DUNDELA 1-2 LINFIELD 20.7.2019

For the fifth successive Summer, Linfield headed to Wilgar Park for a pre-season friendly. I think we can officially call it a tradition.

The four previous visits had brought wins for Linfield : 3-2, 3-1, 2-0 and 4-1 and appearances from trialists such as Craig Beattie, Aaron Duke, Jordan McMillan and Daniel Kearns, with Kearns being the only one who was actually signed by the club.

The visit to East Belfast last Summer came during the later stages of the World Cup, which was a handy distraction from how awful the 2017-2018 season was for Linfield. Midway through the first-half, grateful to be only 1-0 down, it didn’t look like 2018-2019 was going to be much better for Linfield.

Thankfully, four goals and a second-half cameo from Joel Cooper later, there was some cause for optimism for Linfield fans. The rest, as they say, is history.

Cooper was at Wilgar Park again today, his first appearance of the (pre) season having missed both the games against Rosenborg, the most senior player in a surprisingly much changed Linfield eleven.

This was the meat in the sandwich of three successive away games, Norway – East Belfast – Faroe Islands. We’d hoped it would be Norway – East Belfast – Belarus, but it wasn’t to be.

Unsurprisingly, players involved in both legs of the tie against Rosenborg weren’t involved.

There were a lot of not well known names in Linfield’s starting eleven, Joel Cooper being the most senior, with others such as Alex Moore, Caohmin McGuinness, Lorcan Forde, Daniel Reynolds and Ryan Strain making ten to fifteen appearances in the first-team maximum, at a guess.

It was slightly surprising not to see neither Andrew Mitchell (unused sub) or Stephen Fallon (two substitute appearances) involved after their limited involvement against Rosenborg.

I’d hoped to see Mark Haughey or Josh Robinson involved, but neither were ready after their respective injury problems.

Joel Cooper was determined to carry on where he left off last season, skinning a Dundela defender, unfortunately the cross missed everyone, before he then created space for a shot, forcing Dundela’s keeper into a save.

Linfield’s early pressure was rewarded with a goal from Daniel Reynolds, finishing after a header was saved. There was a suspicion of offside, but Wilgar Park doesn’t have VAR. I suppose it evens it up after the soft penalty Dundela got last year.

Forde, Reynolds and Cooper (sounds like a law firm that) were usually found combining together in all of Linfield’s attacking play, but they couldn’t get a second goal.

It wasn’t all Linfield though, with Alex Moore being given plenty of opportunities to showcase his shotstopping ability.

Dundela had most of the ball during the opening minutes of the second-half but it was Linfield who got the ball in the back of the net when Forde and Reynols combined, with Reynolds hitting the post, with such a clean strike, it fell perfectly for Ryan Strain to put the rebound into the back of the net.

Game over? Not quite. Dundela continued to force Alex Moore into making saves, and were rewarded with a goal from Chris Watts to make it 2-1.

More Dundela pressure followed, and it looked like a Dundela equaliser would be inevitable, but Linfield held out to secure the win in a match that won’t live long in the memory.

Up next, is a UEFA Cup tie against HB Torshavn with the away leg on Tuesday. Without sounding arrogant, it’s a tie we should win, having won four out of four ties against Faroese teams this decade.

If we do get through, the draw is on Monday. The New Saints are the only team that stands out as a team we should be confident of beating. Let’s just make sure we beat HB first and worry about later rounds.

It looked as though Bastien Hery would be the last incoming at Windsor Park this Summer, but Rohan Ferguson has joined on loan from Motherwell.

As speculated in my Rosenborg blog, we’re probably getting a keeper in on loan in order to enable Alex Moore to go out on loan. That’ll probably be in the next week. We won’t be short of offers on the basis of today’s performance.

It is similar to us waiting to get Kyle McClean in January before we let Robert Garrett leave.

Paul Smyth is going on loan, but not to Linfield sadly, but to Wycombe Wanderers. I’d hoped he’d get more games with QPR changing manager this Summer. He’s still only 21 though, and he’ll play at least 35-40 games for Wycombe barring injury.

The day after the HB home match, i’m off to Edinburgh for a few days. Dunfermline’s home match has been moved to the Friday night for TV. Livingston and Hibs are at home on the Saturday, which is tempting.

