MAGAZINE ARCHIVE : NI FOOTBALL – AUTUMN 2008

It’s a new era for Irish League football, as the top flight is reduced from 16 clubs to 12, with Michael Gault and David Rainey being the cover stars.

Northern Ireland have just started their campaign to qualify for the 2010 World Cup, and there is a full page review of their opening games against Slovakia and Czech Republic, where they only got one point from those two games.

Prior to that, Northern Ireland travelled to Scotland, and this game also got reviewed, as well as supporters experience of the trip.

Aaron Hughes gets interviewed, telling NI Football that he enjoys living in London now that he plays for Fulham, having been an Aston Villa player the last time he spoke to them.

From one Northern Ireland player who used to wear claret and blue to one who does, there is an interview with Burnley striker Martin Paterson.

Iain Dowie also reviews those opening two World Cup Qualifiers, stating that Northern Ireland really missed Kyle Lafferty in those two games.

Irish League sides in Europe during the summer of 2008 also gets reviewed and analysed.

There was a story which was a load of balls. The IFA agreed a deal with Umbro to supply matchballs. In competitions, you could win a pair of Umbro boots endorsed by Peter Thompson.

Roy Walker gets a double page interview, having just been appointed as Ballymena United manager, a year after a two day stint as Glentoran manager.

Relegated on a technicality, there is a full page feature on Portadown, as they aim to return to the top flight at the first time of asking.

There is also a double page feature on Northern Ireland’s underage sides, as they prepare for a busy run of fixtures.

Tim Mouncey is interviewed, spilling the beans on his team-mates, revealing that Andy Hunter is the grumpiest player at Portadown.

Warren Feeney gets interviewed having signed for Dundee United, and his ambitious to win trophies at Tannadice.

There is also a full page feature on newly promoted Bangor, who have just made Irish League history by playing in the first game to be played on a Sunday, against Glentoran at The Oval.

There are also interviews with Peter Thompson (Stockport County) and Steven Davis (Rangers, loan move made permanent) as they begin the season at new clubs.

THE FRIDAY FIVE – 7.4.2017

1. The Charlatans – Plastic Machinery
2. Kasabian – You’re In Love With A Psycho
3. James – Sit Down (Game Of Thrones 2017 version)
4. Shed Zeppelin – Good Times, Bad Times, Disco Down
5. The Sundowners – Great Beauty

So, concert news this week. Kasabian, supported by Blossoms playing CHSQ in August. Yes please!!!! Already happy with Kasabian, but Blossoms as support is the icing on the cake. I predicted that Blossoms would be coming back for a festival appearance this summer when I reviewed their recent Limelight gig. I wonder will Orla who got dumped be there. It was a you had to be there moment.

Also, George Ezra will playing The Limelight at the end of next month, previewing songs from his second album. Hopefully, as good as his last Belfast gig. Already got my ticket in the presale. You can read about his last visit here.

Meanwhile, Pet Shop Boys have announced a second Dublin gig in September due to demand. How about a Belfast gig due to demand? I bet they do one on the night Northern Ireland play Czech Republic so I can’t go. What have I, what have I, what have I done to deserve this?

Meanwhile, Bangor Court House might be turned into a concert venue. Interesting, very interesting.

Ryan Adams update. Still looking for a ticket for Ulster Hall in September. Standing, Face Value. Ta very much.

MAGAZINE ARCHIVE : WORLD SOCCER – APRIL 1996

Alexi Lalas, one of the more recognisable US footballers, is the cover star of World Soccer, as Major League Soccer, the national league of the United States, is about to launch.

The creation of a national league was a condition for USA hosting the 1994 World Cup.

Lalas got a move to Serie A after the 1994 World Cup, and was one of the headline signings as the league was about to launch, signing for New England Revolution.

Four pages get dedicated to the launch, with a team by team preview, with most of the players being American, including players such as John Harkes and Roy Wegerle, returning from Europe.

Kier Radnedge, the editor, uses his column to pay tribute to the recently deceased Bob Paisley and Helmut Schoen, and suggesting that the signing of Faustino Asprilla might derail Newcastle’s title bid, similar to how signing Rodney Marsh did for Manchester City in the 1970s.

Japan and South Korea are battling to host the 2002 World Cup, with the decisive vote coming up on 1st June. Eventually, both countries would co-host the tournament.

