PHOTO DIARY OF A FOOTBALL SEASON : AUGUST

August began for me with the opening game of the 2018-2019 season, as Linfield travelled to Mourneview Park to take on Glenavon.

My next match was in the Scottish Challenge Cup, taking in Edinburgh City v Albion Rovers during a short break to Edinburgh.

Upon my return, it was back to Irish League football for me, with successive trips to North Belfast for Linfield, against Crusaders and Cliftonville.

Glenavon v Linfield

Edinburgh City v Albion Rovers

Edinburgh City v Albion Rovers Photo Album

Crusaders v Linfield

Cliftonville v Linfield

2018 IN PICTURES – AUGUST

August 2018 was a busy month, and it began at Mourneview Park for the start of the 2018-2019 season as Linfield beat Glenavon 1-0.

The following weekend, I headed to Custom House Square to see George Ezra in concert. That was followed by a day trip to Bangor where I squeezed in some Street Art photos, including a mural of John Lydon.

It was then back to the football as I went to see Edinburgh City take on Albion Rovers in the Scottish Challenge Cup while on a short break in Edinburgh. I also managed to get some Street Art photos while in Edinburgh.

Upon my return to Belfast, was a trip to Seaview to see Linfield take on Crusaders.

The next few days were spent at Custom House Square, seeing Kasabian, Turin Brakes and Travis in concert.

The following Saturday was a trip to Solitude to see Linfield take on Cliftonville.

Glenavon v Linfield

George Ezra live at Custom House Square

George Ezra live at Custom House Square Photo Album

Bangor Street Art

Bangor Street Art Photo Album

Edinburgh City v Albion Rovers

Edinburgh City v Albion Rovers Photo Album

Edinburgh Street Art

Edinburgh Street Art Photo Album

Crusaders v Linfield

Kasabian live at Custom House Square

Kasabian live at Custom House Square Photo Album

Turin Brakes live at Custom House Square

Turin Brakes live at Custom House Square Photo Album

Travis live at Custom House Square

Travis live at Custom House Square Photo Album

Cliftonville v Linfield

EDINBURGH CITY 3-1 ALBION ROVERS 14.8.2018

Linfield might not be in the Irn Bru Cup this season, but that didn’t stop me taking in a game in this season’s competition.

As you will know, I like to visit Edinburgh every August. It’s not a football trip, but it would be rude not to take in a match while i’m there.

I was visiting Monday to Friday, but there were midweek matches on offer for me, as this was the week of the 1st Round of the Irn Bru Cup.

There was also European football the week I was there. Unfortunately, Hibs were away to Molde on Thursday.

Glasgow is only an hour away from Edinburgh, so if Rangers were at home, that would be handy if I wanted to go to it. They were away on the Thursday night.

If, for some reason, I wanted to watch Celtic, guess what? They were away too.

So, all I had was the Irn Bru Cup. There are a lot of towns with football teams commutable to Edinburgh, so my options wouldn’t be limited to the capital.

My options were Cowdenbeath v East Fife and Edinburgh City v Albion Rovers, while Hearts Under 20s were also at home, but that was never going to be considered.

I went with this game as it was a ground I have been to, having been there twice in the space of four weeks last Summer, taking in Edinburgh City’s game against Montrose while at the Edinburgh Fringe, and then returning in early September for Linfield’s Irn Bru Cup game against Spartans.

If you don’t already know, Edinburgh City groundshare with Spartans.

There was also the bonus that this game was half price admission if you had a Fringe ticket.

And, the bar was open pre-match, so I had a nosey around. There was a canvass print on the wall of Rod Stewart when he visited the ground, while somebody else killed time by watching AEK Athens v Celtic on their phone.

This ground was familiar to Albion Rovers, having lost 4-0 there in a League Two match just ten days earlier.

This could, and possibly should, have been me seeing Albion Rovers for the second successive season, as Albion eliminated Spartans from last season’s competition but fielded an unregistered player, meaning it was Spartans who hosted Linfield instead.

