THE FRIDAY FIVE – 14.7.2017

1. The Killers – The Man
2. Foo Fighters – Run
3. The Weeknd – Secrets
4. Liam Gallagher – Chinatown
5. Dagny – Wearing Nothing

Today, is Bastille Day. I think you know what is coming next. Yes, that’s right, not one, but two charts for you.

FIVE SONGS BY BASTILLE

1. Blame
2. Pompeii
3. Send Them Off
4. Laura Palmer
5. The Things We Lost In The Fire

FIVE SONGS BY FRENCH ACTS

1. Daft Punk – Da Funk
2. Phoenix – Entertainment
3. Desireless – Voyage Voyage
4. Daft Punk – Robot Rock
5. Air – Sexy Boy

Meanwhile, The Killers have announced a concert in Belfast in November. The bad news is, tickets don’t go on sale for another week. Wish me luck when they do go on sale.

To get you in the mood, here’s a Killers based chart.

FIVE SONGS BY THE KILLERS

1. Jenny Was A Friend Of Mine
2. Ultraviolet
3. The Man
4. Spaceman
5. Shot At The Night

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PHOTO OF THE SEASON : 2016-2017

So, the 2016-2017 season is over for me. I hope you’ve enjoyed my photographic look back at the season just gone.

I’ve selected some of my favourites, so feel free to vote for the one you like the best.

POLSKA

Taken back in June 2016 at Northern Ireland v Poland, I like the composition, how everyone is fixated on the action at the other end of the pitch, and the colour co-ordination of both sets of fans.



WILGAR

Taken at a pre-season game between Linfield and Dundela, it captures the joys of going to football matches in pre-season, sunshine and relaxation ahead of the hard slog ahead.



SEAVIEW

I like the framing of this, as the crowd is in position, awaiting kick-off in a big match.



CELEBRATION

Linfield fans celebrating Jimmy Callacher’s winner against Glentoran in October. I just like this for some reason other than the obvious.

PALMERSTON

There’s just something about the architecture of old football grounds that does it for me. This is out of use turnstiles at Palmerston Park, home of Queen of the South.

APPEAL

Linfield fans appeal in unison, all making the same hand gestures, for a goal to be allowed. The goal was disallowed for a foul.



ELF

Taken at the Steel and Sons Cup Final. Some people like getting dressed up for Christmas.

GAYNOR

I like the composition of this, from Ross Gaynor’s posture, to substitutes chatting to each other while the game goes on.

UNITED

I like the composition of this, all eyes fixated on the penalty area and the incoming corner.

SPOT THE BALL

I like the composition of this shot, it looks like a Spot The Ball image, except that the ball is in the shot, with two players getting ready for an aerial tussle.



COLERAINE

I love the framing and seeing players in the background running to join the celebrations.

WATERWORTH

Celebrations after Andrew Waterworth’s second goal against Cliftonville, capturing the joy of the event and the achievement just about to happen.

PHOTO DIARY OF A FOOTBALL SEASON : JUNE

The previous two seasons for me began in Bray. Not this time, it was the Stade De France to begin 2016-2017 with the opening match of Euro 2016 between France and Romania.

It was one of three Euro 2016 matches I attended, taking in Northern Ireland v Poland and Republic of Ireland v Sweden during my time in France.

Back home, it was the earliest start ever to a Linfield season, June 30th, and a UEFA Cup tie against Cork City, where I attended the home leg at Windsor Park.

France v Romania

France v Romania Photo Album

Northern Ireland v Poland

Northern Ireland v Poland Photo Album

Republic of Ireland v Sweden

Republic of Ireland v Sweden Photo Album

Linfield v Cork City

MAGAZINE ARCHIVE : SHOOT – 1.3.1986

Celtic and Manchester United are on the cover of this week’s edition of Shoot as they prepare to face each other in a mid-season friendly, with the headline “Soccer on trial”.

The headline refers to the fact that it was the first high profile away game by an English club since the previous season’s European Cup Final, which resulted in English clubs being banned from Europe.

As you open the magazine, Danny Wallace fires a message to John Barnes and Chris Waddle that he is after their World Cup place following an impressive England debut in a recent friendly away to Egypt.

The friendly at Parkhead that featured on the cover gets a double page spread, with the game billed as an unofficial British Cup Winners Cup Final, after both teams won their respective national cup competitions in 1985.

Paul McStay of Celtic suggests that a former Rangers player might have a keen interest in this game, as Scotland manager Alex Ferguson might take the opportunity to spy on Jesper Olsen of United, with Denmark being a group opponent of Scotland in the forthcoming World Cup.

