This week, has seen The Independent newspaper reveal their Twitter 100 list, using a calculated formula to determine who Britain’s most influential Tweeters are.

Inevitably, this has provoked a reaction. I wouldn’t get too worked up about it, it’s just a bit of harmless fun. (Ok, I’ll admit it, I’m gutted I wasn’t included on it)

So, to commemorate this, I’m going to do my own alternative Twitter list of who to follow, and the best and worst aspects of Twitter.

I signed up for Twitter in February 2009 after hearing about it in the media and was a bit slow on the uptake. My sole purpose for using it was to plug my Flickr site everytime I uploaded something, and to plug my blog, which was then hosted on Bebo.

Gradually, I got more and more into it, after discovering the various news and information sites using it, and began to become more interactive, and moved away from using it as a tool to promote “Brandrew”

Twitter, like any other social media site is a hard sell to those not on it. You really need to use it to see the benefits.


Like a lot of people, I use Twitter for getting football scores. It would be fair to say, that watching football on Twitter is the new watching football on Ceefax, which is handy, as I will mourn Ceefax when it ceases to exist later in the year.

My first “Twitter goal” came during the Manchester Derby in April 2010.

I was at The Oval that day for the Irish Cup Semi-Final between Linfield and Coleraine. That match kicked-off 15 minutes before the game at the City Of Manchester Stadium.

As I left The Oval, I checked the score and it was 0-0. As it approached what would be 93 minutes, I checked again, still 0-0.

I then hit refresh on my phone, and there was a flurry of tweets alluding to the fact there had been a goal, but not actually saying who to.

Tweets such as “1-0”, “What a dramatic finish”, “Knew there would be a goal” flashed up, as well as one saying “This could be a definitive goal in the title race”

That made me think City had won 1-0 and finished off United’s fading title hopes. I hit refresh again, just to put me out of my misery, and a tweet flashed up “LATEST : Manchester City 0-1 Manchester United (Scholes 90)”

The Twitter goal. A 21st century method of loading up Ceefax and hitting refresh on the latest scores page in the hope that your team have scored.


As you will have guessed, I love having instant access is one of my favourite things. I do have other uses for it. I have instant access to news sites, as well as events listings, and finding out info about TV recordings or free events in Belfast which I may not have been previously aware of.

Also, any question or query I may have, usually can get answered instantly, which is bloody great.


Twitter isn’t perfect and has some negative points. One of my main gripes is RT Phishers, who pester celebs for an RT. Worse than that, celebs usually grant these requests, thus filling up my timeline with a list of people who are celebrating their birthday or need cheering up because their cat has just died, when frankly, I couldn’t give a flying fuck.

Birthday requests and shout-outs are for local radio, not for Twitter.

As well as that, there is usually some sob story followed by “worth an RT?” – Ugh, just fuck off.

“Or, I need followers, please RT” – You could always try being interesting, funny, witty or informative. I’ve never followed anyone on the basis of a celebrity RT.

Also taking the biscuit is “Can I get an RT in memory of (Dead Celebrity) so we can get #ripdeadcelebrity trending?” – As sad as a celebrity death is, a hashtag isn’t going to make things better.

If I was a celebrity, I’d have a strict “No RTs” policy on Twitter.

One day, all marketing campaigns and strategies will simply be “Let’s ask Dermot O’Leary for an RT”


As much as I loathe to give him a chapter, it is quite funny to see him getting owned on Twitter. Though, it should be pointed out, it’s the intellectual equivalent of beating San Marino at football.

I don’t follow him, but people in my timeline RT him. He wrote a double page spread in the Mail On Sunday about being “Twitter pals” with Wayne Rooney.

Usually, he Tweets a “Joke” about Rooney looking like Shrek. Rooney then usually ignores him or replies “Fuck off” – Ahhh, what pals.

Morgan manages the impressive feat of making me feel sorry for Arsenal and their supporters. Some of his classics as self-appointed Gooner Spokesman include boasting about Arsenal demolishing Newcastle (they ended up drawing 4-4) and mocking Swansea just after Arsenal went 1-0 up (Swansea cam back to win 3-2)


Of the two main broadcasters in Northern Ireland, UTV were the first to really “Get” and embrace Twitter. So much so, that the opening credits to UTV Live now feature the show’s hashtag (#utvlive) and profile names appear on captions when reporters appear on screen.