There were a lot of fiesty tackles going in during the early minutes, but it was Edinburgh City who came closest to scoring when a speculative effort hit the top of the bar.

However, it was Rovers who took the lead on 15 minutes when John Cunningham got clear and fired home, to give them a 1-0 lead they held until half-time.

As the second-half started, a Rovers fans urged his team on, yelling “COME ON ROVERS!! I’M MISSING RIVER CITY FOR THIS!!”

It didn’t have the desired effect, as City went 2-1 up with a quick double from Scott Shepherd and Blair Henderson, before Henderson clinched the game late on with a penalty.

With the game being decided on the night, I wasn’t too unhappy with the game being decided within 90 minutes.

The draw for the next round gave City and away tie against East Kilbride, who eliminated Spartans on penalties. It could easily have been an away game at their ground.

Photo Album

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

EDINBURGH CITY 1-3 MONTROSE 5.8.2017

As you know, when I visit Edinburgh, I like to take in some football while i’m there. I know what you’re thinking – Hibs or Hearts? The answer, was neither, as I headed to Ainslie Park to see Edinburgh City take on Montrose.

I fancied a change and this gave me a chance to visit a new ground for me.

A few years ago, Scotland’s lower leagues were restructured, offering the chance for two of Edinburgh’s smaller clubs Edinburgh City and Spartans a chance to gain promotion to League Two, which Edinburgh City did in 2016 after winning the Lowland League and then beating East Stirlingshire in a Play-Off.

There was one thing that put me off wanting to go and see Edinburgh City. That was the fact they played their home matches at Meadowbank Stadium, which was built for the 1970 Commonwealth Games.

As you will have guessed, this resulted in an athletics track around the pitch and a ground far too big for the team it hosts. A truly grim football experience.

However, it was announced that Meadowbank Stadium was to be redeveloped and, as a result, Edinburgh City would be playing their home games at Ainslie Park, home of Spartans.

The fixture list gave them a home game the weekend I was there. It was a choice of them or Hibs v Partick. I was hoping TV would move the Hibs match and allow me to go to both games, but the news that admission to Edinburgh City would be half price for anyone with a Fringe ticket sealed the deal.

I certainly got lucky going on the weekend I did, with Hearts moving their early home games due to a new main stand being built at Tynecastle. Incidentally, the old main stand at Tynecastle was the only stand in Tynecastle I haven’t been in.

The teams entered the pitch to sunshine and kicked-off in torrential rain. Classic Scottish Summer weather you could say.

Montrose started the game strongly, and then started to dominate. It was only a matter of time before they scored. They did, and then did again a few minutes later. They were hungry for more. Edinburgh City were glad to go in at half-time only 2-0 down.

Half-time was only a relief for Edinburgh City, as Montrose made it 3-0 from a free-kick in the opening minute.

The game was a mismatch, though Edinburgh City did get a consolation late on, a few minutes after having a player sent-off. The match finished 3-1 to Montrose.

I had toyed with staying in Edinburgh until Wednesday. If I did, instead of leaving on the Tuesday morning, I could have seen Hibs v Ayr in the League Cup.

Obviously, I plan on returning to Edinburgh in August 2018. By then, visits to Tynecastle (3 years) and Easter Road (5 years) will be overdue.

Photo Album

FOOTBALL IN 2015

Another year of football watching is over, and it’s all about looking forward to 2015. But what, realistically, are my hopes for 2015?

Well, these are my football watching hopes for 2015.

LINFIELD

Well, stating the obvious, I obviously want Linfield to win the Irish League and the Irish Cup.

This season’s Irish Cup draw has already given a treat in the form of an away game against Tobermore United – another new ground to visit.

In terms of pre-season, it’s the usual wishlist of Dundela, PSNI or Stranraer away. Seeing as we invited Cowdenbeath over for a friendly in the summer of 2014, would it be too much to ask for them to return the favour in the summer of 2015?

