MAGAZINE ARCHIVE : NORTHERN IRELAND FOOTBALL – SPRING 2007

Dean Shiels is the cover star of Northern Ireland Football, as he has made a comeback after having an eye removed in early 2006.

In news, Mark Clyde of Wolves and Northern Ireland has had to announce his retirement at the age of 24 due to a succession of injuries.

At Burnley, Michael Duff and Kyle Lafferty have signed new deals that will keep them at the club until 2010.

Dean Shiels gets a full page interview, having made a comeback for both club and country, looking forward to a Scottish League Cup Final for Hibs against Kilmarnock.

Alan Shearer was recently in Belfast to present awards to Glenn Ferguson, Peter Thompson and Darren Kelly on behalf of Umbro.

Darren Murphy spills the beans on his Ballymena United team-mates, revealing that Mark Picking has the worst taste in music.

David Jeffrey gets a two page profile as he celebrates ten years as manager of Linfield.

The 2007 edition of the Setanta Cup has just kicked off, and a full page feature looks at the success of the competition so far.

Grant McCann gets profiled, as he hopes to get game time in Northern Ireland’s upcoming European Championship Qualifiers against Leichtenstein and Sweden.

The recent friendly against Wales, a 0-0 draw at Windsor Park, gets a full page picture special.

Meanwhile, the Irish Cup has announced a new sponsor, JJB Sports.

Northern Ireland’s Women are also in European Qualifying action, kicking off with an away game against England in May 2007.

Cliftonville get a double page profile, having just won the County Antrim Shield.

Across Belfast, there is a feature of Peter Thompson, Michael Gault and Paul McAreavey, who are settling into life as full-time professionals based in the Irish League, as they adjust to no longer having to combine playing with a full-time job.

McAreavey was selected for an Irish League Select XI who defeated the English Conference 3-1 at Mourneview Park.

Colin Murray and Neil Lennon were recently in Belfast to present the Football For All Awards.

MAGAZINE ARCHIVE : SHOOT – 14.6.1997

It might be the summer of a non tournament year, but there is still plenty to occupy Shoot, as Ryan Giggs and Gary Speed are the cover stars in June 1997.

In transfer rumours, Alen Boksic is heading to Manchester United, while Dino Baggio is heading to Newcastle United or Liverpool.

Real Madrid offered Hercules players a bonus to beat Barcelona and help Real win the title, which they did, with Shoot wondering why Middlesbrough boss Bryan Robson didn’t think of doing something similar.

England’s recent World Cup Qualifier in Poland turned out to be a nightmare for marketers, as the referee wouldn’t let England wear their new away kit, while Umbro sponsored Alan Shearer was photographed in a Nike Poland kit after swapping at the end of the game. To top it all off, pitchside advertising at the ground had adverts for Sky’s coverage of England games in France that summer. Poland v England was broadcast in the UK on Channel 5.

Crystal Palace’s Bruce Dyer has got the Adidas logo shaved into his head, saying it stands for “All day I dream about scoring”

Ryan Giggs gets a two page interview, where he speaks of his relief that David Beckham was taking a lot of the attention and spotlight he previously had.

Also getting two pages, is Tottenham Hotspur launching their new kit, with model Sophie Anderton, no relation to Darren, joining players. One player not there, was Teddy Sheringham, who had handed in a transfer request.

Lee Bradbury gets a profile after a successful season at Portsmouth with earnt him a big money move to Manchester City. Simon Grayson gets asked who he would like to be stranded on a desert island, choosing his teamamte Steve Walsh, Ian Botham, U2, Princess Diana and Sandra Bullock.

In posters, you could put promising teenagers Michael Owen or Nicholas Anelka on your wall.

Gary Speed gets a double page interview, reflecting on a season that saw Everton battling against relegation, to the point that Speed was constantly checking the league table on Teletext.

Speed credited survival to youngsters such as Richard Dunne, John Hills and Michael Ball.

In competitions, there were two seperate Eric Cantona videos – one looking back at his time at Manchester United, and the other being his cinematic debut, a French movie called Le Bonheur ….. Est Dans Le Pre.

Tim Sherwood gets a double page interview, looking forward to meeting new manager Roy Hodgson in order to secure his own future at the club, and hoping that Hodgson can help attract top English and foreign stars to Ewood Park.

World Cup Qualifying gets a round-up with the headline “WE’RE GOING TO ITALY” – I’m not sure why, as the 1998 World Cup was in France, though England’s next away game was in Italy. England, Scotland and Republic of Ireland’s chances are profiled, with Wales and Northern Ireland being footnotes, due to both teams being as good as out.

