Five was very much the number on people’s minds at Windsor Park today. Linfield were looking to get two wins this week to reduce Crusaders five point lead at the top of the Irish League, and get a win over Glentoran in the traditional Boxing Day fixture for five years in a row.

The festive period had already got off to a good start for Linfield. The first team had a dramatic late win last weekend, while a very young Linfield Swifts team won the Steel and Sons Cup on Christmas Eve, against a team from East Belfast.

One of the goalscoring heroes from Christmas Eve, was rewarded with a place on the bench for this game.

It was a slow start from Linfield, all of the play was in their half, as Glentoran dominated possession.

Eventually, Linfield began to take control of the ball, almost scoring when an attempted Glentoran clearance hit the top of the crossbar.

Aaron Burns and Marj Haughey then went close from a corner.

Soon after, Kirk Millar broke away. A tee up to Stephen Lowry seemed the obvious opportunity but he flashed it across goal, Elliott Morris parrying the ball to Aaron Burns, who fired over via a Glentoran defender. He really should have scored.

It didn’t matter, as Mark Haughey headed home from the resulting corner to put Linfield 1-0 up.

Aaron Burns then created space for himself but fired wide via a deflection. It looked like being a matter of time before Linfield made it 2-0.

It looked like happening when Andrew Waterworth created space for himself, but he shot wide, or when Aaron Burns fired a shot goalwards, which was saved.

Glentoran had moments in Linfield’s half, but nothing to worry Roy Carroll.

Linfield had a deserved half-time lead, but couldn’t get a two goal lead that surely would have secured the points.

A slow start to the second-half by Linfield allowed Glentoran back into the game. They might not have had a chance, but if Linfield weren’t going to kill them off, all it needed was for one chance to come their way.

Just before the hour, a headed clearance fell perfectly for Aaron Harmon to head into the net.

Linfield couldn’t say they weren’t warned. The only positive was that they still have half an hour to do something about it.

There was a brief flurry from Linfield after the goal, but not enough to suggest a 2nd goal was inevitable. David Healy turned to his subs bench, bringing on Josh Carson for Kirk Millar, who suffered an injury in a challenge.

Even if he wasn’t injured, Millar would have been a prime candidate to be substituted, having endured a frustrating afternoon.

Cameron Stewart came on from the bench, hoping to get a second vital goal in just over 48 hours.

Chris Casement fired a free-kick wide as Linfield searched for a winner. They weren’t getting the bounced. They weren’t making their own luck like against Ballymena United the previous week.

On 86 minutes, Stephen McAlorum was sent-off for a late tackle. It was the second Boxing Day game in which he had been sent-off in. At least he lasted 80 minutes longer today than he did in 2012.

Linfield couldn’t make the most of the one man advantage. For all of the ball being in Glentoran’s defensive third, they never looked like putting it in the back of the net. There would be no repeat of last Saturday’s dramatic late heroics.

It was two points dropped. Failing to kill the game off when on top and then giving away a soft goal.

With Crusaders winning 4-0 at Solitude, it means Linfield trail the leaders by seven points.

Not all hope is lost. Linfield travel to Seaview knowing that a win will reduce the lead to four points, meaning they will be one point better off than at kick-off today. Small progress, but it is to be welcomed.

There is no reason why Linfield can’t beat Crusaders. Both meetings this season have finished 0-0, with Linfield being the better team on both occasions. There is nothing to fear. A vast improvement in performance is needed though.

It’s bad enough the other ten clubs in the league having defeatist attitudes against Crusaders, that should never be the Linfield way.

Meanwhile, i’m still digesting the League Of Ireland fixture announcement. I’m looking at Friday 14th July 2017 as a game to go to.

Being off work on Wednesday 12th and Thursday 13th, it seems a bit pointless to come in that day.

I might book it off and try and find a reasonably priced hotel and spend Friday and Saturday in Dublin. The fixtures scheduled that day are Bray v Cork, St Pat’s v Derry and Shelbourne v Wexford Youths.

The first two games could be postponed due to European commitments, meaning I go to Shelbourne v Wexford Youths by defeault. Still, it would mean one last trip to Tolka Park before it gets consigned to history.

July can wait, it’s all about Saturday now. Time for Linfield to step up.

Photo Album


It’s Boxing Day, it’s Derby Day, and the only thing that matters is winning ……… and Linfield did that.

Deserved it for the second-half performance. Could, and possibly should, have had a third goal. Needed it too. You had the feeling that if Glentoran got a goal back, it would be a nervous finish, and so it proved.

The free-kick that the goal came from, was awarded for a tactical foul. Yep, you read that right, Jamie Mulgrew was the one doing the fouling to stop someone attacking, instead of the other way around.

