MAGAZINE ARCHIVE : WORLD SOCCER – JANUARY 2012

Lionel Messi is the cover star of this edition of World Soccer, which looks back at football in 2011.

The magazine begins with two obituaries, a full page for Socrates, while Gary Speed surprisingly gets a small mention on the following page.

Algerian internationals from the 1980s have demanded an inquiry into possible doping by the Team Doctor after it emerged that eight players from that era have fathered disabled children.

Manchester United’s elimination from the European Cup gets focused on, with one columnist suggesting that the team lacks flair.

Jaiyah Saelua of American Samoa made history as the first transgender footballer to play in an international.

Brian Glanville uses his column to bemoan the number of dead rubber games in the group stages of the European Cup.

The draw for Euro 2012 has taken place and there is a full fixture list, as well as a look at the goalkeepers who will be taking part in Ukraine and Poland.

In Spain, Real Madrid looked to have blown their chance of winning La Liga.

Qatar are struggling in their bid to reach the 2014 finals, as they aim to reach the World Cup before hosting it in 2022.

Hoping to take part in the 2022 World Cup Qualifiers in Gibraltar, and their application to join UEFA is given a full page profile.

With the African Cup Of Nations near, there is a profile of Morocco, now under the management of Eric Gerets, and aiming to win the competition,

There is eight pages dedicated to looking back at 2011, as well as a look at stars of the future, with Eden Hazard, Mario Gotze, Marco Reus, Jack Rodwell and Christian Eriksen predicted for great things.

There is also six pages looking back at Lionel Messi’s year.

There is also a tactical look at how Chelsea’s high line is costing them dear.

Istanbul is the subject of a two page feature called Soccer Cities, offering advice to anyone wanting to travel there to watch football.

There is three pages reviewing how each European national team performed in 2011, while the focus of the club round-up is of both Manchester clubs crashing out of the European Cup.

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MAGAZINE ARCHIVE : MATCH – 4.12.1982

Liam Brady of Sampdoria is the cover star of this editon of Match as he reveals that he wants to sign for Manchester United, but not until the summer of 1984 when his contract with Sampdoria expires. Ron Atkinson didn’t take him up on the offer.

Spanish football wasn’t all Tiki Taka in 1982 with players who have faced Spanish sides recently and even players playing in Spain complaining that the quality of play is poor due to the volume of fouls.

Meanwhile, Gordon Cowans of Aston Villa says he is back in form and ready to battle for a place in the England team.

One man who isn’t getting in the England team is Glenn Hoddle, who uses his column to bemoan his bad luck with injuries recently.

It’s the Scottish League Cup Final this weekend, and Match interviews Danny McGrain and John McClelland ahead of the game.

Arnold Muhren’s recent winner for Manchester United against Tottenham Hotspur gets the Steve McGarry treatment with a full page sketch.

Gordon Strachan of Aberdeen previews the Scottish League Cup Final in his column, predicting that Charlie Nicholas of Celtic will have a big say in the outcome.

Paul Mariner uses his column to plead with Alan Brazil to stay at Ipswich Town after the striker handed a transfer request.

The magazine ends with a profile of Mike Hazard of Tottenham, who reveals his biggest TV turn-off is the news.

STATISTICAL ANALYSIS OF A FOOTBALL YEAR : 2015

My football watching for 2015 is now over, so, it’s time for a statistical look back at the football I watched.

Games : 54

Goals Seen : 143

Red Cards : 10 (Doesn’t include Caoimhin Bonner being sent-off in the tunnel after the game)

Missed/Saved Penalties : 6

Hat-Tricks : 2 (Andrew Waterworth, Linfield v Dungannon Swifts. Andrew Waterworth, Linfield v Warrenpoint Town)

Teams Seen : 40

Arsenal, Ballinamallard United, Ballymena United, Bray Wanderers, Carrick Rangers, CE Europa (1st time), Cliftonville, Coleraine, Crusaders, Dundee (1st time), Dunfermline Athletic (1st time), Dungannon Swifts, Espanyol (1st time), Finland, Glenavon, Glentoran, Greece (1st time), Heart of Midlothian, Hibernian, Hungary, Institute, Latvia (1st time), Linfield, Manchester United, Masnau, Northern Ireland, NSI Runavik (1st time), Partick Thistle (1st time), Portadown, PSNI, PSV Eindhoven (1st time), Qatar (1st time), Rangers, Romania (1st time) Scotland, Sligo Rovers, Spartak Trnava (1st time), Tobermore United, Valencia (1st time), Warrenpoint Town

