.

This is what it feels when United score against Liverpool

Seaview Corner Flag

Got a similar photo at Richmond Park last season, so took the opportunity during a break in play at a game at Seaview to try likewise.

Again, I love the composition.

Corner Kick

Linfield, 2-1 down and chasing an equaliser, have a corner kick late on. I was quite close to the pitch and the composition just worked.

It was actually a productive phototaking day for me, pity about the result.

Burger Queue

January saw me visit Solitude for the first time. At half-time, I went around these new surroundings to get photos, and saw this queue, which was composed beautifully with the fog in the background, and it just worked.

Nou Camp

Like Solitude, I visited the Nou Camp for the first time this season, and went snap happy.

This was my favourite of all the portrait shots I took.

Charlie Adam

A few days after Barcelona, I was in Dublin for the Northern Ireland match against Scotland.

Aviva Stadium is kind to amateur photography, even if some of the views are dreadful.

The only attacking action I saw in front of me was when Scotland were on the attack in the first-half, where I took the opportunity to snap Charlie Adam as he took a corner.

Free-Kick

Tension builds as Northern Ireland have a free-kick against Slovenia in a Euro 2012 Qualifier.

For me, the composition just works.

Jim Ervin Throw

A frustrating evening of phototaking but the right result, the opposite of my previous visit.

I just love this photo of Jim Ervin.

Supervisor

Using people as props, I managed to snap Linfield fans watching their team’s match against Glentoran at The Oval.

Depressingly, it also shows the low attendance by this fixture’s standards that day.

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PHOTO DIARY OF A FOOTBALL SEASON : MAY

May, the month when trophies are handed out, and I got to see three, having seen the Gibson Cup presented on the last day of April.

The following Saturday, I was at the Irish Cup Final, and ignored the rain as Linfield came from a goal down to beat Crusaders.

The following week, I was in Dublin for my first European Final to see Porto take on Braga in the UEFA Cup Final, which I enjoyed being in the city of a European final and the atmosphere of the match, even if the actual game was very poor.

My final trophy presentation of the month came when I went to Old Trafford to see United’s last match of the season, against Blackpool, and made the most of my low seats to get photos as United were presented with a record breaking 19th title.

Whilst in Manchester and Dublin, I stumbled upon some ultras stickers, most notably from Schalke.

If you’ve enjoyed this season’s round-up, feel free to browse the photo round-up of the 2009-2010 season.

Here’s to more photos in 2011-2012.

Linfield v Crusaders

FC Porto v SC Braga

Manchester United v Blackpool

PHOTO DIARY OF A FOOTBALL SEASON : APRIL

April, the month when things get decided.

The month started in explosive fashion with a top of the table clash between Linfield and Crusaders at Seaview, with both teams starting the game level on points.

For the first time at Seaview, both fans were segregated, and Linfield fans couldn’t make use of the terraces behind the goal at the Shore Road due to groundworks.

One Seaview tradition remains, in that Linfield goalscorers never run to where I am stood.

In compensation for missing out on a photo of Robert Garrett celebrating his winner, I managed to get a good one of Jim Ervin taking a throw.

Linfield’s visit to The Oval two weeks later was also subject to restrictions due to work taking place on the ground, but I managed to work around this and get some good photos.

Later in the month, I managed to get shots of stickers left at Ballyskeagh by Shamrock Rovers fans.

As sod’s law would dictate, after a season of taking photos, my camera’s battery died during the presentation of the Gibson Cup to Linfield.

Crusaders v Linfield

Linfield v Glentoran (Irish Cup)

Glentoran v Linfield

Linfield v Glentoran

Linfield v Cliftonville

Lisburn Distillery v Linfield

Linfield v Portadown

PHOTO DIARY OF A FOOTBALL SEASON : MARCH

Just the three matches attended this month, and not a lot of productive phototaking.

Best ones I managed was of Jamie Mulgrew taking a corner against Distillery, and a couple from the bore draw between Northern Ireland and Slovenia.

Dungannon Swifts v Linfield

Linfield v Lisburn Distillery

Northern Ireland v Slovenia

PHOTO DIARY OF A FOOTBALL SEASON : FEBRUARY

Like in December/January, I attended a match at a stadium for the first time. A lot more grand than Suffolk Road and Solitude, but Nou Camp and Aviva Stadium.

In February, I also visited Estadio El Prat, home of La Liga side Espanyol.

I visited Barcelona for a weekend in February and absolutely loved it. I’d booked it primarily for a break, but did keep an eye on the football fixtures, and managed to get a ticket for Barcelona v Atletico Madrid on my arrival.

If I do visit Barcelona again, i’d like to do it the other way around, and go to an Espanyol match, and do the tour of the Nou Camp.

Nou Camp was great, a fantastic fixture of both modern and old features.

A few days later, I visited Aviva Stadium in Dublin for the Northern Ireland v Scotland match.

The match, as a 3-0 defeat suggests, was dreadful, and it didn’t help being placed in awful seats with people standing at the side of the pitch blocking your view.

Thankfully, I managed to make use of some spare seats and managed to get some decent photos.