It was Jordan Stewart who he fouled, who was the focal point of Glentoran’s attacking play. If Stewart was Glentoran’s main attacking threat, Andrew Waterworth was Linfield’s main attacking outlet.

Quiet in the first-half, he made up for it early in the second-half by firing home from close range after a Mark McAllister played it to him after his original shot was saved.

Linfield had their tails up and went for a second. A nice piece of play by Mark McAllister saw him get into a position to shoot, before being brought down. Aaron Burns slotted the penalty home, making up for his red card against Glentoran in August.

Linfield had enough chances to make it 3-0, but weren’t able to take them.

Glentoran got a goal back near the end through David Scullion. Glentoran sensed they could get a draw. They had lots of balls into the box without any chances, but it was still nervous.

In Injury Time, Mark Clarke was sent-off. The third time in 2013 against Linfield, and fourth time against Linfield in twenty two months. Betting on him to get sent-off is easy money.

Talking of walking red cards, Steven McAlorum, sent-off inside the first five minutes last Boxing Day, tried to get involved with Linfield players after the full-time whistle. He was substituted during the game.

No point worrying about other team’s problems.

To top it off, Crusaders and Cliftonville drew, meaning Linfield are now six points clear. Hopefully, we won’t lose two of the next three games, like the last time we were six points clear.

January is a busy month, but it’s a generous fixture list, with Glenavon, Warrenpoint Town, Ballymena United and Ards to face. There is a game against Crusaders sandwiched amongst that. Hopefully, we’ll turn up and put in a performance.

After that, is a trip to Solitude. Hopefully, we’ll turn up and put in a performance.

Six points clear, and a run of six games that will decide the season. Hopefully after that point, we’ll still be in a commanding.

Got some photos, not a great standard. It doesn’t matter, Linfield won, that’s all that matters on Boxing Day.

Photo Album


December is a month that is traditionally cold, dark and miserable, and how appropriate that I should spend the first day of the month at Ballyskeagh, watching Linfield put in a performance that was, well ……..cold, dark and miserable.

The following Saturday, I was off to watch a football match in Fermanagh for the first time, as I travelled to Ferney Park to see Linfield’s first visit to Ballinamallard.

I made a day of it, had some lunch in the town, and saw Linfield win. Overall, a very good day out. Managed to get some nice shots in a ground friendly for amateur photography.

My next game, was Linfield v Dungannon Swifts, a nervy 2-1 win.

On the Saturday before Christmas, it was Seaview, for an entertaining (and frustrating) 2-2 draw between Crusaders and Linfield.

I managed to get a lot of good shots at this game, my favourite being a crowd shot as Linfield have a set piece.

Then, followed Boxing Day. I didn’t get many good photos, but that didn’t matter ……. because Linfield won.

Three days later, I was Lurgan bound for the trip to Glenavon. I’d previously considered giving the game a miss, but the two games before it really fired up my enthusiasm, and a 3-0 win made the journey worthwhile.

On top of that, I got some good photos at a ground which is always photofriendly.

Lisburn Distillery v Linfield

Ballinamallard United v Linfield

Linfield v Dungannon Swifts

Crusaders v Linfield

Glenavon v Linfield


Well, after posting up a slection of the best classic football clips and the best news coverage of historical events, this week’s Youtube round-up focuses on Irish League/Northern Ireland football related related video miscellany.

The first video is from a show called ‘Super 8 Stories’ which was broadcast on BBC Northern Ireland between 2005 and 2006.

The show is a compilation of videos filmed on Super 8 and the person who filmed it narrates the story.

One such feature was filmed by a Linfield fan during the 1960s, with unlimited access on matchday and training sessions.

Players from that era then spoke over the clips of their memories from that era, including Tommy Stewart (no relation to, and not to be confused with the current Shamrock Rovers player of the same name, who played for Linfield from 2006-2008), who sadly died soon after the show was broadcast.

It’s amazing how little the street leading up to Windsor Park has changed (For shame, I don’t actually know what it’s called)

The next clip is from ‘Sportsnight’ in 1989, a network BBC production broadcast on Wednesday nights (Like a Midweek version of Grandstand, for those who don’t know) previewing Derry City’s European Cup tie against Benfica, managed by Sven Goran Eriksson (Making his second visit to Northern Ireland as a manager, his third would prove to be memorable), who went on to reach the final that season.

Keep an eye out 2 minutes in for Felix Healy singing. I won’t spoil it, but his singing is as good as his punditry.

The next video is the greatest end to a league season in British football history, far more dramatic than Liverpool-Arsenal in 1989.

Portadown top, level on points with Glenavon and Linfield, with Portadown and Glenavon playing each other.

