DUNDELA 1-2 LINFIELD 20.7.2019

For the fifth successive Summer, Linfield headed to Wilgar Park for a pre-season friendly. I think we can officially call it a tradition.

The four previous visits had brought wins for Linfield : 3-2, 3-1, 2-0 and 4-1 and appearances from trialists such as Craig Beattie, Aaron Duke, Jordan McMillan and Daniel Kearns, with Kearns being the only one who was actually signed by the club.

The visit to East Belfast last Summer came during the later stages of the World Cup, which was a handy distraction from how awful the 2017-2018 season was for Linfield. Midway through the first-half, grateful to be only 1-0 down, it didn’t look like 2018-2019 was going to be much better for Linfield.

Thankfully, four goals and a second-half cameo from Joel Cooper later, there was some cause for optimism for Linfield fans. The rest, as they say, is history.

Cooper was at Wilgar Park again today, his first appearance of the (pre) season having missed both the games against Rosenborg, the most senior player in a surprisingly much changed Linfield eleven.

This was the meat in the sandwich of three successive away games, Norway – East Belfast – Faroe Islands. We’d hoped it would be Norway – East Belfast – Belarus, but it wasn’t to be.

Unsurprisingly, players involved in both legs of the tie against Rosenborg weren’t involved.

There were a lot of not well known names in Linfield’s starting eleven, Joel Cooper being the most senior, with others such as Alex Moore, Caohmin McGuinness, Lorcan Forde, Daniel Reynolds and Ryan Strain making ten to fifteen appearances in the first-team maximum, at a guess.

It was slightly surprising not to see neither Andrew Mitchell (unused sub) or Stephen Fallon (two substitute appearances) involved after their limited involvement against Rosenborg.

I’d hoped to see Mark Haughey or Josh Robinson involved, but neither were ready after their respective injury problems.

Joel Cooper was determined to carry on where he left off last season, skinning a Dundela defender, unfortunately the cross missed everyone, before he then created space for a shot, forcing Dundela’s keeper into a save.

Linfield’s early pressure was rewarded with a goal from Daniel Reynolds, finishing after a header was saved. There was a suspicion of offside, but Wilgar Park doesn’t have VAR. I suppose it evens it up after the soft penalty Dundela got last year.

Forde, Reynolds and Cooper (sounds like a law firm that) were usually found combining together in all of Linfield’s attacking play, but they couldn’t get a second goal.

It wasn’t all Linfield though, with Alex Moore being given plenty of opportunities to showcase his shotstopping ability.

Dundela had most of the ball during the opening minutes of the second-half but it was Linfield who got the ball in the back of the net when Forde and Reynols combined, with Reynolds hitting the post, with such a clean strike, it fell perfectly for Ryan Strain to put the rebound into the back of the net.

Game over? Not quite. Dundela continued to force Alex Moore into making saves, and were rewarded with a goal from Chris Watts to make it 2-1.

More Dundela pressure followed, and it looked like a Dundela equaliser would be inevitable, but Linfield held out to secure the win in a match that won’t live long in the memory.

Up next, is a UEFA Cup tie against HB Torshavn with the away leg on Tuesday. Without sounding arrogant, it’s a tie we should win, having won four out of four ties against Faroese teams this decade.

If we do get through, the draw is on Monday. The New Saints are the only team that stands out as a team we should be confident of beating. Let’s just make sure we beat HB first and worry about later rounds.

It looked as though Bastien Hery would be the last incoming at Windsor Park this Summer, but Rohan Ferguson has joined on loan from Motherwell.

As speculated in my Rosenborg blog, we’re probably getting a keeper in on loan in order to enable Alex Moore to go out on loan. That’ll probably be in the next week. We won’t be short of offers on the basis of today’s performance.

It is similar to us waiting to get Kyle McClean in January before we let Robert Garrett leave.

Paul Smyth is going on loan, but not to Linfield sadly, but to Wycombe Wanderers. I’d hoped he’d get more games with QPR changing manager this Summer. He’s still only 21 though, and he’ll play at least 35-40 games for Wycombe barring injury.

The day after the HB home match, i’m off to Edinburgh for a few days. Dunfermline’s home match has been moved to the Friday night for TV. Livingston and Hibs are at home on the Saturday, which is tempting.

And finally, United would have been playing a European match in Belfast if Watford weren’t so shite in the FA Cup Final.

HB Torshavn will do. Hopefully, i’ll be turning up at Windsor Park to see Linfield finish off the job.

