PHOTO OF THE SEASON – 2012-2013

With the 2012-2013 season over, this blog has already looked back at a season worth of photos on a month by month basis.

So here, is a compilation of the best. Feel free to vote.

SEAVIEW

Taken at half-time during the UEFA Cup tie between Crusaders and Rosenborg, I just love the composition of this shot.

SUBS

Taken during the pre-season friendly between Orangefield OB and Linfield, this was one of the few good shots I got from the game, of the Orangefield bench watching the game.

I got a similar shot of Derriaghy CC’s bench last season.

I just love the composition of it.

THE WELDER

Taken during a pre-season game between Harland and Wolff Welders and Linfield, I love how this guy is so content with life, sitting in a chair in the sun, watching football.

He had an official club tie, so I assume he is an employee/volunteer. A perk of the job I guess.

THE OVAL

The Oval, half an hour before kick-off of the first Big Two clash of the season in September

BURNS

Billy Joe Burns taking a throw-in during an Irish League clash between Dungannon Swifts and Linfield in October

WINDSOR PARK

Windsor Park, at half-time during the World Cup Qualifier between Northern Ireland and Azerbaijan in November.

SHIELD

Crowd shot from County Antrim Shield Final. Composition, framing and light just came together at the same time.

GETTING A VIEW

Composition and framing just works on this one. Had to go to back of stand at side of the pitch for it.

MOURNEVIEW CORNER

Linfield had a lot of corners in this game at Glenavon in December, I was going to get lucky with one shot. Decided to experiment with a different angle, and got this. Love the composition.

HATS

If started off as a test shot as i’d moved over to this end from The Kop, the collection of hats, and composition of the shot, as supporters had their eyes fixed on the football in front of them, just worked.

QUINN

Niall Quinn taking a corner during the Irish Cup tie between Linfield and Crusaders at Seaview. Got lucky with the composition, and catching Quinn in motion as he takes the corner.

IBROX

Taken outside Ibrox prior to the friendly between Rangers and Linfield.

A fantastic and photogenic stadium.

Took a few shots of the exterior, and this one worked the best.

SAFETY

Taken from my final game of the season, Bangor players celebrate the late goal which save them from relegation to Championship 2.

The contrasting emotions between both sets of players, and Bangor’s keeper running to join in the celebrations are why I love this photo

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PHOTO DIARY OF A FOOTBALL SEASON – APRIL/MAY

April began, like February, with two matches in one day.

Unlike when I was in London, I knew where I was going. I went to both Irish Cup Semi-Finals as a neutral.

The Glentoran v Portadown game wasn’t very good, and I didn’t get much in the way of photos. Crusaders v Cliftonville was a batter game with better photos, the Sydenham End of The Oval being a lot more photo friendly

The following midweek, I was in Glasgow for the friendly between Rangers and Linfield. The match wasn’t great, but it was a friendly, so I was hardly expecting both teams to go for it, especially with it being towards the end of the season (ie – if it was in pre-season, it would have been a lot more intense, with teams working towards the new season)

Ibrox is a fantastic stadium, architecturally stunning on the outside and inside. Managed to get some fantastic shots of the ground. Not so much match action, as I was closer to the corner flag when Linfield had their bets spell of attacking, in the second-half.

I stayed in Glasgow for a few more days, and went to the Scottish Cup Semi-Final between Falkirk and Hibernian. A brilliantly crazy game for a neutral, maybe not so much if you supported one of the two teams. Got some ok photos, Hampden PArk, as fantastic stadium as it is, isn’t very photo friendly.

Upon my return, I went to Linfield’s last two games of the season. Fixture fulfillment really, and making sure I got my money’s worth out of my Season Ticket.

I would have got more Value For Money if i’d stayed at home.

But that wasn’t the end of the season. The following week, I went to Clandeboye Park to see Bangor beat Tobermore United and avoid relegation.

And with that, my season was over.

Glentoran v Portadown

Glentoran v Portadown Photo Album

Crusaders v Cliftonville

Crusaders v Cliftonville Photo Album

Rangers v Linfield

Rangers v Linfield Photo Album

Falkirk v Hibernian

Falkirk v Hibernian Photo Album

Linfield v Ballinamallard United

Linfield v Crusaders

Bangor v Tobermore United

Bangor v Tobermore United Photo Album

PHOTO DIARY OF A FOOTBALL SEASON – MARCH

March, like February, began in another country. Though, unlike February, there was no two games in one day shenanigans.

My first game in March was the Setanta Cup tie at Tallaght Stadium between Shamrock Rovers and Linfield. My main reason for going to this game was that i’d never been to Tallaght Stadium (think the UCD Bowl is the only main Dublin stadium I haven’t been to)

Unfortunately, I made it there just in time for kick-off, so didn’t really get much in the way of good photos, though Linfeld’s lack of attacking situations didn’t really help.

The following Saturday, I was at Linfield v Lisburn Distillery. A match so bad, I got no worthwhile pictures whatsoever.

