FULHAM 0-1 MANCHESTER UNITED 2.2.2013

A quick Tube across West London, and time for my second game of the day, as Manchester United travelled to Craven Cottage.

I managed to get a ticket, advertised on sale on Twitter (the holder couldn’t go, so I met a friend of his and purchased for face value) as there, unsurprisingly, no General Sale tickets.

After that, I headed towards the ground. I had a wee browse around the club shop, which had some ‘interesting’ merchandise, such as a Mohammed Al Fayed USB stick, or a postcard of him face superimposed on a Chippendale.

I was in the Hammersmith End, to the left of your TV screen. In the first-half, I was way at the back, but managed to find a spare seat in the front couple of rows for the second-half.

Towards the end of the first-half, the lights went out. The first time ever this has happened at a football match I have been at. Thankfully, play was able to be restarted.

It was an entertaining game, which United won 1-0. United had the better chances, but you couldn’t have begrudged Fulham if they had got something from the game. A cliched “Classic United away win” if you will

Photo Album

 

 

LONDON

There was always something that put me off going to London. I’d only previously been through London in 2008, to go to a match at Wembley, and trying to negotiate the Underground from Gatwick was a nightmare, which really put me off.

Over the past year, i’d begun to start about giving London a second chance. I usually go away at the start of February (this is the 4th successive year i’ve done so) for a weekend, so I started thinking that maybe 2013 was the time for London (of course, 2012 was the year for London, but I am, fashionably late)

The lack of options (discounting Barcelona and Amsterdam, having recently been there) in Mainland Europe made up my mind for me. London it was for me.

I flew into Gatwick on the Friday morning, and arrived in my hotel in Paddington. I was going blind in London, not having any tourist guides and not knowing anywhere.

I wasn’t that keen on the cliched touristy places such as Madame Tussauds, Houses Of Parliament, etc. You could be inclined to ask what on earth I was going to London for?

I got myself an Oyster Card, and topped it up with £30 (only spent about £25, which isn’t too bad for a weekend), which was so handy and convenient. I headed to Oxford Circus and went around the shops and Central London, before heading back to Paddington for a bite to eat.

It’s a bit of a culture shock being on The Tube in comparison with train stations in Northern Ireland. Any spare wall space has advertising, and you can actually shop while waiting on your train. No offence to Great Victoria Street station, but …….

What I love most about train stations on the mainland is Metro. I wish we had Metro newspaper in Northern Ireland.

Saturday was always going to be the main day of the trip, doing something i’d never done before …….. attend two football matches in one day.

I’d attended a football match and a rugby match in the same day in December, but never two football matches.

I had the opportunity last April when Carrick Rangers faced Glenavon in the afternoon of Easter Tuesday, while Linfield faced Cliftonville that night. I decided to only go to the Linfield match. Missed out on a good game at Seaview as Carrick and Glenavon drew 4-4.

As with my previous February trips, i’d always planned to take in a football match, and London was always going to have a lot of options.

I didn’t look at the fixture list when booking the weekend, and couldn’t believe my luck when I saw that Manchester United were playing Fulham at Craven Cottage. This match was what the football watching was going to be based around.

I’d hoped that TV would give me the opportunity to see matches Friday-Saturday-Sunday, but that wasn’t to be the case. With Fulham v Manchester United kicking off at 5.30pm, the 12.45pm kick-off at Loftus Road between QPR and Norwich City gave me a chance to go to two games in the one day.

Getting a ticket for the QPR game was easy, just purchased online when they went on General Sale. I had plenty of time to kill when I arrived at Loftus Road, so I decided to head to nearby Westfield Shopping Centre.

There was a surreal moment when I bumped into two guys wearing Linfield tops. Got chatting to them for a bit. One lived in London, the other was visiting, and they were both going to the game at Loftus Road.

I’m not sure how many QPR fans were at Windsor Park for Linfield v Ballymena United on Saturday.

The match itself, wasn’t very good. Every other part of the matchday aspect was good, apart from the actual football on offer. It finished 0-0. Everytime QPR missed a chance, Norwich fans taunted them with “Peter Odemwingie …… he would have scored that”, which QPR fans replied with “Gary Hooper …. he would have scored that” when Norwich missed a chance.

Sometimes you just know a match will finish 0-0 early in the second-half. This, was one of those games.

A quick dash across West London saw me in Hammersmith to collect a ticket for the Fulham v United game that was advertised on Twitter. The holder couldn’t go, so I was collecting it off a friend of his. Got it for face value, which was nice.

I headed down to Craven Cottage. A curious setting for a football stadium, right by the Thames. There was a beautiful sunset on Saturday, so I got some photos of it, as well as a statue of Fulham legend Johnny Haynes. Of course, it would have been rude not to get a photo of the Michael Jackson statue.

This was a more entertaining game than the one earlier in the day. With 12 minutes to go, it looked like I would be witnessing two 0-0 draws in the one day, before Wayne Rooney won it for United.

On Sunday, I decided to head to Camden, and had an enjoyable day the the markets. I also got some nice Street Art photos.