Most of their reporters are on the site, and manage to strike the balance of forwarding on stories (local and national/international of interest) that have just come in through the newswire, as well as tweeting from the scene of stories they are covering, and from court cases (judge permitting)

They also have an automated account posting up stories added to their website and a “What’s on now?” account, like a cyber continuity announcer, announcing what’s on now, and other programming news. BBCNI have since launched a similar account to do BBC 1 NI and BBC 2 NI.

BBCNI were a bit slow off the mark but have come to embrace Twitter with most of their journalists and shows having an account, now signing off Newsline bulletins with a link to their Twitter account (as well as Facebook)

News Letter, mainly through Rebecca Black (@hackedoffhack) have begun to use Twitter to preview the following day’s front page from 10pm onwards. Belfast Telegraph doesn’t do this and have become very defensive in their content, trying to urge people to wait to buy the paper edition in the morning before posting links to stories on their website.

For UK wide newspapers, Sky News now posts the following days covers each night.

Belfast Telegraph, News Letter and Irish News are well represented on Twitter in terms of personnel, and most local papers within Northern Ireland are now starting to embrace Twitter.


Irish League football has embraced Twitter. So much so, that Leon Knight got a ban (which was later rescinded) for comments made on the site.

A podcast, The Social Club (@thesocialclubni) has proved so successful, it has now moved to UTV’s website. It’s four contributors @holtchris @keith192 @markjmcintosh and @laurejames all have an active Twitter presence.

My own club, Linfield, doesn’t have an official Twitter account, but the unofficial account @linfield_fc offers fans an excellent service on matchdays if you can’t get to the game.

Linfield supporters site South Stand Says @southstandsays is also worth a follow.

Of the dedicated sports departments of print and television, worth a follow are @beltelsportsdes @utvsport @newslettersport and @bbcsportni

Of journalists, Graham Luney (@grahamluneybt) has been described as “Influential” by Joe Brolly. Not sure if that’s an endorsement or not. It’s unknown what Joe Brolly’s opinion of @garethfullerton is, but mine is that he’s worth a follow.

Liam Beckett (@liam_beckett) is worth a follow for his rants on the price of coffee in Belfast. His commentary partner on Radio Ulster Joel Taggart is a recent convert to Twitter (@taggartjoel)

Other journalists worth following include @ourlogie @ulsterrobbo @andrewgillan

As part of their sponsorship with the national team @vauxhallni is an official account with news and competitions for supporters. The IFA’s official account can be found @officialirishfa

Players and clubs worth a follow include @colerainefc @matthew_tipton @distilleryworld @ballymenaunited

Also worth a follow is @talkinballs and @theirishlegue


Match Of The Day @bbcmotd now has it’s own official account with goal updates and a running order for the show, which is always handy. For Premier League updates, it’s worth following @premierleague

There are numerous football parody accounts on Twitter, two of the best are Jamie Redknapp @literallyjamie and @thebig_sam

For statistics, trivia and oddities, @mirkobolesan is a must follow. For in-game statistics, it’s hard to look past @optajoe

Journalists and Broadcasters worth following include @stancollymore @iainmacintosh @danwalkerbbc and @henrywinter

Four Four Two (@fourfourtwo) is the best to follow of the football magazines out there.


Northern Ireland music is well represented on Twitter with alternative ulster (@aumagazine) and it’s editor (@_chrisjones_) both frequent tweeters.

Northern Ireland’s two biggest outdoor concerts, Belsonic (@belsonicbelfast) and Tennen’t Vital (@tennentsvital) are both on Twitter, keeping fans up to date of line-ups and ticket details.

For concert news, @mcd_productions is worth following.

For local music writing, @edwinmcfee is worth following

Local bands that tweet regularly and are worth a follow include @wondervillains @timwheeler1977 @ktcarnival and @tdcinemaclub


If you love the repeats of the 1977 Top Of The Pops currently running on BBC Four, then @yesitsnumberone and @totp1977 are a must follow.