Radnedge also writes about Pay Per View football, stating that it is inevitable in English football. It eventually happened in 1999, as a one-off, when Oxford United played Sunderland (followed later that season by Colchester United v Manchester City), before becoming a regular occurrence from the 2001-2002 season, with the launch of dedicated channel, Premiership Plus.

In news, Manchester United signed Britain’s biggest kit deal, with Umbro, believed to be around a total of £40m until 2002.

South Africa fans at the recent African Cup Of Nations have been honouring defender Mark Fish by taking fish to matches.

Ahead of Euro 96, Kier Radnedge interviews Spain manager Javier Clemente, where he declines to answer if he intends to call-up Barcelona’s Dutch born but Spain eligible Jordi Cruyff, and declares England as favourites for Euro 96, but that the standard of club football in England has decline in the past decade.

Faustino Asprilla, who also appears on the cover, gets a double page profile.

World Soccer gives two pages to the recent Bosman Ruling, which has seen various clubs offer stars long-term contracts to protect their transfer value.

In Iberia, Atletico Madrid are aiming to win their first La Liga title since 1977, while a moustached Carlos Queroz has been sacked by Sporting Lisbon.

Oliver Bierhoff, just broke into the Germany squad, gets a profile. Little did he know, he would be Germany’s hero at Wembley three months later.

In Northern Ireland, Crusaders are on course to win the Irish League title. They didn’t, Portadown did. Bangor were struggling to avoid relegation, while the national team have arranged friendlies against Norway, Sweden and Germany.

Across the border, there are rumours that the League Of Ireland is planning to move to Summer Football.

Sami Hyypia, who attracted interest from Oldham Athletic, has moved to Willem II in Holland.

Brian Glanville uses his column to criticise UEFA’s proposals to allowing some countries to have more than one club competing in the European Cup.

On the final page, there is a feature called “Soccer Cities”, profiling football in a different city. This edition, was Glasgow.

PHOTO DIARY OF A FOOTBALL SEASON : DECEMBER

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ballymena United v Linfield

Linfield v Ballinamallard United

Linfield v Portadown

Carrick Rangers v Harland and Wolff Welders

Carrick Rangers v Harland and Wolff Welders Photo Album

Linfield v Glentoran

Bangor v Ards

Bangor v Ards Photo Album

PHOTO DIARY OF A FOOTBALL SEASON : JULY

After a two month break, my football watching for 2014-2015 began in early July, with the World Cup still going on (on the night of the first two Quarter-Finals) in Bray.

I was over there for a concert, and decided to take in a game as there was one on while I was there, a bottom of the table clash between Bray Wanderers and Drogheda United.

Carlisle Ground is a nice stadium for watching football in when it’s sunny. Unfortunately, when I was there, it was raining. A lot.

It was still an enjoyable game, with Drogheda winning 3-1.

On the night of the now infamous World Cup Semi-Final between Brazil and Germany, I was at Mourneview Park for the UEFA Cup tie between Linfield and B36 Torshavn, my first experience of seeing a Warren Feeney managed Linfield team in the flesh.

The following week, I was back at Mourneview Park again, for the next round against AIK, to see Linfield secure a fantastic 1-0 win. Unfortunately, a 2-0 defeat meant Linfield’s European hopes were over for another year.

Two days later, I was Bangor bound, as Linfield used Clandeboye Park for a friendly against Cowdenbeath.

My main reason for going was to check out the facilities at Clandeboye, which had recently had some renovation work and a new 3G pitch.

That was my football watching for July, the league season not long away from starting. It was great to be back watching football.

Bray Wanderers v Drogheda United

Bray Wanderers v Drogheda United Photo Album

Linfield v B36 Torshavn

Linfield v AIK

Linfield v Cowdenbeath

STATISTICAL ANALYSIS OF A FOOTBALL YEAR : 2014

So, my football watching is over for 2014. Time to look back at the year just gone. And what better way to do it than with a load of stats.