The ultimate winner takes all showdown, with a draw doing neither side a favour.

I was at Windsor Park that day, and it was a day i’ll never forget, the intense atmosphere, and the tension of waiting for the score from Mourneview Park.

If it happened this season, i’d have spent those agonising 6 minutes on Twitter, hitting refresh and possibly breaking my phone.

No matter how many times I watch this, I still think Portadown are going to score a last-minute winner.

With all the recent chat about Matty Burrows becoming an internet sensation, though not as sensational as the Leave Britney Alone Guy and Tron Guy, enjoy this far superior goal by Lee Feeney against Crusaders in 1998, stealing the headlines of Irish League record signing Glenn Ferguson, who made his Linfield debut that day.

Talking of spectacular goals, enjoy this compilation from a show broadcast on UTV reviewing the 94/95 Irish League season (Champions Crusaders, Cup Winners Linfield)

Prefer not to dwell too much on the Zeke Rowe in Bangor’s 5-0 win at Windsor Park. I turned down the chance to go to that match, instead going to see the Lion King, which turned out to be a good choice. Hakuna Matata.

I can vaguely remember that goal by Judas Bastard Haylock, even though I wasn’t at that match. There was a brief time in the 90s when Linfield would face Portadown as underdogs, and turn them over.

Now we face them as favourites, and turn them over.

Fucking hell, they even got Sir Stanley Matthews to choose the winner, proper footballing royalty.

The video is also notable for two things, Stephen Watson with hair, and Stephen Watson giving a shit about football.

Whatever happened to Joey Cunningham?

No Irish League Youtube compilation would be complete without this. No words are needed.

As classic Boxing Days go, 1995 takes some beating. Snow, White Ball, the stuff of legend.

The next league fixture between the two took place at Windsor Park in February. I remember this game as it was a few days after my 13th birthday, on which Take That had split up.

Linfield won the match 2-0 with two goals from Paul Millar.

Ten years exactly to the day, Paul Millar would be taking charge of his first game as Glentoran manager, and Take That would be three months into their reformation. It’s a funny old life.

One more video, a reminder of how depressing European Football has become for Irish League Clubs in recent years.

Nowadays, the likes of Dynamo Borat, Bjorksportacus and BK Morten Harket visit our shores during July, but there was once a time, when big-name and exotic opposition used to come and play our teams.

Well, Tottenham Hotspur, but it’s all relative (Talking of which, it was a game against Coleraine, in the European Cup Winners Cup)

See Also

Coleraine Specific Account

Linfield Sepcific Account 1

Linfield Specific Account 2

1997 Irish Cup Final

Glenavon v Ballymena Unied, 1992 Irish Cup Semi-Final

There’s a fucking pig on the pitch

Northern Ireland, Road to Mexico 1986 (Four parter)

England v Northern Ireland 1985

(PS: If there are any videos i’ve missed, or if you want to suggest a ‘theme’ for Yoochoob, comment on this, or via Twitter – see right hand side of homepage)


So, Boxing Day 2009 was a break with tradition due to the weather, as a change of plan involved a Saturday afternoon in the company of Jeff Stelling.

My first Boxing Day (Just to clarify, ‘Boxing Day’ refers to the meeting between Linfield and Glentoran on Boxing Day each year, rather than the actual day itself, as if it actually needed explaining) was in 1991, and was my first ever football match. It finished 3-3 that year, and I was hooked. All the 8 year old me remembers is loads of noise and excitement. It was also the year I got my first two football kits, the then Adidas made Man United shirts of the time. 1991 was most definately an eventful milestone of a christmas.

In 1992, the clash was held at Windsor Park (as is tradition when the year ends in an even number. It’s easy to remember, it’s held at The Oval when the year ends in an odd number, and Glentoran most definately are an odd bunch)

Like the year before, all I can remember is excitement, noise and a 2-0 win. And getting home late as the home fans were kept behind on police advice.

By now, I was loving the Boxing Day experience, and come the final whistle, was already counting down until the following year’s game.

In 1993, Boxing Day was held on December 27th. Why? It was a Sunday and we don’t play football on a Sunday, so in that situation, Boxing Day gets rescheduled to the 27th.

An easy routine 2-0 win for Linfield. The return fixture, would go down in legend.

By November 1994, me and a friend that lived down the street from me and his mates from school were all now attending Windsor Park regularly.

So, we were all excited about that year’s Boxing Day game until my dad had to ruin it all by wanting to go.

How can I be rude and obnoxious and shout abuse at opposition players and referees when i’m with my dad?

After two successive victories, a 1-1 draw was a major culture shock.

