PHOTO DIARY OF A FOOTBALL SEASON : AUGUST

August began for me with the opening game of the 2018-2019 season, as Linfield travelled to Mourneview Park to take on Glenavon.

My next match was in the Scottish Challenge Cup, taking in Edinburgh City v Albion Rovers during a short break to Edinburgh.

Upon my return, it was back to Irish League football for me, with successive trips to North Belfast for Linfield, against Crusaders and Cliftonville.

Glenavon v Linfield

Edinburgh City v Albion Rovers

Edinburgh City v Albion Rovers Photo Album

Crusaders v Linfield

Cliftonville v Linfield

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2018 IN PICTURES – AUGUST

August 2018 was a busy month, and it began at Mourneview Park for the start of the 2018-2019 season as Linfield beat Glenavon 1-0.

The following weekend, I headed to Custom House Square to see George Ezra in concert. That was followed by a day trip to Bangor where I squeezed in some Street Art photos, including a mural of John Lydon.

It was then back to the football as I went to see Edinburgh City take on Albion Rovers in the Scottish Challenge Cup while on a short break in Edinburgh. I also managed to get some Street Art photos while in Edinburgh.

Upon my return to Belfast, was a trip to Seaview to see Linfield take on Crusaders.

The next few days were spent at Custom House Square, seeing Kasabian, Turin Brakes and Travis in concert.

The following Saturday was a trip to Solitude to see Linfield take on Cliftonville.

Glenavon v Linfield

George Ezra live at Custom House Square

George Ezra live at Custom House Square Photo Album

Bangor Street Art

Bangor Street Art Photo Album

Edinburgh City v Albion Rovers

Edinburgh City v Albion Rovers Photo Album

Edinburgh Street Art

Edinburgh Street Art Photo Album

Crusaders v Linfield

Kasabian live at Custom House Square

Kasabian live at Custom House Square Photo Album

Turin Brakes live at Custom House Square

Turin Brakes live at Custom House Square Photo Album

Travis live at Custom House Square

Travis live at Custom House Square Photo Album

Cliftonville v Linfield

EDINBURGH CITY 3-1 ALBION ROVERS 14.8.2018

Linfield might not be in the Irn Bru Cup this season, but that didn’t stop me taking in a game in this season’s competition.

As you will know, I like to visit Edinburgh every August. It’s not a football trip, but it would be rude not to take in a match while i’m there.

I was visiting Monday to Friday, but there were midweek matches on offer for me, as this was the week of the 1st Round of the Irn Bru Cup.

There was also European football the week I was there. Unfortunately, Hibs were away to Molde on Thursday.

Glasgow is only an hour away from Edinburgh, so if Rangers were at home, that would be handy if I wanted to go to it. They were away on the Thursday night.

If, for some reason, I wanted to watch Celtic, guess what? They were away too.

So, all I had was the Irn Bru Cup. There are a lot of towns with football teams commutable to Edinburgh, so my options wouldn’t be limited to the capital.

My options were Cowdenbeath v East Fife and Edinburgh City v Albion Rovers, while Hearts Under 20s were also at home, but that was never going to be considered.

I went with this game as it was a ground I have been to, having been there twice in the space of four weeks last Summer, taking in Edinburgh City’s game against Montrose while at the Edinburgh Fringe, and then returning in early September for Linfield’s Irn Bru Cup game against Spartans.

If you don’t already know, Edinburgh City groundshare with Spartans.

There was also the bonus that this game was half price admission if you had a Fringe ticket.

And, the bar was open pre-match, so I had a nosey around. There was a canvass print on the wall of Rod Stewart when he visited the ground, while somebody else killed time by watching AEK Athens v Celtic on their phone.

This ground was familiar to Albion Rovers, having lost 4-0 there in a League Two match just ten days earlier.

This could, and possibly should, have been me seeing Albion Rovers for the second successive season, as Albion eliminated Spartans from last season’s competition but fielded an unregistered player, meaning it was Spartans who hosted Linfield instead.

There were a lot of fiesty tackles going in during the early minutes, but it was Edinburgh City who came closest to scoring when a speculative effort hit the top of the bar.

However, it was Rovers who took the lead on 15 minutes when John Cunningham got clear and fired home, to give them a 1-0 lead they held until half-time.

As the second-half started, a Rovers fans urged his team on, yelling “COME ON ROVERS!! I’M MISSING RIVER CITY FOR THIS!!”

