PHOTO DIARY OF A FOOTBALL SEASON – NOVEMBER

The early weeks of November 2015 were spent at Windsor Park, taking in Linfield’s matches against Crusaders and Cliftonville, as well as Northern Ireland’s match against Latvia

The final two Saturdays of the month were on the road to Mid-Ulster, but no upturn in fortune for Linfield

Sandwiched inbetween those two trips to Mid-Ulster was my first trip of the season to Old Trafford to see United play out a drab and ultimately costly draw against PSV Eindhoven.

It’s a good job I went to that Northern Ireland match, otherwise it would have been a totally awful month of football watching.

Linfield v Crusaders

Northern Ireland v Latvia

Northern Ireland v Latvia Photo Album

Linfield v Cliftonville

Glenavon v Linfield

Manchester United v PSV Eindhoven

Manchester United v PSV Eindhoven Photo Album

Portadown v Linfield

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2015 IN PICTURES – NOVEMBER

November took a while to get going, my first adventure being on the 7th, to see Linfield take on Crusaders. I would be spending a lot of time at Windsor Park in the opening fortnight of the month.

Windsor Park is where I would be based in the opening two weekends of the month, taking in Northern Ireland’s friendly against Latvia, then Linfield’s match against Cliftonville the next day.

The following midweek was all about music, as Paul Weller and U2 came to Belfast.

The busy month continued when I took in my annual Ulster European game, a defeat to Saracens.

The final two Saturdays of the month saw me on the road, to see Linfield lose in Mid-Ulster against Glenavon and Portadown.

Sandwiched inbetween that, was a trip to Manchester to see United take on PSV Eindhoven, where I also took the opportunity to get some Street Art photos.

Linfield v Crusaders

Northern Ireland v Latvia

Northern Ireland v Latvia Photo Album

Linfield v Cliftonville

Paul Weller live at Waterfront Hall

Paul Weller live at Waterfront Hall Photo Album

U2 live at The Odyssey

U2 live at The Odyssey Photo Album

Ulster v Saracens

Ulster v Saracens Photo Album

Glenavon v Linfield

Manchester Street Art November 2015

Manchester Street Art November 2015 Photo Album

Manchester United v PSV Eindhoven

Manchester United v PSV Eindhoven Photo Album

Portadown v Linfield

MANCHESTER UNITED 0-0 PSV EINDHOVEN 25.11.2015

As Manchester United fans paid tribute to George Best on the 10th anniversary of his death, it was the current incumbent of the number 7 shirt, Memphis Depay, who was hoping to build on his goal against Watford the previous Saturday, and fire United into the Last 16 of the European Cup.

It was my first trip of the season to Old Trafford, and thus, my first game seeing Adidas United in the flesh. How exciting.

Curiously, the last few years have seen me wait until November to make my first visit to Old Trafford. It’s purely coincidental, and not a conscious move. I had hoped to go to the Sunderland game in September, but that fell through.

United players arrived at Old Trafford knowing that a win would send them through to the next round as they led the tightest group in the competition due to the fact that their draw in Moscow was the only game in the previous four matchdays that wasn’t a home win.

At teatime, the other game in the group took place between CSKA Moscow and Wolfsburg, resulting in a 2-0 win for Wolfsburg. The result meant that United wouldn’t win the group with a win, but it did guarantee European football in early 2016. What competition it would be in, was still to be determined.

Even though they played a long ball forward in the first five seconds of the game, PSV had set their stall out to defend. United had a lot of possession but no clear chances. Bastien Schweinsteiger created space for himself in the early minutes and fired a shot straight at PSV’s keeper.

Memphis also managed a shot on goal while Jesse Lingard but through on goal, only to miscontrol the ball.

The highlight, no pun intended, of the early moments, when Old Trafford paid tribute to George Best on the tenth anniversary of his death, as supporters switched on the lights on their phones as a tribute and sang Spirit In The Sky.

I’m not usually a fan of designated minute applause, but this one worked, as a small pocket of fans started, and the numbers got bigger and bigger.

More chances for United came, Morgan Schneiderlin coming the closest when his effort was cleared off the line after a scramble, Martial had a low shot saved when he perhaps should have scored. Wayne Rooney couldn’t get to the ball from the cross when a touch would have put the ball into the empty net. He didn’t have much luck when he chased down PSV’s keeper taking a backpass.

Jesse Lingard glanced a header wide in the early minutes of the second-half.

On the hour, came a double substitution for United, as Young and Fellaini came on as United chased the win, with Juan Mata left sitting on the bench.

The attacks were slow and predictable, only stepping up when prompted by the crowd groaning or shouting “Attack!!! Attack!!! Attack!!!”

