PHOTO DIARY OF A FOOTBALL SEASON : NOVEMBER

November got off to a dramatic start, as I headed to Mourneview Park to see nine man Linfield come from 2-0 down to get a late draw against Glenavon.

I was back on the road a few days later to Ballymena to see Linfield record a 4-1 in win.

Up next was a trip to Windsor Park to see Northern Ireland record a 4-0 win over Azerbaijan, before continuing Linfield’s road trip with a 4-0 over Dungannon Swifts before a midweek date at Windsor Park for Northern Ireland’s last game of 2016, a 3-0 friendly defeat against Croatia.

I was back at Windsor Park for Linfield’s only home game of the month, a 2-1 defeat to Cliftonville.

The following weekend, I went to see my first and second games at Old Trafford with Jose Mourinho as United manager, doing a double header of games against Feyenoord and West Ham United, with a trip to Bury (via Broadhurst Park) sandwiched inbetween.

As a bonus, I even got pictures of stickers left around Manchester by Feyenoord fans.

Glenavon v Linfield

Ballymena United v Linfield

Northern Ireland v Azerbaijan

Northern Ireland v Azerbaijan Photo Album

Dungannon Swifts v Linfield

Northern Ireland v Croatia

Northern Ireland v Croatia Photo Album

Linfield v Cliftonville

Manchester United v Feyenoord

Manchester United v Feyenoord Photo Album

Feyenoord Stickers

Bury v Millwall

Bury v Millwall Photo Album

Broadhurst Park

Manchester United v West Ham United

Manchester United v West Ham United Photo Album

FEYENOORD STICKERS

Got ……. Got …….. Need.

It’s been a while since i’ve done a sticker blog, but Feyenoord fans left so many in Manchester while visiting for their UEFA Cup tie at Old Trafford, it made it impossible not to do one.

Now, has anybody got a Gaston Taument shiney?

Photo Album

MANCHESTER UNITED 4-0 FEYENOORD 24.11.2016

Recently, I headed to Old Trafford for the first time this season, my first glimpse of Mourinho’s United in the flesh, for the UEFA Cup tie against Feyenoord.

This was a game that United needed to win just to stay in the competition. Although a draw still would have had United’s destiny in their own hands in the final game, defeat would have eliminated them from the competition, following Fenerbache’s win over Zorya at teatime. with a game to spare.

Their recent record against Dutch clubs wasn’t great, losing three and drawing one of their last four games against Dutch clubs. One of those defeats came in their open group game, away to Feyenoord in September.

It is the away form that left United in this situation, even a draw in either Rotterdam or Istanbul would have made life so much easier going into this game.

This Jeckyll and Hyde form in Europe isn’t a Mourinho problem, Moyes and Van Gaal also endured it.

United haven’t lost at home in Europe in 14 matches, dating back to 2013, but have only won 1 of their last 10 away matches, dating back to 2013.

This match meant I had seen United take on Holland’s “Big Three” at Old Trafford. I had seen Feyenoord before, at the end of the last century in 1999 taking on Liverpool in a Pre-Season Friendly.

My excuse is that I was there to watch Linfield v Glentoran which had taken place before, and then just decided to stay, like when you are a fan of the support act at a concert but just decide to stay for the headliner anyway.

United went straight on the attack, issuing a statement of intent, Paul Pogba heading over in United’s first attack.

It was very much attack v defence, most of United’s play coming through some Scottish lad making his debut called Henry McItarian.

You got the feeling that if United could get one early on, they could power through and win the game with something to spare. The problem was, just getting the one.

I had great view of it, in the front rows of the Stretford End. The downside was, I almost got hit by a wayward Paul Pogba shot.

Feyenoord looked like getting a goal on the counter against the run of play, but Sergio Romero was forced into a double save, the second with his legs.

The goal United fans craved wasn’t long in coming when Wayne Rooney burst down the left wing and played it to Zlatan Ibrahimovic who waited, and waited, before playing Rooney in, to dink it over the keeper.

It briefly looked offside (it all happened very quickly) from where I was, but TV replays showed that it wasn’t.

More United pressure followed and continued into the second-half, with Henryk Mkhitarian hitting the side netting, before Juan Mata eventually made it count by finishing from close range to make it 2-0, his last involvement in the game before being subbed for Marcus Rashford.