And finally, United would have been playing a European match in Belfast if Watford weren’t so shite in the FA Cup Final.

HB Torshavn will do. Hopefully, i’ll be turning up at Windsor Park to see Linfield finish off the job.

Photo Album

Dundela v Linfield 2018

Dundela v Linfield 2017

Dundela v Linfield 2016

PHOTO DIARY OF A FOOTBALL SEASON : JULY

2018-2019 began for me in the middle of the World Cup, giving England v Sweden a miss to head to Wilgar Park to see Linfield start their pre-season against Dundela.

The following weekend, I headed to Dublin for a short weekend, taking in a match, Shelbourne v Drogheda United.

After that, was a ground being visited for the first time, Breda Park, to see Linfield take on Knockbreda.

That was then followed by a trip to Newforge as Linfield continued their pre-season preparation with a friendly against PSNI.

Dundela v Linfield

Shelbourne v Drogheda United

Shelbourne v Drogheda United Photo Album

Knockbreda v Linfield

PSNI v Linfield

MAGAZINE ARCHIVE : SHOOT – 12.3.1977

Peter Shilton and Frank Stapleton, going for an aerial challenge, are Shoot’s cover stars in early March 1977.

A series of footballers are asked to describe the moments that changed their career, with pep talks from other goalkeepers being beneficial to the careers of Jimmy Rimmer and Joe Corrigan.

Glenn Hoddle, a rising star at Spurs, credits Martin Chivers for helping Spurs sign him, after he presented medals at a schools cup final that Hoddle played in.

Meanwhile, Scotland announced away friendlies in 1977 against Chile and East Germany.

In other news, the price of this year’s FA Cup Final programme has increased from 20p to 50p. The reason given that it will be a special bumper edition as it was the year of The Queen’s Silver Jubilee.

Beside that, getting only a few column inches, Alex Ferguson has changed his status manager of St Mirren to full-time.

Billy Murray scored five goals in a game for Portadown against Dundela, while Jim Harvey of Glenavon is attracting scouts from clubs in England.

Kevin Keegan uses his column to warn that early international call-ups can prove damaging to young players in the long-term.

Aston Villa defender John Gidman gets a full page profile, where he is described as “Liverpool’s present to Aston Villa”, having been turned down by the Anfield club as a youngster.

England’s recent friendly against Holland gets a double page photo piece, with a further two pages being given to post match analysis from various football figures.

Gordon Hill uses his column to state that he wants Manchester City to win the league.

Football in Argentina gets a full page profile, with just over a year until they host the World Cup.

In world news, there was a minute silence before a game for an official in Peru, only for it to emerge that reports of his death were erronious.

2018 IN PICTURES – JULY

My first photo adventure of July came on the weekend of the Quarter-Finals of the World Cup.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t in Russia, it was closer to home, at Wilgar Park as Linfield began their pre-season preparations.

The following weekend, I headed to Dublin over the July Holiday, got some Street Art Photos, and went to see Shelbourne take on Drogheda United.

The month ended with two more pre-season friendlies for Linfield, away to Knockbreda and PSNI.

Dundela v Linfield

Dublin Street Art

Dublin Street Art Photo Album

Shelbourne v Drogheda United

Shelbourne v Drogheda United Photo Album

Knockbreda v Linfield

PSNI v Linfield

DUNDELA 1-4 LINFIELD 7.7.2018

Hasn’t the World Cup been brilliant? In truth, World Cups are like dogs, they’re all brilliant. Some are just better than others.

So, Saturday had arrived, and the big game was here.

All that failure and disappointment since their last title, but their fans were believing this was their year.

While some of you were watching England v Sweden, I was on my way home Wilgar Park, as Linfield began their pre-season preparations.

All the focus is on the opening day of the League season and an away match against Glenavon. Unfortunately, there will be no focus on European football due to the fact that the Irish League decides that UEFA Cup places are to be decided by a lottery rather than merit. Just watch the co-efficient slide.

In order to avoid clashing with the England match, this match was moved to lunchtime. Off the top of my head, I think that was Linfield’s first Saturday lunchtime game since Warrenpoint in 2014.

Since Linfield visited Wilgar Park last summer, the ground has had a bit of work done, with the terracing at one side gone and replaced by a flat standing area.