Games : 54

Goals Seen : 164

Red Cards : 17 (includes Rhys Marshall getting sent-off after the final whistle, but not Gary Hamilton being sent-off as a substitute before he entered the field)

Missed/Saved Penalties : 4

Hat-Tricks : 1 (Robin Van Persie, Manchester United v Olympiacos)

Teams Seen : 37

Accrington Stanley (1st time), AIK Solna (1st time), Ards, B36 Torshavn, Ballinamallard United, Ballyclare Comrades (1st time), Ballymena United, Bangor, Bray Wanderers (1st time), Carrick Rangers, Cliftonville, Coleraine, Cowdenbeath (1st time), Crusaders, Drogheda United, Dungannon Swifts, Everton (1st time), Exeter City (1st time), Faroe Islands, Glenavon, Glentoran, Harland and Wolff Welders, Heart Of Midlothian, Hibernian, Hull City (1st time), Institute, Leyton Orient (1st time), Linfield, Manchester United, Northern Ireland, Olympiacos (1st time), Peterborough United (1st time), Portadown, Real Madrid, Sevilla (1st time), Tottenham Hotspur, Warrenpoint Town,

Stadiums Visited : 19

Ballymena Showgrounds, Brisbane Road (1st time), Cardiff City Stadium (1st time), Carlisle Grounds (1st time), Coleraine Showgrounds, Crown Ground (1st time), Drumahoe (1st time), Ferney Park, Milltown (1st time), Mourneview Park, Old Trafford, Seaview, Shamrock Park, Solitude, Stangmore Park, The Oval, Tynecastle, White Hart Lane (1st time), Windsor Park

Competitions : 15

County Antrim Shield, European Championship, European Cup, European Super Cup (1st time), FA Premier League, Football League One (1st time), Football League Two (1st time), Irish Cup, Irish League, Irish League Championship, League Of Ireland, Northern Ireland League Cup, Scottish Championship (1st time), Steel and Sons Cup, UEFA Cup

Curiousities :

No real curiosities this year. There were two twins on opposing sides, but i’d already seen it. Other than that, a player setting up a goal with no boots. It was a poor year for curiousities.

UEFA 100 Club : Everton, Sevilla (now at 32 clubs)

BANGOR 2-3 ARDS 27.12.2014

One last football match in 2014, and it wasn’t a bad way to finish the year, as I headed to Clandeboye Park for the North Down Derby (although the area has now been rebranded as “East Coast”) between Bangor and Ards, also a top of the table clash in Championship 1.

Bangor were top of the league and unbeaten, aspiring to get promoted to the Premiership next year, having not applied for promotion for this season. If they did, they would have had a play-off against Warrenpoint Town, who they beat in the Irish Cup.

To give an indication of how far Bangor have progressed under the management of Garth Scates, the last time I went to see them, they were six minutes away from relegation to the third tier of Irish League football.

A more long-term measure of where both clubs were, is the fact that the last time I saw them play against each other, was in an Irish Cup Final.

Bangor and Ards are two of eleven clubs who have applied for a licence for the Premier League in 2015-2016, and both had their eyes on promotion.

For the record, Bangor were the home team today (both teams play at Clandeboye Park) with Ards home game resulting in a 1-1 draw in August.

I wasn’t the only neutral taking advantage of the fact there were no top flight games today, as I spotted Eddie Patterson (Glentoran play Ards in the Irish Cup next month) and Gary Hamilton (a former teammate of Bangor manager Garth Scates) in the crowd.

A good sight to see that there were queues right up to kick-off stretching to the bottom of the street of supporters wanting to get in.

It was Ards who took the lead with the first moment of note in the game, when James Cully managed to get himself free in the box and fired home, after 9 minutes.

Bangor dusted themselves off and went about getting level. They had good build-up play but couldn’t get a clear sight of goal. Bangor almost scored shortly after Ards went 1-0 up when a long range shot from outside the box smashed against the bar and out.

From where I was stood, I thought it was a goal. The linesman said no. No technology at this level to confirm one way or the other.

Soon afterwards, Bangor had a goal disallowed for offside.

It wasn’t all Bangor though, Ards were having just as much a say in the game, it was end to end stuff.

As the half neared an end, Ards got a free-kick within a shooting range. The clock stated 44 minutes. Sometimes you see a set pices being lined up and you know it will be a goal. So it proved, as Gary Warwick fired home to give Ards a 2-0 lead.

Like at Windsor Park the day before, a goal just before half-time had such a massive bearing on the game.

As when they went 2-0 down, Bangor responded by trying to get a goal to get them back in the game.

