The 2019-2020 was always going to be memorable, due to the contrasting emotions watching Linfield ranging from the highest of highs to the most ridiculous of lows. I’d hoped it would end at Old Trafford before beginning 2020-2021 a few weeks later taking in a couple of European Championship games in Dublin.

Of course, it became memorable in a way that nobody could imagine. My matchgoing season is now officially over, although I had accepted that fate a long long time ago.

At the end of each season, I do a month by month look back at the season just past, so I might as well look back at this most eventful of seasons.

My 2019-2020 football watching season began in mid July at a very wet Windsor Park, seeing Linfield take on Rosenborg in the European Cup.

With the July holidays, I took the opportunity to spend a few days in Dublin. As luck would have it, there were a few football matches on, St Patrick’s Athletic v IFK Norrkoping and Bray Wanderers v Limerick.

Upon my return to Northern Ireland, I headed to Wilgar Park to see a much changed Linfield side take on Dundela in a Pre-Season Friendly.

Linfield v Rosenborg

St Patrick’s Athletic v IFK Norrkoping

St Patrick’s Athletic v IFK Norrkoping Photo Album

Bray Wanderers v Limerick

Bray Wanderers v Limerick Photo Album

Dundela v Linfield


July 2019 took a while to get going. It took ten days to have a photo adventure, then I couldn’t stop.

July 10th marked the start of the 2019-2020 football season, seeing Linfield take on Rosenborg in the European Cup.

The following day, I headed to Dublin for a short break, getting loads of Street Art photos, and seeing two football matches – St Patrick’s Athletic v IFK Norrkoping and Bray Wanderers v Limerick.

While I was in Bray, I made a start on Bray Head. I’ll be back in 2020 to finish it.

The following weekend, I headed to Wilgar Park to see Linfield continue their pre-season preparation against Dundela.

Linfield v Rosenborg

Dublin Street Art

Dublin Street Art Photo Album

St Patrick’s Athletic v IFK Norrkoping

St Patrick’s Athletic v IFK Norrkoping Photo Album

Bray Head

Bray Head Photo Album

Bray Wanderers v Limerick

Bray Wanderers v Limerick Photo Album

Dundela v Linfield


Things had changed a bit since I was last at Bray in 2015.

Back then, they were an established top flight club but never really challenging the top, just keeping their head above water most seasons, but still remaining a top flight club.

Since then, the club have been in the headlines for happenings off the pitch usually a financial crisis of some sort, players not being paid, they were inevitably relegated in 2018.

There is a term in business called “Seagull Managers“, people who turn up, leave a mess and then fly away. That is probably the most apt way to describe the last few years at Bray, especially as their nickname is The Seagulls.

Entering the Carlisle Grounds, Don’t Go Breaking My Heart by Elton John and Kiki Dee was on the tannoy. I don’t know if that is aimed at their players. It could be, looking at how their attempts at promotion at the first time of asking has gone so far.

For most of the season, there was a traffic jam at the top of the table, but a run of four defeats in five games have seen Bray be cut adrift of leaders Shelbourne, now hoping to get a Play-Off spot. Even that looks a big ask/

Limerick, like Bray, have also suffered financial troubles and were also relegated in 2018.

Just like Bray, it looks like an automatic return to the top flight will be beyond them, and a Play-Off is now the goal for them, kicking off four points clear of Bray.

Due to matches being rearranged due to European competition, there were no top flight games in Dublin.

My choice was either Shelbourne v Cabinteely or Bray Wanderers v Limerick. Having been to Tolka Park last year and not being in Bray since 2015, Bray would be my choice.

Frustratingly, there would be no friendlies for English clubs (well, apart from Chelsea) during my stay, frustratingly missing out on the option of Bristol Rovers or Portsmouth playing friendlies the night before I arrived.

The first-half saw Bray all over Limerick. Limerick couldn’t get out of their own half, with their keeper having to stretch to make a save after a neat passing move by Bray, before Dylan McGlade hit the post.

McGlade, with his socks rolled down like Jack Grealish (probably a swear word in the Republic of Ireland) was dictating things for Bray, usually involved in all of their good attacking play, being fouled in injury time to win a penalty for Bray.

Paul Keegan stepped up to take it. It was obvious he was going to blast it. The only question was where. The answer, was into the back of the net to give Bray a deserved lead.

Bray were still on top in the second-half, but suffered a blow when Killian Cantwell was sent-off for a professional foul on the edge of the box, just as Limerick were going to have their first attempt on goal.

Hugh Douglas thought he had headed home to make it 2-0 but the goal was disallowed. I couldn’t actually see what it was disallowed for.

Bray couldn’t get the goal they needed to secure the points, but were able to keep Limerick at bay.