I’d considered doing the London Street Art tour, but didn’t want to dedicate four hours to it, with only having a weekend.

If I ever do go to London again, i’ll make time for this.

Had an enjoyable time in Camden on the Sunday. That night, I went to a comedy gig at Bloomsbury Theatre presented by Ardal O’Hanlon, and headlined by Milton Jones. You either get Milton Jones or you don’t. I do, and his brand of deadpan bad jokes was groan a minute stuff.

It would have been great if there was a concert I was interested in (no offence to Men In Hats, but one great song 28 years ago isn’t enough) or even a TV recording on the Friday (not even a Radio 2 concert) or a football match on the Sunday.

That’s just being greedy, I had a great time.

QPR v Norwich City Photo Album

Fulham v Manchester United Photo Album

Camden Street Art Photo Album

London Randomness Photo Album

PHOTO DIARY OF A FOOTBALL SEASON : JULY

Welcome to the first in a series looking back at the football season just past.

In this blog post, we look back at July, when the preparation for the new season was beginning.

Managed to get some shots of Linfield’s games against Carrick Rangers, Kilmarnock, Rangers and Derriaghy.

My favourite shots came in the Derriaghy game. Was great getting to visit a new stadium and get easy access to the pitch for photo taking.

Was visiting Abbey Centre and passed Seaview on the night Crusaders played Fulham. Wasn’t able to get a ticket, but managed to get some shots of the stadium.

Linfield Pre-Season Games

European Football

Derriaghy v Linfield

MAGAZINE ARCHIVE : SHOOT – 22nd MAY 1993

This edition focuses on Shoot’s 1993 FA Cup Final review edition, which unfortunately for them, required a replay to be played on the date of publishing.

The cover stars are Paul Warhurst and Ian Wright battling for possession in the original game.

A report of the FA Cup Final gets a double page spread.

In rumours which look silly now : Barnsley want Gordon Strachan to be their manager, and Manchester United are going to sign David Platt, Stuart Pearce, David Hirst and Roy Keane.

Aston Villa apparantly want to sign Stan Collymore. They did, four years later, after he had spells at Nottingham Forest and Liverpool.

Brian Clough marks his retirement with an exclusive interview, which gets a page dedicated to it.

Aldershot Town get a page dedicated to them. Founded in 1992 from the ashes of Aldershot FC, they were started again in the bottom tier of English football.

Manager Steve Wignall said the club have a realistic ambition of being a Football League club again by 2003. They did make it back to the Football League, but not until 2008.

Jimmy Greaves letters page is as crazy as ever.

Ashley Ballhatchet from Farnham Common cheerleads for Julian Dicks getting into the England squad.

John Richards from Sunderland is unimpressed by the idea of Sunderland leaving Roker Park to a new 40,000 all seater stadium.

Meanwhile, with qualification for the 1994 World Cup looking unlikely, the plight of Scottish football gets a double page spread.

Scotland ended up qualifying for Euro 96 and France 98, but nothing since.

With Manchester United winning their first title in 26 years, long serving captain Bryan Robson gets a double page spread about his delight at this.

It was a good year for Welsh football. With the national team making a serious bid for World Cup qualification (they eventually lost out in the final game), Cardiff City and Wrexham were promoted from Division and Swansea City reached the Division Two play-offs.

In Division Two in 1992/1993 were current Premier League clubs Stoke City, Bolton, West Bromwich Albion (all three promoted), Fulham, Wigan Athletic

2011 IN PICTURES – JULY

July isn’t traditionally a football month, but this round-up appears to be dominated by football photos.

I spent my Saturday afternoons going on bike rides, but I managed to head in to Windsor Park for the second-half of Linfield’s match against Carrick for some nice shots, as well as getting a sunset shot of Windsor Park earlier that week.

I’d been up at the Shore Road branch of ASDA to get some camera equipment, and chanced my arm on getting a ticket for the Crusaders v Fulham match, taking place that night. I had no such luck, but I did manage to get some photos of the ground.

At the end of the month, I visited Seycon Park forthe friendly between Derriaghy CC FC and Linfield. It was a lovely evening perfect for photography and watching football. Unfortunately, due to Deriaghy not having floodlights, the match was reduced to 40 minutes each way.

I also managed to get some sunset shots as well around Belfast. Enjoy.

Pre-Season

European Football

Derriaghy v Linfield

July 2011 Sunsets

EUROPEAN FOOTBALL JULY 2011

Competitive football returned this week as I attended Linfield v BATE Borisov in the 2nd Round of the Champions League at Windsor Park.

As is now tradition, Linfield were paired with the top seeded team, a side who have beaten Everton and draw with Juventus in recent years, reaching the Last 32 of the UEFA Cup last season.

Linfield more than held their own, and could be disappointed not to win. Conceding an away goal and not having a lead makes it hard in Belarus, but not impossible.

Had mixed results with my phototaking as i’m still getting used to my new camera at football matches.

Tonight, I headed to Seaview to try and get a last minute ticket at a “Buyer’s Market Price” to no avail, although I did manage to get some photos of the stadium.

Linfield v BATE

Crusaders v Fulham

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)