MAGAZINE ARCHIVE : MATCH – 24.6.2000

Alan Shearer, in his trademark “Arm up” goal celebration pose, is the cover star of Match, midway through Euro 2000, as England have just beaten Germany 1-0 in a crunch group game, with the headline “Where were you on June 17th 2000?”

In my case, watching the game in work.

Michael Owen is interviewed for a featured called “My Favourite Goal”, which unsurprisingly, is his goal against Argentina in the World Cup two years earlier.

Pep Guardiola is interviewed in a feature called F.R.I.E.N.D.S, where footballers talk about their best friends, Guillermo Amor being his.

Marcus Stewart is interviewed for a “Taste Taste” feature, asking footballers to chooses between two things. He prefers A-Ha over Aqua, Pounds over Euros, and BMW over Rover.

Match dedicates three pages to England’s Euro 2000 diary, documenting the change in emotions from the opening defeat to Portugal, to the win over Germany in the second game.

Meanwhile, Match spends 48 hours with Holland, ahead of their opening game with Czech Republic, which they won 1-0 with a late penalty.

Posters on offer include stars of Euro 2000 such as Pavel Nedved, Paul Scholes, Edwin Van Der Sar and, um, Niclas Alexandersson.

It’s not just players who get multiple page features, as Match interviews supporters at the tournament, about who they support, how they got to Euro 2000, and if they have enjoyed it.

Mark Bright is now Match’s letters guy, the main topic being Euro 2000. He doesn’t hold out much hope for Belgium (they went out in the groups) and describes England as “Now having a superb team”

A new phenomenon, the internet, gets a review feature, as Match reviews England fanzines such as “And Waddle Steps Up”, “England Supporters Online” and “England FC”

Meanwhile, Scott Minto of West Ham takes on Damien Francis of Wimbledon in a Euro 2000 Quiz. Both players scored 8 out of 10. Both players incorrectly said the Euro 2000 final would be in Amsterdam, while Minto though Tommy Soderberg was the coach of Norway (the correct answer was Sweden) and Francis thought Alessandro Del Piero scored Italy’s opener against Turkey. The correct answer was Pippo Inzaghi.

MAGAZINE ARCHIVE : SHOOT – 8.8.1992

It’s the summer of 1992, and English football is a week away from a brand new era.

On the inside cover is a poster of young Nottingham Forest star Roy Keane, as the new ‘Super League’ is formed, as Shoot states “Disregard for the paying public has reached an all time low with the formation of a Super League, introduction of all seater stadiums, and the Sky TV deal” as Shoot declares it will become a voice for the fans over the coming years.

Shoot dedicates a double page spread to Ian Wright and Paul Merson, the strike partnership of recently dethroned champions Arsenal.

In their European round-up, Ajax striker Ron Willems says he wants to play in England. Shoot claims that both Manchester United and Everton are interested in him.

In 1996, he eventually made it to English football, with Derby County.

The European round-up has a section called ‘Brits Abroad’, focusing on Bobby Robson (Sporting Lisbon), Paul Gascoigne (Lazio), Des Walker (Sampdoria) and David Platt (Juventus) as they were settling in to new clubs on the continent.

Alan Shearer’s British record transfer from Southampton to Blackburn Rovers is brought up on Jimmy Greaves Letters Page, as a reader suggested the move was motivated by money.

Greaves acknowledges that Blackburn have a better team than Southampton, but “He ain’t going to be winning the title at Blackburn”

John Fashanu is the subject of a Q and A, where he modestly states that he is good enough to play for Liverpool or Manchester United, but adds that he might not be able to persue other interests outside the game.

One of those interests was listed simply as ‘filming’ which we now know as Gladiators.

There’s an advert for the following week’s edition ……… possibly the favourite and best selling edition of Shoot each year …….. the one with the Team Tabs, for a historic season, the first of English football’s breakaway Premier League.

EUROBOLLOCKS – THE KNOCKOUT STAGES

The group stages are over and the serious stuff was ready to begin, as eight sides battled to be crowned the Champions of Europe.

First up, were Czech Republic and Portugal, in a game that was known as The Cristiano Ronaldo Show.

Christiano Ronaldo was on a one-man mission to get Portugal into the Semi-Finals, which he succeeded in doing, winning the game, and the heart of Jonathan Pearce, in a show of fawning not seen on the BBC since they wheeled out a load of 40 something minor celebs to reminisce about the Bay City Rollers and David Cassidy et al on the ‘I Love The 70s’ series during the early 00s

To give you an idea of the mancrush, when Ronaldo scored, Pearce let out a scream not heard since Volcanosaurus obliterated Titanorator in the 1999 Robot Wars final.

