PHOTO DIARY OF A FOOTBALL SEASON : JULY

Following a UEFA Cup exit to Cork City, there would be no European Linfield games for me in July, relying on hastily arrange friendlies for my football fix.

I got two of them, away friendlies against Dundela, then a trip to Harland and Wolff Welders.

Dundela v Linfield

Harland and Wolff Welders v Linfield

PHOTO DIARY OF A FOOTBALL SEASON : DECEMBER

My football watching in December began in Ballymena, to see Linfield race into an early 2-0 lead, only to get home 3-2, in a vital win.

The following Saturday, was the first of three visits to Windsor Park in December, to see Linfield beat Ballinamallard United and go top of the league.

That set up a top of the table clash against Portadown, which Linfield won 3-2, helped by a last minute penalty save from Ross Glendinning.

The final week of the month saw me go to three matches in three days. I got invited to the Steel and Sons Cup Final on Christmas morning. It was a good game and worth getting out of bed for, Carrick Rangers beating Harland and Wolff Welders 4-1.

The next day, was the Boxing Day clash between Linfield and Glentoran. It wasn’t a good game, but it was a good result, with Linfield winning 2-1.

The next day, one more match for the year, to see Bangor take on Ards in a top of the table clash in Championship 1, with Ards getting a late and dramatic 3-2 win in injury time.

Ballymena United v Linfield

Linfield v Ballinamallard United

Linfield v Portadown

Carrick Rangers v Harland and Wolff Welders

Carrick Rangers v Harland and Wolff Welders Photo Album

Linfield v Glentoran

Bangor v Ards

Bangor v Ards Photo Album

STATISTICAL ANALYSIS OF A FOOTBALL YEAR : 2014

So, my football watching is over for 2014. Time to look back at the year just gone. And what better way to do it than with a load of stats.

Games : 54

Goals Seen : 164

Red Cards : 17 (includes Rhys Marshall getting sent-off after the final whistle, but not Gary Hamilton being sent-off as a substitute before he entered the field)

Missed/Saved Penalties : 4

Hat-Tricks : 1 (Robin Van Persie, Manchester United v Olympiacos)

Teams Seen : 37

Accrington Stanley (1st time), AIK Solna (1st time), Ards, B36 Torshavn, Ballinamallard United, Ballyclare Comrades (1st time), Ballymena United, Bangor, Bray Wanderers (1st time), Carrick Rangers, Cliftonville, Coleraine, Cowdenbeath (1st time), Crusaders, Drogheda United, Dungannon Swifts, Everton (1st time), Exeter City (1st time), Faroe Islands, Glenavon, Glentoran, Harland and Wolff Welders, Heart Of Midlothian, Hibernian, Hull City (1st time), Institute, Leyton Orient (1st time), Linfield, Manchester United, Northern Ireland, Olympiacos (1st time), Peterborough United (1st time), Portadown, Real Madrid, Sevilla (1st time), Tottenham Hotspur, Warrenpoint Town,

Stadiums Visited : 19

Ballymena Showgrounds, Brisbane Road (1st time), Cardiff City Stadium (1st time), Carlisle Grounds (1st time), Coleraine Showgrounds, Crown Ground (1st time), Drumahoe (1st time), Ferney Park, Milltown (1st time), Mourneview Park, Old Trafford, Seaview, Shamrock Park, Solitude, Stangmore Park, The Oval, Tynecastle, White Hart Lane (1st time), Windsor Park

Competitions : 15

County Antrim Shield, European Championship, European Cup, European Super Cup (1st time), FA Premier League, Football League One (1st time), Football League Two (1st time), Irish Cup, Irish League, Irish League Championship, League Of Ireland, Northern Ireland League Cup, Scottish Championship (1st time), Steel and Sons Cup, UEFA Cup

Curiousities :

No real curiosities this year. There were two twins on opposing sides, but i’d already seen it. Other than that, a player setting up a goal with no boots. It was a poor year for curiousities.

UEFA 100 Club : Everton, Sevilla (now at 32 clubs)

CARRICK RANGERS 4-1 HARLAND AND WOLFF WELDERS 25.12.2014

I love football, but getting up early on Christmas morning does test my faith. I was invited along, so it would have been rude not to. It wasn’t my first time at a Steel and Sons Cup Final, but it was a while ago. It was so long ago, the RUC were playing – 1993, and they beat Dundela 5-1.

This year’s game, was a clash between two Championship 1 sides, Carrick Rangers and Harland and Wolff Welders.

Having played a season at Seaview, and a few other matches due to renovations at Taylor’s Avenue, Carrick will have reason to feel at home. Though, with former Crusaders players Gary Smyth (manager) and David Rainey (forward) on their books, The Welders had two key personnel who would be at home at the North Belfast venue. Rainey was only recently ruled eligible for this game, as it was suggested that his role as a non playing subsitute in last season’s Irish Cup Final might have ruled him out.

Welders kicked-off and went straight on the attack, but it was Carrick who dominated the early stages, and went ahead on 17 minutes with a lovely finish from Aaron Smyth.

