The other way around from the movie series, it is Bond sending rather than receiving an SOS, as Birmingham City manager John Bond wants to bring cover star Trevor Francis beck to St Andrews from Sampdoria.

As you open the magazine, Mark Hughes tells Shoot that he doesn’t want to leave Manchester United, amidst rumours of a move to Barcelona.

In news, Terry Venables is linked with a move to Spurs at the end of the season, while leaving White Hart Lane could be Ally Dick, linked with a move to Hibs.

In World Cup news, Billy Bingham hits back at criticism of Northern Ireland’s preparation being against heavyweight sides such as Denmark and France, while Scotland manager Alex Ferguson has added Archie Knox and Craig Brown to his backroom staff for their campaign in Mexico.

Cover star Francis tells Shoot he is still available for England, having missed a recent friendly due to injury, and suggests he could create a place for himself in right midfield in Mexico.

Bryan Robson uses his column to state that the recent signing of Terry Gibson could be a boost for Manchester United in the title race.

In Scotland, Falkirk winger Jimmy Gilmour is playing so well, he is drawing comparisons to his uncle, former Celtic winger Jimmy Johnstone.

Crystal Palace manager Steve Coppell, only 30, tells Shoot that his side have had to change their style of play in order to get results, after previously missing out despite playing well.

Having saved Manchester City and Swansea City from relegation, John Bond is looking for a hat-trick by keeping Birmingham City up. In order to do this, he tells Shoot he wants to bring Trevor Francis back to the club, after Francis left to join Nottingham Forest in 1979 in England’s first £1m transfer.

Gary Mabbutt gets scouted by Shoot during Tottenham Hotspur’s match against Nottingham Forest, stating that he was exposed against a striker like Peter Davenport.

Back to Scotland, and Aberdeen’s John Hewitt tells Shoot that Dons manager Alex Ferguson is hard to please.

West Brom’s George Reilly tells Shoot he is happy at The Hawthorns after a short spell at Newcastle United.

Kenny Swain tells Shoot that he believes his experience of winning the title with Aston Villa in 1981 will help Portsmouth as they aim to get promoted to the top flight for the first time in 27 years.

West Ham goalkeeper Phil Parkes is having the best season of his career, and owes it to giving up booze after a drink driving ban in January 1985.

Ian Rush uses his column to praise his Liverpool team-mate Sammy Lee, who is celebrating his 27th birthday thsi week.

Meanwhile, Shoot does a double page spread on how Sunderland fans are losing patience with Lawrie McMenemy, after failing to launch a promotion bid.

The magazine ends with a “Focus On …..” Gordon Durie. His favourite bands are Depeche Mode and Simple Minds.


So, my football watching is over for 2013. Time to look back at the year just gone. And what better way to do it than with a load of stats.

Games : 48

Goals Seen : 135

Red Cards : 19

Missed/Saved Penalties : 5

Hat-Tricks : 2

Matthew Tipton (Linfield v Coleraine)
Cristiano Ronaldo (Northern Ireland v Portugal)

Teams Seen : 35

Ards, Ballinamallard United, Ballymena United, Bangor, Cliftonville, Coleraine, Crystal Palace (1st time), Crusaders, Derriaghy CC, Drogheda United, Dundee United (1st time), Dungannon Swifts, Falkirk (1st time), Fulham, Glenavon, Glentoran, Hibernian, IF Fuglafjordur (1st time), Israel (1st time), Linfield, Lisburn Distillery, Manchester United, Northern Ireland, Norwich City, Portadown, Portugal, Queens Park Rangers, Rangers, Reading (1st time), Russia (1st time), Shamrock Rovers (1st time), Skoda Xanthi (1st time), St Patrick’s Athletic, Tobermore United (1st time) Warrenpoint Town (1st time)

Stadiums Visited : 21

Ballymena Showgrounds, Clandeboye Park, Coleraine Showgrounds, Craven Cottage (1st time), Dixon Park (1st time), Easter Road, Ferney Park, Hampden Park, Ibrox (1st time), Loftus Road (1st time), Mourneview Park, Old Trafford, Richmond Park, Seaview, Seycon Park, Shamrock Park, Solitude, Stangmore Park, Tallaght Stadium (1st time), The Oval, Windsor Park

Competitions : 11

FA Premier League, IFA Championship, IFA Premiership, Irish Cup, League Of Ireland, Northern Ireland League Cup, Setanta Cup, Scottish Cup, Scottish Premier League, UEFA Cup, World Cup,

Curiousities :

2nd Feb/6th Apr : Two matches in one day

2nd Feb : First ever floodlight failure at a match attended, Fulham v Manchester United

Feb – Apr : Visiting, Queen’s Park, Rangers, and Queens Park Rangers grounds.

