MAGAZINE ARCHIVE : GEORGE BEST’S WORLD CUP PREVIEW

Later today, Russia will face Saudi Arabia in the opening game of the 2018 World Cup.

In a special edition of the Magazine Archive, we go back to 1970 when George Best brings out a World Cup preview magazine. You know it’s 1970 because there’s a sombrero on the cover, which means it’s the year that Mexico hosted the World Cup.

As you open the magazine, George Best comments on his jealously of listening to England players talk about looking forward to the World Cup when travelling to away matches with Manchester United. The reason why George Best is jealous, if you don’t know, is because Northern Ireland failed to qualify.

Best doesn’t believe England will retain the trophy, but says they will deserve applause if they do, predicting that Brazil and Italy, the two eventual finalists, were the most likely teams to win it.

Before even starting, the tournament has provided some diplomatic headaches, as El Salvador and Honduras were at war with each other during qualifying matches between the two countries, while Morocco requested not to be drawn against Israel, and Czechoslovakia asked not to play the Soviet Union.

All sixteen teams are profiled, with player biographies, player photos and a list of results of how they qualified.

The magazine ends with a look back at the 1966 World Cup, held in England, and an aerial shot of the Aztec Stadum in Mexico City, the ground that will host the final.

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PHOTO DIARY OF A FOOTBALL SEASON : APRIL/MAY

April’s football watching began with a trip to Mourneview Park on Easter Tuesday to see Linfield grind out a 3-2 win away to Glenavon.

That was followed on the Saturday afterwards by going to see Linfield beat Ballymena United 2-0.

Good start to the month, but that was as good as it got, as Linfield could only managed one point from their next three games against Crusaders, Coleraine and Cliftonville, which would cause them to eventually miss out on European football.

There was only one match for me in May, a trip to Old Trafford to see Manchester United take on Watford.

And that, was the 2017-2018 over for me.

Here’s to more football and photos in 2018-2019.

Glenavon v Linfield

Linfield v Ballymena United

Crusaders v Linfield

Linfield v Coleraine

Linfield v Cliftonville

Manchester United v Watford

Manchester United v Watford Photo Album

PHOTO DIARY OF A FOOTBALL SEASON : JANUARY

January 2018’s football watching was supposed to start at Coleraine on the first day of the month, but the weather saw to that, so I had to wait a week to visit Taylor’s Avenue for my first game of the month, to see Linfield grind out a 1-0 win over Carrick Rangers.

There was another postponement in the middle of the month, at Warrenpoint, which meant I had to wait a whole week for my next match. It wasn’t really worth the wait as Linfield lost 3-2 to Glenavon.

Towards the end of the month, I headed to London for a short weekend away. Naturally, I hoped to take in a game while I was there, and the game I chose was Millwall v Rochdale.

My final game of the month was a trip to Coleraine, which should have kicked off the month, to see Linfield score two late goals to secure a dramatic draw.

Carrick Rangers v Linfield

Linfield v Glenavon

Millwall v Rochdale

Millwall v Rochdale Photo Album

Coleraine v Linfield

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MANCHESTER UNITED 1-0 WATFORD 13.5.2018

As I travelled over to this match the day before, it occurred to me that it was the 25th anniversary of my first ever United match.

That match was a 1-1 draw in a friendly against Aston Villa at Windsor Park, as United fans were still celebrating their side’s first title in 26 years. Little did they know what the next 25 years would bring, albeit the first 20 years of that period being a lot more enjoyable.

Aston Villa’s goal that night came from Dwight Yorke. Little did we know that he would be a future goalscoring hero for United.

As fans left Windsor Park that night, little did they know that a future United goalscoring hero would be born the next day. This game fell on Romelu Lukaku’s 25th birthday, but he wouldn’t be getting a chance to celebrate with a goal, as he missed out through injury, an injury which restricted him to a role as a substitute in the FA Cup Final.

When I booked this trip, I thought it would be the second successive season that I would be seeing Marco Silva bring a team to Old Trafford, having seen United take on Hull last season. That wouldn’t be happening as Watford change their manager every three months. I had to check Google to see that it was Javi Garcia.