Meanwhile, Portugal had a penalty shout in the first-half, to which Martin Keown commented “It’s just like WWE”

You have to admire Martin Keown for his research, as most football commentators describe penalty area manhandling as “It’s just like WWF” which as everyone knows, is no longer the name for the Wrestling organisation.

Next up, was Germany v Greece, or, Christmas for people who like doing shit topical jokes.

You see, Germany are meeting Greece in the Euros (And I fucking hate that term, it’s the European Championship) and off the pitch Germany and Greece are in some shit about the Euro, the currency, or something like that.

Having covered the FA Cup for the last four years, ITV have perfected the art of being patronisingly biased towards an underdog, and my word, ITV made sure Greece were the mid table League Two side of Euro 2012.

ITV were so biased, if Greece won, I would have expected them to cut back to the studio, and Adrian Chiles is dressed like he is in Dad’s Army, and proceeds to sing “Who do you think you are kidding Angela Merkel?”

Thankfully, Jamie Carragher wasn’t on punditry duty for that game, and thus, we were spared him talking about the nucleus of the Germany team that plays for Beyyynnn Mooonik.

Greece were heroically holding the Germans 0-0 for a long period of time, promptong co-commentator Jim Beglin to remark that “Germany are struggling to break down the Greece wall” which was surprising, as if any country specialised in breaking down a wall, it was Germany.

The following night, Spain met France in a game which was boring, which prompted a debate as to wether Spain are boring.

Spain are boring, but it’s boring to say that Spain are boring, but it’s boring to say it’s boring to say that Spain are boring.

I don’t know what position to take in this debate.

Sunday night, the one we are all waiting for, England v Italy.

Italy of course, are in decline with their worst ever team, there should only be one winner.

Before the match coverage had even started, modern journalism hit a nadir, as journalists queued up to provide live coverage of the England team getting off the bus at the stadium.

Yes, live coverage of people getting off a bus.

The pre-match analysis focused on the job Roy Hodgson had done with England, with Alan Hansen commenting on his ill-fated spell at Liverpool “It was the first time he’d managed a big club”

In Alan Hansen’s parallell universe, 18 time Siere A champions and 3 time European champions Inter Milan aren’t a big club.

Any big match these days isn’t complete without a wanky pre-match montage, and England v Italy didn’t disappoint. It wasn’t the worst one of the tournament though, as the BBC previewed England’s match against Sweden with a Joe Hart montage.

No harm to Joe Hart, but he’s a goalkeeper. You know a team is crap when the goalkeeper gets a montage. Prior to England’s opening game, the BBC had a montage of Stewart Downing prepared but had to scrap it.

It wasn’t the fact that Downing wasn’t selected for the game against France that saw the montage scrapped, but the fact that they couldn’t find any footage of him scoring or setting up a goal for Liverpool.

Italy is of course, the home of dirty tricks, and they pulled a real dirty trick by unveiling a player nobody had ever heard of before, Andrea Pirlo.

Apparantly, Andrea Pirlo has two European Cup winners medals and a World Cup winners medal, while Scott ‘Scotty’ Parker starred in a McDonalds advert. Amazingly, Pirlo turned out to be a bit better than England’s midfield.

England were in trouble, and Alan Shearer had a cunning plan …… that England should bring on Andy Carroll as “Italy won’t have played against a player like him”

In Alan Shearer’s parallell universe, there are no tall players in Siere A.

Ironcially, when Andy Carroll did come on, the only person who struggled with him was commentator Guy Mowbray, who kept calling him ‘Ashley Caroll’

And so to penalties, the most frustrating part was that Italy’s Christian Maggio didn’t take a penalty, purely for the commentator to say “So here’s to you Christian Maggio, a nation turns it’s lonely eyes to you …….”

So, England lost, and the end credit montage music was an acoustic cover version of ‘In The End’ by Linkin Park. Hadn’t England fans suffered enough?

The first Semi-Final between Spain and Portugal was boring, which wasn’t surprising as Spain are … wait, what’s the official line?

As the game was in extra-time, Martin Keown spoke for no-one when he commented “Nobody wants penalties”

Fuck off! When a game we don’t care who wins goes to extra-time, the thought of a penalty shoot-out is the only thing that keeps us going throughout extra-time.

The following night, as Italy went 2-0 up against Germany, Jonathan Pearce described it as “A major upset”

Yes, four time World Champions Italy now reduced to that status of a League Two team in the FA Cup 3rd Round.