UEFA 100 Club : Dundee United (now at 30 clubs)

Top Five Matches :

1. Northern Ireland 2-4 Portugal
2. Falkirk 3-4 Hibernian AET
3. Fulham 0-1 Manchester United
4. Linfield 3-1 Cliftonville
5. Coleraine 2-3 Linfield


It’s fair to say that April was a busy month.

The first Saturday of the month, I went to two football matches in a day, both Irish Cup Semi-Finals. That night, I went to see Ellie Goulding at Waterfront Hall.

The following morning, I went to get some Street Art photos from the Lagan Towpath.

Three days later, I was in Glasgow to see Linfield in a friendly. I stayed for a few more days so I could see James at SECC, supported by Echo and the Bunnymen.

While I was in Glasgow, I managed to get some Street Art pictures, and attended the Scottish Cup Semi-Final between Falkirk and Hibs.

As you can imagine, I went camera happy during that trip.

Upon my return to Belfast, I was out getting photos of a mural of Bananaman in Great Victoria Street, as you do, before seeing Linfield finish off a miserable season with two home defeats.

Glentoran v Portadown

Glentoran v Portadown Photo Album

Cliftonville v Crusaders

Cliftonville v Crusaders Photo Album

Ellie Goulding Live At The Waterfront Hall

Ellie Goulding Live At Waterfront Hall Photo Album

Down By The Towpath

Glasgow Street Art

Glasgow Street Album Photo Album

Rangers v Linfield

Rangers v Linfield Photo Album

Falkirk v Hibernian

Falkirk v Hibernian Photo Album

Echo and the Bunnymen Live At SECC

Echo and the Bunnymen Live At SECC Photo Album

James Live At SECC

James Live At SECC Photo Album

Bananaman/Stay Puft

Linfield v Ballinamallard United

Linfield v Crusaders


April began, like February, with two matches in one day.

Unlike when I was in London, I knew where I was going. I went to both Irish Cup Semi-Finals as a neutral.

The Glentoran v Portadown game wasn’t very good, and I didn’t get much in the way of photos. Crusaders v Cliftonville was a batter game with better photos, the Sydenham End of The Oval being a lot more photo friendly

The following midweek, I was in Glasgow for the friendly between Rangers and Linfield. The match wasn’t great, but it was a friendly, so I was hardly expecting both teams to go for it, especially with it being towards the end of the season (ie – if it was in pre-season, it would have been a lot more intense, with teams working towards the new season)

Ibrox is a fantastic stadium, architecturally stunning on the outside and inside. Managed to get some fantastic shots of the ground. Not so much match action, as I was closer to the corner flag when Linfield had their bets spell of attacking, in the second-half.

I stayed in Glasgow for a few more days, and went to the Scottish Cup Semi-Final between Falkirk and Hibernian. A brilliantly crazy game for a neutral, maybe not so much if you supported one of the two teams. Got some ok photos, Hampden PArk, as fantastic stadium as it is, isn’t very photo friendly.

Upon my return, I went to Linfield’s last two games of the season. Fixture fulfillment really, and making sure I got my money’s worth out of my Season Ticket.

I would have got more Value For Money if i’d stayed at home.

But that wasn’t the end of the season. The following week, I went to Clandeboye Park to see Bangor beat Tobermore United and avoid relegation.

And with that, my season was over.

Glentoran v Portadown

Glentoran v Portadown Photo Album

Crusaders v Cliftonville

Crusaders v Cliftonville Photo Album

Rangers v Linfield

Rangers v Linfield Photo Album

Falkirk v Hibernian

Falkirk v Hibernian Photo Album

Linfield v Ballinamallard United

Linfield v Crusaders

Bangor v Tobermore United

Bangor v Tobermore United Photo Album


Barring something dramatic, the 2012-2013 season is over for me in terms of football attending.