When they did step it up, they looked like scoring. They didn’t do it enough, or for a sustained period of time.

PSV naturally came more into it, having a few counter attacks and forcing David De Gea into saves, albeit saves you would expect him to make.

Jess Lingard had United’s best chance when he fired over in the penalty area after a cross.

Lingard was getting into good positions out right, but Wayne Rooney’s attempts to find him with a crossfield “Hollywood Pass” only resulted in landing straight to the head of PSV’s left-back instead of getting in behind him and playing Lingard in.

Marouane Fellaini, brought on to win headers, only succeeded in fouling his opponent whenever the ball went to him. I’ve no problem as such with him being a target man, it would be nice if he was actually good at it.

Another worrying theme throughout the game was Morgan Schneiderlin giving away cheap possession. Thankfully, it wasn’t costly for United.

In the final moments, PSV sensed they could sneak a win and gave United some worrying moments.

With Juan Mata finally on from the bench, United couldn’t do likewise, as the game fizzled out into the 0-0 draw those watching were fearing with each passing minute.

Despite the result, it was good to get my first visit to Old Trafford this season. I’ll be back for the Southampton game in February and hopefully the Bournemouth game in May.

If United get into the Champions League next season (A wonderful hangover from the David Moyes era, referring to next season’s European campaign as “if”) and play a Wednesday night game at home, I might be tempted by that and head over on the Tuesday and see a local Football League side who are at home. Bury and Oldham (both on the Tramline) were both at home on the Tuesday night.

What this means for United, is that they must win their final group game away to Wolfsburg in order to ensure qualification for the next round. Otherwise, they’ll be begging for a favour from CSKA Moscow to avoid defeat away to PSV Eindhoven.

Failing to get qualification sorted out when the opportunity was there is an inconvenience.

Having to play UEFA Cup ties in February will be an even bigger inconvenience.

Photo Album

2014 IN PICTURES – MARCH

March began for me in Ballymena, seeing Linfield take on Crusaders in the delayed (from December 2013) County Antrim Shield Final.

Didn’t get many good shots, and the trophy presentation was ruined by the part-time idiots invading the pitch. Standard.

The following Saturday, it was Shamrock Park bound to see Linfield take on Portadown.

Seven days later, it was football again, to see Linfield take on Dungannon Swifts.

The next day, I was out on my bike, for a long overdue Street Art round-up, mainly consisting of murals of dogs.

That midweek, I was Old Trafford bound to see Manchester United beat Olympiacos 3-0 to reach the Quarter-Finals of the European Cup. It was my second, and as turned out, last, time seeing a David Moyes United team. To be honest, at the time, I had a suspicion that would be the case.

After a long bus trip to Old Trafford, it was back on the buses that weekend, heading to Coleraine to see Linfield draw 0-0 with the home team.

The final football match of the month was not a good one, watching Linfield lose 3-1 to Cliftonville, a result which would ultimately go on to cost them the title.

County Antrim Shield Final

County Antrim Shield Final Photo Album

Portadown v Linfield

Linfield v Dungannon Swifts

Dogs

Manchester United v Olympiacos

Manchester United v Olympiacos Photo Album

Coleraine v Linfield

Linfield v Cliftonville

PHOTO OF THE SEASON 2013-2014

So, another football season is over, time to look back. It’s taken in four countries and various stadiums, teams and levels. There was a lot of pictures, so here are my favourites. Feel free to vote for yours :

FUGLAFJORDUR

Taken just after the final whistle of Linfield’s match with Fuglafjordur as fans applauded, the composition and framing just works for me which is why I love the photo.

SKODA

Taken before Linfield’s match with Skoda Xanthi, again, the composition and the light works for me, as supporters walk to The Kop, ready for the 90 (well, in this match, it was 120) minutes that await.

JEFFREY

Like the other two, it’s all about the composition, as David Jeffrey observes the action during a pre-season match against Derriaghy CC

RICHMOND

Taken during my trip to Dublin, I took in a St Patrick’s Athletic game. The colours just make this photo for me, as is the fact you came see a rainbow over the stadium.

CAMERAS

Taken during the Northern Ireland v Portugal match, the two cameras, focused on the action in sync does it for me, alongside the composition of the players, so small in comparison with their surroundings.

BRISBANE ROAD

I’m a sucker for arty pics of football stadiums. I took this during a trip to London, when I took in a match at Leyton Orient.

THE OVAL

Linfield fans looking on, under the floodlights, as their side has a free-kick against Glentoran at The Oval.

ROONEY

Manchester United fans looking on as Wayne Rooney prepares to take a free-kick against Olympiacos.