It didn’t have the desired effect, as City went 2-1 up with a quick double from Scott Shepherd and Blair Henderson, before Henderson clinched the game late on with a penalty.

With the game being decided on the night, I wasn’t too unhappy with the game being decided within 90 minutes.

The draw for the next round gave City and away tie against East Kilbride, who eliminated Spartans on penalties. It could easily have been an away game at their ground.

Photo Album

PHOTO OF THE SEASON : 2017-2018

I hope you’ve enjoyed the month by month look back at the 2017-2018. The less said about what happened on the pitch, the better.

I took a lot of photos, so i’ve rounded up my favourites.

Feel free to vote for your favourite.

PLATT LANE

This was taken in June last year when The Oval was being used for filming a movie about Bert Trautmann, and was decorated to look like Maine Road. I went to get some photos.

I specifically wanted one with 1950s Maine Road and 2017 Oval both in the same shot, and this was my favourite from that day.

CLANDEBOYE

You have roadworks to thank for this photo.

I was held up heading to Ards v Linfield and missed the first couple of minutes.

This was the scene that greeted me as I entered, a crowd with their eyes fixated on the pitch on a warm summer evening.

GARRETT

I like the composition of this photo.

You may be surprised that Robert Garrett is attacking and not defending, he had just kept the ball in play and was now being surrounded by two Dungannon defenders.

PHOTOGRAPHER

I just like the composition of this shot. Taken during Spartans v Linfield in Scottish Challenge Cup.

RAINBOW

Me being arty farty. I love trying to get pictures of rainbows over football grounds. Taken at half-time during Ballinamallard v Linfield in November. A rare time that afternoon when it wasn’t raining.

HAUGHEY

Same match, everyone huddled in the stand to avoid the rain. I like the composition of this shot.

FLEGS

Taken during the Northern Ireland v Switzerland match in November, green and white flags were left out before the game for fans to wave. I decided to take a shot as they were being waved and got lucky.

CELEBRATION

Everything fell into place for this shot, the sky, a well worked goal, and the whole team coming together to celebrate.

GOAL

I like this shot because it captures the emotion of a last minute equaliser as part of a late comeback that never looked like coming.

TIPTON

I was heading to the exit for a quick getaway (in my defence, it was an away game on a weeknight) and stumbled upon this framing as Matthew Tipton looked on as Warrenpoint took on Linfield.

CAMPION

Taken during Cliftonville v Linfield in February, the guy in the red coat makes it makes it with his celebration as Linfield players celebrate in front of their fans.

PHOTO DIARY OF A FOOTBALL SEASON : SEPTEMBER

September’s football watching began for me in Edinburgh, seeing Linfield take on Spartans in the Scottish Challenge Cup. That was followed two days later with World Cup action, as Northern Ireland took on Czech Republic at Windsor Park.

After that, it was all about Irish League action, taking in Linfield’s matches against Glentoran, Crusaders, Ballinamallard and Cliftonville.

Spartans v Linfield

Northern Ireland v Czech Republic

Northern Ireland v Czech Republic Photo Album

Linfield v Glentoran

Crusaders v Linfield

Linfield v Ballinamallard United

Cliftonville v Linfield

2017 IN PICTURES – SEPTEMBER

September 2017 began with a road trip, and a long one at that, to Edinburgh, to see Linfield take on Spartans in the Scottish Challenge Cup.

Two days later, it was another football match with an international feel, an actual international, as Northern Ireland took on Czech Republic at Windsor Park.

The following weekend was busy, taking in Ryan Adams at Ulster Hall and then Linfield’s match against Glentoran.

There was more football to follow, taking in Linfield’s matches against Crusaders and Ballinamallard.

The following weekend was football free but not photo free, as I was out capturing Culture Night, and Street Art painted as part of Hit The North.

The month ended with a trip to Solitude to see Linfield take on Cliftonville. The less said about which, the better.

Spartans v Linfield

Northern Ireland v Czech Republic

Northern Ireland v Czech Republic Photo Album

Ryan Adams live at Ulster Hall

Ryan Adams live at Ulster Hall

Linfield v Glentoran

Crusaders v Linfield

Linfield v Ballinamallard United

Culture Night 2017

Culture Night 2017 Photo Album

Hit The North 2017

Hit The North 2017 Photo Album

Cliftonville v Linfield

2017 IN PICTURES – AUGUST

August began for me at Wilgar Park, seeing Linfield take on Dundela in a Friendly.