Normal service was resumed in 1995 in a memorable and infamous game which got worldwide acclaim on clipshows (including Fantasy Football and They Think It’s All Over) as the Orange ball which was used in the snow burst at half-time, and the ref had no option but to play with a white ball. Throwing snowballs at Glens players and winning 3-0. What a christmas.

Stephen Watson, then a young reporter for UTV commented that the win saw Linfield slide up the table, displaying all the skills he needs to be BBCNI’s main sports anchorman

The following year was the first of four successive draws. A 0-0 at Windsor was not much to write about.

In 1997, I saw something I never thought i’d see, Roy Coyle in the Glentoran dugout. The 1-1 draw didn’t help either side, with both losing out in the title race to Cliftonville.

Back to Windsor in 1998 for a 1-1 draw, played in the midst of a near hurricane. Houses in Belfast lost electricity and the roof on a stand at Mourneview Park blew off during the game but we still played on at Windsor, because men are men, unlike in 2009 where a little bit of frost cancels 5/6ths of the fixture list.

The last Boxing Day of the 90s/century/millenium was a 1-1 draw, which wasn’t exactly dropped points due to Linfield having a double figure lead at the time, running away to a first title in 6 years. Strangely, the sides met 5 days later in a re-arranged County Antrim Shield game. On New Year’s Eve 1999, the last ever football match of the 20th century.

What a way to go out, playing for a shitty shield that nobody wants.

The first Boxing Day of the 21st Century saw Linfield running away with the league and this game billed as Glentoran’s last chance to stay in the title race. Tim McCann was most vocal in the media about how Glentoran “Always come good in the big games”.

The old mantra of “Glentoran say, Linfield do” was never more evident as first half goals from Tony Gorman and Gavin Arthur ensured a 2-0 Linfield win.

In 2001, it ended 3-3, like in 1991. I’m already excited about 2011, although hopefully Linfield will be so far clear at that point, we can afford to drop two points.

The draw was put into perspective by the tragic events that day, as football paled into an irrelevance, as it was announced that Steps had split up.

The 2002-2003 season was a non-event, and so was the Boxing Day after the 10th minute as it finished 1-1.

The following year will simply be known as “The Stuart King Show”. What a day. I was working on the floor in The Globe that night. I couldn’t care how cuntish the spidey little fucks that frequented The Globe behaved, Linfield hade just stuffed Glentoran.

By this point, Linfield were one game away from being 15 years unbeaten. On Boxing Day 1989, Band Aid II was Number One. On Boxing Day 2004, with Linfield already 6 points behind Glentoran, Band Aid 20 was Number One.

If we lost that match, Bob Geldof and Midge ure would have received some hate mail through the post.

We didn’t lose, although the 1-1 draw felt like a defeat.

The following year, normal order was restored with a 4-1 win at The Oval. We even missed penalty at 4-0. I love Boxing Day when the year ends in 5. I’m already excited about 2015.

By 2006, I was doing the final year of a degree and was picking my matches living on a student budget. Like 2002 and 2004, a 1-1 draw having gone in front felt like a defeat.

2007 will have a blank space next to it as the unthinkable happened. It was live on Sky with a 5.20pm kick-off. My mates decided to take advantage of the extra 2 hours and 20 minutes extra drinking time, while the only one with a driving licence (me, for fuck sake) is knocking back the water.

We were to meet a mate outside the ground to give him his ticket. He was late. As a result, i’m stood loitering at the top of Dee Street looking like a fucking drug dealer. He caused us to miss the first 10 minutes. We ended up thanking him as it meant we only got to see 80 minutes of that fucking shambles.

Thankfully, normal order was restored in 2008. the mate who delayed us in 2007 was now married and spending Boxing Day with the in-laws. He phoned me at 5pm that day to get the score. He replied by saying it sounded like an amazing match.

Now, beating Glentoran 3-0, them missing a penalty, Linfield having a player sent off and the PSNI beating the shite out of Legion 1882, the fruitiest firm ever sounds exciting, it was actually quite tame in comparison with past meetings in history, and even past Boxing Day encounters.

But still, i’m not complaining, a joyous day was heading, heading to The Eg to watch a bit of English Premiership action, then a celebratory Chippy Cheese in Stranmillis on the way home.

The ‘fearsome’ Legion 1882 sing “Where’s your famous section F?”, which isn’t really worthy of a response, especially as “Over there, it’s quite clearly signposted” doesn’t really work as a football chant.

To give you an idea of what the Legion are like, forget Section F, if they saw Test Card F, they’d be running crying to their mums.

So, as I finish typing, it is now 364 days until the next Boxing Day, which is to be held on Monday 27th December 2010. Mark it in you diaries. I know I have.