In ads, you can buy The Official FA Cup Game for just £7.75 on Spectrum, Commodore or Armstrad.

Talking of adverts, England’s squad has agreed a sponsorship deal with the Health Education Council to front an anti-smoking campaign.

Bryan Robson uses his column to praise Peter Beardsley, who recently made his international debut during that recent friendly in Egypt.

Northern Ireland are also in international action, with an away friendly against France, with the game getting a double page feature, with John McClelland being interviewed.

Shoot looks at the options for Scotland’s squad, and they urge Alex Ferguson to find a place for Pat Nevin in the 22.

Staying in Scotland, Hibs youngster Gordon Hunter gets praised by his manager John Blackley.

Phil Thompson is interviewed, where he states that if he could lead Sheffield United into the top flight, it would be as big a thrill as all the trophies he won with Liverpool.

Across Sheffield, Wednesday striker Carl Shutt gets a full page profile.

Jimmy Greaves awards his Wally Of The Week Award to Nick Gregory from Banbury, who states that Oxford United are the best team in England.

In Spain, Terry Venables is eyeing up a move to Tottenham Hotspur, but he could be replaced at Barcelona by another British manager, John Toshack of Real Sociedad.

Andy King is interviewed where he expresses his frustration at not getting much action at Luton Town.

Jack Charlton, newly appointed Republic Of Ireland manager, has a big decision to make, as he might have to drop 30 year olds Liam Brady, Frank Stapleton and Tony Grealish.

Charlton has faced some resentment for his appointment due to not being Irish, but also shock that he got the job ahead of Bob Paisley.

Much loved referee Clive Thomas comments on the number of penalties missed in recent years, pointing the finger at his fellow referees for allowing keepers to steal yards.

Craig Levein of Hearts gets a profile as he dreams of a World Cup place, just a few years after almost quitting football to work in an Electronics Factory.

The upcoming Merseyside Derby gets a double page feature, with contributions from Peter Reid and Steve McMahon.

The magazine ends with a profile of Mike Channon. His favourite music is Paul McCartney, Elton John and Rod Stewart.

2016 IN PICTURES – JUNE

June 2016 was a month that was dominated by Euro 2016.

The early days of the month were spent chronicling a mural in East Belfast to commemorate Northern Ireland’s qualification, getting pictures of the final piece upon my return from France.

Oh yes, I was in France. Wasn’t that fussed about France as a country, but loved the three matches (France v Romania, Northern Ireland v Poland, Republic of Ireland v Sweden) I was at.

I also got some Street Art photos in Paris, and London, as I flew back from Gatwick due to there being no Paris-Belfast flights on a Tuesday.

Not a lot else happened in the rest of the month. That was, until, the final, when I attended two Belsonic concerts.

Belsonic? Yes, this year, it moved to June (though there were later concerts in August) and I went to see Elli Goulding and Stereophonics.

And it was at a new venue, Titanic Belfast.

There was even some domestic club football this month, as the last day of the month saw Linfield lose 1-0 at home to Cork City in the UEFA Cup.

Pride, Passion Belief

Pride, Passion, Belief Photo Album

Paris Street Art

Paris Street Art Photo Album

France v Romania

France v Romania Photo Album

Northern Ireland v Poland

Northern Ireland v Poland Photo Album

Republic of Ireland v Sweden

Republic of Ireland v Sweden Photo Album

London Street Art

London Street Art Photo Album

Ellie Goulding live at Titanic Belfast

Ellie Goulding live at Titanic Belfast Photo Album

Stereophonics live at Titanic Belfast

Stereophonics live at Titanic Belfast Photo Album

Linfield v Cork City

THE FRIDAY FIVE – 15.7.2016

1. Chvrches ft Hayley Williams – Bury It
2. Primal Scream – 100% Or Nothing
3. Bastille – Good Grief
4. Charles Trenet – La Mer
5. Izzy Bizu & the BB Orchestra – La Foule

So, yesterday was Bastille day. I could do a chart of songs by the band Bastille, but they’re already on the main chart. How about a French Top Five instead?

FIVE SONGS BY FRENCH ACTS

1. Daft Punk – Da Funk
2. Desireless – Voyage Voyage
3. Air – Sexy Boy
4. Christine and the Queens – Tilted
5. Justice – D.A.N.C.E

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND 1-1 SWEDEN 13.6.2016

So, this was the match that I got in my ticket application. Who to support? Well, Ace Of Base are better than Westlife.

As a bonus, i’d be getting to see Zlatan in the flesh in his current city, which he will be leaving this summer, unless he makes a sensational transfer to French second tier side Red Star.