The following night, was another Pre-Season Friendly, as I was on the road to see Manchester United take on Sampdoria at Lansdowne Road.

That weekend, I was travelling some more, heading to Edinburgh for a weekend away, getting some Street Art photos and taking in Edinburgh City v Montrose.

When I returned home, I was out getting some Street Art photos, the aftermath of Hit The East Festival in Eats Belfast.

The following weekend, the Irish League season started, with Linfield taking on Carrick Rangers at Windsor Park, followed by a midweek trip to Ards and a trip to Dungannon Swifts.

As soon as the final whistle blew at Stangmore Park, I was straight back to Belfast to see Amy MacDonald perform at Custom House Square.

A few days later, I was back at Custom House Square to see Blossoms warm up for Kasabian, or so I thought, as Kasabian pulled out at the last minute.

A few days after that, I was back at Custom House Square, to see Ocean Colour Scene in concert.

The following day, I headed to Windsor Park to see Linfield take on Ballymena United.

My photo adventures for August ended by getting snaps of murals of Jimmy Cricket, Jimmy Nesbitt, Jimmy Young and Carl Cox.

Dundela v Linfield

Manchester United v Sampdoria

Manchester United v Sampdoria Photo Album

Edinburgh Street Art

Edinburgh Street Art Photo Album

Edinburgh City v Montrose

Edinburgh City v Montrose Photo Album

East Belfast Street Art

East Belfast Street Art Photo Album

Linfield v Carrick Rangers

Ards v Linfield

Dungannon Swifts v Linfield

Amy MacDonald live at Custom House Square

Amy MacDonald live at Custom House Square Photo Album

Blossoms live at Custom House Square

Blossoms live at Custom House Square Photo Album

Ocean Colour Scene live at Custom House Square

Ocean Colour Scene live at Custom House Square Photo Album

Linfield v Ballymena United

The Three Jimmys and Carl Cox

The Three Jimmys Photo Album

Carl Cox Photo Album

SPARTANS 1-2 LINFIELD 2.9.2017

“Farewell Edinburgh, i’ll see you again in 2018” I thought to myself as I sat in the Departure Lounge at Edinburgh Airport less than a month ago, but the draw for the Irn Bru Challenge Cup had other plans for me.

Regular readers will know that I visit Edinburgh every August and take in a game. Having got a bit bored of alternating between Hearts and Hibs, i’d been commenting on how I wanted to see Spartans get promoted to League Two and take in a game at Ainslie Park.

I did get to see a League To game at Ainslie Park, but it was an Edinburgh City game, as they will be groundsharing with Spartans for the next three years due to Meadowbank Stadium being redeveloped. I’d previously never considered going to see Edinburgh City at Meadowbank Stadium as watching football in a ground with lots of empty seats miles away from the pitch sounded grim.

So, after wanting to visit Ainslie Park, I would be doing so twice in four weeks.

An away game in the Central Belt was convenient, not knowing who not so convenient, with Spartans only being confirmed as Linfield’s opponents nine days before, making it hard for fans to make independent travel arragements. Thankfully, the club offered a package for supporters to travel by bus.

It had been a while since I last travelled to Edinburgh by bus, and I suddenly remembered why I usually fly to Edinburgh.

It was a much changed Linfield starting eleven, far from what you would consider to be Linfield’s first choice eleven, be it if you consider the team that finished last season or the team that has started this season, minus Paul Smyth obviously.

In truth, i’m not sure anybody knows what Linfield’s strongest eleven is at the moment, in a good way, due to there being so many options.

This game offered a first start of the season for Jimmy Callacher after injury, and a start for Matthew Clarke after being on the bench due to injury. Clarke picked up where he left off, linking up well with Niall Quinn on the left hand side.

The only two names that might have been unfamiliar to Linfield fans would have been two recent loan signings Brandon Adams and Louis Rooney up front, though Rooney introduced himself with a hat-trick off the bench on his debut against Distillery in the League Cup.

A hat-trick from Rooney on his debut brought obvious comparisons with another Rooney. It must be remembered, that Wayne Rooney went three games without a goal after a hat-trick on his Manchester United debut. Just to manage expectations.

Spartans had the first chance of the game inside the first minute when Linfield couldn’t clear in their own half, but a long range shot went over.

After that, it was all Linfield pressure, with Brandon Adams having a shot blocked, Niall Quinn heading wide and Josh Robinson firing wide from a corner.