This game was also the last game for United for Michael Carrick before retirement, having made his debut against Charlton Athletic in August 2006. If he had waited a few days, his first and last game would have been against Watford.

If he had made his debut a few days earlier against Fulham, I would have been at his first and last games for United.

Being out of sync is a familiar theme to United’s season.

If this game was about paying tribute to Michael Carrick, the weekend before, it looked like being a tribute to Sir Alex Ferguson, but thankfully he is on the road to recovery, as announced in the days leading up to this match.

There was not a lot to play for in terms of the League positions. United had confirmed 2nd prior to this, their highest finish in the post-Ferguson era, while Watford were floating about in mid table, with a forth successive season of top-flight football confirmed, a feat they haven’t achieved since their glory days under Graham Taylor in the 1980s.

Watford made a positive start to the game, having a lot of possession in United’s half.

It was United who had the first attempt on goal of the game when an ambitious Alexis Sanchez volley went wide.

Marcus Rashford was causing problems for Watford’s defence, trying to get in behind them. United weren’t slow in trying to give him opportunities to do so. He only needed to get lucky once.

And that he did, after a through ball from Michael Carrick played in Juan Mata who set up Rashford to score from close range.

Sergio Romero, getting a rare start in goal, made an excellent save from a Richarlison close ranger header. I was at the end of the ground and thought it was sneaking in. Thankfully, it didn’t.

In the early minutes of the second-half, Marcos Rojo lost possession but was saved by an offside flag as the ball fell to a Watford attacker.

United searched for the second goal that would secure the game, the closest they came was an Alexis Sanchez cross which evaded Juan Mata.

Having spent the first-half trying to run behind Watford’s defence, Marcus Rashford was now not running at Watford’s defence every time he got the ball, to audible groans in the stands.

It was a very dull game, the only moment of note in the final minutes of the second-half came when Michael Carrick was substituted to a standing ovation.

The match finished 1-0 to United, as United finished the season with a win ahead of the FA Cup Final.

The FA Cup Final would ultimately decide if it has been a season of progress. The fact that United have had their highest League position since Sir Alex Ferguson was Manager shouldn’t be overlooked, nor should the fact that United have beaten every team in the League, including come from behind wins against Manchester City and Chelsea.

On the flip side, United lost away to all three promoted sides, as well as dropping points to relegated Stoke City and West Bromwich Albion, as well as relegation threatened Southampton.

In those games, United only picked up the pace when they fell behind and the points looked set to be slipping away, when they should have been going at it from the start.

It was probably apt that the season should end with a similar performance and result in the FA Cup Final.

That attitude was the same against Bristol City in the League Cup, as United waited to win it in extra-time while Bristol City wanted to win it in 90 minutes.

United’s start to the season wasn’t that bad, but it was a run of dropped points in October and November killed off any hopes of a title challenge.

In any other season, United would only have been a couple of points off the top on New Year’s Day, but City’s start to the season put them out of reach.

The fixture list for the 2018-2019 season will be released on the morning of Thursday 19th June. Curious timing, as it is the opening day of the World Cup. That seems strange from a Marketing point of view.

When it is released, i’ll keep an eye out for possible games to go to, more than likely a midweek game. I’ll have to wait until the dates are released.

Pre-Season Fixtures have been announced and it looks unlikely there will be a Pre-Season game in Dublin, like there was in the Summer of 2017 against Sampdoria.

I forgot to mention in my last football blog that Institute will potentially be playing home matches at The Oval next season. Bit underwhelming that, was hoping to visit a new ground (for me).

In Scotland, unsurprisingly, Spartans failed to overcome a 4-0 deficit against Cove Rangers and will be playing in the Lowland League, meaning I won’t be seeing them in League Two action if I go to see them when I visit Edinburgh in August.

Meanwhile, the UEFA Cup Play-Offs went as disastrously as expected, with Linfield losing their Semi-Final 4-3 to Glentoran.

For a start, it is an absolute sham and it makes a mockery of the League that such a system is in place.

Could you imagine if the title was decided this way, and Linfield won the League after finishing 4th but winning two matches in May.

Imagine if something similar was in England, and Newcastle United were given an opportunity to play in Europe despite spending most of the season in the bottom half.