Early in the second-half, Bangor had a free-kick tipped onto the post. Bangor had a lot of possession but couldn’t get a breakthrough.

The game took on the pattern of a game where one team is 2-0 up and trying to score, while the other is content not to concede.

Ards had the mentality that they didn’t need to score. Truth was, if Bangor could pull it back to 2-1, they would have so much momentum going into the final stages.

Ards did almost score to go 3-0 up, but a goalbound shot was cleared off the line in the nick of time.

With 15 minutes to go, Bangor got a lifeline when a thunderous shot from Andy Hall hit the back of the net.

I was behind the goal at the time and ducked, as I was convinced the ball was going over. It was one of those efforts when it went right for him.

This spurred Bangor on, but they couldn’t get the equaliser from their pressure.

As each minute ticked by, Ards seemed to be seeing the game out and getting the win.

As injury time approached, Bangor appeared to run out of ideas. When there’s only one goal in the game, at any level, the game is still up for grabs.

Bangor got that one moment, eventually, and made the most of it. They managed to get one more attack and won a corner. The ball went out for another corner, which was eventually bundled home by Jordan Forsythe. The Bangor fans behind the goal celebrated wildly. Derby Day Pride had been salvaged, but more importantly, they wouldn’t be losing any ground to a promotion rival.

Watching as a neutral, I had a suspicion that the scoring for today wasn’t over. I couldn’t tell who would get that all important fifth goal.

It was to be Ards, when a shot off the post fell perfectly for Ross Arthurs to finish and put Ards 3-2 in injury time.

There was still some time remaining, and Bangor had one last chance, which was fired wide from inside the penalty area. It should have been a goal.

Bangor’s unbeaten league run was over, and the race for promotion has just got interested. Championship 1 is a lopsided league as teams often have games in hand due to cup commitments and gaps in the table can be deceptive.

Ards can go within three points of Bangor if they win their game in hand, Harland and Wolff Welders could go two points above them if they win theirs, as could Carrick Rangers.

My football watching is over for 2014 ……. i’ll only have to wait 15 hours before getting started in 2015.

Photo Album

2014 IN PICTURES – JULY

July began for me with a trip to Dublin, then Bray, primarily for a concert headlined by James and Paloma Faith, a bit of football to see Bray Wanderers, and some Dublin Street Art.

The following week, Linfield’s season was back up and running with the second leg of the UEFA Cup tie against B36 Torshavn at Mourneview Park, my first time seeing Warren Feeney’s Linfield in the flesh.

A 1-1 draw was enough to giver Linfield a tie in the next round against AIK, again at Mourneview Park, where and Andrew Waterworth goal secured a 1-0 win. Unfortunately, a 2-0 defeat in the away leg eliminated Linfield.

Two days later, it was back on the football wagon for Linfield’s friendly against Cowdenbeath. The only reason I went was to see Clandeboye Park, after having had some work done.

The month ended with another Wonder Villains gig, an instore at HMV.

Bray Wanderers v Drogheda United

Bray Wanderers v Drogheda United Photo Album

James – Live At Killruddery

James – Live At Killruddery Photo Album

Paloma Faith – Live At Killruddery

Paloma Faith – Live At Killruddery Photo Album

Dublin Street Art

Dublin Street Art Photo Album

Linfield v B36 Torshavn

Linfield v AIK

Linfield v Cowdenbeath

Wonder Villains Live At The Loft Photo Album

LINFIELD 0-1 COWDENBEATH 19.7.2014

Last time I went to Bangor, it had a grass pitch and was called Clandeboye Park. In the 14 months since my last visit, it has had a 3G Pitch installed, had some renovation work done, and been renamed the Bangor Fuels Arena as part of a sponsorship deal.

With Windsor Park out of use, Bangor Fuels Arena was the venue for Linfield’s “Home” friendly against Cowdenbeath. A trip to the Seaside in the middle of July? That sounds good. We were treated to typical Northern Ireland summer weather ……… pouring rain.

Less than 48 hours after the UEFA Cup game against AIK, this was a much changed Linfield team, 11 changes in fact.

I knew what sort of team to expect, but my main reason for going today was to see what Bangor Fuels Arena Clandeboye Park was like.

