MAGAZINE ARCHIVE : GEORGE BEST’S WORLD CUP PREVIEW

Later today, Russia will face Saudi Arabia in the opening game of the 2018 World Cup.

In a special edition of the Magazine Archive, we go back to 1970 when George Best brings out a World Cup preview magazine. You know it’s 1970 because there’s a sombrero on the cover, which means it’s the year that Mexico hosted the World Cup.

As you open the magazine, George Best comments on his jealously of listening to England players talk about looking forward to the World Cup when travelling to away matches with Manchester United. The reason why George Best is jealous, if you don’t know, is because Northern Ireland failed to qualify.

Best doesn’t believe England will retain the trophy, but says they will deserve applause if they do, predicting that Brazil and Italy, the two eventual finalists, were the most likely teams to win it.

Before even starting, the tournament has provided some diplomatic headaches, as El Salvador and Honduras were at war with each other during qualifying matches between the two countries, while Morocco requested not to be drawn against Israel, and Czechoslovakia asked not to play the Soviet Union.

All sixteen teams are profiled, with player biographies, player photos and a list of results of how they qualified.

The magazine ends with a look back at the 1966 World Cup, held in England, and an aerial shot of the Aztec Stadum in Mexico City, the ground that will host the final.

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PHOTO DIARY OF A FOOTBALL SEASON : APRIL/MAY

April’s football watching began with a trip to Mourneview Park on Easter Tuesday to see Linfield grind out a 3-2 win away to Glenavon.

That was followed on the Saturday afterwards by going to see Linfield beat Ballymena United 2-0.

Good start to the month, but that was as good as it got, as Linfield could only managed one point from their next three games against Crusaders, Coleraine and Cliftonville, which would cause them to eventually miss out on European football.

There was only one match for me in May, a trip to Old Trafford to see Manchester United take on Watford.

And that, was the 2017-2018 over for me.

Here’s to more football and photos in 2018-2019.

Glenavon v Linfield

Linfield v Ballymena United

Crusaders v Linfield

Linfield v Coleraine

Linfield v Cliftonville

Manchester United v Watford

Manchester United v Watford Photo Album

MANCHESTER UNITED 1-0 WATFORD 13.5.2018

As I travelled over to this match the day before, it occurred to me that it was the 25th anniversary of my first ever United match.

That match was a 1-1 draw in a friendly against Aston Villa at Windsor Park, as United fans were still celebrating their side’s first title in 26 years. Little did they know what the next 25 years would bring, albeit the first 20 years of that period being a lot more enjoyable.

Aston Villa’s goal that night came from Dwight Yorke. Little did we know that he would be a future goalscoring hero for United.

As fans left Windsor Park that night, little did they know that a future United goalscoring hero would be born the next day. This game fell on Romelu Lukaku’s 25th birthday, but he wouldn’t be getting a chance to celebrate with a goal, as he missed out through injury, an injury which restricted him to a role as a substitute in the FA Cup Final.

When I booked this trip, I thought it would be the second successive season that I would be seeing Marco Silva bring a team to Old Trafford, having seen United take on Hull last season. That wouldn’t be happening as Watford change their manager every three months. I had to check Google to see that it was Javi Garcia.

This game was also the last game for United for Michael Carrick before retirement, having made his debut against Charlton Athletic in August 2006. If he had waited a few days, his first and last game would have been against Watford.

If he had made his debut a few days earlier against Fulham, I would have been at his first and last games for United.

Being out of sync is a familiar theme to United’s season.

If this game was about paying tribute to Michael Carrick, the weekend before, it looked like being a tribute to Sir Alex Ferguson, but thankfully he is on the road to recovery, as announced in the days leading up to this match.

There was not a lot to play for in terms of the League positions. United had confirmed 2nd prior to this, their highest finish in the post-Ferguson era, while Watford were floating about in mid table, with a forth successive season of top-flight football confirmed, a feat they haven’t achieved since their glory days under Graham Taylor in the 1980s.

Watford made a positive start to the game, having a lot of possession in United’s half.

It was United who had the first attempt on goal of the game when an ambitious Alexis Sanchez volley went wide.

Marcus Rashford was causing problems for Watford’s defence, trying to get in behind them. United weren’t slow in trying to give him opportunities to do so. He only needed to get lucky once.

And that he did, after a through ball from Michael Carrick played in Juan Mata who set up Rashford to score from close range.