SEAVIEW

Linfield fans looking one at a match at Seaview. Seaview is always good for photos.

BLUE

Arty one, take of seats in the South Stand at Linfield’s last game at Windsor Park before redevelopment, which the South Stand will be one of the main areas getting redeveloped.

CLARKE

Taken on the last day of the league season, love the composition, especially of the two players, one with the ball, and one trying to win the ball back,

PHOTO DIARY OF A FOOTBALL SEASON – MARCH

March for me began in Ballymena, for the (much delayed) County Antrim Shield Final between Linfield and Crusaders. Bit of a novelty this one, being in the home end, where they had a plaque to proudly show off that their toilets have a Gold Award. I didn’t get any photos of that, you’ll be glad to hear.

I got some match photos. Would have been nice to get some trophy photos, but unfortunately the usual problem of idiots invading the pitch and ruining it for everyone else put paid to that.

A few days later, back on the road again, Portadown bound, to see Linfield secure a 2-1 win. And yes, I was in the ground in time to see Andrew Waterworth score after 18 seconds.

The following Saturday, I was back at Windsor Park to see Linfield take on Dungannon.

The following midweek, more travelling, to Old Trafford to see United take on Olympiacos, turning around a 0-2 defecit to go through 3-0 on aggregate.

More travelling the following weekend, to Coleraine, for a 0-0 draw. Got some good photos though.

I finished the month with the top of the table clash between Linfield and Cliftonville. The less said of that, the better.

Crusaders v Linfield

Crusaders v Linfield Photo Album

Portadown v Linfield

Linfield v Dungannon Swifts

Manchester United v Olympiacos

Manchester United v Olympiacos Photo Album

Coleraine v Linfield

Linfield v Cliftonville

MAGAZINE ARCHIVE : MATCH – 9.9.2000

Seven cover stars as the 2000-2001 Champions League group stages get underway, as a player from each of the four (one Scottish, three English) UK teams involved, and foreign stars such as Luis Figo (Real Madrid), Zinedine Zidane (Juventus) and Patrick Kluivert (Barcelona)

Match does a double page interview with Ryan Giggs about his experiences in the European Cup, before turning over for a double page spread on selected teams involved. The four UK teams (Manchester United, Arsenal, Leeds United, Rangers) are previewed on the left page, while the right page has teams listed under ‘Foreign Faves’ and ‘The Outside Bets’

Eventual winners Bayern Munich are in ‘Foreign Faves’, and the preview says “Watch out for young Owen Hargreaves, the British teenage whizzkid” while runners-up Valencia were listed under ‘The Outside Bets’

After three poor league seasons (though they did reach two FA Cup Finals) since finishing 2nd in 1997, Newcastle United were now revitalised under Sir Bobby Robson, and Match had a joint interview with Warren Barton and Steve Harper about this.

Newcastle would go on to finish 4th (2002) and 3rd (2003) in the following three seasons, before a decline which resulted in relegation in 2009.

In 2000, the internet was becoming more accessible for the public, and footballers were jumping on the bandwagon. Match met Jamie Redknapp and Rio Ferdinand at the launch of their own websites, though both players admit they’re not that internet savvy.

Redknapp says it’s a great opportunity to share his thoughts with the rest of the world, set the record straight about newspaper stories, and answer questions from fans. It’s basically Twitter, before Twitter.

Match then gives a guide to the best footballer websites, with players and managers such as Ben Thatcher, Harry Redknapp, Patrick Berger and George Boateng all having their own websites.

Patrick Berger’s website revelas that his first car was a Skoda.

George Graham gets interviewed about the state of English football, believing that English players should work on their technique, and try to be more like Germany or Holland.

Match does a double page spread on Sylvain Wiltord’s protracted transfer from Bordeaux to Arsenal, due to Bordeaux’s lack of willingness to sell, and his former club Deportivo La Coruna being entitled to a percentage of any future transfer fee.

In news, or more rumours, Paul Dalglish of Norwich City is supposedly dating Hannah from S Club 7.

Match does a double page interview with Eirik Bakke on his rise where he played a vital part in Leeds title challenge and played for Norway at Euro 2000, where it is revealed he is related to Monaco player John Arne Riise, who Leeds tried to sign that summer, but couldn’t agree a fee with Monaco.

MANCHESTER UNITED 3-0 OLYMPIACOS 19.3.2014

Having seen Linfield eliminated from the UEFA Cup by Skoda Xanthi, I looked set to witness a double dose of Greek heartbreak as Olympiacos arrived at Old Trafford on Wednesday night defending a 2-0 lead. Thankfully, it didn’t turn out that way.

