PHOTO DIARY OF A FOOTBALL SEASON – JULY

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

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

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

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

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

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

Linfield v Rosenborg

St Patrick’s Athletic v IFK Norrkoping

St Patrick’s Athletic v IFK Norrkoping Photo Album

Bray Wanderers v Limerick

Bray Wanderers v Limerick Photo Album

Dundela v Linfield

MAGAZINE ARCHIVE : FOOTBALL EUROPE – NOVEMBER 1998

David Beckham is the cover star of Football Europe as 1998 nears it’s end, but the 1998/1999 season is already in full swing.

As you open the magazine, there is a double page review of how Euro 2000 Qualifying has gone so far. Most teams have played three games, and the picture as to who will go to Holland and Belgium is anything but clear.

Headliners getting profiled include Artur Jorge, who is returning to manage PSG, and Mark Bosnich, likely to leave Aston Villa, but to Roma, who were put off by some of his behaviour on the pitch. He ended up signing for Manchester Untied in the summer of 1999.

Jose Antonio Camacho is the new manager of Spain, and Football Europe looks at the first battle he must win, against the Spanish media.

Someone else who has the media on his back is Alessandro Del Piero, after a poor run of form, and he gets a double page profile.

There is six pages of coverage profiling the group stages of the European Cup so far.

That final would be played in Barcelona, having just been announced by UEFA.

UEFA were also in the news as they tried to avoid a European Super League by getting rid of the European Cup Winners Cup and expanding the group stages of the European Cup to 32 teams.

There is a look at the season so far in Germany, and the question is asked if anyone can stop Bayern Munich.

2019 IN PICTURES – JULY

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

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

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

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

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

Linfield v Rosenborg

Dublin Street Art

Dublin Street Art Photo Album

St Patrick’s Athletic v IFK Norrkoping

St Patrick’s Athletic v IFK Norrkoping Photo Album

Bray Head

Bray Head Photo Album

Bray Wanderers v Limerick

Bray Wanderers v Limerick Photo Album

Dundela v Linfield

MAGAZINE ARCHIVE : GOAL – 21.12.1968

What appears to be Santa Claus on this week’s edition of Goal is actually Terry Neill of Arsenal, visiting Great Ormond Street Hospital in his role as Chairman of the PFA.

Bobby Charlton uses his column to discuss onfield violence, stating that football is not too violent.

Another Bob is featured, Stokoe, who has hit out after being sacked as manager of Charlton Athletic.

Derby County have discovered they have a growing fanbase across the world, with supporters emerging in Baghdad.

Frank O’Farrell, new manager of Leicester City, has claimed that Leicester can win the title. He would be proved right, albeit 47 years later.

With it being nearly Christmas, naturally, Goal asks some footballers what they want this year. Alan Ball, just wants Everton to beat Man City on Boxing Day.

The tie of the round in the European Cup Quarter-Finals is AC Milan v Celtic, with writer Leslie Vernon expecting the Italian side to win the tie and the competition. He would be proved right.

This week’s Girl Behind The Man goes to Scotland, to meet Anne Gemmell, wife of Celtic star Tommy Gemmell.

There is a look at gates in England, with the most notable figure being that Nottingham Forest have lost 123,000 fans over two seasons.

MAGAZINE ARCHIVE : WORLD SOCCER – JULY 1973

Action from a recent international between England and Scotland is the cover image of World Soccer during the summer of 1973.

The editorial focuses on discipline, with Alan Ball getting an indefinite ban from international football after a red card in Poland, debating if players in English club football should be allowed to appeal a red card.

England’s end of season tour gets reviews – a World Cup Qualifier in Poland (defeat) and friendlies in Soviet Union (win) and Italy (defeat), which have provided more questions than answers.

In Czechoslovakia, Spartak Trnava’s title bid as back on track after some disappointing results.

East Germany’s hopes of qualifying for the World Cuop in West Germany are now relying on their qualifier against Romania later in the year.

In Yugoslavia, Red Star Belgrade have stormed through to take the title.

Going back to Germany, this time to West Germany, it is reported that manager Helmut Schon faces a tough task to add the World Cup in 1974 to the European Championship, after a run of disappointing results.

Meanwhile in France, it is reported that the future of football in the country is described as “healthy”

Despite winning a third successive European Cup, all is not well at Ajax, with Spanish clubs eyeing up their stars. One of those clubs is Barcelona, who blew the title in the run-in, finishing second to Atletio Madrid.

Sunderland’s recent shock FA Cup win, beating the two previous winners en route, has instigated a debate if the difference in standard between England’s first and second tiers is as large as is made out.

In Wales, it is expected that their away game in Poland will decide if they have a chance of going to next year’s World Cup, while Cardiff City are hoping to arrange a special friendly to commemorate the opening of their £250,000 grandstand extension.