Sergio Romero, getting a rare start in goal, made an excellent save from a Richarlison close ranger header. I was at the end of the ground and thought it was sneaking in. Thankfully, it didn’t.

In the early minutes of the second-half, Marcos Rojo lost possession but was saved by an offside flag as the ball fell to a Watford attacker.

United searched for the second goal that would secure the game, the closest they came was an Alexis Sanchez cross which evaded Juan Mata.

Having spent the first-half trying to run behind Watford’s defence, Marcus Rashford was now not running at Watford’s defence every time he got the ball, to audible groans in the stands.

It was a very dull game, the only moment of note in the final minutes of the second-half came when Michael Carrick was substituted to a standing ovation.

The match finished 1-0 to United, as United finished the season with a win ahead of the FA Cup Final.

The FA Cup Final would ultimately decide if it has been a season of progress. The fact that United have had their highest League position since Sir Alex Ferguson was Manager shouldn’t be overlooked, nor should the fact that United have beaten every team in the League, including come from behind wins against Manchester City and Chelsea.

On the flip side, United lost away to all three promoted sides, as well as dropping points to relegated Stoke City and West Bromwich Albion, as well as relegation threatened Southampton.

In those games, United only picked up the pace when they fell behind and the points looked set to be slipping away, when they should have been going at it from the start.

It was probably apt that the season should end with a similar performance and result in the FA Cup Final.

That attitude was the same against Bristol City in the League Cup, as United waited to win it in extra-time while Bristol City wanted to win it in 90 minutes.

United’s start to the season wasn’t that bad, but it was a run of dropped points in October and November killed off any hopes of a title challenge.

In any other season, United would only have been a couple of points off the top on New Year’s Day, but City’s start to the season put them out of reach.

The fixture list for the 2018-2019 season will be released on the morning of Thursday 19th June. Curious timing, as it is the opening day of the World Cup. That seems strange from a Marketing point of view.

When it is released, i’ll keep an eye out for possible games to go to, more than likely a midweek game. I’ll have to wait until the dates are released.

Pre-Season Fixtures have been announced and it looks unlikely there will be a Pre-Season game in Dublin, like there was in the Summer of 2017 against Sampdoria.

I forgot to mention in my last football blog that Institute will potentially be playing home matches at The Oval next season. Bit underwhelming that, was hoping to visit a new ground (for me).

In Scotland, unsurprisingly, Spartans failed to overcome a 4-0 deficit against Cove Rangers and will be playing in the Lowland League, meaning I won’t be seeing them in League Two action if I go to see them when I visit Edinburgh in August.

Meanwhile, the UEFA Cup Play-Offs went as disastrously as expected, with Linfield losing their Semi-Final 4-3 to Glentoran.

For a start, it is an absolute sham and it makes a mockery of the League that such a system is in place.

Could you imagine if the title was decided this way, and Linfield won the League after finishing 4th but winning two matches in May.

Imagine if something similar was in England, and Newcastle United were given an opportunity to play in Europe despite spending most of the season in the bottom half.

It’s not sour grapes me saying that, check my archives, my view has been consistent throughout.

Natural justice was done in 2016 and 2017, but sadly not in 2018. Having Play-Offs to decide UEFA Cup places is a reward for mediocrity.

As bad as Linfield have been this season, you can’t tell me that Cliftonville, Ballymena United and Glentoran are more deserving of a place in Europe.

Just wait five years when people are sitting about wondering why the Irish League’s co-efficient takes a battering because we let lottery winners play in Europe rather than deciding places on merit.

Having thrown away 3rd place during the regular season, Linfield should have been making no mistake in this Play-Off sham. We were 2-0 up at home to a team that finished 7th, and had lost three of their last four games – to the bottom three.

When it went to 2-1, you knew what was happening. Far too many times Linfield have capitulated and felt sorry for themselves after conceding a goal. Too many players hide when the going gets tough.

It is made even worse when you see how many times Linfield battled back from adversity to win the League in 2016-2017.

In November 2016, Linfield came from 2-0 down with nine men to get a draw at Glenavon. It spurred the team on for the rest of the season.

In October 2017, Linfield lost 2-1 at Coleraine due to a controversial goal. The response? a 5-2 defeat at home to Crusaders.

And on that note, being afraid of Crusaders. They can cut that shit out right away. I thought they had cut that out in 2016-2017.

A team of hoofers and thugs, and we made them look like Real Madrid. FIVE TIMES.