The following weekend, I made my second visit to Old Trafford of the season to see United take on Reading.

I was in the Stretford End and got some ok pictures in what was a poor game.

Having originally thought I would miss this due to being in Manchester, Sky moved Linfield’s trip to Seaview to a Monday night, meaning I was able to go. Not really sure why I bothered.

Managed to get some nice shots of Seaview. You have to clutch at straws for positives when you’ve spent two hours in the freezing cold watching your team lose 3-0.

The following weekend, Northern Ireland’s World Cup Qualifier against Russia was postponed, and due to the attempts to play the game on the Saturday afternoon after a Friday postponement, I didn’t even have an opportunity to try and get a picture of a snow covered Windsor Park.

The following Tuesday, I was at Windsor Park for the match against Israel, and got some ok photos.

Five matches, four competitions, three countries. A real mixed bag of a footballing month.

Shamrock Rovers v Linfield

Shamrock Rovers v Linfield Photo Album

Manchester United v Reading

Manchester United v Reading Photo Album

Crusaders v Linfield

Northern Ireland v Israel

Northern Ireland v Israel Photo Album

PHOTO DIARY OF A FOOTBALL SEASON – FEBRUARY

As is now a February tradition, I headed away for a weekend at the start of February. This year, I went to London. Like with my previous February trips, I planned to take in a game, or two.

I’d hoped for games Friday-Saturday-Sunday when I was there, but there was only games on the Saturday, but I decided to do something i’d never done before …… go to two matches on the one day.

I’d hoped to maybe take in a Football League game, but ended up going to two Premier League games, mainly because TV scheduling made it easy.

QPR were playing Norwich on the Saturday lunchtime, so I headed over to Loftus Road. No problem getting a ticket and had a nice view and shooting position. Pity there wasn’t much action in the game.

From there, a quick Tube across West London to Craven Cottage for Fulham v Manchester United. I’d booked the trip blind, not knowing United were playing in London, so this was a bonus when I checked the fixture list.

Managed to get a ticket that week, in the Fulham end. My seat was at the back of the stand, but at half-time, I managed to get a seat nearer the front that was vacant.

For 78 minutes, it looked as though it had 0-0 written all over it, but Wayne Rooney won the game for United. It would have been typical me to go to two matches in one day, and not see a goal.

The following Saturday, I was at Stangmore Park to see Linfield take on Dungannon in a rearranged league game, with both clubs taking advantage of their early Irish Cup exit to fit this game in.

I’d previously had a terrible record attending games at Dungannon, but Linfield won there for once in my presence.

Dungannon is one of the most photo friendly grounds in the league, and I got some nice shots, despite a lack of natural light.

The week after that, I was at The Oval for possibly the worst football match ever, and as a result, not much in the way of photo opportunities.

It was very much the same the following week when Linfield took on Portadown

Queens Park Rangers v Norwich City

Queens Park Rangers v Norwich City Photo Album

Fulham v Manchester United

Fulham v Manchester United Photo Album

Dungannon Swifts v Linfield

Glentoran v Linfield

Linfield v Portadown

PHOTO DIARY OF A FOOTBALL SEASON – JANUARY

New year, same routine, off to watch Linfield.

My first game of the month came on the first day, Linfield’s first New Year’s Day game since 2009, against Cliftonville, a 3-1 win against the league leaders.

Usual Windsor Park phototaking arrangements. Got some ok photos.

Windsor Park was a second home for the start of January, as the following weekend, Linfield beat Coleraine 5-2. Plenty of goal celebration practice.

The following week, came the Irish Cup. The fact that I was attending a 5th Round tie for the first time since 2006 was an indication of how big the match against Crusaders was.

A goal inside 12 seconds, a red card, and a midfielder in nets, the game certainly wasn’t lacking in exciting moments. A draw meant a replay at Seaview in ten days time.

The following Saturday, i’d hoped to be at Suffolk Road for Linfield’s visit to Donegal Celtic.

I don’t usually bother with DC away due to the hassle involved, sitting on a parked bus for almost an hour for such a short journey.

I’d decided to go to this game as it looked like i’d be going four weeks without a Linfield match due to other commitments.

Due to the weather, the game was postponed.

The following Tuesday, came the Irish Cup replay at Seaview.

The game might have turned on Linfield have a clear penalty turned down and Crusaders having a soft one given, it still doesn’t excuse the inexcusable second-half performance.

Season over in January, bloody hell. I did manage to get some nice photos.

Linfield v Cliftonville

Linfield v Coleraine

Linfield v Crusaders

Crusaders v Linfield

PHOTO DIARY OF A FOOTBALL SEASON – DECEMBER

December is a month that is traditionally cold, dark and miserable, and how appropriate that I should spend the first day of the month at Ballyskeagh, watching Linfield put in a performance that was, well ……..cold, dark and miserable.

The following Saturday, I was off to watch a football match in Fermanagh for the first time, as I travelled to Ferney Park to see Linfield’s first visit to Ballinamallard.