There is article on Dave Clements, who has recently emerged as Northern Ireland’s star player.

There is a tribute to John Connelly, a World Cup winner in 1966, who has just retired.

In Spain, clubs are now allowed to play two foreign players, with the writer describing it as a “black day” for Spanish football, as it will attract money grabbing mercenaries rather than improving the standard of Spanish football.

There is a review of the European Cup Final, which focuses more on Juventus poor performance than Ajax’s win.

Juventus were not involved in this season’s Anglo-Italian Cup, with Brian Glanville spending two pages writing about why the competition should be scrapped.

There is a review of the final weeks of the Irish League season, where Glentoran beat Linfield 3-2 in the Irish Cup Final, despite losing goalkeeper Alan Patterson to injury.

There is also a focus on World Cup Qualifying, with the big headline in Europe being the elimination of Hungary.

Scotland’s hopes of reaching West Germany will decided in their crunch encounter against Czechoslovakia in September.

MAGAZINE ARCHIVE : WORLD SOCCER – JANUARY 2012

Lionel Messi is the cover star of this edition of World Soccer, which looks back at football in 2011.

The magazine begins with two obituaries, a full page for Socrates, while Gary Speed surprisingly gets a small mention on the following page.

Algerian internationals from the 1980s have demanded an inquiry into possible doping by the Team Doctor after it emerged that eight players from that era have fathered disabled children.

Manchester United’s elimination from the European Cup gets focused on, with one columnist suggesting that the team lacks flair.

Jaiyah Saelua of American Samoa made history as the first transgender footballer to play in an international.

Brian Glanville uses his column to bemoan the number of dead rubber games in the group stages of the European Cup.

The draw for Euro 2012 has taken place and there is a full fixture list, as well as a look at the goalkeepers who will be taking part in Ukraine and Poland.

In Spain, Real Madrid looked to have blown their chance of winning La Liga.

Qatar are struggling in their bid to reach the 2014 finals, as they aim to reach the World Cup before hosting it in 2022.

Hoping to take part in the 2022 World Cup Qualifiers in Gibraltar, and their application to join UEFA is given a full page profile.

With the African Cup Of Nations near, there is a profile of Morocco, now under the management of Eric Gerets, and aiming to win the competition,

There is eight pages dedicated to looking back at 2011, as well as a look at stars of the future, with Eden Hazard, Mario Gotze, Marco Reus, Jack Rodwell and Christian Eriksen predicted for great things.

There is also six pages looking back at Lionel Messi’s year.

There is also a tactical look at how Chelsea’s high line is costing them dear.

Istanbul is the subject of a two page feature called Soccer Cities, offering advice to anyone wanting to travel there to watch football.

There is three pages reviewing how each European national team performed in 2011, while the focus of the club round-up is of both Manchester clubs crashing out of the European Cup.

MAGAZINE ARCHIVE : FOOTBALL ITALIA – JULY 1998

Two Serie A stars, Christian Vieri (Italy) and Gabriel Batistuta (Argentina) are the cover stars of this edition of Football Italia after heading the goalscoring charts at the World Cup in France.

The group stages, which Italy navigated as group winners get reviewed, but printing deadlines mean you’ll have to wait for the next issue for a review of their fortunes in the knockout stages.

It’s not all about international football, in club news, Juventus have been confirmed as one of the top seeds in the European Cup.

Staying with club football, there is a look at the major transfers in Italian Football so far.

There is a profile of new managers, with Giovanni Trapattoni catching the headlines as Fiorentina’s new manager, while Carlo Ancelotti has held talks with Fenerbache after being sacked by Parma.

There is a six page profile of Serie A champions Juventus, who couldn’t add the European Cup to their domestic title after losing the final for the second successive season, this time, 1-0 to Real Madrid.

Italy’s group games plus their Second Round win over Norway get reviewed, with the game against Austria being erroneously recorded as a 3-0 win for Italy when they actually won 2-1.

LINFIELD 0-2 ROSENBORG 10.7.2019

It is said that living a bit Scandinavian is good for you. Not for Linfield.

This century, FC Haka, Viking Stavanger, HJK Helsinki, Halmstad, Elfsborg, Randers, Rosenborg and AIK have ended their European hopes.

It’s either a team from Scaninavia or a former Soviet state.

But not since 2014.

Since then, Linfield’s European hopes have been ended by teams from Slovakia, Republic of Ireland, Scotland and East Belfast.

After a year’s absence, Linfield were back in Europe, and face familiar, but difficult opponents in Rosenborg, having met in 1986 and 2010 in the European Cup.

They had hoped to meet in 2017, with Rosenborg being who Linfield would have faced if they had got past Celtic.