The season began in June at the Amsterdam Arena, and ended in May at Clandeboye Park.

Unsurprisingly, most of the Linfield matches I attended weren’t particularly enjoyable.

There wasn’t much in the way of curiousities (last season, I saw two twins on opposing sides) apart from going to two matches in once day – twice, and there being a power failure at a match I was at.

Amazingly, it was an FA Premier League game, rather than an Irish League game.

So here, is a statistical look back at my 2012-2013 football season :

Matches Attended : 52

Goals Seen : 147 (should be 149, but I missed 2 goals in 2 different matches due to being late)

Red Cards : 11 (Plus also 2 players sent-off in dressing room for on field incident)

Hat-Tricks : 2

Matthew Tipton (Orangefield OB v Linfield, Linfield v Coleraine)

Penalties Missed/Saved : 7

Highest Scoring Match : 7 (Linfield 5-2 Coleraine, Falkirk 3-4 Hibernian AET)

Countries Seen Matches In : 5

England, Holland, Northern Ireland, Republic Of Ireland, Scotland

Teams Seen Play : 35

Australia (1st time), Azerbaijan, B36 Torshavn (1st time), Ballinamallard United (1st time), Ballymena United, Bangor, Cliftonville, Coleraine, Crusaders, Donegal Celtic, Dungannon Swifts, Falkirk (1st time), Fulham, Glenavon, Glentoran, Harland and Wolff Welders (1st time), Hibernian, Heart of Midlothian, Holland (1st time), Israel, Linfield, Lisburn Distillery, Luxembourg (1st time), Manchester United, Northern Ireland, Norwich City, Orangefield OB (1st time), Portadown, Queens Park Rangers (1st time), Rangers, Reading (1st time), Rosenborg, Shamrock Rovers (1st time), Scotland, Tobermore United (1st time)

Competitions Watched : 11

County Antrim Shield, European Cup, FA Premier League, Irish Cup, Irish League, Irish League Championship 1, Scottish Cup, Scottish Premier League, Setanta Cup, UEFA Cup, World Cup,

Stadiums Visited : 20

Amsterdam Arena, Ballyskeagh, Clandeboye Park, Craven Cottage (1st time), Cregagh Sports Ground (1st time), Easter Road, Ferney Park (1st time), Hampden Park, Ibrox (1st time), Loftus Road (1st time), Mourneview Park, Old Trafford, Seaview, Shamrock Park, Stangmore Park, Solitude, Tallaght Stadium (1st time), The Oval, Tillysburn Park (1st time), Windsor Park,


Having been in Glasgow over the weekend, I decided to take in the Scottish Cup Semi-Final at Hampden Park between Falkirk and Hibernian.

I turned up and got a ticket on the day with no problems from a ticket booth outside the ground. It was only 15 quid, which wasn’t bad for a match of this magnitude, seeing as I had paid the same amount for a friendly at Ibrox three days earlier.

I had the choice of ends, so went for the Falkirk end. Nothing against Hibs, I just fancied cheering on the underdogs.

My seat was right at the back of the stand behind the goal (to the left of your TV screen) but there were enough empty seats for me to head down for a closer view of the pitch.

That said, the seat I had at the back of the stand had a fantastic view.

Just over five minutes in, Falkirk went 1-0 up and the end I was in went delirious. Hibs missed an amazing chance to equalise. You need to Youtube it. It was easier to miss, but the player lost his composure.

In fact, the whole Hibs team had lost their composure, as Falkirk looked more comfortable with and without the ball.

By 29 minutes, Falkirk were 3-0 up. I looked around and saw people in disbelief. Falkirk deserved this lead.

At half-time, I walked around the forecourt, and saw grown men hugging each other in disbelief. I imagine it was probably the same in the Hibs end, but for opposite reasons.

When it went to 3-0, there were Hibs fans leaving the ground. The anger was clear to see. Every misplaced pass was met with groans.

The second-half was entirely different, with Hibs fans having a more United front, getting behind their team. Instead of groans, misplace passes were met with words of encouragement.

When coming from 3-0 down, you need an early second-half goal. When the ball went in, there seemd an inevitability that Hibs would go on to win.

The onslaught never happened. With each passing minute, Falkirk fans around me dared to believe they would win, especially when Leigh Griffiths missed a penalty.