Everyone has their own wishes when it comes to pre-season friendlies. Some hope to have high profile opposition. Personally, I prefer away trips to smaller grounds, and/or grounds never visited or haven’t been to for a while.

When this year’s pre-season schedule was announced, there were two games that stood out for me – Dundela and PSNI.

I’ll be in Dublin next weekend (more on that later) so won’t be at Bangor. Even if I wasn’t, we’ll be going there twice in the League in 2018/2019. We’ve recently been to Carrick, so i’ll be giving that a miss. If you’re superstitious, you may want me to go. I’ve been to Carrick three times and the matches have ended 3-0, 2-0 and 1-0. Logically, my next visit will be a 0-0 draw. Might as well have it come in a friendly.

Ballyclare would be pushing it fine on a working day.

Since that original list was announced, a new game was added, a home friendly against Waterford.

Not going to lie, if that was an away game, i’d be all over it, giving me a chance to take in Waterford Walls. Trust me, i’ll eventually get my arse into gear and arrange a trip.

There’s no reason why that game can’t be moved to Midgley Park, especially as there’s no women’s game that night. If you think that is a silly suggestion, we have recently played friendlies against Sligo Rovers at Clandeboye Park and The Dub.

Hopefully, they’ll return the favour and give us a visit to Sligo Showgrounds some year.

I was hoping we could sneak in a trip to Scotland, but it was not to be this year. Not going to lie, I was totally jealous that Glenavon got that trip.

I guess my hopes of away games against Knockbreda and Moyola Park will have to wait until the Summer of 2019.

This is a fixture that has become a bit of a tradition in recent years, with Linfield visiting Wilgar Park in 2016 and 2017. There was also a game in 2015, but that was billed as a Linfield XI.

A welcome sight for Linfield fans at the start of this game was the return of two players whose 2017-2018 ended prematurely, in the shape of Jordan Stewart (February) and Jamie Mulgrew (March)

There was also a Trialist from Scotland starting the match at right-back. He was very vocal and not afraid to get stuck in. Mulgrew was joined in midfield by Joe Crowe, who wasn’t as effective as when he usually plays at right-back.

If Linfield fans were hoping that 2017-2018 was behind them, there wasn’t much to suggest that it was, as Dundela were by far the better team.

Lining up in red/red/green, Dundela looked like Portugal. Thankfully, their finishing was more like Helder Postiga than Cristiano Ronaldo.

If their finishing was more like Cristiano Ronaldo, Dundela could have been a couple of goals up by the time they deservedly took the lead midway through the first-half.

The only Linfield player that looked at the game was Andrew Waterworth.

Eventually, Linfield got more into it, with Jordan Stewart getting a lot of the ball down the left, and Jamie Mulgrew getting more of the ball to make things happen.

It was Andrew Waterworth who got the equaliser for Linfield, blasting home after being played through.

A few minutes later, Dundela got a penalty. The award ranged from soft to dodgy. If it was a competitive game, there would have been protests.

It didn’t matter, as Roy Carroll saved the penalty.

In the second-half, Linfield were an entirely different team. Literally. On a day when England were playing in their first World Cup Quarter-Final since 2006, it was a nice tribute to friendlies during Sven Goran Eriksson’s reign as England manager by making eleven substitutions.

Among those introduced were Mark Stafford, Niall Quinn, Andrew Mitchell, Chris Casement, Stephen Fallon, Robert Garrett, and a debut for Joel Cooper, while another former Glenavon player, Daniel Kearns, played as a Trialist.

Dundela were made to rue not taking their chances in the first-half, as Stephen Fallon put Linfield 2-1 up, before Daniel Kearns smashed home from the edge of the box to make it 3-1.

Joel Cooper had an impressive debut, always being available for a pass and making things happen when he got the ball.

As the game neared it’s end, he got a deserved goal when he headed home from a corner, hitting the bar before the ball bounced in. You could hear the thud as the ball hit the bar. It was the sort of goal that Alan Partridge would love.

A winning start to pre-season, but not a convincing one. It’s always hard to judge on the first pre-season friendly, but if that first-half performance is repeated, it’s going to be a long one.

For me, the 2018-2019 season is up and running.

Next for me, i’m off for a short break to Dublin. Naturally, i’ll be hoping to take in some football in amongst the touristy stuff.