Naturally, with only one goal in it, Limerick enjoyed more of the ball in the final minutes as they had the greater need, creating some nervous moments for Bray.

One of those moments was a shot being lined up from the edge of the penalty area which was deflected out for a corner.

Much to Limerick’s annoyance, the full-time whistle blew before they could take it. Their keeper was so incensed he ran the length of the pitch to protest to the Referee.

With the match kicking off a few minutes late, and a total of seven minutes injury time in the game, fans wanting to get the 9.45pm DART only had a few minutes (the ground is a one minute walk from the station) to spare, with a thirty minute wait until the next one.

A corner kick which doesn’t get properly cleared could leave fans with very little room for error.

It’s good to see decision makers taking football fans into consideration.

Those that weren’t in a rush to get the DART stayed to celebrate a vital win.

Photo Album

Bray Wanderers v Sligo Rovers 2015

Bray Wanderers v Drogheda United 2014


I hope you’ve enjoyed the month by month look at the 2015-2016 season just past. The 2016-2017 is only a matter of days away. Scary, I know.

Before I wrap up the 2015-2016, it’s time for my favourite photos. Hopefully, you’ll agree. Feel free to vote for your favourite.


Taken at my very first game, back on 27th June 2015, I like the composition and framing of this.


Taken on my first visit to Taylor’s Avenue, I love how everyone is focused on the player with the ball (I think it’s Guy Bates)


Taken at Ballinamallard in September. I don’t know why I love this photo, I just do.


I was taking a photo of the corner, but this guy just got up and started to encourage Linfield players, which made the photo for me.

A photo of just the corner kick would actually have been boring.


Taken on that famous night against Greece just after Davis first goal, and trying to capture what it meant.


No filtering or magic tricks, that’s what the sky was like when Linfield travelled to Ballymena in December. Just had to get a snap.


Taken after the Irish Cup tie at Solitude in March, what it means to win at a ground you haven’t won for four years, and to do so in a convincing manner.


Taken at Dalymount Park, terracing that isn’t used anymore, other than to hang flags on. I like the composition of this.


There was only two weeks between the end of 2014-2015 and the start of 2015-2016. It was a horrible two weeks.

This season, like last season, began in Bray.

I was on a day trip to Dublin in late June, so I took advantage of the teatime kick-off and close location.

It was a bottom of the table clash, and it was unsurprisingly tense, as Bray managed to dig out a 1-0 win.

Towards the end of the following week, was my first Linfield match of the season, a UEFA Cup tie against NSI Runavik.

I’d have to wait three weeks for my next Linfield match, the 2nd leg of the 2nd Round tie against Spartak Trnava, which Linfield lost 3-1, and 5-2 on aggregate.

Bray Wanderers v Sligo Rovers

Bray Wanderers v Sligo Rovers Photo Album

Linfield v NSI Runavik

Linfield v Spartak Trnava


My football watching for 2015 is now over, so, it’s time for a statistical look back at the football I watched.

Games : 54

Goals Seen : 143

Red Cards : 10 (Doesn’t include Caoimhin Bonner being sent-off in the tunnel after the game)

Missed/Saved Penalties : 6

Hat-Tricks : 2 (Andrew Waterworth, Linfield v Dungannon Swifts. Andrew Waterworth, Linfield v Warrenpoint Town)

Teams Seen : 40

Arsenal, Ballinamallard United, Ballymena United, Bray Wanderers, Carrick Rangers, CE Europa (1st time), Cliftonville, Coleraine, Crusaders, Dundee (1st time), Dunfermline Athletic (1st time), Dungannon Swifts, Espanyol (1st time), Finland, Glenavon, Glentoran, Greece (1st time), Heart of Midlothian, Hibernian, Hungary, Institute, Latvia (1st time), Linfield, Manchester United, Masnau, Northern Ireland, NSI Runavik (1st time), Partick Thistle (1st time), Portadown, PSNI, PSV Eindhoven (1st time), Qatar (1st time), Rangers, Romania (1st time) Scotland, Sligo Rovers, Spartak Trnava (1st time), Tobermore United, Valencia (1st time), Warrenpoint Town

Stadiums Visited : 23

Ballymena Showgrounds, Carlisle Grounds, Drumahoe, East End Park (1st time), Estadi Cornella y Prat (1st time), Ferney Park, Fortwilliam Park (1st time), Gresty Road (1st time), Hampden Park, Ibrox, Milltown, Mourneview Park, Newforge (1st time), Nou Sardenya (1st time), Old Trafford, Seaview, Shamrock Park, Solitude, Stangmore Park, Taylor’s Avenue (1st time), The Oval, Tynecastle, Windsor Park

Competitions : 13

European Championship, European Cup, FA Premier League, Irish Cup, Irish League, Irish League Championship, La Liga, League of Ireland, Scottish Championship, Scottish League Cup (1st time), Scottish Premier League, Tercera Division (1st time), UEFA Cup

Curiousities :

No real curiousities, other than a match with kick-off delayed for an hour due to the weather

UEFA 102 Club : Espanyol, PSV Eindhoven, Valencia (now at 35 clubs)


June 2015 began in Crewe, but only briefly, as I was on an 8.35am train bound for Liverpool, to spend a day in the city having been at Northern Ireland’s match at Gresty Road the day before.