I’m not sure if it’s a tribute or just a natural thing, but the vast majority of Swedish men look like Zlatan. That is based on those that were at the Stade De France.

Both teams arrived in France looking to improve on their recent European history. Republic of Ireland almost reached the Semi-Finals in 1988, but didn’t qualify again for 24 years, where they lost all three games.

Sweden reached the Semi-Finals as hosts in 1992, but didn’t qualify for the next one. In the four tournaments since, they’ve been eliminated at the group stage in three of them.

With Belgium and Italy in this group, qualifying automatically will be difficult. Both teams viewed the other as a match they can get points from as a springboard ahead of games against Belgium and Italy.

For all the talk of Zlatan, it was Martin Olsson who was Sweden’s main man in the early moments, getting into crossing positions down the left hand side.

Jeff Hendrick had Republic Of Ireland’s first attempt on goal when he forced Isaksson to tip his shot around the post.

John O’Shea was soon frustrated when he couldn’t his foot onto a ball that was rolling across the penalty area.

Robbie Brady joined the list of frustrated Irish players when his shot went just over. Republic Of Ireland were having the better of the play but having nothing to show for it.

Hendrick was frustrated again, hitting the bar.

Zlatan wasn’t having the best of afternoons. The ploy to stop him, stop the supply. If you can’t stop the supply, get as many players near him when he gets the ball. Simple, but effective.

Like Poland, the day before, Republic Of Ireland made up for not getting a first-half goal when on top by getting an early second-half goal.

Seamus Coleman crossed the ball, finding Wes Hoolahan who fired home.

The goal, spurred Sweden into action, having a lot of pressure on the Irish goal. It looked inevitable that an equaliser would be only minutes away. Emil Forsberg should have had it when he fired wide from a corner.

Despite riding out the initial Swedish storm, the shadow of Zlatan was still there, getting in front of his man to steal a few yards, but his volley went just wide. A few inches inside, we would have been talking about a top class goal.

Zlatan then showed all he needs is a few yards when he got enough space to pull back a cross, which was headed into his own net by Ciaran Clark.

Republic Of Ireland were deflated by that goal. They didn’t look like they would be able to go back in front again. They countered that by having enough about them to keep Sweden out.

A match that both sides needed to win meandered to a draw. Defeats for both sides on Matchday 2 sees them both staring into the abyss, but both knowing that a win on Matchday 3 will offer them salvation. It will be a tough ask.

Photo Album

NORTHERN IRELAND 0-1 POLAND 12.6.2016

According to Google, in order to get from Guadalajara in Mexico to Nice in France, it takes 15 hours and 55 minutes with a stop-off in Houston. The longest it will take, is 21 hours with stop-offs in Atlanta and Rome.

Someone should have told the Northern Ireland team, it took them 30 years, to the day.

Unsurprisingly, players and fans were determined to make up for lost time. Northern Ireland fans had been in the city for days in advance, befriending their Polish rivals.

The Polish fans were even singing their own version of one of Northern Ireland’s songs. Instead of “the Ulster boys, making all the noise”, it was “Everywhere we go, Lewandowski goal”

With some justification, he was the top scorer in qualification (equaling David Healy’s record from Euro 2008 with two less games played) as well as banging them in for Bayern Munich.

Fans reached the stadium via a free Shuttle Bus from the City Centre, which left you off a 30 minute walk from the stadium.

The scenery around the stadium was fantastic, some stunning views. The problem was, that’s all there was around the stadium. There wasn’t really much else.

So, I headed into the ground as the weather in Nice was what meteorologists call Drinking In Botanic Weather. Unfortunately, vendors in the stadium ran out of stock of overpriced (€4 a bottle) bottled water. You’d think they might have foreseen this.

The match kicked-off and Northern Ireland were nervous. They hadn’t been this nervous for a while.

Poland had most of the possession and chances in the first-half. Michael McGovern was the Northern Ireland player who was getting the most touches of the ball.

When Northern Ireland’s outfield players got the ball, there didn’t seem to be options to get it forward.

It felt like a Polish goal was inevitible, but Northern Ireland managed to hold out to half-time with a 0-0 score. There was no way they would get away with another 45 minutes like this.

Just when you were looking at milestone minutes to get to to aim to keep out the Poles, Poland took the lead early in the second-half when Arek Milik got enough space in the box to set himself up for a shot and fire home. It was as deserved for Poland as it was disappointing for Northern Ireland.

Instead of trying to stay in the game, Northern Ireland were now aiming to get back into the game.

It looked more likely that Poland would make it 2-0.

As the game neared it’s end, Northern Ireland had a go. They had Poland worried, but not hanging on for life.