It was my second trip to Old Trafford this season, and obviously, my second game seeing Moyes United. I have a suspicion that, despite this result, there’ll be a different manager in charge of my next visit, next season.

I like Moyes, and want him to succeed, but he doesn’t help himself. He’s had some very harsh on the job learning this season, getting caught out in press conferences, his uninspiring demeanour, down to the point of seeing him slouched down on the bench when United are behind, instead of standing on the touchline, trying to inspire his team.

I have a feeling he’ll be replaced the day after the final game of the season at Southampton. Though, we’re all hoping the final game of the season will come in Lisbon.

It was obvious that United were going to need an early goal if they were to turn this tie around, and had some situations. The most frustrating was when a Wayne Rooney header hit the post, only for an Olympiacos defender to get to the ball first.

In any other season, it would have went in off the keeper’s head when it hit the post. In any other season, someone would have put the rebound in.

I was sat in the corner of the Stretford End and the South Stand, having a perfect view of the game. I also had a perfect view of where it wasn’t going right for United.

The main one, was indecisiveness in attack. Too many attacks were ended by the wrong pass, too short a pass or too late a pass, much to the frustration of the crowd.

On 22 minutes, United got the chance to take the lead, when Robin Van Persie was fouled in the box. It was a clear penalty, but the ref waited a while to give it. For Robin Van Persie to take the penalty, he had to wait even longer.

It added to the tension and nervousness in the stadium. When he took it, he scored.

As United looked for that 2nd goal, Olympiacos looked vulnerable in defence. They looked like a team who could be “Got at”

However, it was Olympiacos who had the net chance. A free header from a cross was saved by De Gea, but it looked like they would score from the rebound, but De Gea stood firm and saved it. It was celebrated like a goal, such was the importance of it.

The first-half seemed to meander, but there was one last twist. As the 4th official indicated there was 1 minute remaining, United upped the pace. Giggs passed to Rooney, who could only do one thing – whip in a cross into the 6 yard area.

That he did, and found Robin Van Persie. 2-0.

It was a goal that changed the mood and the momentum of the tie.

Instead of being part of the way towards achieving their goal, United had now achieved Stage 1 – Getting level on aggregate.

United could now start the second-half looking to win the tie, instead of getting level. They weren’t slow on the uptake. On 52 minutes, Danny Welbeck won a free-kick on the edge of the box.

From where I was sat, as Rooney and Van Persie sat around the ball, it looked perfectly set up for a Van Persie strike. You just had a feeling you’d be celebrating a Van Persie goal within seconds.

And so, it happened. A hat-trick for Van Persie.

Unfortunately, the 3-0 lead brought about the worst in United, sitting back and inviting Olympiacos forward, instead of trying to make it 4-0 or 5-0, which would have made the final minutes more relaxed.

So defensive, there were times when Ashley Young was getting possession, having nobody to pass it to, and losing it.

I got nervous everytime Olympiacos went over the half-way line. It could just be my natural pessimism, but recent history backed it up, with late goals proving so costly against Southampton, Cardiff and Fulham this season.

In truth, Olympiacos never looked like getting the away goal that would have sent them through, as United saw the game out.

At least it gives something to play for in the final stages of what has been a pitiful season so far.

It’ll be tough against Bayern Munich in the Quarter-Final, but, if you’re not in, you can’t win.

Photo Album

2012 IN PICTURES – JULY

Not a lot happening in this month. Attended three football matches, Linfield and Crusaders in Europe (and a pre-season friendly), as well as getting some graffiti towards the end of the month.

Linfield’s European match against B36 Torshavn didn’t bring any goals, but it did provide some OK photos.

Crusaders match against Rosenborg brought some far better photos, including some sunset photos of Seaview. I was happy with this as i’d always wanted to get a sunset shot of a football stadium.

Hopefully, one day, i’ll be able to get one of Windsor Park

My final match of the month was Orangefield OB v Linfield. Great shooting position, poor shooting conditions.

Enjoy.

Linfield v B36 Torshavn

Crusaders v Rosenborg

Crusaders v Rosenborg Photo Album

A Tone Of The Times

Orangefield OB v Linfield

LINFIELD 0-0 B36 TORSHAVN 3.7.2012

Bloody hell, talk about frustrating.

Only two days after the final of Euro 2012, my first club game of the season (I’m counting the June match between Holland and Northern Ireland as my first match of the season)

Missed penalty, hit the bar, hit the keeper, hit everything except the back of the net. Ahhh, the Linfield we know and love.

Still confident of getting through in the away leg, but still bloody annoying that the tie wasn’t put to bed tonight.

Usual scenario with regards to photos at Windsor Park, some good, some bad.

Photo Album