As half-time approached, Carrick went 2-0 from a header by Kyle Cherry.

Mark Magennis had Welders best moment in the early stages of the second-half when his free-kick was headed off the line.

The next goal was crucial, and it was Carrick that got it, when Conor McCloskey fired home just before the hour. The game was effectively over.

The game didn’t go all Carrick’s way, with 15 minutes remaining they had Daniel Kelly sent-off for a second yellow card. It could possibly have been a straight red card, as he brought down his opponent running through on goal.

From the resulting free-kick, there was a scramble which resulted in Michael McLellan putting the ball in the back of the net.

Welders have a brief lifeline, and against ten men, they fancied their chances.

With each passing minute, they knew a dramatic comeback wasn’t going to happen. In injury time, Ben Roy made sure of it, if there was any doubt when he finished to make it 4-1, celebrating with the Carrick fans behind the goal at the Shore Road End. They knew the job was done.

Carrick were deserved winners.

Photo Album

STATISTICAL ANALYSIS OF A FOOTBALL SEASON : 2012-2013

Barring something dramatic, the 2012-2013 season is over for me in terms of football attending.

The season began in June at the Amsterdam Arena, and ended in May at Clandeboye Park.

Unsurprisingly, most of the Linfield matches I attended weren’t particularly enjoyable.

There wasn’t much in the way of curiousities (last season, I saw two twins on opposing sides) apart from going to two matches in once day – twice, and there being a power failure at a match I was at.

Amazingly, it was an FA Premier League game, rather than an Irish League game.

So here, is a statistical look back at my 2012-2013 football season :

Matches Attended : 52

Goals Seen : 147 (should be 149, but I missed 2 goals in 2 different matches due to being late)

Red Cards : 11 (Plus also 2 players sent-off in dressing room for on field incident)

Hat-Tricks : 2

Matthew Tipton (Orangefield OB v Linfield, Linfield v Coleraine)

Penalties Missed/Saved : 7

Highest Scoring Match : 7 (Linfield 5-2 Coleraine, Falkirk 3-4 Hibernian AET)

Countries Seen Matches In : 5

England, Holland, Northern Ireland, Republic Of Ireland, Scotland

Teams Seen Play : 35

Australia (1st time), Azerbaijan, B36 Torshavn (1st time), Ballinamallard United (1st time), Ballymena United, Bangor, Cliftonville, Coleraine, Crusaders, Donegal Celtic, Dungannon Swifts, Falkirk (1st time), Fulham, Glenavon, Glentoran, Harland and Wolff Welders (1st time), Hibernian, Heart of Midlothian, Holland (1st time), Israel, Linfield, Lisburn Distillery, Luxembourg (1st time), Manchester United, Northern Ireland, Norwich City, Orangefield OB (1st time), Portadown, Queens Park Rangers (1st time), Rangers, Reading (1st time), Rosenborg, Shamrock Rovers (1st time), Scotland, Tobermore United (1st time)

Competitions Watched : 11

County Antrim Shield, European Cup, FA Premier League, Irish Cup, Irish League, Irish League Championship 1, Scottish Cup, Scottish Premier League, Setanta Cup, UEFA Cup, World Cup,

Stadiums Visited : 20

Amsterdam Arena, Ballyskeagh, Clandeboye Park, Craven Cottage (1st time), Cregagh Sports Ground (1st time), Easter Road, Ferney Park (1st time), Hampden Park, Ibrox (1st time), Loftus Road (1st time), Mourneview Park, Old Trafford, Seaview, Shamrock Park, Stangmore Park, Solitude, Tallaght Stadium (1st time), The Oval, Tillysburn Park (1st time), Windsor Park,

PHOTO DIARY OF A FOOTBALL SEASON – AUGUST

August’s football travels began on the first day of the month in East Belfast, as Linfield continued their pre-season preparation with a defeat against Harland and Wolff Welders.

On the plus side, I spent a lot of the evening chatting to friends, visited a ground i’d never been to, and got some good shots.

The picture of the guy sitting on his chair (I think he’s a H and W official) relaxing and watching the football is what it is all about. He is probably the happiest man in the world.

My next game, came at Easter Road for the Edinburgh Derby between Hibs and Hearts.

I go to Edinburgh every year, and usually try to watch a game while i’m there, so it was pure luck that it happened to be that game when I was there.

Having been to Tynecastle twice in 2011, it was always going to be the case that the fixture computer would give me a trip to Easter Road.

I was actually hoping that it would be against Dundee United as I could tick them off my UEFA 100 Club list.

Was an enjoyable game with nice weather and got some good shots, so it was all good.

My next visit came three days later for the international between Scotland and Australia, played in a downpour of rain, the most Scottish weather possible.

While checking the Northern Ireland score that night, it was announced that Arsenal and Manchester United had done a deal for the transfer of Robin Van Persie.

Interestingly enough, the only other time I was at a Scotland home match, I got a text to say that Mikael Silvestre had joined Arsenal.

It appears that when I go to a Scotland home match, Arsenal and Manchester United do a transfer.