Photo Album

Dundela v Linfield 2018

Dundela v Linfield 2017

Dundela v Linfield 2016

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MAGAZINE ARCHIVE : FOOTBALL ITALIA – JULY 1998

Two Serie A stars, Christian Vieri (Italy) and Gabriel Batistuta (Argentina) are the cover stars of this edition of Football Italia after heading the goalscoring charts at the World Cup in France.

The group stages, which Italy navigated as group winners get reviewed, but printing deadlines mean you’ll have to wait for the next issue for a review of their fortunes in the knockout stages.

It’s not all about international football, in club news, Juventus have been confirmed as one of the top seeds in the European Cup.

Staying with club football, there is a look at the major transfers in Italian Football so far.

There is a profile of new managers, with Giovanni Trapattoni catching the headlines as Fiorentina’s new manager, while Carlo Ancelotti has held talks with Fenerbache after being sacked by Parma.

There is a six page profile of Serie A champions Juventus, who couldn’t add the European Cup to their domestic title after losing the final for the second successive season, this time, 1-0 to Real Madrid.

Italy’s group games plus their Second Round win over Norway get reviewed, with the game against Austria being erroneously recorded as a 3-0 win for Italy when they actually won 2-1.

BRAY WANDERERS 1-0 LIMERICK 12.7.2019

Things had changed a bit since I was last at Bray in 2015.

Back then, they were an established top flight club but never really challenging the top, just keeping their head above water most seasons, but still remaining a top flight club.

Since then, the club have been in the headlines for happenings off the pitch usually a financial crisis of some sort, players not being paid, they were inevitably relegated in 2018.

There is a term in business called “Seagull Managers“, people who turn up, leave a mess and then fly away. That is probably the most apt way to describe the last few years at Bray, especially as their nickname is The Seagulls.

Entering the Carlisle Grounds, Don’t Go Breaking My Heart by Elton John and Kiki Dee was on the tannoy. I don’t know if that is aimed at their players. It could be, looking at how their attempts at promotion at the first time of asking has gone so far.

For most of the season, there was a traffic jam at the top of the table, but a run of four defeats in five games have seen Bray be cut adrift of leaders Shelbourne, now hoping to get a Play-Off spot. Even that looks a big ask/

Limerick, like Bray, have also suffered financial troubles and were also relegated in 2018.

Just like Bray, it looks like an automatic return to the top flight will be beyond them, and a Play-Off is now the goal for them, kicking off four points clear of Bray.

Due to matches being rearranged due to European competition, there were no top flight games in Dublin.

My choice was either Shelbourne v Cabinteely or Bray Wanderers v Limerick. Having been to Tolka Park last year and not being in Bray since 2015, Bray would be my choice.

Frustratingly, there would be no friendlies for English clubs (well, apart from Chelsea) during my stay, frustratingly missing out on the option of Bristol Rovers or Portsmouth playing friendlies the night before I arrived.

The first-half saw Bray all over Limerick. Limerick couldn’t get out of their own half, with their keeper having to stretch to make a save after a neat passing move by Bray, before Dylan McGlade hit the post.

McGlade, with his socks rolled down like Jack Grealish (probably a swear word in the Republic of Ireland) was dictating things for Bray, usually involved in all of their good attacking play, being fouled in injury time to win a penalty for Bray.

Paul Keegan stepped up to take it. It was obvious he was going to blast it. The only question was where. The answer, was into the back of the net to give Bray a deserved lead.

Bray were still on top in the second-half, but suffered a blow when Killian Cantwell was sent-off for a professional foul on the edge of the box, just as Limerick were going to have their first attempt on goal.

Hugh Douglas thought he had headed home to make it 2-0 but the goal was disallowed. I couldn’t actually see what it was disallowed for.

Bray couldn’t get the goal they needed to secure the points, but were able to keep Limerick at bay.

Naturally, with only one goal in it, Limerick enjoyed more of the ball in the final minutes as they had the greater need, creating some nervous moments for Bray.

One of those moments was a shot being lined up from the edge of the penalty area which was deflected out for a corner.

Much to Limerick’s annoyance, the full-time whistle blew before they could take it. Their keeper was so incensed he ran the length of the pitch to protest to the Referee.

With the match kicking off a few minutes late, and a total of seven minutes injury time in the game, fans wanting to get the 9.45pm DART only had a few minutes (the ground is a one minute walk from the station) to spare, with a thirty minute wait until the next one.

A corner kick which doesn’t get properly cleared could leave fans with very little room for error.

It’s good to see decision makers taking football fans into consideration.