Obviously, the pitch was done, and had a Seaview style fence around the pitch, tarmac between terracing and the fence if supporters want to get closer, and supporters can now stand behind the end where the houses are. Though, with the weather as it was today, nobody took up that option, unsurprisingly.

The inexperience Linfield side held their own in the opening exchanges, with Ross Clarke being the focal point of the attacking.

Sometimes he lost the ball trying to do too much, but he was always trying to make things happen.

Eventually, Cowdenbeath took control of the game, creating some chances, which required some last ditch Linfield defending to deny them.

In the final ten minutes of the half, they got behind Linfield’s defence, and (just about) made it count.

Ross Glendenning hesitated, not knowing if he should stay on his line or run out to force the shot, and did neither, but the Cowdenbeath attacker crossed, and it was turned into his own goal by Niall Quinn, trying to intercept it.

Cowdenbeath stepped it up and it became important for Linfield to keep it 1-0 to half-time at least, as such an inexperience line-up could have fallen apart if the gap widened.

Linfield came out for the second-half strong, with Rodney Brown forcing a save from Cowdenbeath’s keeper, who also had to be alert as Conor McMenamin was unable to get a touch to a cross. If he did, he would have scored.

The rest of the second-half was typical pre-season fare, largely interrupted by substitutions from both teams.

Even though it was an inexperience Linfield team, there were still first-team players. In a departure from recent seasons, friendlies have run alongside European games, instead of being announced once elimination has been confirmed, meaning that players such as Ross Glendenning, Ross Clarke, Mark Haughey, Jimmy Callacher and Niall Quinn are getting game time ahead of the start of the domestic season.

Linfield had a late rally but couldn’t get a goal that would have secured a deserved draw, and Cowdenbeath’s travelling fans celebrated the win.

Hopefully, next year, there’ll be a return fixture.

Photo Album

STATISTICAL ANALYSIS OF A FOOTBALL YEAR : 2013

So, my football watching is over for 2013. Time to look back at the year just gone. And what better way to do it than with a load of stats.

Games : 48

Goals Seen : 135

Red Cards : 19

Missed/Saved Penalties : 5

Hat-Tricks : 2

Matthew Tipton (Linfield v Coleraine)
Cristiano Ronaldo (Northern Ireland v Portugal)

Teams Seen : 35

Ards, Ballinamallard United, Ballymena United, Bangor, Cliftonville, Coleraine, Crystal Palace (1st time), Crusaders, Derriaghy CC, Drogheda United, Dundee United (1st time), Dungannon Swifts, Falkirk (1st time), Fulham, Glenavon, Glentoran, Hibernian, IF Fuglafjordur (1st time), Israel (1st time), Linfield, Lisburn Distillery, Manchester United, Northern Ireland, Norwich City, Portadown, Portugal, Queens Park Rangers, Rangers, Reading (1st time), Russia (1st time), Shamrock Rovers (1st time), Skoda Xanthi (1st time), St Patrick’s Athletic, Tobermore United (1st time) Warrenpoint Town (1st time)

Stadiums Visited : 21

Ballymena Showgrounds, Clandeboye Park, Coleraine Showgrounds, Craven Cottage (1st time), Dixon Park (1st time), Easter Road, Ferney Park, Hampden Park, Ibrox (1st time), Loftus Road (1st time), Mourneview Park, Old Trafford, Richmond Park, Seaview, Seycon Park, Shamrock Park, Solitude, Stangmore Park, Tallaght Stadium (1st time), The Oval, Windsor Park

Competitions : 11

FA Premier League, IFA Championship, IFA Premiership, Irish Cup, League Of Ireland, Northern Ireland League Cup, Setanta Cup, Scottish Cup, Scottish Premier League, UEFA Cup, World Cup,

Curiousities :

2nd Feb/6th Apr : Two matches in one day

2nd Feb : First ever floodlight failure at a match attended, Fulham v Manchester United

Feb – Apr : Visiting, Queen’s Park, Rangers, and Queens Park Rangers grounds.

UEFA 100 Club : Dundee United (now at 30 clubs)

Top Five Matches :

1. Northern Ireland 2-4 Portugal
2. Falkirk 3-4 Hibernian AET
3. Fulham 0-1 Manchester United
4. Linfield 3-1 Cliftonville
5. Coleraine 2-3 Linfield