United then made it 3-0 with a Brad Jones own goal, even though Ibrahimovic will try to claim it.

At that point, United fans taunted their rivals with “You’re just a shit fucking Ajax”.

If you come to Old Trafford and sing You’ll Never Walk Alone, you’d better be good, Feyenoord were not good.

Jesse Lingard made it 4-0 in injury time, as United head to Zorya for their final game knowing that a draw will be enough to go through.

Hopefully, United can win that game and top the group (need Fenerbache to slip up in Rotterdam though) while Dundalk win their last game to finish second. You know what i;m thinking?

Thursday 6pm game, book a day off work and be in bed at a reasonable time.

First of all, just get the result in Ukraine.

Photo Album

UEFA 101 CLUB – UPDATE

It’s been a year, and the opening rounds of European competition are drawn tomorrow, with Irish League teams joining the action, so it’s a good time to update my pursuit to complete a rather pointless list.

You may have noticed the new title – further research has indicated that 101 clubs, not 100 have played in a European Final. It’s not my fault, I was basing it on the When Saturday Comes article that inspired it, which at the time of writing said 99 clubs had reached a European Final, with the next one being the 100th.

Turns out, there had already been 100 clubs. Since you ask, the honour belongs to Fulham.

So, what is the UEFA 101 Club? Well, 101 clubs have played in the final of one of European football’s three competitions (European Cup, European Cup Winners Cup, UEFA Cup) and there are people who try to see every team play live in person.

I’m doing it just for fun, but if I win the lottery, I might start taking it a bit more seriously.

Living in Northern Ireland, you’d think it would be hard trying to see some of these clubs, but tomorrow’s draw could see some clubs who’ve had greater European nights visiting Northern Ireland. It did last year.

In the European Cup, Cliftonville could have a rematch with Celtic. No use to me, as i’ve already ticked Celtic off my list.

Other possible opponents for Cliftonville include : Steau Bucharest, Dinamo Zagreb (already ticked off my list), Partizan Belgrade and Slovan Bratislava.

Frustratingly, Red Star Belgrade won’t be in the competition due to being thrown out due to Financial Fair Play. I would have loved to have seen them in the flesh, even though they’re now a shadow of their 1991 team, the mystique remains.

If they get drawn against Steau Bucharest, I might be tempted to go.

If Cliftonville get through, they could potentially face Red Bull Salzburg, Malmo or Dinamo Tblisi.

In the UEFA Cup, Linfield being seeded means they won’t be facing any members of the club, but there are opportunities for Crusaders and Glenavon.

By the way, i’m hoping the draw sends Linfield to Broughton (or Airbus UK, if you prefer)

Crusaders or Glenavon could face IFK Gothenborg, Aberdeen or Ferencvaros.

If any of the Irish League teams progress to the next round, there are no member clubs joining at that stage. Plenty of big clubs in the 3rd Round though.

This time last year, I was on 29 clubs, but I am on 31 clubs now, having added Dundee United and Everton to my list. I’ve applied for a ticket to the European Super Cup Final in Cardiff. If I get a ticket, that’ll be Sevilla ticked off the list. I’ve already got Real Madrid.

My list in full :

Team (Year first seen)

Aberdeen (2011)
Ajax Amsterdam (2012)
Arsenal (2003)
AS Roma (2007)
Aston Villa (1993)
Atletico Madrid (2011)
Barcelona (2011)
Benfica (2000)
Brimingham City (2010)
Celtic (2009)
Chelsea (1997)
Dinamo Zagreb (2008)
Dundee United (2013)
Everton (2014)
FC Porto (2011)
Feyenoord (1999)
Fulham (2001)
Leeds United (1993)
Liverpool (1994)
Manchester City (2000)
Manchester United (1993)
Marseille (1992)
Middlesbrough (1995)
Newcastle United (1993)
Nottingham Forest (1996)
Rangers (2002)
Real Madrid (2003)
SC Braga (2011)
Tottenham Hotspur (2010)
West Ham United (1997)
Wolverhampton Wanderers (2010)

THE UEFA 100 CLUB – UPDATED

You may remember a blog on here in September 2010 about something that was then known as “The UEFA 99 Club” based on an article in When Saturday Comes.