I made a day of it, had some lunch in the town, and saw Linfield win. Overall, a very good day out. Managed to get some nice shots in a ground friendly for amateur photography.

My next game, was Linfield v Dungannon Swifts, a nervy 2-1 win.

On the Saturday before Christmas, it was Seaview, for an entertaining (and frustrating) 2-2 draw between Crusaders and Linfield.

I managed to get a lot of good shots at this game, my favourite being a crowd shot as Linfield have a set piece.

Then, followed Boxing Day. I didn’t get many good photos, but that didn’t matter ……. because Linfield won.

Three days later, I was Lurgan bound for the trip to Glenavon. I’d previously considered giving the game a miss, but the two games before it really fired up my enthusiasm, and a 3-0 win made the journey worthwhile.

On top of that, I got some good photos at a ground which is always photofriendly.

Lisburn Distillery v Linfield

Ballinamallard United v Linfield

Linfield v Dungannon Swifts

Crusaders v Linfield

Glenavon v Linfield

PHOTO DIARY OF A FOOTBALL SEASON – NOVEMBER

A few wee trips this month of football.

My first game, was at Solitude, to see Linfield put in a pitiful defeat. Usual phototaking arrangements at Solitude. Some ok shots, nothing special

A few days later, I was at Windsor Park for Northern Ireland’s game against Azerbaijan, which had a mixed bag photowise, but I got a good crowd shot at half-time

Ten days later, I was in Manchester for my first trip of the season to Old Trafford. I managed to get some shots of football related stickerart in the city centre.

Unfortunately, United’s goals that day came down the other end, but I did get some nice shots of the game.

Three days later, I was at The Oval for the County Antrim Shield final, which didn’t go to plan, but I did get some good shots, mostly in extra-time and the penalty shoot-out.

Cliftonville v Linfield

Northern Ireland v Azerbaijan

Northern Ireland v Azerbaijan Photo Album

Linfield v Glenavon

Manchester United v Queens Park Rangers

Manchester United v Queens Park Rangers Photo Album

County Antrim Shield Final

County Antrim Shielf Final Photo Album

PHOTO DIARY OF A FOOTBALL SEASON – OCTOBER

Only three games this month, not the most productive of months, two of which were at Windsor Park, not the most friendly venue for amateur photography.

The other game of the month, at Dungannon, more than made up for it, managing to get some nice shots from the match.

Enjoy

Linfield v Ballinamallard

Dungannon Swifts v Linfield

Linfield v Portadown

PHOTO DIARY OF A FOOTBALL SEASON – SEPTEMBER

Like August, September began with a trip to East Belfast on the first day of the month. This time, it was Glentoran away, a lot bigger that Harland and Wolff Welders.

The match finished 1-1 and I got a good shot of the crowd building up pre-match.

I was at five more matches that month and it was a mixed bag in terms of phototaking.

Some ok photos, nothing too great.

Glentoran v Linfield

Linfield v Crusaders

Portadown v Linfield

Northern Ireland v Luxembourg

Northern Ireland v Luxembourg Photo Album

Glenavon v Linfield

PHOTO DIARY OF A FOOTBALL SEASON – AUGUST

August’s football travels began on the first day of the month in East Belfast, as Linfield continued their pre-season preparation with a defeat against Harland and Wolff Welders.

On the plus side, I spent a lot of the evening chatting to friends, visited a ground i’d never been to, and got some good shots.

The picture of the guy sitting on his chair (I think he’s a H and W official) relaxing and watching the football is what it is all about. He is probably the happiest man in the world.

My next game, came at Easter Road for the Edinburgh Derby between Hibs and Hearts.

I go to Edinburgh every year, and usually try to watch a game while i’m there, so it was pure luck that it happened to be that game when I was there.

Having been to Tynecastle twice in 2011, it was always going to be the case that the fixture computer would give me a trip to Easter Road.

I was actually hoping that it would be against Dundee United as I could tick them off my UEFA 100 Club list.

Was an enjoyable game with nice weather and got some good shots, so it was all good.

My next visit came three days later for the international between Scotland and Australia, played in a downpour of rain, the most Scottish weather possible.

While checking the Northern Ireland score that night, it was announced that Arsenal and Manchester United had done a deal for the transfer of Robin Van Persie.

Interestingly enough, the only other time I was at a Scotland home match, I got a text to say that Mikael Silvestre had joined Arsenal.

It appears that when I go to a Scotland home match, Arsenal and Manchester United do a transfer.

Upon my return to Belfast, it was Windsor Park bound for the matches against Coleraine and Donegal Celtic, my first domestic games of the season.

It was great to be up and running.

Harland and Wolff Welders v Linfield

Hibernian v Heart of Midlothian

Hibernian v Heart of Midlothian Photo Album

Scotland v Australia

Scotland v Australia Photo Album

Linfield v Coleraine

Linfield v Donegal Celtic