That hoped was dashed when Hibs scored twice in five minutes to send the game to extra-time.

Despite a breather between full-time and extra-time, once the game restarted, it was all Hibs, and they went 4-3 up through Griffiths.

From there, Hibs didn’t look like losing the lead, though Falkirk had a great chance towards the end of the game.

It was an enjoyable game to be at as a neutral, maybe not so if you support one of the two teams, especially Falkirk.

Photo Album




Spent a few days in Glasgow recently, arranged at just over two weeks notice, but had a brilliant time.

The main purpose of my visit, was to see Linfield take on Rangers in a friendly, but after checking the listings, as James were playing in Glasgow on the Saturday night, a plan came into my head to stay Wednesday to Sunday, making the most of some leave I was owed.

I’d only previously been to Glasgow twice, both making brief visits and not really getting to see much of the city.

I was there in 2002, stopping off between Kinross (I was going to T In The Park) and Belfast, and having some time to kill, I spent an afternoon there, then returning in 2008 for the Scotland v Northern Ireland match, only spending a brief time on the afternoon of the match in the city.

I’d always been meaning to spend an afternoon in Glasgow whenever I visit Edinburgh every August, but had never got round to it.

After an early morning flight, I was soon getting used to the city and wandering around. I found the City Centre to be quite easy to navigate, if you used Buchannan Street, Sauchiehall Street and Central Station as a reference point.

After an afternoon in the City Centre, it was a short underground ride to Ibrox for the match between Rangers and Linfield.

The match, wasn’t great, you could tell it was a friendly as neither side was getting too stuck in.

The quality of football, wasn’t important, as it was about seeing Linfield and visiting a new stadium.

Thursday, was a lazy day, taking the opportunity to catch up on sleep after an early morning flight on Wednesday.

After a wee browse around the City Centre, managing to stumble around new places and get totally lost, not that I was complaining, I headed to Hampden Park to visit the Football Museum there.

It was a well set up museum, with some interesting articles, focusing on many aspects of football, including off field stuff such as old Hampden press boxes, dressing rooms, as well as old shirts, memorabilia of Scottish clubs, and Scottish players/managers who have made an impact of the game further afield.

On the Friday, James were doing an intimate show in Stirling, I would have loved to have got a ticket for this and spent a day in Stirling. I was considering going on a day trip somewhere, but decided to stay in Glasgow for the day.

I spent late morning/lunchtime at Kelvingrove Museum. It’s a bit out from the City Centre (I had to get a taxi there) but it’s well worth a visit.

There was an exhibition on Scottish football history, very similar to the museum at Hampden, with a lot of exhibits on loan from Hampden.

Despite the similarity, it’s well worth a visit, as are some of the other exhibits. It’s a very family friendly place, and even had an organ recital over lunch.

I headed back into the City Centre and had some lunch in The Arches, a live music/drama/comedy workshop under the Central Station Bridge, before heading for a wee walk around the City Centre.

That evening, I headed to Mitchell Library, for a talk called ‘Where Is Scottish Football Going?’ as part of the Aye Write Festival.

The talk was interesting, and it was clear the passion was there from the contributors, there was little in the way of disagreement.

The following day, there was a talk looking at the Media industry post Leveson which I would have loved to have attended, but unfortunately, the time was inconvenient.

The reason for that, was that I was back at Hampden Park for the Scottish Cup Semi-Final between Falkirk and Hibs. I managed to get a ticket for 15 quid on the day, and it was an enjoyable game as a neutral, maybe not so much if you supported one of the two teams, especially Falkirk.

After a wee break in my room, it was straight to the SECC to see Echo and the Bunnymen, followed by James.

A fantastic concert featuring two bands I love.

From there, I headed back to the hotel. The three main events I attended were easily to get to, with a very good (in my experience) Public Transport network, with train stops convenient to the venues, and police managing post event crowds very well.

There was a comic moment on Saturday afternoon as a Policewoman on a horse was trying to give instructions to a crowd waiting to get into Mount Florida train station.

They weren’t listening to her as they were too busy laughing at her horse, which had just casually pissed itself.

Four days was possibly too much, but it was worth staying that long just to see James. I had a great time on my first proper visit to Glasgow, a nice city with a good event infrastructure, good selection of places to visit, shops, places to eat, etc.