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

AJAX ON TOUR

Was in Manchester for the UEFA Cup tie between Manchester United and Ajax.

Throughout the city centre and streets surrounding Old Trafford, Ajax fans weren’t slow in decorating lamposts with their team’s stickers.

FC BASEL STICKERS

Was in Manchester on Saturday for United’s match against Sunderland, but while in the city, I spotted some stickers left by supporters of FC Basel while visiting Old Trafford for a Champions League tie.

Meanwhile, in the link provided, i’ve got some recent graffiti in Belfast. Nothing too special which has merited getting a blog written about it.

Photos

PHOTO DIARY OF A FOOTBALL SEASON : APRIL

April, the month when things get decided.

The month started in explosive fashion with a top of the table clash between Linfield and Crusaders at Seaview, with both teams starting the game level on points.

For the first time at Seaview, both fans were segregated, and Linfield fans couldn’t make use of the terraces behind the goal at the Shore Road due to groundworks.

One Seaview tradition remains, in that Linfield goalscorers never run to where I am stood.

In compensation for missing out on a photo of Robert Garrett celebrating his winner, I managed to get a good one of Jim Ervin taking a throw.

Linfield’s visit to The Oval two weeks later was also subject to restrictions due to work taking place on the ground, but I managed to work around this and get some good photos.

Later in the month, I managed to get shots of stickers left at Ballyskeagh by Shamrock Rovers fans.

As sod’s law would dictate, after a season of taking photos, my camera’s battery died during the presentation of the Gibson Cup to Linfield.

Crusaders v Linfield

Linfield v Glentoran (Irish Cup)

Glentoran v Linfield

Linfield v Glentoran

Linfield v Cliftonville

Lisburn Distillery v Linfield

Linfield v Portadown

SCHALKE STICKERS

Having uploaded some photos of Bourissia Dortmond fan stickers in Dublin, this week, it’s the turn of Schalke fans, who have appeared to have plastered every street post in the vicinity of Old Trafford in their artwork.

Also in Manchester, managed to spot some stickers from FC Twente, FC United, and um …….. Ralphie Milne Ultras.

SHAMROCK STICKERS

A few weeks ago, I blogged about Slovenia fans leaving stickers out and about in Belfast when their side played a World Cup Qualifier at Windsor Park in April 2009.

When the sides met at the same venue in a European Championship Qualifier a few weeks ago, there was a Maribor sticker left in the South Stand at Windsor Park.

Unfortunately, i’m unable to get a photo for you.

I was at Ballyskeagh today for the Irish League match between Lisburn Distillery and Linfield, and noticed some stickers left by Shamrock Rovers fans from when the sides recently met in a Setanta Cup tie.

Photo Album

SLOVENIA STICKERS

Next week, Slovenia will arrive at Windsor Park for a Euro 2012 Qualifier against Northern Ireland.

They’ve been there before, just short of two years ago for a World Cup Qualifier.

When visiting, their fans certainly left their mark on Belfast City Centre. I mean that, in a good way.

It seems to be customary for visiting football fans to leave stickers in cities they visit to indicate a supporters group they belong to, be it their national side or their club team.

Hopefully, when they are here next week, they will do likewise.

If you’re about in Belfast City Centre and you think you see someone taking a close-up photo of a lampost, do say hello.

Slovenija

Green Dragons

Olimpija Ljubljana

STICKERWARS

It’s a random phenomenon around Belfast this time of year, and most people wouldn’t even notice it, apart from me, as foreign visitors to the city leave their mark on lampost and roadsigns in support of their football teams.

The phenomenon is of posting stickers of your ultras firm to a lampost in a city you visit while supporting your team.

The most recent addition, is of stickers in the University area (See link at end of blog) left by supporters of HNK Cibalia, when in Belfast for a UEFA Cup tie against Cliftonville.

For many people, the term ‘Ultras’ erroniously means hooligans, usually from Italy.

In truth, it’s really a term to describe a fans group of a club, who organise displays primarily, but also singing and purchase/creation of flags.

These groups will usually have their own striking imagery as a logo, and often produce stickers as a way of leaving their mark on cities they visit.