Stadiums Visited : 23

Ballymena Showgrounds, Carlisle Grounds, Drumahoe, East End Park (1st time), Estadi Cornella y Prat (1st time), Ferney Park, Fortwilliam Park (1st time), Gresty Road (1st time), Hampden Park, Ibrox, Milltown, Mourneview Park, Newforge (1st time), Nou Sardenya (1st time), Old Trafford, Seaview, Shamrock Park, Solitude, Stangmore Park, Taylor’s Avenue (1st time), The Oval, Tynecastle, Windsor Park

Competitions : 13

European Championship, European Cup, FA Premier League, Irish Cup, Irish League, Irish League Championship, La Liga, League of Ireland, Scottish Championship, Scottish League Cup (1st time), Scottish Premier League, Tercera Division (1st time), UEFA Cup

Curiousities :

No real curiousities, other than a match with kick-off delayed for an hour due to the weather

UEFA 102 Club : Espanyol, PSV Eindhoven, Valencia (now at 35 clubs)

PHOTO DIARY OF A FOOTBALL SEASON : FEBRUARY

February’s football watching began in Barcelona, where I went for a weekend break, going on the Nou Camp tour, going to a lower league game (CE Europa v Masnoua in the 4th tier) then the La Liga match between Espanyol and Valencia.

Upon my return from Barcelona, it was straight into Irish League action, to see Linfield take on Cliftonville.

The following Saturday, I was at Stangmore Park to see Linfield get a 3-0 win on my birthday, which was nice.

The next two weekends were all about seeing Linfield take on Portadown, first at Windsor Park, then at Shamrock Park, with two damaging defeats for Linfield.

CE Europa v Masnoua

CE Europa v Masnou Photo Album

Espanyol v Valencia

Espanyol v Valencia Photo Album

Linfield v Cliftonville

Dungannon Swifts v Linfield

Linfield v Portadown

Portadown v Linfield

ESPANYOL 1-2 VALENCIA 8.2.2014

After taking in a Tercera Division game at lunchtime, by the evening, it was time for some La Liga action, as Espanyol took on Valencia.

The last time I went to Barcelona, I went to a match at the Nou Camp and a tour of Espanyol’s ground. I promised myself if I ever went to Barcelona again, I would do it the other way around. So, when I went to Barcelona recently, I kept my promise, taking in Espanyol’s match against Valencia.

This was a good choice of match for me, as both clubs are on the UEFA 101 Club list.

Getting a ticket for this match was easy, purchasing from a tourist office in the city on the Thursday beforehand. The number of empty seats in the stadium suggests I could have just turned up on the day with no problems.

For those who have watched a match at the Power8 stadium, I was along the side of the pitch, where the TV cameras were situated.

One new addition to the stadium since I last visit was a statue of Dani Jarque, an Espanyol player who died during the summer of 2009, soon after captaining the club in their opening game at the ground.

The quality of attacking was poor, both teams looked short of ideas going forward. Both team’s defending wasn’t that impressive either, gifting chances which weren’t taken.

Espanyol’s best moment came when Felipe Caicedo burst through but fired straight at the keeper.

It was a game that had the look of a 0-0 draw about it, until Pablo Piatti got a touch onto a cross to put Valencia 1-0 up. The Valencia fans in the corner of that goal celebrated, as did pockets of fans sat in the home end.

It looked as though Valencia were going to smother the game and hold on for a 1-0 win. Espanyol had one big attacking moment when Christian Stuani looked certain to score, until a Valencia defender managed to get a block on the line.

Dani Parejo’s free-kick gave Valencia a 2-0 lead, which sparked an exodus of home fans.

Those that left missed an immediate response, when Sergio Garcia took advantage of some poor defending to fire home.

Espanyol now had hope, and the game became end to end, with both teams immediately counter-attacking every time they won the ball. As injury time approached, the game got niggly with players squaring up to each other.

