Now that my football watching for 2022 is over, a year of uninterrupted football watching, it’s time to look back at my stats.

Not a single game missed due to being played behind closed doors in 2022. Although i’m not hopeful going into 2023, between Rishi preparing to let Covid run wild again or Balloon Unity continuing to make arses of themselves.

Games : 57

Goals : 154

Red Cards : 4

Penalty Misses : 1

Hat-Tricks : 1

Eetu Vertainen (Linfield v Dungannon Swifts)

Teams Seen : 34

Annagh United (1st time), Ballymena United, Bangor, Bodo/Glimt (1st time), Carrick Rangers, Cliftonville, Coleraine, Crusaders, Cyprus (1st time), Dunmurry Rec, Dundela, Dungannon Swifts, FC Zurich (1st time), Glenavon, Glentoran, Greece, Harland and Wolff Welders, Hungary, Kosovo (1st time), Knockbreda, Larne, Linfield, Livingston (1st time), Manchester United, Moyola Park (1st time), Newry City, Northern Ireland, Portadown, RFS (1st time), Sheriff Tiraspol (1st time), St Johnstone, St Mirren, The New Saints (1st time), Warrenpoint Town

Competitions : 10

County Antrim Shield, Euro Conference, European Cup, Irish Cup, Irish League, NIFL Cup, Scottish Premier League, Steel and Sons Cup, UEFA Cup, UEFA Nations League

Grounds Visited : 18

Almondvale (1st time), Ballymena Showgrounds, Blanchflower Park (1st time), Breda Park, Coleraine Showgrounds, Inver Park, Mill Meadow (1st time), Milltown, Newry Showgrounds, Old Trafford, Seaview, Shamrock Park, Solitude, Stangmore Park, Taylor’s Avenue, The Oval, Wilgar Park, Windsor Park,


Steven Gerrard and Sven Goran-Eriksson are the cover stars of this edition of WSC, poking fun at a story that Eriksson and a senior FA official both had affairs with the same member of FA staff.

This story, described as “a saga” by WSC forms the basis of this edition’s editorial.

Rangers and Celtic both launched their own TV channels this month, and this development got covered by WSC.

Also being covered is the rebranding of the Football League’s three divisions – Division One is now The Championship, Division Two is now League One and Division Three is now League Two.

Bradford City will be starting the season in League One having just been relegated from Division One, and their fight for survival off the pitch gets featured.

Atletico Madrid have announced a shirt sponsorship deal with Spiderman (well, the distributors of the film, who put a different film they want promoted on a rolling basis) so WSC looks at the history of shirt sponsorship in football.

Another trend looked at by WSC is that of clubs paying other clubs to take unwanted players off their books, the prime examples being Michael Stewart and Patrick Kluivert.

In France, there is a feature on newly appointed national team manager Raymond Domenech.

In their review of the goings on on the web, WSC looks at websites dedicated to groundhopping.

The magazine ends with a look back at the 1975-1976 season, and the long term effects of it.


Welcome to the first in what will probably be a one part series, looking at abandoned football stadiums.

Linfield’s trip to Institute presented me with an opportunity to check out one such venue, Institute’s former home of Drumahoe.

Though the match would be played at The Brandywell, the pre-match arrangements were for Linfield fans to meet at Drumahoe Park and Ride, beside Drumahoe, in order to be bussed in to The Brandywell.

When the sides met last season, I intended to have a nosey around the abandoned ground, but time constraints meant that I couldn’t. So, I made sure that I had enough time in my stay in the village to look around.

The reason why the ground is abandoned is that it became flooded during heavy rain in 2017.

This caused an infestation of Japanese Knotweed on the pitch, making it unplayable.

That was then compounded by an arson attack on the changing rooms in the Summer of 2018.

Institute then moved to Wilton Park for the rest of the 2017-2018 season, but after winning promotion, needed a suitable stadium for top flight football, hence their groundshare with Derry City at The Brandywell.

There are plans in place for a new stadium at Clooney Park West.

The closest you can get to an Irish League version of Chernobyl, you can’t actually get into the stadium, but there are railings where you can take photos through, which is what I did, capturing the pitch where the grass has grown. A lot.

It’s the first time I have visited an abandoned stadium. When I was last in Glasgow, I attempted to visit Cathkin Park, a former football stadium which now forms part of a public park, though the terracing is still intact.

Next time i’m in Glasgow, i’ll make an effort to make that Part 2 of this series.

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