For general music news @qmagazine and @popjustice are worth a follow.

Journalists worth following include @paulreesq @eve_barlow @petepaphides and @alexispetridis


As previously stated, UTV have really embraced Twitter.

@utvonair does what it says, and is an online continuity announce for what’s on now, and coming up later on the channel.

UTV journalists that are regular Tweeters and worth a follow are

@dt_utv @markmcfadden @judith_utv @jamie_utv @kenreid_utv @aideen_utv @pamballantine @sharon_utv @ruthgorman_utv @saraneill_utv @alifleming_utv @marcmallett_utv @hagan_utv and @paulclark_utv


Not to be outdone, BBCNI are also represented on Twitter.

@bbcnievents keeps people up to date with recordings and events, and how they can apply for tickets while @bbconeni is their online continuity announcer.

Journalists and presenters worth following are

@jimfitzbiz @lindseyha @mlchealth @jolong03 @tv_natasha @alansimpsonbbc @nialfoster @markdevenport


Northern Ireland journalists now in England and further afield that are worth a follow include @illneelyitv @yolympicorla @skyman64 @jenofcroths @kellyallen01@Eamonn_forde @eamonnholmes and @mrgordonburns

Special mention to @paul_gilmour who is set to join Sky Sports News

Ivan Little (@bigivanlittle) is a phem, phenon, phe, femon, phenomenon.

Unreality TV (@unrealitytv) is a TV blog based in Belfast and well worth folowing.

Journalists and publications based in Northern Ireland include @bmoney_times @janedaybreak @saragirvin @connollymaeve @maureencoleman1 @mrsghenderson @nicolarice82 @news_letter @hackedoffhack @sineaddoyle @kimsshowbizlife @weemcg @thesundaylife @banbridgechron and @gomagonline


Of UK papers, @theipaper is worth a follow, as are @gracedent and @caitlinmoran

For showbiz and celebrity, @deanpiper is worth a follow.

If you enjoy your news light-hearted and ripping the piss, you should follow @newsthump


Danny Baker (@prodnose) was made for Twitter, and never fails to entertain. Classic gags include breaking the news that busty girls in your local area waiting to chat were considering withdrawing their advertising from News Of The World due to the phonehacking scandal and breaking the news that a riotous mob had tried to set a barbecue store ablaze during the Tottenham Riots, but it just wouldn’t go up in flames. A must follow. Justin Moorhouse (justinmoorhouse) is also worth following

For news (@itvnews) while Gay Times Magazine (gaytimesmag) is also worth following for TV commentaries. They come into their own during X-Factor.


Manchester United are well represented on Twitter with players (past and present) and many journalists on the site.

Of players, @fizzer18 @themichaelowen and @gnev2 are worth following

From the media side of the fence, @andymitten and @nickcoppack are worth following.

For a supporter’s view @redissue @bbcredwednesday and @unitedrant are worth following

In you love topical and hilarious jpegs, then @beardedgenius is your man


The Gods in Blue.

Get following @aburnsey14 @geoff20man @kris_lindsay @billyjoe_12 @carvill88 @spidermonkey888 @mulgrew22 @gaulty5


The world of politics has embraced Twitter, with the vast majority of Northern Ireland politicians using Twitter.

These are complimented with party accounts as well. Most Northern Ireland politicians usually engage with followers in debates, or if they have a query.

That said, if I needed to contact a politician about a business matter, I’d prefer to go through an official channel such as a phone call or e-mail.

Last October, Martina Anderson tweeted that she getting ready to appear as a panellist on the BBC TV show ‘Questions and Answers’

If you haven’t worked it out yet, it was Question Time she was booked to appear on.

Question Time (@bbcquestiontime) has become a massive Twitter success story, you often wonder how people watched Question Time without Twitter. It is commonplace for the Trending Topics during the show’s broadcast to be exclusively QT related.

It is always a joy to hear David Dimbleby speak about Hashtags and Tweets, as if he knows what he’s talking about.

The show has inspired a parody Twitter account (@dimblebot), a robotic version of David Dimbleby who frequently “Defeats” and “Eliminates” his panellists.