Those that weren’t in a rush to get the DART stayed to celebrate a vital win.

Photo Album

Bray Wanderers v Sligo Rovers 2015

Bray Wanderers v Drogheda United 2014

ST PATRICK’S ATHLETIC 0-2 IFK NORRKOPING 11.7.2019

My summer of Scandinavia continued with a trip to Richmond Park while I was in Dublin, to see St Patrick’s Athletic take on Norrkoping in the UEFA Cup.

All I know about Norrkoping is that it was a host venue at Euro 92, hosting games between Scotland, Germany and CIS. If you can’t remember what CIS was, it was the Soviet Union version of Beady Eye.

It was a stroke of luck I was at this game. I knew I would be in Dublin on a European night, but there would be only one Dublin team in the UEFA Cup. Then Waterford weren’t able to enter and got replaced by St Patrick’s Athletic, meaning there were two options.

Then both them and Shamrock Rovers were drawn to be away on 11th July. Flip sake. But things were saved due to UEFA not being keen on two games in the same city on the same night (although Belfast staged two games on Thursday) and the legs of this tie were switched, so off to Richmond I went.

That would have been bad news for Pat’s fans, as I am a bit of a jinx for them. My previous two visits to Richmond Park had brought two 0-0 draws, while they failed to beat Linfield at Windsor Park when I saw them in 2008 and 2010.

And then there was a 5-1 mauling at Dalymount Park in 2016.

I’m willing to listen to offers if Bohs, Shelbourne and Shamrock Rovers fans are wishing to crowdfund for me to go to all their matches. Obviously i’ll need travel, ticket and loss of earnings from working half-day every Friday to be paid for.

This wasn’t my first UEFA Cup game in Dublin. My previous one was a bit more grand, the 2011 Final at Lansdowne Road.

It wasn’t even first time i’d seen a team from Republic of Ireland take on a team from Sweden, having been at the match between the respective national sides at Euro 2016.

The top five things I love about Richmond Park:

1. It has a programme shop.
2. It has a programme shop.
3. It has a programme shop.
4. It has a programme shop.
5. It has a programme shop.

I had a look around. There are a few Linfield bargains to be had, and not all the programmes are matches against St Pat’s.

Both teams started off nervously, both sets of players making basic mistakes.

It was summed up by Mikey Drennan leaving a through ball he could have got, Norrkopping’s defence and keeper leaving it for each other, inviting Drennan to chase it, resulting in a tackle which conceded a cheap throw.

Despite enduring a frustrating half, Drennan caused enough concern in the Swedish defence for one of them to get a yellow card for a cynical foul as he advanced goalwards.

The standout name on the away teamsheet was Jordan Larsson, at the centre of everything Norrkopping did in an attacking sense. The ball stuck to him every time he got it. On his left foot at least, he really needs to go to the Right Foot Shop to get one.

I’m sure his dad will be happy to offer him advice, former Manchester United loan signing Henrik Larsson.

Despite Larsson troubling them, St Pat’s held their own in the first-half. A quick free-kcik resulted in a shot that went just wide across the goalkeeper.

They also had a couple of penalty appeals turned down. I didn’t think they were penalties, but my view was a minority where I was. They were the sort of ones you will appeal for, but not for me.

Early in the second-half, Norrkoping went 1-0 up with a low strike from Simon Thern. The irony was, with all the focus being on the son of an ex Celtic player, it was the son of an ex Rangers player, Jonas, who opened the scoring.

Larsson was determined to make it an Old Firm juniors double, but would be denied and frustrated. The closest he would come was from a shot which hit the post.

With just minutes remaining, Norrkoping got a second when a header was deflected in off a Pat’s defender.

I was behind the goal, and you could agonisingly see the ball change direction, and nobody could do anything about it.

Norkopping wanted more and a series of saves by Brendan Clarke stopped the scoreline from being worse.

Not totally out, but up against it, I think St Patrick’s Athletic fans would have preferred the 0-0 scoreline I usually bring them when I visit Richmond Park.

Photo Album

St Patrick’s Athletic v Drogheda United 2013

St Patrick’s Athletic v Sporting Fingal 2010

LINFIELD 0-2 ROSENBORG 10.7.2019

It is said that living a bit Scandinavian is good for you. Not for Linfield.

This century, FC Haka, Viking Stavanger, HJK Helsinki, Halmstad, Elfsborg, Randers, Rosenborg and AIK have ended their European hopes.

It’s either a team from Scaninavia or a former Soviet state.