Supporters of international teams also leave such stickers after an international at Windsor Park.

The recent surge of Polish migrants to Northern Ireland has seen Legia Warsaw graffiti appear across the city, of the clubs badge, a Green circle with a L inside it.

Interestingly, there are still some stickers of the Guliganerna group, from IF Elfsborg when they visited Linfield in 2007.

At one point, there was a trail of Elfsborg stickers leading from the City Centre, through Shaftesbury Square, along the Donegall Road, onto Windsor Park.

It’s not just Belfast which has this phenomenon, as I have noticed stickers in the city of sides that have visited United (and City, when they have a good year and win the Fair Play Award) for European ties.

Stockport County fans used this tactic to highlight the plight of their financially stricken club.

It is fun seeing the funny looks I get from passers-by, wondering why I am taking a photo of a lampost or street sign, and then their reaction when they pass me, and admiringly glance at the stickers.

It’s an interesting and random form of streetart, and now doubt after reading this, you’ll be looking at every lampost you pass for a sticker

Link

WELCOME TO THE WORLD CUP COUNTDOWN – STAGE 2

It was when I was in Manchester last week that it dawned on me that stage 2 of the World Cup Countdown had begun.

I was in a newsagents trying to get an iced lolly, when I noticed that the Panini 2010 World Cup sticker album was on the shelves.

When the World Cup sticker album appears on the shelves, it means the World Cup is agonisingly close, despite the fact that various issues from the club season are still to be resolved.

As is tradition, the album is given away with a national newspaper, preceded with an advertising campaign, and this year is no different, as the News Of The World are going to give it away with this week’s edition.

World Cup stickers are a strange bunch, as some teams have their photos taken by a photographer creeping up on players to get a close-up while they are singing their national anthems, hence the rather bizarre facial poses.

Other teams prefer to have a photoshoot for an hour or so while the squad meets up for a friendly in February or March.

I can only imagine the excitement being a player taking part in this photoshoot at getting your photo taken during the winter months, as the Press Officer tells you that you are getting your photo taken as the World Cup isn’t that far away, and they need to meet pringing deadlines.

The less said about the photoshopped efforts of players from countries where their FA won’t co-operate with Panini, the better.

Andrew Stewart – NIR – FWD – Manchester United FC (Eng) or Andrew Stewart – NIR – FWD – Linfield FC would have been brilliant as a sticker, possibly even a shiny.

You know, if i’d really worked hard at being a footballer, I could have been so good that you would have had to swap the entire Saudi Arabian team to get my sticker.

It always does make me laugh at how some players stickers seem to have a swap value similar to the player’s ability (ie – if you want Wayne Rooney, you would probably need to swap 10 players just to get him)

Due to space constraints, an editorial decision is usually made that some of the so-called ‘minnow nations’ only get 1 page (compared to the standard pages) and there is two players to a sticker.

I often wonder has this ever been used as a motivational tactic, as a manager takes out a copy of the Panini sticker album, rants furiously at the fact the team only has one page with two players to a sticker, and urges them to prove people wrong.

As the World Cup is a quadannual event, I only ever had one World Cup (1994) to enjoy the joy of collecting football stickers.

It is a bitter irony of life that you collect football stickers with a pittance of pocket money, yet when you are working and have disposable income to spend, you are long grown out of collecting football stickers.

Stage 2 of the World Cup Countdown is usually followed shortly after by stage 3, but it will be interesting to see how it develops.

Stage 3 is usually marked by the video for England’s (or Scotland’s, if they qualify) official World Cup song being released and played on rotation by the music channels, followed up by an appearance on Top Of The Pops.

Sadly, there’s no more Top Of The Pops anymore, nor is there an official song, at the insistance of Fabio Capello, so we’ll be infested with chancers trying to cash in on football fever by bringing out their own efforts.

For me, the best England World Cup song that never was came in 1998 when Space, Echo and the Bunnymen, Ocean Colour Scene and Johnny Marr collaborated on a song called ‘On Top Of The World’

It was set to be a classic, until someone at the FA suggested that they should get the Spice Girls to sing on it.

It’s almost an analogy for the England football team. Despite the personnel at their disposal, they always find a way to cock it up.