Andrew Neil (@afneil) is worth a follow

Many of the local journalists and news organisations previously mentioned RT local politicians as part of their work.


If you want to know what Christine Bleakley is up to but can’t be bothered buying Sunday Life, then you should follow the woman herself (@clbleakley)

Former Hollyoaks star Gerard McCarthy (@gerard_mccarthy) is very funny and worth a follow, though he is currently taking a Twitter sabbatical for lent. The Blame Game’s Jake O’Kane is well worth a follow (@jakeokane)

There are many public service on Twitter, with BBCNI providing Travel (@bbcnitravel) and Weather (@newslineweather)

Other public services include Peelers (@policeserviceni) and Met Office (@metofficeni)

If you love information about delayed buses and trains, then (@translink_ni) is the Twitter account for you.

To find out what people in Northern Ireland are Tweeting about, then Trendsmap (@trendsbelfast) is a must follow. Be warned, it’s usually Harry Styles and Justin Bieber.

Happy Tweeting, hope this has helped you find some accounts you previously didn’t know existed.

And I shall end on a shameless plug. You can follow me on @andrewastewart


Just giving everyone a heads up that I am now on Pinterest.

Joined last week and I am impressed with it so far. It’s very much like Tumblr, but a lot more easier on the eye.

If you’re on Pinterest, feel free to add me at


Seemingly so, or not, depending on who you believe. The site is seemingly offline at the moment due to a “temporary hitch”

There is an irony to it all. I found out about it on Twitter, the main social media I use in place of Bebo, and I am blogging about it on WordPress, the main blogging interface I use instead of Bebo.

It’s quite trendy to knock the site, but it was great in it’s heyday, back in 2006 and 2007.

The site was so big during it’s heyday, it was subject to weekly reports on Newsline about how it was corrupting the youth of the nation.

It seemed there were only two types of people using Bebo : Paramilitaries recruiting people and Paedos grooming people.

No paramilitary ever tried to recruit me and no Paedo ever tried to groom me. Feel quite left out.

Nowadays, the Newsline and UTV Live scare stories focus on Facebook and Twitter, with poor Bebo feeling left out.

It was an innocent text message that started it all for me. I’d been asked about a party that night. It was the first I knew about it, as it had all been organised via Bebo.

So, the next day, I signed up and got hooked. After adding my main circle of friends, people who worked at The Globe, I then sussed out people from school, and the period between school and The Globe, and found myself getting back in touch with old friends I hadn’t seen in ages.

I couldn’t help but think what life working at The Globe would have been like if the social media boom had happened while I worked there. I think every shift would have begun with “Andrew, a quick word about a recent status update”

It is thanks to Bebo that I fell back in love with photography. As per ettiquette, I needed to have a profile photo.

I hate getting my photo taken, so I uploaded some photos of graffiti and murals from my phone. The quality was rubbish, so I went and took better ones with a digital camera.

And thus, I got the bug, and now take photos of everything and anything.

To be honest, photos are the only reason I used Bebo the past three years, as there was very little interaction, but it was great for having a photo archive and for getting jpeg properties for putting onto WordPress.

Unfortunately, it looks like i’ll have to edit two years worth of blog posts containing photos. Thankfully, I made back-ups on Myspace (Yes, I know)

A social media site is only as good as it’s content. Facebook has friend updates, Twitter has news updates, Myspace has music uploads. Bebo …… well?

Also, I got the blog bug as well as I started writing a weekly update on what five songs I was enjoying the previous week, and my thoughts on the previous week’s football.

As well as this, I did concert reviews whenever I went to a concert.

I know that people were reading it, as songs I listed were appearing on people’s flashboxes soon after.

I’d been thinking about leaving for a while, and I took the plunge into WordPress in late 2009. There were so many better features, such as categrosiing and the ability to have more than three previous posts on a page.

Such was my Bebo inactivity, that I would get e-mails reminding me that it was a friend’s birthday, so I would log onto Facebook to wish them a Happy Birthday.

It will always remind me of the last year of my degree, as that’s when I signed up and got the most use out of it.

If this is the end of Bebo, it would have been nice if the pages were kept as an archive rather than being wiped totally.