Upon my return to Belfast, it was Windsor Park bound for the matches against Coleraine and Donegal Celtic, my first domestic games of the season.

It was great to be up and running.

Harland and Wolff Welders v Linfield

Hibernian v Heart of Midlothian

Hibernian v Heart of Midlothian Photo Album

Scotland v Australia

Scotland v Australia Photo Album

Linfield v Coleraine

Linfield v Donegal Celtic

STATISTICAL ANALYSIS OF A FOOTBALL YEAR

Having done a statistical analysis of the 2011-2012 season, I thought i’d do one for my football watching in 2012, with today having been my last match attended of the year.

Here is the breakdown.

Games : 48

Goals Seen : 149

(Should have been 151, but I managed to miss two goals this year. Was late for second-half of Linfield v Portadown on 27.10.2012 and missed a goal. Missed the start of Northern Ireland v Azerbaijan on 14.11.2012 and missed a goal)

Red Cards: 10

(Doesn’t include red cards awarded in the dressing room to David Armstrong and Terry Fitzpatrick during Dungannon v Linfield on 13.10.2012)

Missed/Saved Penalties : 4

Hat-Tricks : 3

Aaron Burns (Linfield v Dungannon Swifts)
Peter Thompson (Linfield v Newry City)
Matthew Tipton (Orangefield OB v Linfield)

Teams Seen : 33

Ajax (1st time), Australia (1st time), Azerbaijan, B36 Torshavn (1st time), Ballinamallard United (1st time), Ballymena United, Carrick Rangers, Cliftonville, Coleraine, Crusaders, Donegal Celtic, Dungannon Swifts, Excelsior Rotterdam (1st time), FC Utrecht (1st time), Glenavon, Glentoran, Harland and Wolff Welders (1st time), Heart of Midlothian, Hibernian, Holland (1st time), Linfield, Lisburn Distillery, Luxembourg (1st time), Manchester United, Newry City, Northern Ireland, Norway, Orangefield OB (1st time), Portadown, Queens Park Rangers (1st time), Rosenborg, Scotland, VVV Venlo (1st time)

Stadiums Visited : 16

Amsterdam Arena (1st time), Ballymena Showgrounds, Ballyskeagh, Easter Road, Ferney Park (1st time), Gibson Park (1st time), Mourneview Park, Old Trafford, Seaview, Shamrock Park, Solitude, Stangmore Park, The Oval, Tillysburn Park (1st time), Windsor Park, Woudestein (1st time),

Competitions : 9

County Antrim Shield, Eredivise, European Cup, FA Premier League, Irish Cup, Irish League, Scottish Premier League, UEFA Cup, World Cup

Curiosities

4th February – Watched a match in a stand named after Robin Van Persie

18th February – Twins (Aaron and Andrew Burns) on opposing sides in a competitive game

2012 IN PICTURES – AUGUST

August was a busy month from start to finish, camera in hand, I went snap happy.

The month began with a trip to Tillysburn Park (my first visit there) to see Linfield’s last pre-season game, against Harland and Wolff Welders.

Nice wee ground, and got some nice shots, which was handy as the game wasn’t up to much (Welders won 1-0 since you ask)

The following week, I made my annual trip to Edinburgh for the festival. While there, I got some Street Art photos and got photos of the two football matches I went to.

The first match was Hibs v Hearts at Easter Road, my first visit to Easter Road since 2009. Nice wee ground and had a good shooting position. It was a beautiful sunny day which gave me lots of natural light to work with as well.

Three days later, I was back for the international between Scotland and Australia. Was in a different stand but got some ok shots, mainly due to it being darker than usual for that time of year.

Upon my return, I was straight into Belsonic, being in the front row for Madness, a band I have loved for ages and finally got to see.

Also got some good photos of Noel Gallagher a few days later.

Was at Two Door Cinema Club as well and didn’t get as good pictures as I wanted.

In amongst that, managed to get photos of Linfield matches against Coleraine and Donegal Celtic. Standard Windsor Park phototaking arrangements, but it was great to be back.

Harland and Wolff Welders v Linfield

Edinburgh Street Art

Hibs v Hearts

Hibs v Hearts Photo Album

Scotland v Australia

Scotland v Australia Photo Album

Madness Live At Belsonic

Madness Live At Belsonic Photo Album

Linfield v Coleraine

Belfast Street Art

The Enemy Live At Belsonic

The Enemy Live At Belsonic Photo Album

Noel Gallagher Live At Belsonic

Noel Gallagher Live At Belsonic Photo Album

Noah and the Whale Live At Belsonic

Noah and the Whale Live At Belsonic Photo Album

Two Door Cinema Club Live At Belsonic

Two Door Cinema Club Live At Belsonic Photo Album

Linfield v Donegal Celtic

HARLAND AND WOLFF WELDERS 1-0 LINFIELD 2.8.2012

Linfield finished their pre-season fixtures at Tillysburn Park tonight, the less said of which, the better.

I’d never been to Tillysburn Park before, and it was nice for amateur photography, if only there was some action to photograph, as Linfield laboured to a 1-0 defeat.

Managed to get some photos. Enjoy.

Photo Album