Balotelli’s two goals against Germany made Alan Shearer look stupid (nothing new there) who dismissed him as “Having done nothing in his career”

When this was brought up in the build-up to the final, Shearer um ahhed that he meant at international level.

Fair point.

In an unrelated note, Lionel Messi has done nothing of note in his career*

(*In Irish League football, how many County Antrim Shields has he won?)

And so, to the game itself, Spain go 1-0 up through David Silva, prompting Guy Mowbray to quip “Silva strikes Gold for Spain”

No mater how many times you say it, it’s a pun which just doesn’t work.

I’m not even sure what the final score was, as I was too busy watching the match on CBBC.

Yes!!! CBBC showed the game live with various stars commentating on the game, including Hacker T Dog, who unsurprisingly made more sense than Mark Lawrenson and Andy Townsend combined.

If only this had existed in past European Championship finals.

Just imagine Saturday Swapshops’ Noel Edmonds and Keith Chegwin commentating on Panenka’s chip, or a Dream Team of Sarah Greene, Edd The Duck and Gordon The Gopher commentaing on Marco Van Basten’s goal against the Soviet Union.

And so, that was it, Euro 2012 was over, there was only one more battle …….. the end credit montage-off.

ITV had ‘Tonight Tonight’ by Smashing Pumpkins, while BBC went with an acoustic version of ‘Thriller’ by Michael Jackson that was so depressing, it was almost as if Mark Lawrenson was singing it.

Fair to say, ITV won the montage-off.

Gary Lineker signed out on “The reign of spain continues in Ukraine”

I’ll go fucking insane if Gary Lineker tries a joke like that again.

EUROBOLLOCKS – WEEK 1

We are now one week into this “Festival of football” which is harder to win than the World Cup, and always guarantees heavyweight clashes in the group stages.

Not only that, it guarantees bullshit punditry. I haven’t watched every game of the competition, but what I have watched hasn’t failed to see me bang my head against the wall at some of the punditry.

In the opening game between Greece and Poland, Mark Bright commented that neither side should provide too much concern to the players of Russia and Czech Republic “Sat in their hotel rooms with their feet up watching this” – Despite the fact that there was less than an hour before kick-off in that game.

As the game meandered to a draw, both commentators spoke about how “The opening games in tournaments are always draws” without any statistical analysis to back it up, suggesting that they were just spouting off cliches as the game entered the stage “When it is all about who wants to win it” and “Both teams will settle for a draw”

During the Poland-Greece game “Sir Chesney” trended on Twitter, in reference to Mark Bright’s pronounciation of Poland’s goalkeeper rather than Chesney Hawkes getting an overdue knighthood. At the end of the game Gary Lineker joked about it. It’s enough to make you want all analysis to be a blank screen with a compilation of tweets appearing on the screen.

The following day was Group B, taking on the role of “The Group Of Death”, though not literally.

BBC’s intro to coverage of Holland v Denmark began with a montage of previous “Groups of Death” which was hopelessly flawed. The montage included England’s Euro 88 group, though possibly because they were shite and lost all three games, and ignored the fact that the other Euro 88 group (Spain, Italy, West Germany, Denmark) was actually tougher.

Other “Groups of Death” ignored were the Euro 92 group with both Euro 88 finalists and the 1990 World Cup winners, and the Euro 2000 group with the Euro 96 finalists competing against the winners of 84, 88 and 92.

If you’re going to do a montage, at least do it right.

The Holland v Denmark game took place in Kharkiv at a stadium, which according to Jonathan Pearce, “Cost 50m Pound Euro to build” – I literally have no fucking idea what that means. Is it some sort of supercurrency he has created?

Denmark ended up getting a surprise 1-0 win, which some commentators seemed to equate with a non-league side winning at Old Trafford in the FA Cup 3rd Round.

Denmark, currently 9th in the FIFA Rankings, have reached the European Championships 7 out of the last 8 times, won it in 1992 and reached the Quarter-Finals as recently as 2004 ……. and yet BBC’s pundits and commentators viewed their win over Holland as a massive shock.

ITV have taken the step of hosting their coverage in the middle of Warsaw, doing their pre-match analysis of Spain v Italy in a cafe. You were kinda hoping the guy in the table behind them would be looking at porn on his laptop. Instead, we got Emiliano from Milano to give his opinions.

When talking about Italy, we are informed that “This is not a great Italian side” and “Italian football in decline” as Italy now appear to take on the Germany role of the footballing giant that pundits lazily declare as in decline with their worst ever team.