Barcelona

Northern Ireland v Scotland

Linfield v Dunmurry Rec

Glenavon v Linfield

PHOTO DIARY OF A FOOTBALL SEASON : DECEMBER/JANUARY

Not a lot of football in December due to a number of factors, Linfield going out of the CIS Cup, not being arsed with travelling to Solitude on a Friday night, and weather related postponements.

Despite the snow that covered Northern Ireland throughout December, unfortunately, I was unable to get to Windsor Park to get a snow photo of the stadium, similar to the one I took in January 2010.

On the last day of the month, I headed to Suffolk Road for the first time, to watch Linfield take on Donegal Celtic, and put in an adject display which saw me sulk into the new year.

In January, I added Solitude to grounds I have visited, as I went there for the first time, watching Linfield win 4-2 in a game which was almost abandoned at half-time due to fog.

As a result of that, I had now visited every ground in the top flight of the Irish League, although Newry’s relegation and Carrick’s promotion means I have 11 out of 12 now, having never been to Taylor’s Avenue.

Despite the ground not being photo friendly, I did manage to get some good snaps which pleased me.

Donegal Celtic v Linfield

Cliftonville v Linfield

Linfield v Glenavon

PHOTO DIARY OF A FOOTBALL SEASON : NOVEMBER

Busy month this with a packed fixture list, including an international friendly between Northern Ireland and Morocco.

The first fortnight of the month saw me visit two of the more photo friendly grounds in Portadown and Crusaders, managing to get some good photos, even if the result at Seaview wasn’t what I was hoping for.

The other games (Donegal Celtic and Dungannon at home, Distillery away) weren’t the most productive in terms of results, but I decided to take in the novelty of being in the Railway Stand at Windsor Park, which is very photo friendly, managing to get some good photos of the Morocco game.

Enjoy

Portadown v Linfield

Linfield v Donegal Celtic

Crusaders v Linfield

Northern Ireland v Morocco

Linfield v Dungannon Swifts

Lisburn Distillery v Linfield

PHOTO DIARY OF A FOOTBALL SEASON : OCTOBER

October was a busy month, with lots of games and lots of goals, including, the greatest goal in football history ………… if you believe the Northern Ireland media.

The month started with Linfield taking on Portadown and finally getting into their goalscoring groove after a slow start to the season.

With a 3-0 lead at half-time, I decided to take the opportunity to get some stadium pics, as temporary seats were being put in, in preparation for Northern Ireland’s Euro 2012 Qualifier against Italy.

A few days later, I headed to The Oval for the second-half of the match between Glentoran and Portadown (I usually play football on a Tuesday night, so popped in ……. and I was in the Portadown end, just to clarify)

That night, Matty Burrows scored “The greatest goal in football history”

I must admit, watching it live in the flesh, it was a brilliant goal. Constant media overkill has been tiresome, but I suppose, it’s hard to complain about a positive good news Irish League story, especially when the media aren’t slow in sticking the boot into the game here.

That Friday, I was at the Northern Ireland v Italy game, and managed to get some good shos from my vantage point in the Viewing Lounge.

The following day, I was at Coleraine, one of my favourite away grounds to see Linfield record a 2-0 win.

Later in the month, I went to further Linfield games against Newry and Crusaders, especially enjoying the 8-1 win over Crusaders, before finishing the month off with another visit to Old Trafford, this time to see United take on Spurs.

Linfield v Portadown

Northern Ireland v Italy

Coleraine v Linfield

Linfield v Crusaders

Newry City v Linfield

Manchester United v Tottenham Hotspur

PHOTO DIARY OF A FOOTBALL SEASON : SEPTEMBER

September wasn’t the most intense football month, and not a lot of photos taken.

I only went to three matches, and two of them were 0-0 draws (I saw seven 0-0 draws throughout the season)

The other game I went too, was a bit of a cracker as a Dimitar Berbatov hat-trick helped United to a 3-2 win over Liverpool.

When Berbatov got his hat-trick goal, I managed to get a picture when just showed the emotion of it. Get in!!

Manchester United v Liverpool

Glentoran v Linfield

PHOTO DIARY OF A FOOTBALL SEASON : AUGUST

Finally, in August, the season began, with Linfield looking to win a 50th title in the club’s 125th anniversary season. With all that hope and optimism, it was quickly brought back down to earth with a drab 0-0 draw at home to Ballymena United.

The following day, I jetted off to Edinburgh to take in the Edinburgh Festival, and managed to get some portrait shots of Tynecastle, home of SPL side Hearts.

Back home the following weekend, I visited Stangmore Park, to see Linfield’s title defence stutter more with a defeat against Dungannon Swifts, but on the plus side, I managed to get some good photos.

After home wins over Distillery and Coleraine, my next away match saw me use my new camera for the first time, and got some enjoyable shots, especially of Curtis Allen celebrating his winning goal.

The season, like my phototaking, was up and running.

Linfield v Ballymena United

Tynecastle

Dungannon Swifts v Linfield

Linfield v Lisburn Distillery

Linfield v Coleraine

Newry City v Linfield