PHOTO OF THE SEASON : 2014-2015

343 days after it started, for me, the 2014-2015 is over, and the 2015-2016 season isn’t that far away. There was a lot of matches, memories and photographs.

We’ve already had a month by month round-up, and now it’s time to look back at my favourites, and you can vote for your favourite.

WATERWORTH

It’s not a perfect photo. I’d have loved it if the celebrating players were more in focus, but what I love about it is how it just sums up the emotion of a late winner in a game where you are underdogs.

PENALTY

Again, it’s all about emotion for me. So many people, their eyes fixed on one person – the man taking the penalty kick. Within seconds they would be celebrating as it was missed.

CLARKE

I just like the composition of this – the crowd with their eyes on the game with the ball in mid air. I don’t know what happened next, but I know it wasn’t a goal.

OLD TRAFFORD

I went over to the match against Hull in November and had a hotel near the ground. This picture was taken early on a Saturday morning. It felt so strange being outside Old Trafford with it so quiet and peaceful. The people you can see are matchday staff getting ready for the day ahead.

HO HO HO

Dragged out of bed on Christmas morning for the Steel and Sons Cup final, I like this photo for the reaction of those in the crowd, and the prominence of the fan in the orange/tangerine/amber santa hat.

CHANCE

During a weekend in Barcelona, I took in a 4th tier game between CE Europa and Masnau. I love how this photo sums up the agony of Europa players as they chased a goal with the score at 0-0. They eventually win 1-0.

RAILWAY

I like the symbolism of this, covering the past, present and future of Windsor Park. Capturing the redevelopment of Windsor Park as it was on that date in March, the progress on the Railway Stand which will host future matches, taken from a stand that would soon be consigned to the past. We didn’t know it at the time though.

HAUGHEY

I like this because of the synchronicity of this with player and supporters all pulling the same pose.

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PHOTO DIARY OF A FOOTBALL SEASON : MAY/JUNE

As the season was winding down, the matches were less frequent, now a fortnightly thing.

I began May with the Irish Cup Final in the Portadown end, getting drenched, having to park at The Odyssey and the barrier eating my ticket, and to compound the misery – Glentoran won the cup.

Two weeks later was my second trip of the season to Old Trafford, with Arsenal being the visitors in a game that finished 1-1.

Two weeks later, I was back in the North-West of England, to see Northern Ireland take on Qatar in Crewe. Most of the appeal of the game was the opportunity to visit another ground for the first time.

Near to a train station and with a programme shop, Crewe gets a thumbs up from me.

The next day was spent in Liverpool. I had some spare time on my hands, and headed to Goodison Park, in search of a mural of Dixie Dean i’d read about, but doesn’t appear to be there anymore.

Undeterred by this, I decided to get some photos of the exterior of the ground.

Two weeks later, one last game, Northern Ireland’s European Championship Qualifier against Romania, and an opportunity to experience the new Railway Stand at Windsor Park for he first time.

It was the only 0-0 draw I saw all season.

Glentoran v Portadown

Glentoran v Portadown Photo Album

Manchester United v Arsenal

Manchester United v Arsenal Photo Album

Northern Ireland v Qatar

Northern Ireland v Qatar Photo Album

Northern Ireland v Romania

Northern Ireland v Romania Photo album

PHOTO DIARY OF A FOOTBALL SEASON : APRIL

April was supposed to start at Windsor Park on Easter Saturday, but damage to The Kop stand meant my footballing month would begin at The Oval instead. I wouldn’t get to visit Windsor Park at all this month.

After Linfield’s win over Glentoran at The Oval gave some life to the title race, defeat at “home” to Glenavon at Ballymena put an end to that four days later

With the title gone and European football secured for Linfield, my attention turned to the Championship promotion race, where I headed to Newforge (a first time visit) to see PSNI take on Carrick Rangers.

The month ended with a trip to Shamrock Park for Linfield’s last game of the season. It was a late decision to go, influenced by the fact it would be Peter Thompson’s last game for Linfield.

We didn’t get the goal we all wanted, but we did get a chance to applaud and thank him for his service.

Glentoran v Linfield

Linfield v Glenavon

PSNI v Carrick Rangers

PSNI v Carrick Rangers Photo Album

Portadown v Linfield

PHOTO DIARY OF A FOOTBALL SEASON : MARCH

After ending February with Irish Cup disappointment for Linfield, it was the league that concerned them in March, and began well with an easy home win over Warrenpoint Town.

The following week, it was off to Drumahoe to see Linfield grind out a win against Institute.

A blank Saturday was followed by a trip to Scotland to see Northern Ireland play at Hampden Park.

The football kept coming, as the following Saturday, I was headed to Mourneview Park to see Linfield lose 1-0 to Glenavon.

The following day, it was off to Windsor Park for a bit of Sunday football to see Northern Ireland take on Finland, and get some photos of the redevelopment of Windsor Park, which was going so well at that point.

Little did I know then, but it would be my last time in The Kop before it was demolished

Linfield v Warrenpoint Town

Institute v Linfield

Scotland v Northern Ireland

Scotland v Nothern Ireland Photo Album

Glenavon v Linfield

Northern Ireland v Finland

Northern Ireland v Finland Photo Album

PHOTO DIARY OF A FOOTBALL SEASON : FEBRUARY

February’s football watching began in Barcelona, where I went for a weekend break, going on the Nou Camp tour, going to a lower league game (CE Europa v Masnoua in the 4th tier) then the La Liga match between Espanyol and Valencia.