This edition of The Magazine Archive focuses on the short lived weekly magazine ’90 Minutes’

Owned by IPC, who own Shoot and World Soccer, it did seem strange that they would add a third publication to their repotoire.

Ryan Giggs adorns the cover with the main feature not of him, but of how winning the double isn’t enough for Manchester United.

The editor’s note comes courtesy of the magazine’s editor Paul Hawksbee, who now presents an afternoon show on Talksport.

The lead story that week was Billy Bonds shock departure as West Ham United manager on the eve of the new season starting.

The topical cartoon in the news section is frankly disturbing.

Aston Villa had just signed John Fashanu, who was combining his football career with presenting Gladiators. In the cartoon, Fashanu is in manager Ron Atkinson’s office, when Atkinson asks him for a favour, which turns out to be Ron Atkinson becoming a Gladiator.

In other news, Nottingham Forest manager Frank Clark has urged star striker Stan Collymore to “Settle down and find the love of a good woman”

I’m not going to make a comment on that.

With or without the love of a good woman, Collymore was Britain’s most expensive footballer 12 months later after a £8.5m transfer to Liverpool.

The much hypes article on Manchester United explains that United’s share price rises when they win and falls when they lose. Hardly earthshattering revelations.

Meanwhile, ’90 Minutes Live’ is an opinion piece where fans are interviewed on an issue outside a ground.

Supporters were interviewed outside Ibrox prior to a pre-season tournament involving Rangers, Sampdoria, Manchester United and Newcastle United about a possible British Super League.

Jamie McDonald, a 15 year old Celtic supporter helpfully informs us “I don’t like English football or English people – or Scottish people”

Match Of The Day, celebrting it’s 30th birthday that week, gets a double page spread in it’s honour looking back at it’s illustrious history.

With the Premier League season about to start, 90 Minutes predicted the league places for the season ahead.

They said Arsenal would be Champions, how wrong they were.

It did turn out to be an eventful season for Arsenal, with Paul Merson revealing drug addiction, George Graham being sacked for taking a bung, and on the pitch, they reached the European Cup Winners Cup final.

Eventual champions Blackburn Rovers were predicted to finish 4th.

Aston Villa were predicted to finish 6th and spent most of the season battling against relegation, while Nottingham Forest were predicted to finish 12th, but ended up 3rd.

They were spot on with the prediction of Ipswich Town to finish 22nd, which they did, including a 9-0 defeat at Old Trafford.

In their foreign round-up, David Ginola featured prominently, unhappy that the PSG board vetoed a move to AC Milan. A year later, he ended up at Newcastle United. Tough break.

Towards the end is possibly the worst competition prize ever, as you can Richard Keys Sky Sports jacket, which aaccompanies a piece where the former TV-AM presenter is given a makeover.

If you can remember Sky’s coverage of the early years of the Premier League, it was clear he needed one.


The first Q of a new decade, looking back at the last decade, as the cover has a montage of 1980s icons Madonna, U2, Bob Geldof, Mark Knopfler, George Michael with the headline “THE 80s : HOW WAS IT FOR YOU?”

For me, not bad. I missed the first three years, but I spent the rest of the decade crapping my nappy then watching Ghostbusters cartoons. Good times.

Gary Glitter is the subject of Q’s “Who the hell does ……..” feature. The answer we now know, is a big fat fuck paedophile.

In news, Terence Trent D’Arby suffered a humiliating episode at the hands of an autograph hunter, who asked him which one of Mili Vanilla he was.

In Adwatch, you could get a free chart album with 50 Budweiser ringpulls or a chart album for £2 with 18.

Considering the charts were dominated by Sonia, Jive Bunny, Jason Donovan and Reynolds Girls, you’d need to drink about 50 tins of Budweiser to want to listen to any of them.

The 1980s gets reviewed with a Q and A with a headline act from each year such as Suggs (1980) Human League (1981) Culture Club (1982) and so forth.

An advert in the magazine promotes that Queen were selling their Budapest concert available on CD Video, an early version of the DVD.

The 50 Best Albums Of 1989 looks back at the best albums of the year, featuring Stone Roses debut album, still lauded by music writers 22 years on.