I usually visit Dublin once a year, usually a day trip or an overnight stay. I’ll be heading over on Fridayy for an overnight stay. I have a choice of two matches, Bohs v Sligo or Shelbourne v Drogheda United.

As it stands, i’m going for Shelbourne v Drogheda United, just to try and squeeze in one last visit to Tolka Park.

Bad news for Shelbourne fans is that i’ve never seen Drogheda lose, seeing them win and draw (but win on penalties) against Linfield in 2006 and 2007, and then draw with St Patrick’s Athletic in 2013, and then beat Bray in 2014.

I could cross my fingers and hope that Shamrock Rovers v AIK on Thursday is postponed for some reason, and would have to be played on Friday lunchtime.

Talking of football visits to Dublin, the schedule for Euro 2020, which has Dublin as one of the host cities, has been announced.

As you will see, no kick-off times are announced, just dates and venues. 2pm or 5pm in Dublin would mean a day trip, while 8pm means overnight. It would be nice to know so I could make plans in advance, instead of having to participate in a scramble for hotel rooms.

The 2020 European Super Cup Final was awarded to Porto, meaning that Windsor Park misses out on that again.

And finally, the 2026 World Cup will be held in Canada, Mexico and the USA. Yep, what a disaster this is going to be. 32 teams was perfect, 48 will be bloated. Two host countries is tolerable but three makes it a shambles, especially when one is taking on most of the workload.

This means that people will be getting ideas about a UK co-host bid for a future World Cup, and when Northern Ireland is unable to be part of it due to not having a big enough stadium, we’ll have to put up with the Maze Brigade coming out of the woodwork and starting to pipe up again.

During the close season, we’ve seen Politicians embarrass themselves when it comes to football, with Sinn Fein demanding that Northern Ireland postponed their friendly against Israel in September.

I’m not quite sure why they waited until June to make these calls as the game was announced in February. I’m no expert on the Middle East, but I can’t think they were all holding hands and singing at the start of the year.

This was jumping on the bandwagon of Argentina’s decision not to play Israel prior to the World Cup.

Northern Ireland’s fixture schedule will not be dictated by Argentina, or by any MLA. They are free to play whoever they wish. In fact, they can play anybody who isn’t a member of FIFA if they wish. I’d love an away friendly against Yorkshire.

I haven’t got a clue about the Middle East. I don’t know who is right or who is wrong. It’s hard not to be disengaged when this particular matter is a cause celebre for one particular movement in Northern Ireland, one who is hostile to the existence to the Northern Ireland football team.

The irony of all this is, i’m not going to the Israel game. It’s an underwhelming choice of opponent and a team i’ve already seen before. I’ll be giving this game a miss.

Meanwhile, Jolene Bunting, an Independent Councillor in Belfast City Council is wanting to try and establish a Northern Ireland version of the Football Lads Alliance (whatever that is) to protest against bad shit and stuff. The last thing we need is to create our own version of a fuckwit movement.

If England win the World Cup, i’m really looking forward to the DUP absolutely embarrassing themselves by trying to jump on the bandwagon, demanding England flags at Stormont and inviting them to a Civic Reception.

I’m indifferent to the England team, so don’t really care if they win it or not, but them winning it will have some positives, such as culchies having meltdowns, DUP embarrassing themselves, and a possible Bank Holiday.

Fixture lists for the new season have been published. In the Premier League, i’m planning to visit Old Trafford to see United take on Burnley (January) and Cardiff (March), as well as a European Cup group match, hopefully.

In the Irish League, the fixtures were published in late June, far later than they should have been in comparison with England and Scotland. So, i’m going to have a quick analysis.

Glenavon away first will be tough, but they usually make slow starts, so we have to exploit this.

That game will be put back to the Monday night if Glenavon get past Molde in the UEFA Cup. I can’t see that happening. There is no reason why it couldn’t be moved to the Sunday instead.

The first home game is Institute, inconveniently moved to the Friday night as i’ll be at George Ezra. Hopefully, Linfield will be riding shotgun, underneath the hot sun. Whatever that means.

You may remember I wanted us to be away to Institute that day, so I could make a weekend of it by going to Stendahl to see Embrace.

The away game against Institute will be on an international weekend (Northern Ireland are at home the following day) but hopefully it won’t be postponed. The release of Linfield’s new away kit means that they will be playing at The Brandywell wearing red and white. This will be a new ground for me to visit.