While in Liverpool, I managed to spot some Street Art and get some photos.

In the middle of the month, my last football match of 2014-2015, as Northern Ireland took on Romania in a European Championship Qualifier, my first game in the newly rebuilt Railway Stand at Windsor Park, which was fast tracked to be open for that game due to problems with The Kop

The month ended with a day trip to Dublin. Naturally, there were Street Art photos.

While there, I also took in Bray Wanderers match against Sligo Rovers, my first match of 2015-2016, just two weeks after my last game of 2014-2015.

That, was my photo adventures for June.

Liverpool Street Art

Liverpool Street Art Photo Album

Northern Ireland v Romania

Northern Ireland v Romania Photo Album

Dublin Street Art

Dublin Street Art Photo Album

Bray Wanderers v Sligo Rovers

Bray Wanderers v Sligo Rovers Photo Album


Well, that was a short pre-season. Two weeks after the end of the 2014-2015 season, I was at my first game of the 2015-2016 season.

I was in Dublin for the day, and as Bray were at home, it would have been rude not to head to the Carlisle Grounds, on the DART line right beside a station.

Curiously, the 2014-2015 season also began for me at Carlisle Grounds. Like when I visited last season, Bray were struggling at the bottom end of the table and were desperate for points.

Like Bray, I had also seen Sligo Rovers play before, in their case against Bohemians in 2009. Like Bray, the only time i’d seen Sligo play ended in defeat. One, or possibly both, losing runs were going to end.

Given both teams proximity to each other at the bottom of the table, they were both desperate to get the points on offer.

Sligo’s pre-match preparation was dominated by the future of manager Owen Heary, or lack of a future. For a brief period during the first-half, visiting Sligo fans sang songs in support of him, with Sligo issuing a statement that he has stepped down.

Bray had made a bright start to the game, having some pressure on Sligo’s goal, but it was Sligo who had the first chance of the game when a cross flashed across the box by Cretaro, but Armstrong was unable to finish.

Within minutes, Bray struck when a scramble resulted in Sullivan firing home from close range after a team-mate failed to do so when he should have scored.

Sligo responded by having possession and attempts on goal. They were just that. They stung the goalkeeper’s hands but they were saves the goalkeeper should be making.

After all those shot, ironically, Sligo almost equalised when a tackle went goalwards. They also had a shot cleared off the line from close range that should have been scored.

Bray were glad to hear the half-time whistle, to allow them a chance to regroup.

The second-half was poor to watch, it was a typical bottom of the table clash with both teams desperate for points. Both teams were feeling the pressure. Neither of them looked like scoring in the second-half. There was no belief that they would.

With each passing moment, Bray fans were starting to fear that they would concede a vital equaliser. As the minutes ticked down, Bray were able to smother the game and hold on to possession.

There were still nerves. A speculative shot from Bray went over with 30 seconds remaining, prompting groans from the crowd and an angry response from manager Trevor Croly.

Bray were able to see the game out and get the three points which saw them leapfrog Sligo into 10th, and 1 point behind Derry City, who are now being dragged into a relegation battle.

Bray play Limerick (12th) and Derry (9th) in their next two games and are hitting a run of form just in time for these.

Now that 2015-2016 is up and running, next up is Linfield v NSI Runavik in the UEFA Cup on Thursday night. Linfield’s friendly schedule offers a trip to Knockbreda at the end of the month, a new ground for me to visit.

Another ground that i’ll be visiting for the first time to see Linfield play will be Belfast Loughshore Hotel Arena, or Taylor’s Avenue, in old currency.

I’ve just booked a trip to Edinburgh for the Festival, but of course, i’ll be planning to take in a game. The game on while i’m there is Hearts v Partick. There’s also midweek games on in the League Cup, so hopefully, Hibs will be at home, or even a team easily commutable (Fife/Falkirk) that week.

With regards to Manchester United, i’m looking at Sunderland in September and Bournemouth in May, and possible some more.

So that’s me off and running for 2015-2016, a season I hope will end in France in June.

Photo Album

Bray v Drogheda 2014


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


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)