World Cup preview edition complete with a free colour picture of the England team. Though not of Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The front cover features the Aztec Stadium in Mexico City, the venue of the final, and images of Graeme Souness, Bryan Robson and Sammy McIlroy, who captained Scotland, England and Northern Ireland at the finals.

The editorial focuses on Kenny Dalglish’s regret that he was injured and unable to play in the 1986 World Cup.

Meanwhile, Valery Lobanovsky was dramatically appointed manager of the Soviet Union after the previous manager was sacked after a run of bad results.

Lobanovsky led the Soviets to the Second Round in Mexico, and then to the final of Euro 88.

Having twice won the European Cup Winners Cup with Dynamo Kiev, he led them to the Semi-Finals of the European Cup in 1999, before his death in 2002.

Dynamo Kiev’s stadium has since been renamed in his honour.

Diego Maradona was interviewed and named England as his dream opponents should Argentina reach the final.

They had to make do with a Quarter-Final meeting of course.

The referees get a full page profile. Northern Ireland’s Alan Snoddy lists his fluent languages as English, he worked as a Bank Clerk and that his hobbies included Golf (and dreaming about giving penalties against Linfield and sending Linfield players off)

Due to print deadlines, the squads were announced after the publication date, so they had to guess the squads.

Northern Ireland’s squad includes Martin Caughey of Linfield, which was clearly a typo as the writer seems to have got Mark Caughey and Martin McGaughey mixed up.

George Dunlop, also of Linfield was also listed. He failed to make the final cut. Bizarrely, Bury’s Philip Hughes doesn’t have a date of birth listed.

Jim Platt of Coleraine was also in the Northern Ireland squad

The only other Irish League player at the 1986 World Cup was not in the Northern Ireland squad, but Canada, Terry Moore of Glentoran.

The European Cup final gets a double page spread, which is quite impressive for a 0-0 draw.

To set the scene for English readers, it begins by imagining an unknown Eastern European team has beaten Manchester United in the European Cup final at Wembley, which was strange considering United hadn’t won the league in 19 years at this point.

Brian Glanville’s column is very pessimistic about England, Scotland and Northern Ireland’s World Cup chances claiming that Bobby Robson isn’t the man to lead England, and suggests that if Billy Bingham was England’s manager they would do much better.

Alex Ferguson, despite winning a European trophy with Aberdeen “has done nothing yet at international level to convince me of his qualities” despite the fact he’d only been Scotland manager for less than a year.

Glanville also responds to criticism of the 1986 World Cup being held in Mexico (and maintains that the 1970 tournament shopuldn’t have been held there either) and that the kick-off times had “Been prostituted for television”

Could be an accurate description of English football in 2011.


In this edition of The Magazine Archive, we look at Q in December 1988, a world where REM are on the cover, and Freddie Mercury dabbles in the world of opera.

This month, the music world is being set alight by a controversial and fiesty peroxide blonde. Not Lady GaGa, but Wendy James of Transvision Vamp, who gets a double page profile.

In news, Pete Waterman goes to war with Radio One at an industry conference by describing the station’s management as “40 year old tossers”

Pete Waterman, remember, was born in 1947.

In the letters section, Terence Trent D’arby writes to complain about a favourable review, that he is not worthy of comparison to Robert Cray.

Meanwhile, Dominic Sturges from Sheffield wrote in to complain that the back cover of the Pet Shop Boys album ‘Introspective’ gives a running time of 50 minutes and 3 seconds, which he says he has counted each song and this is wrong.

Freddie Mercury gets five pages dedicated to his opera collaboration with Monserrat Caballe as they perform a concert to mark the countdown to Barcelona hosting the 1992 Olympics.

Sadly, Mercury didn’t live to see Barcelona to host the games.

Five pages are given to a look at the world of Paparazzi and how it has changed coming to the end of the 1980s.

The article finishes with a breakdown of rankings of celebrities and their photo value by status.

In December 1988, Bros was A-List while Paul McCartney was C-List. Yes, you read that right.

Even more staggering, is that Michael Jackson and U2 were B-List ……. behind Bros.