But not since 2014.

Since then, Linfield’s European hopes have been ended by teams from Slovakia, Republic of Ireland, Scotland and East Belfast.

After a year’s absence, Linfield were back in Europe, and face familiar, but difficult opponents in Rosenborg, having met in 1986 and 2010 in the European Cup.

They had hoped to meet in 2017, with Rosenborg being who Linfield would have faced if they had got past Celtic.

This match came in a midweek where there was a surprising amount of football in Belfast. Any Rosenborg fans arriving in Belfast a day early had a choice of three games in East Belfast with Glentoran (Harland and Wolff Welders), East Belfast (Ards) and Dundela (Glenavon) all hosting pre-season friendlies.

Fans of Haugesund (Cliftonville) and B36 Torshavn (Crusaders) could have taken in another game if they arrived the day before their respective UEFA Cup ties. I didn’t see any at Windsor Park myself though.

Linfield had one survivor from the previous meeting in 2010, which unsurprisingly was Jamie Mulgrew, though there were a few players from the team that night who are still playing in the Irish League.

Linfield’s starting eleven for this match included Bastien Hery making his debut the day after signing for the club from Waterford, with Michael O’Connor heading the other way on loan.

Hery looked comfortable on the ball and could pick out a pass. He also looked comfortable running with the ball. I know what you’re thinking, he’s going to get fouled about 20,000 times next season.

It also means that we have a player similar to Jamie Mulgrew, meaning that Mulgrew can be taken out for a few games (he’s recently turned 33) when needed in order to save him for bigger games.

In order to prepare for this match, Linfield headed to Spain to train, and came home to rain.

This was a match which drew a big crowd, the queue of people standing in the rain prior to kick-off made me glad I got my ticket on the Saturday before.

It had been so long since my last visit to Windsor Park, I thought I was going to have to look up directions to find it.

Linfield were on the attack straight from kick-off and held their own in the opening minutes, with Niall Quinn heading just wide.

Jordan Stewart was playing tricks on Rosenborg’s defence and getting into good positions, while Matthew Clarke’s low cross was intercepted by Rosenborg’s keeper.

It wasn’t all Linfield though, Rosenborg hitting the post through Tore Reginiussen, the aftermath causing some panic in Linfield’s defence.

Rosenborg took the lead when Mike Jensen snuck in on the right hand side unmarked to finish from close range.

It wasn’t quite against the run of play, but Linfield were holding their own. It wasn’t the end of the world though. This time last year, Glenavon came from 1-0 down in the UEFA Cup to beat Norwegian side Molde, managed by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Whatever happened to him?

The goal did deflate Linfield for a while though, as the game meandered for a bit.

Bastien Hery had Linfield’s first shot on goal in the second-half, an easy save for Rosenborg’s keeper.

Shane Lavery came on for Kirk Millar, to make his debut for Linfield. Surprisingly for Millar, as most would have expected it to be a like for like change for Andrew Waterworth.

I only know the basics about him, but the general consensus was that this signing was a bit of a coup for Linfield.

His brief cameo appearance looked promising. Good positioning, comfortable on the ball and not afraid to shoot.

Unfortunately, Rosenborg made it 2-0 on the counter attack within a minute of him coming on, wrapping up the game, and more than likely the tie.

So, match 1 of 2019-2020 didn’t get the result I wanted, but it won’t be a European exit for Linfield. If they don’t turn around the deficit, they will face a UEFA Cup tie against HB Torshavn, who trail HJK Helsinki 3-0 from the first-leg.

From next season, the Irish League will lose a UEFA Cup place. The only good that will come out of it will be the end of the ridiculous UEFA Cup Play-Offs.

If they are kept, you could have a situation where a team could finish 2nd, one point behind the Champions. If they don’t reach the Irish Cup Final, they will then go into a Play-Off including teams that sat in mid table all season. Nothing more than a reward of mediocrity.

There have been other ins and outs at Windsor Park this summer. Roy Carroll is one of those. To be honest, I wouldn’t be surprised if he rejoined on a short-term basis when (or if) he recovers from injury.

That means that Alex Moore has now been promoted to 2nd choice Goalkeeper, so it is unlikely he will go out on loan again.

Cameron Stewart and Jonathan Smith have left. Not really surprising in either case, it would be hard to see where they would get games.

Ross Larkin has come in from Portadown, I don’t really know much about him. Mark Haughey is on the way back from injury, which is almost like a new signing.

As things stand, the squad is good to go. It feels like you’ve done your Christmas shopping by November 7th.