The following week will see Linfield travel to Seaview on the same day I go to see The League Of Gentlemen at The Odyssey. I’ll let you insert your own punchline.

How many times do the players have to be told? DO NOT BE AFRAID OF CRUSADERS. DO NOT BE AFRAID OF CRUSADERS. I thought we had put that nonsense behind us in 2016-2017.

If you get a nice book for Christmas, that will be handy, as you’ll be spending a lot of time sitting around Ballysillan Leisure Centre on the Saturday afterwards.

If you’re planning a late night on New Year’s Eve, you won’t have far to travel on the opening day of 2019, as Linfield travel to Ards.

It’ll be a tough opening 33 games, and the 5 games post-split will be tough as well.

Even though it’s a relatively new tradition (2014) it is disappointing that there will be no Charity Shield this season due to being unable to find a date.

Why not have it on weekend of 4th August, and slot in a midweek fixture list somewhere?

It is interesting to note that there are no midweek League games scheduled in 2018-2019, barring Bank Holidays, albeit there are two Friday night games, one for an International on the Saturday afternoon, and the other for the League Cup Final.

On that note, I hope that NIFL already have contingency plans in place for the fixtures scheduled for Saturday 23rd March should Northern Ireland have a home Euro 2020 Qualifier, the draw taking place in late 2018. You can never be too prepared.

Mixing friendly wishes and former player news, Grant McCann is the new manager of Doncaster Rovers. Go on, Summer 2019, a friendly at The Keepmoat, ideally on the weekend of Tramlines in Sheffield.

2018-2019 hasn’t even started and i’m already talking about 2019-2020 pre-season games. On that note, decent headliner at Buncrana Music Festival and Finn Harps at home on the same weekend could give me an idea.

And finally, i’ll be heading to Edinburgh next month to take in the Edinburgh Festival.

The only confirmed match on when i’m there is Edinburgh City v Albion Rovers in the Irn Bru Cup, while there is the possibility of Hibs being at home in Europe on the Thursday night, or a short trip to Glasgow if Rangers have a decent home tie.

2018-2019 is finally here. Hopefully, it’s a lot better than 2017-2018.

Photo Album

Dundela v Linfield 2016

Dundela v Linfield 2017

PHOTO DIARY OF A FOOTBALL SEASON : AUGUST

August’s football watching began at Wilgar Park to see Linfield take on Dundela in a friendly. The following day, was another Pre-Season Friendly, but in different surroundings, as Manchester United took on Sampdoria at Lansdowne Road.

That weekend, I was in Edinburgh for the Edinburgh Festival. While there, I make an effort to attend a game, and I saw Edinburgh City v Montrose while I was there.

Upon my return, was the start of the Irish League season, and I was out for Linfield’s opening week of matches against Carrick, Ards and Dungannon.

My football watching for the month ended by seeing Linfield take on Ballymena at Windsor Park.

Dundela v Linfield

Manchester United v Sampdoria

Manchester United v Sampdoria Photo Album

Edinburgh City v Montrose

Edinburgh City v Montrose Photo Album

Linfield v Carrick Rangers

Ards v Linfield

Dungannon Swifts v Linfield

Linfield v Ballymena United

2017 IN PICTURES – AUGUST

August began for me at Wilgar Park, seeing Linfield take on Dundela in a Friendly.

The following night, was another Pre-Season Friendly, as I was on the road to see Manchester United take on Sampdoria at Lansdowne Road.

That weekend, I was travelling some more, heading to Edinburgh for a weekend away, getting some Street Art photos and taking in Edinburgh City v Montrose.

When I returned home, I was out getting some Street Art photos, the aftermath of Hit The East Festival in Eats Belfast.

The following weekend, the Irish League season started, with Linfield taking on Carrick Rangers at Windsor Park, followed by a midweek trip to Ards and a trip to Dungannon Swifts.

As soon as the final whistle blew at Stangmore Park, I was straight back to Belfast to see Amy MacDonald perform at Custom House Square.

A few days later, I was back at Custom House Square to see Blossoms warm up for Kasabian, or so I thought, as Kasabian pulled out at the last minute.

A few days after that, I was back at Custom House Square, to see Ocean Colour Scene in concert.

The following day, I headed to Windsor Park to see Linfield take on Ballymena United.