Roger Moore shares a spot as a D-List celeb alongside Andrew Ridgeley, Simon Le Bon, Johnny Hates Jazz and Ian Botham.

E-Listers in December 1988 included Anita Dobson and Sinitta, now appearing in reality TV.

Sadly, fellow E-Lister Ben Volpliere-Pierrot from Curiousity Killed the Cat is still awaiting for his phonecall to appear on a reality TV show.


Welcome to a new series of The Magazine Archive. Apologies that there hasn’t been one for a while.

Got a full set of 1986 editions of World Soccer at a fair in May, but wanted to get some music magazines as I didn’t want it to be all football.

Was in Manchester recently and picked up some old editions of Q, so here we go.

The first one of this new series is the December 1986 edition of World Soccer, looking back at an eventful year of football, which had a World Cup that summer.

The front cover features Diego Maradona being carried aloft while carrying the World Cup trophy, as photographers try to get a picture.

It reminded of a feature in Four Four Two ten years ago title “100 Greatest Football Pictures”, and 6 or 7 of them were of Maradona. As was written in the feature, it appears no dull pictures of Maradona exist.

Page 3 focused on the World Soccer awards with Diego Maradona, unsurprisingly, winning Footballer Of The Year, with Igor Belanov second.

Pat Jennings was 20th, possibly getting sentimental votes as he retired that year, with his final game taking place in the World Cup Finals, against Brazil ……. on his 41st birthday.

Guy Thys won Manager Of The Year award for leading Belgium to the World Cup Semi-Finals, beating competition from Valeri Lobanovsky and Kenny Dalglish.

The previous year’s winner was 15th ……….. Terry Venables.

Argentina narrowly beat European Cup Winners Cup winner Dynamo Kiev to win the Team Of The Year award which was previously held by Everton.

Despite winning a 5th successive Irish League title in 1986, Linfield were disgracefully not in the Top 20.

The magazine features a double page interview with Diego Maradona, who explains that he grew a beard earlier in the year because his sister wondered what he looked like with a beard.

The other World Cup Final in 1986, the club version got a double page spread, with the writers casting Steau Bucharest in the role of underdogs against River Plate, which turned out to be correct.

The main story in English football got a double page spread as Ron Atkinson was sacked as Manchester United and replace by Aberdeen’s Alex Ferguson.

Ferguson was given a contract until 1990 and a brief to win the title, something which United hadn’t done for 19 years, and given their start to the 1986-1987 season, the wait would extend until 21 years at least.

“United aren’t the only victims of this unpredictable season. Below them are three other once famous and mighty clubs – Chelsea, Manchester City and Newcastle United”

Ironic, that those four clubs now sit at the top of English football when Ferguson celebrated his 25th anniversary in charge of United.

Meanwhile, bizarrely, police entered the pitch at Fratton Park to tell off two players for swearing at the ref.

Meanwhile, in Glasgow, an Old Firm derby match “ended in mayhem” as Celtic have seven players booked and Mo Johnston sent-off in a Skol Cup final defeat to Rangers.

Celtic manager Davie Hay was so angry after the game, he suggested that Celtic should apply to join England’s top flight.

Meanwhile, ten games into the 1986-1987 had Glentoran and Larne joint top, with Portadown second bottom.

That month, Portadown appointed Ronnie McFall as manager, and their fortunes went on an upward trajectory.


Amidst all the negative news from Belfast this past week, a new mural in tibute to former Radio 1 DJ John Peel has gone un-noticed.

The mural shows John Peel at the beginning of his career, alongside an image of him in his younger years with the text “John Peel 1939-2004″

Alongside the images of Peel is a 45” copy of ‘Teenage Kicks‘ by Derry band The Undertones, a song famously described as Peel’s all-time favourite.

The artist is Mark Ervine, a noted mural painter, who is the son of former PUP leader David Ervine. The image has been done to promote Bigg Life Arts Initiative, a charity which is being set up in the Cathedral Quarter.

There is of course, another tribute to John Peel in Belfast, Graffiti under a bridge near Short Strand which reads “Teenage Dreams, So Hard to Beat”, lyrics from previously mentioned single ‘Teenage Kicks’ by The Undertones.