Upon my return from Barcelona, it was straight into Irish League action, to see Linfield take on Cliftonville.

The following Saturday, I was at Stangmore Park to see Linfield get a 3-0 win on my birthday, which was nice.

The next two weekends were all about seeing Linfield take on Portadown, first at Windsor Park, then at Shamrock Park, with two damaging defeats for Linfield.

CE Europa v Masnoua

CE Europa v Masnou Photo Album

Espanyol v Valencia

Espanyol v Valencia Photo Album

Linfield v Cliftonville

Dungannon Swifts v Linfield

Linfield v Portadown

Portadown v Linfield

PHOTO DIARY OF A FOOTBALL SEASON : JANUARY

January began for me with a trip to Seaview to see Linfield take on Crusaders. The football came thick and fast at the start of the year, as 48 hours later, I was at Windsor Park to see Linfield take on Coleraine.

The draw for the Irish Cup gave me the opportunity to visit a new ground, Fortwilliam Park of Tobermore United, in a game played in a mixture of weather conditions, including some snow late in the game.

Postponements and rearrangements meant it was three weeks before my next game, as Linfield took on Ballymena United at Windsor Park

Crusaders v Linfield

Linfield v Coleraine

Tobermore United v Linfield

Linfield v Ballymena United

PHOTO DIARY OF A FOOTBALL SEASON : DECEMBER

My football watching in December began in Ballymena, to see Linfield race into an early 2-0 lead, only to get home 3-2, in a vital win.

The following Saturday, was the first of three visits to Windsor Park in December, to see Linfield beat Ballinamallard United and go top of the league.

That set up a top of the table clash against Portadown, which Linfield won 3-2, helped by a last minute penalty save from Ross Glendinning.

The final week of the month saw me go to three matches in three days. I got invited to the Steel and Sons Cup Final on Christmas morning. It was a good game and worth getting out of bed for, Carrick Rangers beating Harland and Wolff Welders 4-1.

The next day, was the Boxing Day clash between Linfield and Glentoran. It wasn’t a good game, but it was a good result, with Linfield winning 2-1.

The next day, one more match for the year, to see Bangor take on Ards in a top of the table clash in Championship 1, with Ards getting a late and dramatic 3-2 win in injury time.

Ballymena United v Linfield

Linfield v Ballinamallard United

Linfield v Portadown

Carrick Rangers v Harland and Wolff Welders

Carrick Rangers v Harland and Wolff Welders Photo Album

Linfield v Glentoran

Bangor v Ards

Bangor v Ards Photo Album

PHOTO DIARY OF A FOOTBALL SEASON : NOVEMBER

November’s football began for me on the first day of the month, with a road trip to Lurgan to see Linfield take on Glenavon, hoping to end a run of three successive defeats, which they did, on a very wet day.

The following weekend, I was at Windsor Park to see Linfield get a routine win over Dungannon Swifts.

The Saturday after, I was back at Windsor Park to see Linfield throw away two points in a 2-2 draw against Glentoran.

Back on the road the following weekend, to Warrenpoint, to see Linfield pull off a late escape to record a dramatic 2-1 win.

November ended with a trip to the North-West of England, primarily to go to Old Trafford to see United take on Hull, but I also managed to squeeze in a trip to Accrington Stanley for their match against Exeter City.

Glenavon v Linfield

Linfield v Dungannon Swifts

Linfield v Glentoran

Warrenpoint Town v Linfield

Accrington Stanley v Exeter City

Accrington Stanley v Exeter City Photo Album

Manchester United v Hull City

Manchester United v Hull City Photo Album

PHOTO DIARY OF A FOOTBALL SEASON : OCTOBER

October. The month that was spent at Windsor Park. Five matches, all at the same stadium. Still, it gave me a chance to document the ongoing redevelopment work, as various construction milestones were reached, such as the demolition of the South Stand, and the first bits of steel added to the Railway Stand.

Unfortunately, the Railway Stand had more steel than Linfield during this month.

The month began well, with wins over Ballymena and Institute taking Linfield top, before defeats to Cliftonville and Crusaders saw them drop down to 5th.

Inbetween Linfield’s wins over Ballymena and Institute, came Northern Ireland’s Euro 2016 Qualifying win over Faroe Islands.

Linfield v Ballymena United

Northern Ireland v Faroe Islands

Northern Ireland v Faroe Islands Photo Album

Linfield v Institute

Linfield v Cliftonville

Linfield v Crusaders

PHOTO DIARY OF A FOOTBALL SEASON : SEPTEMBER

September’s first football watching didn’t begin until the middle of the month, when Linfield took on Warrenpoint Town.

A home match against Warrenpoint doesn’t usually generate much excitement, but it did on this occasion, as it was Linfield’s first home match of the season, and a first chance to see the ongoing redevelopment work at Windsor Park.

The following weekend, I was Windsor bound to see Linfield take on Glenavon.

As the month ended, it was Fermanagh for me to see Linfield take on Ballinamallard.

The final match of the month, was at Seaview, to see Linfield take on Crusaders in a rearranged Monday night game.

Linfield v Warrenpoint Town

Linfield v Glenavon

Ballinamallard United v Linfield

Crusaders v Linfield