Meanwhile, Gordon Strachan’s analysis of Croatia v Republic of Ireland suggested that Republic’s players would be more hungry for this game, having not been in a tournament for ten years, and that Croatia players might be blase at always reaching tournemants. Croatia failed to qualify for the most recent international tournament.

Meanwhile, on Monday night, co-hosts Ukraine beat Sweden 2-1 in a game which, according to Lee Dixon “Had everything – two World Class players on the scoresheet”

Yes, the game that “Had everything” had two players scoring. That was it.

The “Had everything” is of course, a classic Shearerism, and not to be outdone, our hero reeled it out after a timefilling montage of Holland v Germany matches.

According to Shearer, Marco Van Basten “Had everything – pace and power”

Yes, according to Shearer, the player who ‘had everything’ only had two skills, basically running very fast and charging past people.

ITV, based in the centre of Warsaw, quite literally in the thick of the action as Polish and Russian hooligans beat seven bells out of each other nearby meant everytime Gordon Strachan opened his mouth, he was immediately drowned out by police sirens.

Last time there was that number of police sirens blasting out on ITV in the evening was in the glory days of The Bill.

Talking of grudge matches, the BBC weren’t slow in hyping up Holland v Germany. Somehow, nobody told Mark Lawrenson who sounded underwhelmed throughout.

Arjen Robben’s reaction to being subbed brought Lawrenson to life as he managed to fit in a bad pun that doesn’t really work that “There’s no Arjen team” – Geddit?

Amazingly, it got worse, as he morphed into full David Brent mode, proclaiming that TEAM means “Together Everyone Achieves More”

If the match lasted ten minutes longer, he would have started dancing to Disco Inferno and started singing ‘If You Don’t Know Me By Now’ by Harold Melvin

Mark Lawrenson : Friend first, Entertainer second, probably a Football Commentator third

Talking of bad puns, Tuesday’s Daily Mirror (There was a copy lying about in the cafe I was having my lunch) backpage headline led with “KINGS OF JOLOEN” in reference to England’s draw with France.

I’m just as confused as you are

Talking of bollocks in the written press, today’s Belfast Telegraph led with a story about shameless bandwagon jumper Gary Lightbody being “attacked online” for cheering on the Republic of Ireland in Euro 2012.

The report had no examples of this ‘Abuse’ nor did they quote any of this ‘Abuse’

Typing ‘Gary Lightbody’ and ‘@garysnowpatrol’ into Twitter doesn’t bring up any abuse. Strange that.

It’s almost as if they pre-empted a story which didn’t happen. Pretty fucking pathetic if you ask me.

MAGAZINE ARCHIVE : SHOOT – 24th DECEMBER 1994

A double issue from Christmas 1994 saw Shoot look back on the year just past.

The cover image is of a Christmas Tree and inset pics of stars of the year such as Alan Shearer, Stan Collymore, Jurgen Klinsmann, Andy Cole, Eric Cantona and Robbie Fowler.

Interesting to note that by summer 1996, three of the cover stars (Cole, Collymore, Shearer) were Britsh record signings.

Founded in 1969, Shoot celebrated it’s 25th birthday in 1994. To commemorate this, they were going to do a Dream Team of all the Premier League clubs. That week’s chosen clubs were Leeds United and Wimbledon.

Shoot does a month by month review of the year, with accompanying posters of that month’s star player.

The photo editor of the results section had an interesting sense of humour as a report on Vinny Jones making his internationl debut for Wales is acoompanied by a picture of him booting Hristo Stoichkov up in the air.

In world news, Roger Milla announced his retirement and Eintracht Frankfurt transfer listed three players – Maurizio Gaudino, Tony Yeboah and Augustine Okocha. All three ended up playing in the Premier League (though Okocha, not for 7 more years)

MAGAZINE ARCHIVE : SHOOT – 22nd JUNE 1996

This edition of the Magazine Archive sees us slap bang in the middle of Euro 96, as Paul Gascoigne and Alan Shearer adorn the cover of Shoot, giving the reaction to England’s 2-0 group win over Scotland.

The first four pages see two double page spreads dedicated to the game.

The rest of the magazine is dedicated to Euro 96’s other games with reviews and analysis.

Meanwhile Roberto Mussi says that Gianlunca Vialli, recently signed for Chelsea, will be a big star in English football.

It didn’t quite work out that way as the signing of fellow Italian Gianfranco Zola saw Vialli mostly used as a substitute, before becoming player-manager of Chelsea in February 1998.

Meanwhile, in Group D news, Turkey star Abdullah Ercan issues a “Come and get me” plea to English Premier League clubs. He never played in the Premier League.