All that Spartans could offer was a Ross Allum shot that was saved.

Adams and Rooney were trying to get used to each other as a partnership. You could see there were promising signs but still need some work on the training ground.

As the half neared it’s end, Linfield got an opportunity to take the lead after a penalty for handball, which Louis Rooney scored with ease.

Within the opening minutes of the second-half, a quick free-kick allowed Stephen Lowry free space to shoot home from the edge of the box.

At 2-0 up, the game looked over and began to meander.

David Healy turned to his bench to give Adams and Rooney the afternoon off.

With about 76 minutes gone, a long ranger shot was spilled by Gareth Deane, and the rebound was finished by Blair Atkinson. Suddenly, the game had become interesting. A lot more interesting than it should have been.

It looked like Stephen Fallon was going to make it 3-1 but his close range effort before Ross Allum had a similar chance saved.

Once Allum’s shot was saved, you got the feeling that was it for Spartans, their best chance of extra-time had gone.

So it proved, as Linfield held on for a win that should have been more comfortable than it was.

Attention turns to the next round, and Linfield’s possible opponents. Here’s the outlook for possible away games.

Doable from Glasgow : Dumbarton, Falkirk, St Mirren

Doable from Edinburgh : Dundee United, Dunfermline, Falkirk, Raith

Bollocks to get to : Inverness

Doable by boat : Queen Of The South

Doable from Aberdeen : Elgin, Peterhead, Montrose, Cove

Short trip across Belfast : Crusaders

Dream : Stranraer

If there is a Football Santa, i’m hoping i’ve been a good boy and Linfield get Stranraer away.

Talking of long trips, Linfield got Ballinamallard in the League Cup. We’ve won every time i’ve went but this is on a weeknight. They can beat them without my presence inspiring them?

With Linfield being inactive today in League terms, Coleraine took the opportunity to go top of the League with a win over Glenavon.

Up next for Linfield, a home match against unbeaten Glentoran. Now, that would be a nice bubble to burst.

Photo Album

EDINBURGH CITY 1-3 MONTROSE 5.8.2017

As you know, when I visit Edinburgh, I like to take in some football while i’m there. I know what you’re thinking – Hibs or Hearts? The answer, was neither, as I headed to Ainslie Park to see Edinburgh City take on Montrose.

I fancied a change and this gave me a chance to visit a new ground for me.

A few years ago, Scotland’s lower leagues were restructured, offering the chance for two of Edinburgh’s smaller clubs Edinburgh City and Spartans a chance to gain promotion to League Two, which Edinburgh City did in 2016 after winning the Lowland League and then beating East Stirlingshire in a Play-Off.

There was one thing that put me off wanting to go and see Edinburgh City. That was the fact they played their home matches at Meadowbank Stadium, which was built for the 1970 Commonwealth Games.

As you will have guessed, this resulted in an athletics track around the pitch and a ground far too big for the team it hosts. A truly grim football experience.

However, it was announced that Meadowbank Stadium was to be redeveloped and, as a result, Edinburgh City would be playing their home games at Ainslie Park, home of Spartans.

The fixture list gave them a home game the weekend I was there. It was a choice of them or Hibs v Partick. I was hoping TV would move the Hibs match and allow me to go to both games, but the news that admission to Edinburgh City would be half price for anyone with a Fringe ticket sealed the deal.

I certainly got lucky going on the weekend I did, with Hearts moving their early home games due to a new main stand being built at Tynecastle. Incidentally, the old main stand at Tynecastle was the only stand in Tynecastle I haven’t been in.

The teams entered the pitch to sunshine and kicked-off in torrential rain. Classic Scottish Summer weather you could say.

Montrose started the game strongly, and then started to dominate. It was only a matter of time before they scored. They did, and then did again a few minutes later. They were hungry for more. Edinburgh City were glad to go in at half-time only 2-0 down.

Half-time was only a relief for Edinburgh City, as Montrose made it 3-0 from a free-kick in the opening minute.

The game was a mismatch, though Edinburgh City did get a consolation late on, a few minutes after having a player sent-off. The match finished 3-1 to Montrose.

I had toyed with staying in Edinburgh until Wednesday. If I did, instead of leaving on the Tuesday morning, I could have seen Hibs v Ayr in the League Cup.

Obviously, I plan on returning to Edinburgh in August 2018. By then, visits to Tynecastle (3 years) and Easter Road (5 years) will be overdue.

Photo Album