This match came in a midweek where there was a surprising amount of football in Belfast. Any Rosenborg fans arriving in Belfast a day early had a choice of three games in East Belfast with Glentoran (Harland and Wolff Welders), East Belfast (Ards) and Dundela (Glenavon) all hosting pre-season friendlies.

Fans of Haugesund (Cliftonville) and B36 Torshavn (Crusaders) could have taken in another game if they arrived the day before their respective UEFA Cup ties. I didn’t see any at Windsor Park myself though.

Linfield had one survivor from the previous meeting in 2010, which unsurprisingly was Jamie Mulgrew, though there were a few players from the team that night who are still playing in the Irish League.

Linfield’s starting eleven for this match included Bastien Hery making his debut the day after signing for the club from Waterford, with Michael O’Connor heading the other way on loan.

Hery looked comfortable on the ball and could pick out a pass. He also looked comfortable running with the ball. I know what you’re thinking, he’s going to get fouled about 20,000 times next season.

It also means that we have a player similar to Jamie Mulgrew, meaning that Mulgrew can be taken out for a few games (he’s recently turned 33) when needed in order to save him for bigger games.

In order to prepare for this match, Linfield headed to Spain to train, and came home to rain.

This was a match which drew a big crowd, the queue of people standing in the rain prior to kick-off made me glad I got my ticket on the Saturday before.

It had been so long since my last visit to Windsor Park, I thought I was going to have to look up directions to find it.

Linfield were on the attack straight from kick-off and held their own in the opening minutes, with Niall Quinn heading just wide.

Jordan Stewart was playing tricks on Rosenborg’s defence and getting into good positions, while Matthew Clarke’s low cross was intercepted by Rosenborg’s keeper.

It wasn’t all Linfield though, Rosenborg hitting the post through Tore Reginiussen, the aftermath causing some panic in Linfield’s defence.

Rosenborg took the lead when Mike Jensen snuck in on the right hand side unmarked to finish from close range.

It wasn’t quite against the run of play, but Linfield were holding their own. It wasn’t the end of the world though. This time last year, Glenavon came from 1-0 down in the UEFA Cup to beat Norwegian side Molde, managed by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Whatever happened to him?

The goal did deflate Linfield for a while though, as the game meandered for a bit.

Bastien Hery had Linfield’s first shot on goal in the second-half, an easy save for Rosenborg’s keeper.

Shane Lavery came on for Kirk Millar, to make his debut for Linfield. Surprisingly for Millar, as most would have expected it to be a like for like change for Andrew Waterworth.

I only know the basics about him, but the general consensus was that this signing was a bit of a coup for Linfield.

His brief cameo appearance looked promising. Good positioning, comfortable on the ball and not afraid to shoot.

Unfortunately, Rosenborg made it 2-0 on the counter attack within a minute of him coming on, wrapping up the game, and more than likely the tie.

So, match 1 of 2019-2020 didn’t get the result I wanted, but it won’t be a European exit for Linfield. If they don’t turn around the deficit, they will face a UEFA Cup tie against HB Torshavn, who trail HJK Helsinki 3-0 from the first-leg.

From next season, the Irish League will lose a UEFA Cup place. The only good that will come out of it will be the end of the ridiculous UEFA Cup Play-Offs.

If they are kept, you could have a situation where a team could finish 2nd, one point behind the Champions. If they don’t reach the Irish Cup Final, they will then go into a Play-Off including teams that sat in mid table all season. Nothing more than a reward of mediocrity.

There have been other ins and outs at Windsor Park this summer. Roy Carroll is one of those. To be honest, I wouldn’t be surprised if he rejoined on a short-term basis when (or if) he recovers from injury.

That means that Alex Moore has now been promoted to 2nd choice Goalkeeper, so it is unlikely he will go out on loan again.

Cameron Stewart and Jonathan Smith have left. Not really surprising in either case, it would be hard to see where they would get games.

Ross Larkin has come in from Portadown, I don’t really know much about him. Mark Haughey is on the way back from injury, which is almost like a new signing.

As things stand, the squad is good to go. It feels like you’ve done your Christmas shopping by November 7th.

Using last season’s team, you have Gareth Deane in nets with Alex Moore as back-up.

Josh Robinson is still injured so that will need to be monitored.

Using last season’s back four of Casement-Robinson-Callacher-Quinn, we will have back-up of Haughey, McGuinness, Stafford and Clarke.

Assuming Hery and Mulgrew will be in midfield, we’ll have Fallon, Mitchell and Larkin as back-up.

Further up the field, we’ll have Stewart, Kearns, Cooper and Millar going for three positions.

Up front, there is Waterworth and Lavery battling for the striking position, with Forde and Reynolds options that are available for the bench.