My photo adventures for August ended by getting snaps of murals of Jimmy Cricket, Jimmy Nesbitt, Jimmy Young and Carl Cox.

Dundela v Linfield

Manchester United v Sampdoria

Manchester United v Sampdoria Photo Album

Edinburgh Street Art

Edinburgh Street Art Photo Album

Edinburgh City v Montrose

Edinburgh City v Montrose Photo Album

East Belfast Street Art

East Belfast Street Art Photo Album

Linfield v Carrick Rangers

Ards v Linfield

Dungannon Swifts v Linfield

Amy MacDonald live at Custom House Square

Amy MacDonald live at Custom House Square Photo Album

Blossoms live at Custom House Square

Blossoms live at Custom House Square Photo Album

Ocean Colour Scene live at Custom House Square

Ocean Colour Scene live at Custom House Square Photo Album

Linfield v Ballymena United

The Three Jimmys and Carl Cox

The Three Jimmys Photo Album

Carl Cox Photo Album

DUNDELA 0-2 LINFIELD 1.8.2017

It has been a busy pre-season for Linfield fans, taking in trips to Wales, San Marino and Scotland before mid-July, which was then followed by a run of friendlies against Bangor, Sheffield United Under 23s, Newry and Glentoran, before a trip to Wilgar Park to take on Dundela, hoping to avenge a defeat to Linfield in a friendly the previous summer, as well as defeat in the Steel and Sons Cup Final on Christmas Eve.

Normally, I would have went to the Bangor game, but a trip to Clandeboye Park in the League in mid August negated the need for me to go to that game. I didn’t go to the Sheffield United game as I don’t usually bother with games against XI teams. By all accounts, I missed out on a good game. Having beaten their Under 23s 5-1, I think it’s only fair that Linfield get invited to Bramall Lane to take on their first team, on the weekend of Tramlines Festival.

I haven’t been to Newry since 2010 and it would have been nice to head over, but it was a weeknight and I was heading to Dublin the next day and it felt pointless going half the way, coming back and then going the full way.

I wasn’t at the Glentoran game due to being in Dublin, but I did get a laugh when I heard Linfield won 1-0 on penalties.

In the early minutes of this game, Linfield had a lot of pressure, with Jordan Stewart, Andrew Mitchell and Cameron Stewart all having chances to score.

The goal eventually came when Stephen Lowry scored from close ranger.

Within minutes, Dundela almost equalised when a corner was thunderously headed against the bar from a corner from close range.

They were soon made to pay for not taking their chance when Cameron Stewart made it 2-0, just when it started to look like he was going to have a frustrating evening.

Not much happened in the second-half, apart from Dundela hitting the bar from a long range shot, and Ryan Strain missing when he was put through, not knowing if to pass or shot, doing both and ending up doing neither.

Ross Clarke came on in the second-half. A player I rate highly, he has been gradually getting game time as he continues his recovery after two years on injury misery. If he can recover his form of 2014-2015, it will be like a new signing, and what a signing.

Elsewhere, the game away to Crusaders has been put back from 2nd September to 6th September due to the Scottish Challenge Cup. It’s good that the club have been proactive in getting a new date as soon as possible.

We’ll be away in that round. Hopefully, not too far to travel and a Saturday game, or else there will be some squad rotation in the Irn Bru Cup.

The fallout from the Celtic tie came through with Linfield getting a relatively small fine and having to close a section of the South Stand for the next European home game. It’s fair to say, it could have been a lot worse.

Meanwhile, Celtic fans got their club into trouble for flying banners proclaiming “Brendan’s undefeated army” in a competition they lost five times in last season, as well as “Paying tribute” to road signs in County Armagh.

Interestingly, it took a while for this to be a story. The match was on the Wednesday night, but it didn’t become a story in some publications until Friday or Saturday. It’s almost as if they were shamed into doing so once they realised it wasn’t going to go away.

It seems that some journalists can embarrass themselves by being silent just as much as they did when they were vocal in the build-up to the tie.

I saw pictures of the banners on social media while the game was going on. There’s no way they couldn’t have been aware of what was happening.

It is worth noting that The Scotsman covered the banners as part of their report of the match on the Thursday. After a relatively small fine, Celtic will be breathing just as big a sigh as Linfield after their UEFA punishment.