In terms of promotion, i’m hoping Carrick Rangers go up as i’ve never been there. So again, a new ground to visit. If there is to be another team promoted, hopefully it will be Ards or Bangor, with an away game early in the season on a sunny day.

Of course, there is also the ongoing redevelopment work at Windsor Park. It is expected for this to be completed by November.

Obviously, i’d be getting use of the South Stand, but hopefully, i’ll get an opportunity to sit in the Railway Stand just to see what it’s like. I’m guessing it might have to be used for a Linfield match before it is passed for a Northern Ireland match, in the same way Wembley had to stage an underage international with a restricted attendance before being allowed to host full events.

EUROPEAN FOOTBALL

Obviously, i’m hoping for Linfield to be in the European Cup, but i’m hoping that the other Irish League sides get fallen giants who are part of the 101 Club, that I can tick off my list.

The closest an Irish League side got in 2014 was when Crusaders got duffed by a Swedish team who went on to play Torino.

Seeing as Glenavon are best mates with PSV Eindhoven, if they want to invite them over for a friendly, that would be great.

MANCHESTER UNITED

I’m hoping to get to Old Trafford before the end of the season. I’ve nothing booked yet, but i’m eyeing either Tottenham in March or Arsenal in May.

Hopefully, there’s be European Cup football returning in September 2015. I might be tempted to a there and back group game. Just have to wait until the 2015-2016 fixture list comes out.

NORTHERN IRELAND

I’m planning to be at four Northern Ireland games in 2015 – the home games against Finland, Romania, Hungary and Greece. I bought a Block Booking for the first time ever for this campaign. The downside is, i’m going to go to hell for attending the Finland game, which is on a Sunday night.

Tempted by the Scotland friendly in March. Haven’t booked anything yet, but a quick there and back for an away friendly is very tempting.

EURO 2016

Whatever the fate of Northern Ireland’s qualification campaign, i’m planning to be in France in the summer of 2016. The reason i’m posting it with reference to 2015 is, the flights will probably go on sale in August/September 2015, and i’m planning to be straight in with my booking. The plan is to go out for the first four days of the tournament and be based in Paris, with two games there, one in Lille (one hour away) and Lens (one hour away)

BIRMINGHAM

Toying with the idea of heading to Birmingham in September for the Rugby World Cup, as Australia and South Africa play on successive days at Villa Park. If I was to do this, i’d be planning to try and take in a football match taking place in the city (if feasible) at either Birmingham City or Walsall. Nothing definite in this idea though.

BARCELONA

Going to Barcelona for a weekend in February. Espanyol are at home to Valencia that weekend, so i’m hoping to take in that match. I’m also looking at lower league sides in the area to try and catch more than one game. The most likely bet is CE Europa, who play in Spain’s 4th tier. Frustratingly, Barcelona B (in Spain’s second tier) are away that weekend, to Real Zaragoza, a 101 Club member.

LEAGUE OF IRELAND

I don’t plan to go to a League Of Ireland game every year, but there’s usually something that takes me to Dublin, so I end up taking in a game. If I do end up taking in a game in Dublin, hopefully, it will be UCD, as the Bellefield Bowl is the only football ground in Dublin I haven’t been to.

SCOTLAND

As well as the previously mentioned international i’m tempted by, i’m planning to head to Edinburgh in August for the festival. Obviously, there’ll be Hibs and Hearts, but i’m hoping they’ll be at home on a Sunday, leaving the Saturday free to see Spartans or Edinburgh City, hopefully by now promoted to League Two (4th tier)

Of the two, Edinburgh City look the most likely. The downside is, they play at an athletics stadium.

MOROCCO

One place i’m definitely not visiting in 2015 is Morocco. I was tempted as they were the host of the 2015 African Cup Of Nations. It turned out I made the right decision by not making plans, as they were stripped of hosting rights, which were given to Equatorial Guinea, which is a bit harder to get to.