Basically, it was one man’s crusade to watch every team who had played in either the European Cup, European Cup Winner’s Cup and UEFA Cup, in the flesh.

Since the article was written SC Braga reached the UEFA Cup Final, so it is now known as The UEFA 100 Club. Obviously, when a club reaches a European Final for the first time, it will become the 101 Club, 102 Club, and so forth.

Living in Northern Ireland, you may think it will be hard to see teams, but if this season’s European draws were kinder, I could have added some. Cliftonville were drawn with Celtic, but i’ve already seen Celtic. Other potential opponents for Cliftonville were Dinamo Tblisi, Dinamo Zagreb (already seen …… twice), Steaua Bucharest, Partizan Belgrade and Slovan Bratislava.

For Linfield, Glentoran and Crusaders, potential UEFA Cup opponents included Malmo and Videoton. If Glentoran had beaten KR last night, they would have played Standard Liege. I might have been tempted along to add them to my list, cheering on Standard Liege, of course.

Linfield’s potential 2nd Round opponents included IFK Gothenborg and Red Star Belgrade.

Regular readers will know that I travel to Edinburgh every August. While i’m there, Hibs play Dundee United, so I can tick them off, a milestone one at that, as it would take me to 30.

In February, i’m thinking of heading to London for a weekend. While i’m there, Everton play Tottenham at White Hart Lane, so I might try and get a ticket for that one. Amazingly, in 20 years of travelling to Old Trafford 2-3 times a year, i’ve never seen Everton.

So, currently, i’m on 29, hopefully at least 31 by the end of the season. Here’s my full list.

Team (Year first seen)

Aberdeen (2011)
Ajax Amsterdam (2012)
Arsenal (2003)
AS Roma (2007)
Aston Villa (1993)
Atletico Madrid (2011)
Barcelona (2011)
Benfica (2000)
Brimingham City (2010)
Celtic (2009)
Chelsea (1997)
Dinamo Zagreb (2008)
FC Porto (2011)
Feyenoord (1999)
Fulham (2001)
Leeds United (1993)
Liverpool (1994)
Manchester City (2000)
Manchester United (1993)
Marseille (1992)
Middlesbrough (1995)
Newcastle United (1993)
Nottingham Forest (1996)
Rangers (2002)
Real Madrid (2003)
SC Braga (2011)
Tottenham Hotspur (2010)
West Ham United (1997)
Wolverhampton Wanderers (2010)

2012 IN PICTURES – FEBRUARY

Busy month this. February usually is, as I go away somewhere to forget the trauma that is my impending birthday.

Went to Amsterdam for a weekend, and also went to Rotterdam for a day. Both nice cities.

Went to football matches in both cities, both were enjoyable, but I enjoyed seeing Excelsior Rotterdam the most. Managed to get some brilliant photos of the ground and match when I was there.

Excelsior’s ground, Woudestein, has a stand named after Robin Van Persie. The club’s bar also has various pictures of him from throughout his career. In case you’re wondering, he began his career there.

Little did I know then, that six months later, he would be a Manchester United player.

It was snowing as well whenever I was there, which made for great photo opportunities.

That wasn’t the only travelling done that month, as I went to Old Trafford for the UEFA Cup tie between Manchester United and Ajax, and even managed to fit in trips to Portadown and North Belfast to watch Linfield.

This year, February had an extra day, and I made the most of it by going to see Northern Ireland v Norway.

It wasn’t all about football, as I went to see Noel Gallagher at The Odyssey.

A very photo-filled month. Enjoy

Amsterdam/Rotterdam Street Art

Amsterdam/Rotterdam Street Art Photos Album

Amsterdam Snow

Amsterdam Snow Photo Album

Rotterdam Snow

Rotterdam Snow Photo Album

The Tub

The Tub Photo Album

Excelsior Rotterdam v VVV Venlo

Excelsior Rotterdam v VVV Venlo Photo Album

Ajax Amsterdam v FC Utrecht

Ajax Amsterdam v FC Utrecht Photo Album

Great Victoria Street Graffiti

Noel Gallagher Live At The Odyssey

Noel Gallagher Photo Album

Portadown v Linfield

Holylands Graffiti

Manchester United v Ajax Amsterdam

Manchester United v Ajax Amsterdam Photo Album

Cliftonville v Linfield

Northern Ireland v Norway

Northern Ireland v Norway Photo Album

THE TUB

Or “De Kuip” as it’s known in Dutch, the home of Feyenoord.