It’s not sour grapes me saying that, check my archives, my view has been consistent throughout.

Natural justice was done in 2016 and 2017, but sadly not in 2018. Having Play-Offs to decide UEFA Cup places is a reward for mediocrity.

As bad as Linfield have been this season, you can’t tell me that Cliftonville, Ballymena United and Glentoran are more deserving of a place in Europe.

Just wait five years when people are sitting about wondering why the Irish League’s co-efficient takes a battering because we let lottery winners play in Europe rather than deciding places on merit.

Having thrown away 3rd place during the regular season, Linfield should have been making no mistake in this Play-Off sham. We were 2-0 up at home to a team that finished 7th, and had lost three of their last four games – to the bottom three.

When it went to 2-1, you knew what was happening. Far too many times Linfield have capitulated and felt sorry for themselves after conceding a goal. Too many players hide when the going gets tough.

It is made even worse when you see how many times Linfield battled back from adversity to win the League in 2016-2017.

In November 2016, Linfield came from 2-0 down with nine men to get a draw at Glenavon. It spurred the team on for the rest of the season.

In October 2017, Linfield lost 2-1 at Coleraine due to a controversial goal. The response? a 5-2 defeat at home to Crusaders.

And on that note, being afraid of Crusaders. They can cut that shit out right away. I thought they had cut that out in 2016-2017.

A team of hoofers and thugs, and we made them look like Real Madrid. FIVE TIMES.

It’s a team of players approaching or in their 30s. It will need an overhaul over the next few years. There is a potential that this will blow up spectacularly for them. We have to be ready to pounce. Coleraine are no doubt ready to do so.

Departures have already happened. A new centre midfielder was a priority before Stephen Lowry left. It is even more so now. As is a striker who can put the ball in the net.

June 2018 will be the first month since June 2015 that Linfield haven’t played a competitive match. It’s simply possible that Linfield’s players experienced burnout this season, especially considering that players such as Jimmy Callacher, Mark Haughey, Mark Stafford, Niall Quinn, Matthew Clarke, Jamie Mulgrew, Stephen Lowry, Kirk Millar and Andrew Waterworth have been with the club during this period.

Hopefully, we can use a Europe free summer to our advantage, and get players such as Jordan Stewart, Jimmy Callacher and Andrew Waterworth back to full fitness so that they can hit the ground running in August.

So, Pre-Season wishlist. All away, grounds i’ve never been to or haven’t been to for a while – Moyola Park, PSNI, Knockbreda and QUB. Am I being ambitious to hope for an away game against one of Queen Of The South, Ayr United or Stranraer?

It is a League next season that will feature away game(s) against Newry, a ground I haven’t been to since 2010. Looking forward to that.

Of the Irish League teams in Europe, they will enter the competition between Tuesday 10th July and Thursday 12th July.

Any team at home that week will play on Tuesday 10th July. It’s common sense. That won’t stop Northern Ireland’s gutter press going to work, especially if one or two of them draw Glasgow teams.

After a season of fixture scheduling farces, here’s two to look out for next season.

Carl Frampton is having a fight at Windsor Park on Saturday 18th August 2018. You would expect Linfield to be away that day. You’d hope. It would be an utter disgrace if they have a home game scheduled that day that needs to be rearranged.

Saturday 23rd March 2019 is a date set aside for Euro 2020 Qualifiers. The draw is yet to happen. I’d like to think contingency plans are in place should Northern Ireland be at home that day.

That’s me for my football watching for 2017-2018. In some parallel universe i’d be writing about how i’m heading to Villa Park to see Morocco v Iran or going to St James Park to see Denmark v Peru.

Photo Album

SALFORD QUAYS STREET ART – MAY 2018

As pointed out in the last update, it should probably be called Pomona Wharf Street Art, but it leads to Salford Quays. so i’m sticking with this title.

Whenever I travelled by Tram between Old Trafford and Manchester City Centre, I always noticed this from outside the window, a constant row of walls of Street Art.

Eventually, I decided to investigate this for myself, getting off at Cornbrook Metrolink Station, and found it on foot, getting as many photos as I could.