Valencia were able to hang on, and climb into 4th, as they aim to qualify for the Champions League.

Espanyol can’t qualify through the league, but they can still reach Europe, as they have a Copa Del Rey Semi-Final against Athletic Bilbao to look forward to.

Photo Album

2011 IN PICTURES – FEBRUARY

February was a month of travelling, and thankfully, the pictures reflect that.

At the start of the month, I headed to Barcelona for a quick break, and absolutely loved it.

It’s a fantastic city worth visiting, with some fantastic Street Art and sights which is a dream for amateur photography.

Managed to get a ticket for the match at the Nou Camp against Atletico Madrid, where despite being in the second tier of the stand, I managed to get some fantastic shots of a fantastic stadium.

Almost as soon as I got home from Barcelona, I was Dublin bound to see Northern Ireland take on Scotland, in the newly built Aviva Stadium which is kind for amateur photography, even though some of the seats have shocking views.

Later in the month, I managed to see Imelda May perform at the Oh Yeah Centre for a TV show, where I managed to get into a good position for shots.

Enjoy

Barcelona

Barcelona Photo Album

Northern Ireland v Scotland

Northern Ireland v Scotland Photo Album

Linfield v Dunmurry Rec

Imelda May

Imelda May Photo Album

Glenavon v Linfield

PHOTO OF THE SEASON : 2010-2011

Apologies for the crap headline, but it was fated against me.

I’d hoped for “Newry to Nou Camp” but didn’t have any pictures from Newry on the list. For the same reason, “Ballymena to Barcelona” was canned.

Hope you enjoyed my month by month round-up of the football season just past, so I just thought i’d create a shortlist of my favourites, and allow people to vote in them.

I did something similar last season, and the winner was a picture of Windsor Park in the snow, while a picture of Michael Owen celebrating a goal came in second.

There a no pictures of snow or Michael Owen in this compilation, so enjoy, and feel free to vote.

For what it’s worth, my two main favourites are the pictures of Steven Douglas and Jim Ervin. It’s not that I have a throw-in fetish, but the composition just works.

Douglas at Dungannon

This came on the second Saturday of the Irish League season. Dungannon is a ground which is friendly to amateur photographers, so I was hopeful of getting a good shot.

Linfield got a throw where I was based, and play was stopped as a Dungannon player required treatment for an injury.

As Douglas waited, I siezed the opportunity to make the most of the framing, and this was the result.

Berbatov

Technically speaking, it’s not the greatest photo ever taken, but it’s just the emotion of it and people’s reaction which makes my love it.

This is what it feels when United score against Liverpool

Seaview Corner Flag

Got a similar photo at Richmond Park last season, so took the opportunity during a break in play at a game at Seaview to try likewise.

Again, I love the composition.

Corner Kick

Linfield, 2-1 down and chasing an equaliser, have a corner kick late on. I was quite close to the pitch and the composition just worked.

It was actually a productive phototaking day for me, pity about the result.

Burger Queue

January saw me visit Solitude for the first time. At half-time, I went around these new surroundings to get photos, and saw this queue, which was composed beautifully with the fog in the background, and it just worked.

Nou Camp

Like Solitude, I visited the Nou Camp for the first time this season, and went snap happy.

This was my favourite of all the portrait shots I took.

Charlie Adam

A few days after Barcelona, I was in Dublin for the Northern Ireland match against Scotland.

Aviva Stadium is kind to amateur photography, even if some of the views are dreadful.

The only attacking action I saw in front of me was when Scotland were on the attack in the first-half, where I took the opportunity to snap Charlie Adam as he took a corner.

Free-Kick

Tension builds as Northern Ireland have a free-kick against Slovenia in a Euro 2012 Qualifier.

For me, the composition just works.

Jim Ervin Throw

A frustrating evening of phototaking but the right result, the opposite of my previous visit.

I just love this photo of Jim Ervin.

Supervisor

Using people as props, I managed to snap Linfield fans watching their team’s match against Glentoran at The Oval.

Depressingly, it also shows the low attendance by this fixture’s standards that day.