Meanwhile, I also spotted some new graffiti by ANCO, a prolific graffiti artist in Belfast.

On Friday night, I was at Custom House Square to see Laura Marling perform at the Open House Festival.

It was an enjoyable concert and the support acts were all excellent as well, especially, Louise and The Pins.

Managed to get some photos, not the best though. They can be found here.

Unfortunately, I left early as I was drenched, properly drenched. I had a free ticket, so I didn’t lose out by my early exit.

The reason I had a free ticket was that I won a newspaper competition. It was the first competition i’d won in just under a year.

I’d previously done quite well out of competitions. Nothing major, usually DVDs and CDs, or tickets to local concerts.

The last competition I won was flights to Blackpool, but due to the inconvenience of dates, I didn’t use them.

It was almost as if I was being punished by the “Competition Gods”, if such a thing exists, until this week when I won Laura Marling tickets in two publications. The second publication, I e-mailed to say I wouldn’t need the tickets now and they replied to admire my honesty, so I think i’ve kept the “Competition Gods” onside for now.

Also this week, I was successful in getting tickets to see Manic Street Preachers at itunes Festival.

Unfortunately, the concert is next weekend, and when window shopping for flights, saw that it would cost well over £100 just to get to London. So, I decided not to take up the option of confirming my tickets.

I’d applied a long time ago in the hope that if I was successful, I would have enough notice to get a reasonably priced flight and hotel.

It’s a pity as I love the Manics, they’re one of the best live acts i’ve seen. If you’re going to this concert, you’re in for a treat.

Meanwhile, remember by recent blogs about how many teams that have reached a European Final that I have seen live?

Currently at 28 out of 100, I might be adding Aberdeen to this list, as they face Hearts at Tynecastle when I am in Edinburgh.

I’ve just booked a trip to Edinburgh in August for the third successive summer to take in the Edinburgh Fringe, which is going to be my STLFTEM for August.

I’d decided to wait until the Irish League fixtures were published before booking this trip, and it turned out to be a risk worth taking as the date i’d originally hoped to go sees Linfield face Glentoran at Windsor Park, a game I would have missed.

So far in the six months this year, i’ve had a STLFTEM for them, though I cheated for January, using the (re-arranged from December) game between Linfield and Glentoran.

So far, the STLFTEM’s for 2011 are :

January – Linfield v Glentoran

February – Barcelona trip, Northern Ireland v Scotland

March – Northern Irelannd v Slovenia

April – Crusaders v Linfield, three Linfield v Glentoran clashes, Beady Eye

May – UEFA Cup final, Man United v Blackpool

June – 3OH!3

August – Edinburgh Festival.

Now, I just need to have something to look forward to in July.


January 1997 is the subject of the latest Magazine Archive, set during the peak years of Britpop, and featuring Oasis on the cover, focusing on the Q Awards, which had just been recently staged.

It was a period when Q was mourning one of their main writers, John Bauldie, who was a passenger in the helicopter crash which killed then Chelsea Chairman Matthew Harding, which is commemorated in the obituaries section.

A whopping fifteen pages are dedicated to the Q Awards, with the first page of the feature having a double paged photo of various guests on stage, engaging in small talk.

Eagle eyed readers will have noticed Dermot Morgan and Ruud Gullit in conversation. It is worth clarifying that Ruud Gullit wasn’t sat on a shed, possibly because it wasn’t Christmas.

1996 was the year that saw Q celebrate it’s 10th anniversary, and the awards ceremony saw various celebrities record video messages of congratulations.

Amongst them, was Tony Blair, then Leader Of The Opposition, recorded one saying “Ten years in power with no opposition – Sounds good to me”. It was almost prophetic.

Ian Brodie was riding on the crest of a wave in 1996 on the back of “Three Lions” and gets five pages looking at his career to date, with minimal mentions of Baddiel and Skinner.

That month, Lightning Seeds were 11 in the Album Chart, being kept out of the Top Ten by Robson and Jerome, Spice Girls, East 17, Simply Red, The Smurfs, Boyzone and Rod Stewart.

Sometimes, history is better off being rewritten.