Every time I have travelled over to Manchester since, I have always made sure I visit here to get photos.

Over to see United play Watford recently, I spent the morning of the match in Manchester City Centre, so that I could make a short tram ride to Cornbrook to then walk to Salford Quays, and then on to Old Trafford.

The weather was nice, which meant I had a lot of daylight to work with.

Another stroke of luck was that I took a wrong turn, and stumbled upon a new piece with a swarm of worker bees with the caption “WE (HEART) MCR”.

I walked along Pomona Wharf and got photos of the new pieces I hadn’t seen before, as the walls had a mixture of old and new pieces.

Photo Album

Salford Quays Street Art December 2017

Salford Quays Street Art January 2017

Salford Quays Street Art November 2016

Salford Quays Street Art May 2016

MANCHESTER STREET ART – MAY 2018

I was in Manchester at the weekend, so I decided to go out and get some Street Art photos.

I didn’t have much time to work with, so I had to make the most of what I had.

The plan was to go to Northern Quarter and Ancoats where I normally go.

My last visit to Manchester was in December 2017, five months ago. To my surprise, there was still a lot of work that was still there from my last visit.

That included Stevenson Square, which usually has a high turnover of Street Art.

I managed to stumble on a piece in defiance against the bomb attack in the city in May 2017 in Dale Street which I had previously missed, as well as spotting an owl in Ancoats.

When you go in search of Street Art, you have to keep an eye out for things.

On the Sunday afternoon, I thought I had seen as much Street Art as I could, until I stumbled upon a mural of Muhammad Ali just off Portland Street

Photo Album

Manchester Street Art – December 2017

Manchester Street Art – May 2017

Manchester Street Art – February 2017

Manchester Street Art – November 2016

Manchester Street Art – May 2016

Manchester Street Art – January 2016

Manchester Street Art – November 2015

Manchester Street Art – May 2015

Manchester Street Art – November 2014

PHOTO DIARY OF A FOOTBALL SEASON : DECEMBER

December’s football watching began with a trip to Windsor Park, a place where I would spend four of the five Saturdays during the month, to see Linfield scrape a 1-0 win over Dungannon Swifts.

Postponements would then frustrate my football watching, as Linfield’s trip to Carrick was postponed, as was the FA Cup Replay between Crewe Alexandra and Blackburn Rovers, which I had planned on attending.

The reason for this was that I was in North-West England to see Manchester United take on AFC Bournemouth, my first visit to Old Trafford of the season.

I then headed to Windsor Park on successive Saturdays to see Linfield take on Warrenpoint Town and Cliftonville.

That was then followed by a Boxing Day trip to The Oval, the less said about that, the better.

After that, it was back to Windsor Park to see Linfield take on Crusaders. The less said about that, the better.

Linfield v Dungannon Swifts

Manchester Untied v AFC Bournemouth

Manchester United v AFC Bournemouth Photo Album

Linfield v Warrenpoint Town

Linfield v Cliftonville

Glentoran v Linfield

Linfield v Crusaders

MAGAZINE ARCHIVE : MATCH – 5.7.1986

Diego Maradona is the cover star of Match having just lifted the World Cup, as Match reviews the 1986 World Cup.

The match itself gets a double page spread.

Also getting a double page spread is the plight of tall strikers, following Gary Lineker and Peter Beardsley’s success as a partnership in Mexico.

In Scotland, Davie Cooper has warned that the national team will begin to suffer due to the lack of emphasis on skill in domestic games. Avi Cohen is set to sign for Rangers, but Hearts have been priced out of a move for Liam Brady.

There is a feature on teenage goalkeeper Tim Flowers, signed by Southampton as Peter Shilton’s deputy, with plans to one day replace him.

Mike Hazard of Chelsea gets a profile, where he reveals that his favourite singer is Michael Jackson.

After reaching the knockout stages in Mexico, several of Morocco’s players are keen on playing their club football in England.

Talking of England, manager Bobby Robson is intending to stay in charge until the 1990 World Cup.