PHOTO DIARY OF A FOOTBALL SEASON : FEBRUARY

Like in December/January, I attended a match at a stadium for the first time. A lot more grand than Suffolk Road and Solitude, but Nou Camp and Aviva Stadium.

In February, I also visited Estadio El Prat, home of La Liga side Espanyol.

I visited Barcelona for a weekend in February and absolutely loved it. I’d booked it primarily for a break, but did keep an eye on the football fixtures, and managed to get a ticket for Barcelona v Atletico Madrid on my arrival.

If I do visit Barcelona again, i’d like to do it the other way around, and go to an Espanyol match, and do the tour of the Nou Camp.

Nou Camp was great, a fantastic fixture of both modern and old features.

A few days later, I visited Aviva Stadium in Dublin for the Northern Ireland v Scotland match.

The match, as a 3-0 defeat suggests, was dreadful, and it didn’t help being placed in awful seats with people standing at the side of the pitch blocking your view.

Thankfully, I managed to make use of some spare seats and managed to get some decent photos.

Barcelona

Northern Ireland v Scotland

Linfield v Dunmurry Rec

Glenavon v Linfield

I HAD THIS PERFECT DREAM ……

As work colleagues and Twitter followers will have been long aware, I was in Barcelona the past weekend on a short break.

Last year, I took a short break over the first weekend in February in Manchester, and wanted to do the same this year, as something exciting to look forward to over the winter months.

I decided that I didn’t want to go to mainland UK, but instead to go to mainland Europe, and then I had the idea of going somewhere with a top class football team, and try to get to a match, but not to make a football match the focal point of the trip.

I narrowed the options down to Munich and Barcelona, before eventually settling on Barcelona, to be in the city for a few days around the time they play Atletico Madrid.

The airline I booked with cancelled their flights from Belfast during the winter months, but did give me the option of changing my departure of Dublin, which I took, despite the fact I would leaving Belfast in the wee small hours ahead of an early morning flight.

Having done some prior research, I headed to the Tourist Information Office in the airport to get a ticket for the match, which was one less thing to worry about, as I set about getting checked in.

As soon as I checked in and left my bags in the room, I set about exploring the city, blindly, with no tourist maps.

I find that the best way to get lost in a city is to, erm, get lost in a city.

What struck me most was how much love there is for Street Art in Barcelona. Where there was free wallspace, or a shutter, there would be something drawn or spraypainted on to it.

Regular readers will know how much I love Street Art.

I checked out the Marina on the Thursday. Beautiful place and very photographable, or just good if you want to laze about and watch the world pass by.

I managed to find the Nou Camp by fluke, partly because I got the wrong metro stop to the one I was staying at.

Despite it being teatime on a Thursday and a non-matchday, it was rammed with tourists and people just wanting to see one of the world’s most iconic football stadiums.

After a double-digit sleep on Thursday night, I headed to Estadi Cornella-El Prat, home of the city’s other La Liga side Espanyol, where I got a guided tour of the stadium, taking in the stands, press room and changing rooms, where a symbolic space is left for former player Dani Jarque, who died in 2009.

A memorial of shirts and flowers is place in one of the stands, and plans are in place to place the shirt Andres Iniesta wore after scoring in the 2010 World Cup Final, and he subsequently donated to the club.

The remainder of Friday, and early on Saturday was spent exploring the lively Las Ramblas area of the city centre, full of life and activity.

At about 5pm on the Saturday, I decided to head over to Nou Camp for the game between Barcelona and Atletico Madrid, which kicked-off at 10pm local time.

There was me thinking that Linfield playing Setanta Cup matches at 5.30pm on a Saturday was odd.

I headed into the stadium and checked out my seat, three rows back in the second tier, unbelievable. It was great for amateur photography of portrait shots, rather than actual match action.

Barcelona won the match 3-0 with a hat-trick from Lionel Messi. Stating the obvious, but he is rather good. He was playing for fun at times, showing off as if was having a kickabout in the street.

Sunday was a lazy day, mostly spent watching football on TV and lazing at the marina before heading home on the Monday morning.

An excellent weekend well spent, and was well worth having as February’s STLFTEM.

Farewell Barcelona. If God is willing, we will meet again ……….. someday.

Photo Album

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