Using last season’s team, you have Gareth Deane in nets with Alex Moore as back-up.

Josh Robinson is still injured so that will need to be monitored.

Using last season’s back four of Casement-Robinson-Callacher-Quinn, we will have back-up of Haughey, McGuinness, Stafford and Clarke.

Assuming Hery and Mulgrew will be in midfield, we’ll have Fallon, Mitchell and Larkin as back-up.

Further up the field, we’ll have Stewart, Kearns, Cooper and Millar going for three positions.

Up front, there is Waterworth and Lavery battling for the striking position, with Forde and Reynolds options that are available for the bench.

Tempting fate, but we are good to go.

The fixtures for the new season are out, and i’m not too unhappy. You don’t too easy a start like in 2015 and 2017, so it’s good to have two big games against Ballymena United and Coleraine in the opening week.

We didn’t get Warrenpoint Town away on the day John Power is doing a concert in Warrenpoint. Flip sake.

Not ideal, is a trip to Institute on the day Northern Ireland are at home to Holland. That’ll be a quick rush back, even with an expected 1pm kick-off.

Looking a bit further ahead, I’ve applied for tickets to three games at Euro 2020. A Monday group match in Dublin, a Last 16 match in Dublin (involving the winner of England’s group) and the Final. Wish me luck.

I’ve got my first United match of 2019-2020 booked, a midweek match in January against Burnley, just as I did in 2018-2019. I hope to go to a UEFA Cup group match as well.

I’m heading over to Edinburgh in a few weeks time for the Edinburgh Festival. My football choices are Dunfermline Athletic v Dundee, Hibernian v St Mirren and Livingston v Motherwell.

Dunfermline’s match has been moved to Friday night for TV, which is tempting me, leaving me free to spend Saturday at the Festival.

My only previous visit to Dunfermline was for a match against Dundee in 2015.

Unfortunately, that might be my only football match in Scotland this season, with Linfield not entering the Scottish Challenge Cup, which is disappointing. The competition is staggered through the season and could easily be accommodate in the fixture list.

I bet Glenavon get Stranraer away, just to make it worse.

The draw for the NIFL Cup has already taken place and Linfield are away to Ballinamallard. Not ideal for travelling, but with it being the Tuesday after a Bank Holiday, if you want to sneak in a short trip to Fermanagh, the opportunity is there.

In terms of future football trips, it has been announced that the San Siro is due to be demolished in 2023, so I had better get myself into action if I ever want to visit it.

Harland and Wolff Welders are due to move to a new ground in 2020. I don’t know when in 2020, but if it is during the forthcoming season, i’ll try to sneak in a visit.

Maybe it’s because of this draw, and getting into the music of Sigrid (Hope she announces her own headline show in Belfast to compensate for pulling a sickie at Belsonic), but i’m having a real Scandinavian vibe at the moment.

It could possibly be because i’m in the middle of a house move and it’ll be filled with Ikea, Flying Tiger and Sostrene Grene.

One final thing, the new Linfield kit is a belter.

2019-2020 is now up and running.

Photo Album

Linfield v Rosenborg 2010

MAGAZINE ARCHIVE : MANCHESTER UNITED – JANUARY 1997

Ryan Giggs, modelling United’s new third kit, is the cover star of the club’s official magazine, laying down the gauntlet to FC Porto, United’s opponents in the European Cup Quarter-Final.

As you open the magazine, there is an advert to buy a Manchester United branded Gameboy, if that’s your thing.

Pat Crerand’s column continues on a European theme, commenting that the main difference between United and Juventus – who beat United twice in the group stages – is that Juventus players are more experienced.

In news, Roy Keane is hoping to return to action this month after injury, while there is a new Norwegian at Old Trafford with Erik Nevland joining Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ronny Johnsen.

A breakout star this season, David Beckham gets a five page interview.

Also getting five pages is United’s recent game against European Champions Juventus, canvassing the viewpoints of those who witnessed it on TV, touchline and stands.

There is a review of United’s matches in November 1996, a month that brough mixed results.

United’s mixed form doesn’t concern manager Alex Ferguson as he gives a mid season report.

In ads, ASDA announce that you can now buy United merchandise at their stores.

The magazine ends with a Q and A with Ben Thornley, who reveals that he recently went to see Bryan Adams in concert.

MAGAZINE ARCHIVE : FOOTBALL ITALIA – JULY 1997

It’s a special edition of Football Italia dedicated to the achievements of Juventus, who have just won their 24th Serie A title.