Was doing an Amsterdam/Rotterdam double header so popped along to see it.

To give an idea of the stadium’s standing, it has hosted both the European Cup and European Championship Final.

Was easy to get to from the city centre, but it was locked to the public before you get to the turnstiles, so I had to make do with some long range shots.

Visited the club shop and got a cheap Feyenoord away top. Would have loved to have seen a game but the fixture list transpired against me, although I have already seen Feyenoord in action (1999 – a friendly at Windsor Park against Liverpool) and can mark them off my 100 Club list (1970 European Cup winners and UEFA Cup winners in 1974 and 2002)

Anyway, enjoy some photos.

Photo Album

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE UEFA 99 CLUB

On a long bus journey home from Manchester last week, I purchased a copy of the new edition of When Saturday Comes to pass the time, and there was one article which really caught my attention.

It was one concerning the fact that 99 different clubs have reached a European Final (European Cup, European Cup Winners Cup, UEFA Cup) and one man is on a mission to see them all in action.

His current total is 66 (Exactly 2/3s of the way through) although being a match going Rangers fan gives him a bit of an advantage, where he can see his own team and three SPL rivals on a weekly basis, as well as foreign opponents due to Rangers Euro adventures.

As the bus was still going through Scotland, I decided to see and tick off how many teams on my list, and got a meagre 22 in comparison, but I did get 8 former European Cup winners, including all 5 to come from Britain.

Can’t say i’m planning on making completing this list a life ambition, but just thought it would be fun to compare.

As with any list, there will always be ones that got away, and mine is not different.

Dinamo Tblisi, 1981 European Cup Winners Cup Winners played Linfield in a European Cup tie in 1993, which I wasn’t at. I don’t know why I didn’t go, but I definately know that I didn’t go.

I remember the first leg tie took place on the same night as a midweek Premier League fixture list, and Alan Green broke off from the commentary game to read out the score, adding “We have a great chance in the second leg with that away goal”

For a 10 year old, having Linfield getting a shout out on Five Live seemed quite exciting.

Linfield lost the tie 3-2, but Tblisi were thrown out for trying to bribe the official, and Linfield went through to face FC Copenhagen, who snuck through to face AC Milan.

If it wasn’t for that cheating bastard ref and his 6 minutes of injury time, I could have had 23 teams on my list.

In 17 years of going to Old Trafford 2-3 times a season, I have seen a wide variety of teams, but Everton are not one of them. For some reason, i’ve never seen them play at Old Trafford.

I was planning to see them in 2001, but that trip got cancelled and I got another game in compensation. I declined the opportunity to see them face a Northern Ireland XI in 2007 as it was only half a team playing, with the other half playing a friendly against Bury the same day.

2009 UEFA Cup Winners Shaktar Donesk played a European Cup Winners Cup tie at Windsor Park in 1995, but with the Ukranians leading 4-1 from the first leg, I decided to give it a miss. If only i’d known the success they would have in 14 years time.

Red Star Belgrade were the biggest miss for me. In 1991, they were reigning European Cup winners, and they began their defence in Portadown.

I wanted to go, but my dad wouldn’t take me. It was a school night, end of debate.

The first team on the list I saw was Marseille in 1992, the most recent Birmingham City and Wolves in 2010.

I’ll definately be adding Tottenham Hotspur at the end of October, and hopefully Barcelona and Athletico Madrid in February. Maybe one day, i’ll be able to add Linfield.

Feel free to post your own totals

Team (Year first seen)

Arsenal (2003)
AS Roma (2007)
Aston Villa (1993)
Benfica (2000)
Brimingham City (2010)
Celtic (2009)
Chelsea (1997)
Dynamo Zagreb (2008)
Feyenoord (1999)
Fulham (2001)
Leeds United (1993)
Liverpool (1994)
Manchester City (2000)
Manchester United (1993)
Marseille (1992)
Middlesbrough (1995)
Newcastle United (1993)
Nottingham Forest (1996)
Rangers (2002)
Real Madrid (2003)
West Ham United (1997)
Wolverhampton Wanderers (2010)