Match reviews the ratings given to England players in Mexico, with Peter Beardsley being the best performer, with a rating of 7.67

THE FRIDAY FIVE – 20.4.2018

1. Blossoms – There’s A Reason Why (I Never Returned Your Calls)
2. Natalie Prass – Short Court Style
3. Tim Burgess- Clutching Insignificance
4. James – Busted
5. Tom Cochrane – Life Is A Highway

This Monday, is St George’s Day. As with all Saints Days, this blog will do a chart. In fact two charts. Enjoy.

FIVE SONGS BY ENGLISH ACTS

1. Marillion – Cover My Eyes
2. Duran Duran – Ordinary World
3. Oasis – Don’t Go Away
4. The Human League – Don’t You Want Me?
5. The Cure – Friday I’m In Love

FIVE SONGS BY BANDS FEATURING A GEORGE OR SINGERS CALLED GEORGE

1. Wham! – Freedom
2. One Night Only – Say You Don’t Want It
3. The Beatles – While My Guitar Gently Weeps
4. George Baker Selection – Little Green Bag
5. George Ezra – Budapest

MAGAZINE ARCHIVE : SHOOT 29.3.1986

Mark Wright is the cover star of Shoot as he wants to be part of the England squad that goes to Mexico 86 after being dropped for England’s recent friendly in Israel.

His determination to reach Mexico was in vain, as a broken leg sustained playing for Southampton would rule him out, though he would get to play for England in the 1990 World Cup.

The countdown to Mexico is in full swing, as Northern Ireland face fellow finalists Denmark in a friendly at Windsor Park, with Shoot doing a feature on 40 year old goalkeeper Pat Jennings, as Northern Ireland aim to keep a 7th successive clean sheet.

They wouldn’t get it as the match finished a 1-1 draw.

Another veteran hoping to go to Mexico was Kenny Dalglish, now player-manager at Liverpool, on the verge of winning his 100th cap in Scotland in the friendly against Romania. However, like the cover star Mark Wright, he would have the action at home after missing out through injury.

Not to be left out, Wales get a feature, as their recent friendly saw a changing on the guard, as Joey Jones retired as joint most capped player, while Malcolm Allen made his debut, and was already compared to Mark Hughes.

Wales are in Dublin for a friendly as the opposition in Jack Charlton’s first game as Republic of Ireland manager, and Charlton gets a full page feature.

BBC pundit Bob Wilson gets a double page column, where he states that Bruce Grobbelaar is the best goalkeeper in England.

Another Scotsman writing for Shoot is Charlie Nicholas, writing about his boyhood idol Kenny Dalglish, who scored six goals for Celtic against Kilmarnock in the first game Nicholas went to, and urges Alex Ferguson to select him for Scotland’s World Cup squad.

Bryan Robson uses his column to hit back at Kevin Keegan, who suggested that he should be playing a Sweeper role for England, stating that his best position is as an attacking midfielder.

This edition is all about the World Cup, as Hungary get a full page feature, looking at their chances in Mexico.

Hearts, billed as “The club that shocked Scottish soccer” get a double page spread looking at their success under Wallace Mercer.

1986 was an agonising year for them, as they lost the league on the last day, then lost the Scottish Cup Final the following week.

Staying in Scotland, Dundee United manager Jim McLean hits out at stayaway fans, fearing that a lack of gate revenue will force the club to sell stars such as Maurice Malpas and Richard Gough.

Transfer Deadline Day isn’t a modern phenomenon, as Shoot features Colin West, who signed for Watford on Deadline Day the previous year, and Shoot looked at the changes he had to cope with, moving clubs at short notice.

One player who moved more recently was Peter Davenport, who left Nottingham Forest for Manchester United, tells Shoot that he had joined his dream club, having stood on the Stretford End as a lad.

It was the continent where English players might be moving to in the future, with PFA chief Gordon Taylor warning that English football could be losing it’s star players to clubs from Italy and Spain.

It’s derby say in Birmingham as Villa and City go head to head as both clubs are desperate for points to avoid relegation, with Andy Gray of Villa and Wayne Clarke of Birmingham both interviewed.

Going back to the World Cup, Chris Waddle tells Shoot that he fears getting axed from the England squad due to his poor form.

On the back page, there is a profile of Liam Brady.