Conor Washington looked like he was running through, but Poland’s keeper was straight out to deny him.

Steven Davis got free from a low free-kick but lost his footing.

Poland were able to hold out and get a vital win.

Northern Ireland didn’t play awful, but they could have played so much better.

Supporters left the stadium to find the Shuttle Bus back to Nice City Centre. They eventually found it after a 30 minute walk.

Supporters queued up in a line which had no clear marking as to where the start was. Buses just stopped where they like. It was pot luck if it stopped near you. Buses were overcrowded. People were angry. Thankfully, it didn’t spill over.

To make matters worse, there were no amenities for supporters. Nowhere to get a bottle of water or even somewhere to eat. It was an utter farce.

The last time i’d seen scenes like this was trying to get back to Dublin from Slane after seeing Oasis in 2009.

I eventually got onto a bus at 9.30pm, just over 90 minutes after the final whistle. That is nowhere near acceptable.

Allianz Riviera is a brilliant stadium and Nice is a brilliant city, but you have to question the wisdom of making it a host city with such poor infrastructure.

It is interesting to note that Nice is one of two (the other being Lille) Euro 2016 host cities that didn’t host games in France 98, with Nantes and Montpellier missing out this them.

On the basis of this farce, they can feel hard done by at missing out.

Fast forward four days, and the weather had changed to more Northern Ireland Weather by the game Northern Ireland faced Ukraine in Lyon.

Feeling at home, they won 2-0.

It games them a great chance of making the Second Round. They’ll get there if they can beat Germany. They might even get there as a best 3rd Placed team. We’re all mathematicians now.

Poland was a false start, Ukraine was when Northern Ireland really got going.

It just dawned on me that this was the 9th Northern Ireland match outside Northern Ireland that i’d been to (6 away, 3 neutral) and they had yet to win any of them.

I’m considering surrendering my passport until 11th July. If you see me at an airport between now and 10th July, feel free to try and stop me boarding a plane.

Hopefully, by this time next week, the Euro 2016 campaign will be still ongoing.

Photo Album

FRANCE 2-1 ROMANIA 10.6.2016

The record books might say that Dimitri Payet scored the first winner of Euro 2016, but i’d like to think it was me, getting a €180 ticket to the opening game for €80.

I was over for Northern Ireland’s match but was hoping to take in as many matches as possible. This was one of the games I was planning to turn up to and try and get a ticket for. I decided to leave it as late as possible, eventually being rewarded with a discount ticket half an hour before kick-off.

I’m not sure if it was a good thing or not, but I was in the ground in time for the opening ceremony, getting to see David Guetta telling the crowd to wave their hands and make some noise.

Romania were no strangers to Stade De France, having visited three times but not winning. They drew 1-1 with Tunisia in a group game in France 98, before qualifying games against France for the 2010 World Cup (2009, a 1-1 draw) and Euro 2012 (2010, a 2-0 win for France)

The French were up for it, but it was Hugo Lloris who had to make the first save of the game, saving point blank from Bogdan Stancu.

It was all France after that, with both Giroud and Griezmann both missing headed chances.

The French pressure then died down, with the crowd entertaining themselves by doing Mexican waves.

Olivier Giroud then headed over again.

Romania started the second-half as the team in control, and looked like they were going to make France pay for not taking any of their first-half chances.

It looked perfectly set up for a 1-0 Romania win.

Ironically, it was France who went 1-0 up, Olivier Giroud heading home from a cross. The crowd celebrated, their team would surely now storm home to victory.

They got a shock when Romania got a penalty for a foul by Patrice Evra. They didn’t see it coming. Bogdan Stancu put the ball into the back of the net.

It terms of execution and technique, it was a poor penalty. The keeper went the wrong way and the ball went in, so I guess it was a great penalty.

France were stunned and needed inspiration. They turned to Coman and Martial off the bench. The second goal wouldn’t come. It looked like they would be fluffing their lines on their big night.

On 89 minutes, Dimitri Payet swung his left foot on the ball which flew into the back of the net. The fans went wild and everyone went home happy.

Everyone that is, except the Romania fans, who went home as devastated as the Touts outside the ground who were practically giving tickets away as kick-off neared.

Photo Album

PARIS STREET ART

As you’ve gathered by my last post, I was in Paris recently. I took the opportunity to get some Street Art photos. They were all pieces I stumbled upon rather than searching for.

I didn’t get a chance to go on any official tour. I would have liked to.

The images of the Statue Of Liberty are from the back of Gare Du Nord. There are even some pieces from one of the exits to Gare Du Nord.

Sadly, I have no idea of the location of any other pieces.

Photo Album