Tempting fate, but we are good to go.

The fixtures for the new season are out, and i’m not too unhappy. You don’t too easy a start like in 2015 and 2017, so it’s good to have two big games against Ballymena United and Coleraine in the opening week.

We didn’t get Warrenpoint Town away on the day John Power is doing a concert in Warrenpoint. Flip sake.

Not ideal, is a trip to Institute on the day Northern Ireland are at home to Holland. That’ll be a quick rush back, even with an expected 1pm kick-off.

Looking a bit further ahead, I’ve applied for tickets to three games at Euro 2020. A Monday group match in Dublin, a Last 16 match in Dublin (involving the winner of England’s group) and the Final. Wish me luck.

I’ve got my first United match of 2019-2020 booked, a midweek match in January against Burnley, just as I did in 2018-2019. I hope to go to a UEFA Cup group match as well.

I’m heading over to Edinburgh in a few weeks time for the Edinburgh Festival. My football choices are Dunfermline Athletic v Dundee, Hibernian v St Mirren and Livingston v Motherwell.

Dunfermline’s match has been moved to Friday night for TV, which is tempting me, leaving me free to spend Saturday at the Festival.

My only previous visit to Dunfermline was for a match against Dundee in 2015.

Unfortunately, that might be my only football match in Scotland this season, with Linfield not entering the Scottish Challenge Cup, which is disappointing. The competition is staggered through the season and could easily be accommodate in the fixture list.

I bet Glenavon get Stranraer away, just to make it worse.

The draw for the NIFL Cup has already taken place and Linfield are away to Ballinamallard. Not ideal for travelling, but with it being the Tuesday after a Bank Holiday, if you want to sneak in a short trip to Fermanagh, the opportunity is there.

In terms of future football trips, it has been announced that the San Siro is due to be demolished in 2023, so I had better get myself into action if I ever want to visit it.

Harland and Wolff Welders are due to move to a new ground in 2020. I don’t know when in 2020, but if it is during the forthcoming season, i’ll try to sneak in a visit.

Maybe it’s because of this draw, and getting into the music of Sigrid (Hope she announces her own headline show in Belfast to compensate for pulling a sickie at Belsonic), but i’m having a real Scandinavian vibe at the moment.

It could possibly be because i’m in the middle of a house move and it’ll be filled with Ikea, Flying Tiger and Sostrene Grene.

One final thing, the new Linfield kit is a belter.

2019-2020 is now up and running.

Photo Album

Linfield v Rosenborg 2010

PHOTO DIARY OF A FOOTBALL SEASON : NOVEMBER

November 2018’s football watching began with a trip to Windsor Park with a trip to Windsor Park to see Linfield scrape a late draw at home to Warrenpoint Town.

It didn’t get much better the following Saturday, as I headed back to Windsor Park to see Linfield lose to Coleraine.

The weekend after, was a double header, the first of which was a first trip to The Brandywell, to see Linfield take on Institute. The next day, I headed to Windsor Park to see Northern Ireland take on Austria in the UEFA Nations League.

The following weekend, it was yet another trip to Windsor Park, but finally a home win, as an Andrew Waterworth hat-trick saw off Cliftonville.

My football watching for the month ended with a midweek trip to Old Trafford to see Manchester United take on BSC Young Boys in the European Cup, my first visit to Old Trafford of the season.

Linfield v Warrenpoint Town

Linfield v Coleraine

Institute v Linfield

Northern Ireland v Austria

Northern Ireland v Austria Photo Album

Linfield v Cliftonville

Manchester United v BSC Young Boys

Manchester United v BSC Young Boys Photo Album

MAGAZINE ARCHIVE : MANCHESTER UNITED – NOVEMBER 1997

Peter Schmeichel is the cover star of this edition of Manchester United’s official magazine as the Winter months of 1997 approach.

In news, former United star Andrei Kanchelskis says he regrets leaving United and how he loved living in Manchester. In 2001, he would join City on loan.

Cover star Schmeichel gives a five page interview where he complains about the atmosphere at Old Trafford.

There is a look back at United’s recent European Cup game away to Kosice, looking at how football in Slovakia is coping in the years following a split from Czechoslovakia.

With the internet still in it’s infancy, there is a double page spread on the best football sites on the net.

Ronny Johnsen gets a three page interview, hoping for a Norway v England meeting at the following year’s World Cup, simply for the number of United players involved.

In adverts, Gary and Phil Neville appear in an advert for American sportswear firm Pony.

Brian McClair has his diary in a month where he gets a three page profile due to his autobiography being out, revealing that he wanted to be a punk as a teenager.

As usual, the magazine ends with a review of recent games, and a preview of upcoming games.