There is a review of Le Tournoi in France, a four team tournament that Italy finished bottom of. Despite that, there were still reasons for the Azzuri to be optimistic.

There is a profile of two of Italy’s best young strikers, Filippo Inzaghi of Atalanta and Vincenzo Montello of Sampdoria.

Juventus get a whopping thirty-five pages, looking at their two International trophies, European Cup Final defeat, Serie A title, as well as profiles of Marcello Lippi and Zinedine Zidane.

Having pushed Juventus close in the title race, Parma get a double page profile.

The magazine ends with listing all the results in Italy in the final weeks of the 1996/1997 season.

MAGAZINE ARCHIVE : MATCH – 24.3.1984

It’s the League Cup Final, and this is reflected with both Everton and Liverpool being represented on the cover. Both teams are looking to make history. Liverpool by winning the trophy in four successive seasons, and Everton to win it for the first time.

The match gets a four page preview, with a series of top flight stars being canvassed for their opinion, and the consensus is that Everton will win.

There is a profile of Matchman Of The month, Davie Cooper of Rangers.

Also getting profiled is new Aston Villa signing Steve Foster, who is happy with the move as it means he won’t have to play against Peter Withe, who he rates as his toughest opponent.

Match assesses form of Liverpool and Everton in this season’s League Cup, based on the player ratings in Match Facts, with Everton edging out Liverpool by a score of 6.81 to 6.77.

Plymouth Argyle get profiled as they dream of a trip to Wembley after putting Derby County out of the FA Cup, with a Semi-Final against Watford at Villa Park standing in the way.

It’s also the League Cup Final in Scotland, with the game between Rangers and Celtic getting a double page preview. There is also a poster of Robert Prytz of Rangers.

Ratings seem to be a theme in this magazine, as Glenn Hoddle gets a go at rating Everton and Liverpool’s players.

The magazine ends with a profile of Mark Lawrenson, who says he wants to be a Commentator when he retires.

MAGAZINE ARCHIVE : SHOOT – 22.3.1980

It’s the first Cup Final of the 1980s, as Wolves take on Nottingham Forest in the League Cup Final, and Shoot commemorates this by having Emlyn Hughes and John Robertson on the cover.

The match gets six pages, with Emlyn Hughes and John McGovern discussing the effect of their respective managers. It is a cup final which sees Nottingham Forest aiming to win the trophy for the 3rd successive season.

In Scotland, Derek Johnstone uses his column to welcome Ian Redford to Ibrox, having signed from Dundee for a Scottish record of £210,000.

Terry Venables uses his column to express his delight at George Best’s return to football with Hibernian, and wishes Alan Ball good luck in his role as Player/Manager at Blackpool.

Talking of Hibs, there is a feature on Peter Cormack, as he returns to the club where he started his career, after leaving for Nottingham Forest in the early 1970s.

Martin Thomas of Bristol Rovers gets a profile, as he is described as Wales next goalkeeper.

Norwich City are the subject of a Club Spotlight, and readers got a free poster.

There is a feature called Soccer’s Wasted Talent, looking at the players who are sitting on the bench for their club, such as Duncan McKenzie, Peter Barnes and Tony Currie.

Chris Hughton talks to Shoot about being happy at Spurs, and Steve Coppell issues a warning to Liverpool that Manchester United will fight until the very end for the title.

MAGAZINE ARCHIVE : WORLD SOCCER – JANUARY 1986

Bryan Robson is the cover star of the first World Soccer of 1986, a year he hopes will bring him glory for club and country, neither of which have celebrated glory since the 1960s.

The draw for the 1986 World Cup has taken place, the first World Cup where final group games are played simultaneously, amid complaints of travelling between stadiums.

This draw gets plenty of coverage. The group stages sees Italy and Argentina paired together, the 4th successive World Cup they would meet each other.

There is a feature on Canada captain Bruce Wilson, who finds himself without a club six months before the tournament, while Morocco get a profile.

There is a double page report on Juventus, who have just won the World Club after beating Argentinos Juniors on penalties.

There is a feature on European Cup Quarter-Finalists Steau Bucharest.

In Austria, Bruno Pezzey has been appointed captain of the national side, as they aim to qualify for Euro 88.

In England, it looked like Manchester United were going to run away with the title, but have been pulled back by Liverpool after a series of bad results.

Malcolm Allison has the World Cup on his mind, but the 1990 one, having been appointed manager of Kuwait.

In Turkey, there is unrest at Fenerbache, with players protesting at bonuses that were promised to the squad not being paid.