And talking of press coverage, Linfield have indicated that they have received a letter from the Daily Record for printing lies (sorry, a “memory lapse”) told by Joe Miller and appear to be satisfied with it.

I am aware that the apology was made privately on a business to business basis, however, the claims were not. The lack of a public statement to this effect by the Daily Record in either their print or online editions does not resolve this matter satisfactorily for a lot of Linfield fans.

In the 30th July edition of Sunday Life, they doorstepped a supporter who had been banned for something that happened at the Celtic away game.

I don’t know the guy and I don’t know what he did, but there is no merit in this. Something happened and he has been punished by Linfield, and the law of the land. There is no life left in this story. He did something, and he has been punished for it. That should be the matter closed, especially as it looks as if he isn’t going to appeal against either punishment.

There is no issue with his punishments being reported, but doorstepping him at his job? Really?

The fact a lot of comments, when the story appeared online, began with “I support xxxxx, but …..” tells you all you need to know.

Attention was directed towards the start of a new League season begins with Carrick Rangers visiting Windsor Park where Linfield would line up with at least five changes from last season’s Irish Cup Final due to injuries (Callacher, Clarke, Waterworth) and suspensions (Lowry, Burns)

The four new signings over the summer have added quality to Linfield’s squad, which we expect to see the benefits of it over the course of a season.

We didn’t expect it to come in the first League match of the season.

Photo Album

PHOTO OF THE SEASON : 2016-2017

So, the 2016-2017 season is over for me. I hope you’ve enjoyed my photographic look back at the season just gone.

I’ve selected some of my favourites, so feel free to vote for the one you like the best.

POLSKA

Taken back in June 2016 at Northern Ireland v Poland, I like the composition, how everyone is fixated on the action at the other end of the pitch, and the colour co-ordination of both sets of fans.



WILGAR

Taken at a pre-season game between Linfield and Dundela, it captures the joys of going to football matches in pre-season, sunshine and relaxation ahead of the hard slog ahead.



SEAVIEW

I like the framing of this, as the crowd is in position, awaiting kick-off in a big match.



CELEBRATION

Linfield fans celebrating Jimmy Callacher’s winner against Glentoran in October. I just like this for some reason other than the obvious.

PALMERSTON

There’s just something about the architecture of old football grounds that does it for me. This is out of use turnstiles at Palmerston Park, home of Queen of the South.

APPEAL

Linfield fans appeal in unison, all making the same hand gestures, for a goal to be allowed. The goal was disallowed for a foul.



ELF

Taken at the Steel and Sons Cup Final. Some people like getting dressed up for Christmas.

GAYNOR

I like the composition of this, from Ross Gaynor’s posture, to substitutes chatting to each other while the game goes on.

UNITED

I like the composition of this, all eyes fixated on the penalty area and the incoming corner.

SPOT THE BALL

I like the composition of this shot, it looks like a Spot The Ball image, except that the ball is in the shot, with two players getting ready for an aerial tussle.



COLERAINE

I love the framing and seeing players in the background running to join the celebrations.

WATERWORTH

Celebrations after Andrew Waterworth’s second goal against Cliftonville, capturing the joy of the event and the achievement just about to happen.

PHOTO DIARY OF A FOOTBALL SEASON : DECEMBER

December 2016 began for me with a trip to Windsor Park to see Linfield take on Carrick Rangers and record a routine 3-0 win.

The following weekend, was a trip to Clandeboye Park, Linfield’s first competitive game there since February 2009, a routine 2-0 win over Ards.

The games got harder and more dramatic, with a late win over Ballymena United coming the following weekend, ruining David Jeffrey’s first return to Windsor Park.

With Christmas Day falling on a Sunday in 2016, it meant that the Steel and Sons Cup Final was held on Christmas Eve, which I attended. Even more of a bonus was the fact that Linfield Swifts were in it, beating Dundela 3-1 to win the trophy for the first time since 1997.

Two days later came the highlight of the Christmas footballing calendar, Boxing Day. It was a bit crap in comparison to the previous four years.

The month, and the year, ended on a high, with Linfield going to Seaview and getting a vital win in the title race.

Linfield v Carrick Rangers

Ards v Linfield

Linfield v Ballymena United

Dundela v Linfield Swifts

Dundela v Linfield Swifts Photo Album

Linfield v Glentoran

Crusaders v Linfield