It’s a team of players approaching or in their 30s. It will need an overhaul over the next few years. There is a potential that this will blow up spectacularly for them. We have to be ready to pounce. Coleraine are no doubt ready to do so.

Departures have already happened. A new centre midfielder was a priority before Stephen Lowry left. It is even more so now. As is a striker who can put the ball in the net.

June 2018 will be the first month since June 2015 that Linfield haven’t played a competitive match. It’s simply possible that Linfield’s players experienced burnout this season, especially considering that players such as Jimmy Callacher, Mark Haughey, Mark Stafford, Niall Quinn, Matthew Clarke, Jamie Mulgrew, Stephen Lowry, Kirk Millar and Andrew Waterworth have been with the club during this period.

Hopefully, we can use a Europe free summer to our advantage, and get players such as Jordan Stewart, Jimmy Callacher and Andrew Waterworth back to full fitness so that they can hit the ground running in August.

So, Pre-Season wishlist. All away, grounds i’ve never been to or haven’t been to for a while – Moyola Park, PSNI, Knockbreda and QUB. Am I being ambitious to hope for an away game against one of Queen Of The South, Ayr United or Stranraer?

It is a League next season that will feature away game(s) against Newry, a ground I haven’t been to since 2010. Looking forward to that.

Of the Irish League teams in Europe, they will enter the competition between Tuesday 10th July and Thursday 12th July.

Any team at home that week will play on Tuesday 10th July. It’s common sense. That won’t stop Northern Ireland’s gutter press going to work, especially if one or two of them draw Glasgow teams.

After a season of fixture scheduling farces, here’s two to look out for next season.

Carl Frampton is having a fight at Windsor Park on Saturday 18th August 2018. You would expect Linfield to be away that day. You’d hope. It would be an utter disgrace if they have a home game scheduled that day that needs to be rearranged.

Saturday 23rd March 2019 is a date set aside for Euro 2020 Qualifiers. The draw is yet to happen. I’d like to think contingency plans are in place should Northern Ireland be at home that day.

That’s me for my football watching for 2017-2018. In some parallel universe i’d be writing about how i’m heading to Villa Park to see Morocco v Iran or going to St James Park to see Denmark v Peru.

Photo Album

PHOTO DIARY OF A FOOTBALL SEASON : DECEMBER

December’s football watching began with a trip to Windsor Park, a place where I would spend four of the five Saturdays during the month, to see Linfield scrape a 1-0 win over Dungannon Swifts.

Postponements would then frustrate my football watching, as Linfield’s trip to Carrick was postponed, as was the FA Cup Replay between Crewe Alexandra and Blackburn Rovers, which I had planned on attending.

The reason for this was that I was in North-West England to see Manchester United take on AFC Bournemouth, my first visit to Old Trafford of the season.

I then headed to Windsor Park on successive Saturdays to see Linfield take on Warrenpoint Town and Cliftonville.

That was then followed by a Boxing Day trip to The Oval, the less said about that, the better.

After that, it was back to Windsor Park to see Linfield take on Crusaders. The less said about that, the better.

Linfield v Dungannon Swifts

Manchester Untied v AFC Bournemouth

Manchester United v AFC Bournemouth Photo Album

Linfield v Warrenpoint Town

Linfield v Cliftonville

Glentoran v Linfield

Linfield v Crusaders

MAGAZINE ARCHIVE : MATCH – 23.5.1987

Keith Houchen and Dave Bennett of Coventry City are the cover stars as Match reviews the 1987 FA Cup Final. Both players, holding aloft the trophy, were the two Coventry players to score. The winner came via Gary Mabbutt own goal.

The headline “Coventry’s Extra Specials” makes reference to the fact the game went to extra-time, as well as one of Coventry’s biggest exports of the 1980s, the band The Specials.

That match at Wembley gets a double page report as you open the magazine.

Derby County get a double page spread as they have returned to England’s top flight for the first time since 1980, the club having fallen into decline, being relegated to Division Three in 1985, just ten years after being League Champions in 1985.

England are playing Scotland in the annual fixture, which gets a double page spread.

Scarborough have made history by becoming the first club to win promotion to the Football League, and they get a double page spread.

Also celebrating promotion in 1987 were Portsmouth, who get a double page spread, having narrowly missed out in 1985 and 1986.

It’s not just about promotion, Match also looks at players who helped their club avoid relegation – Paul Goddard of Newcastle and Dean Saunders of Oxford.

In foreign news, Trevor Francis scores a title winning goal in Italy, as his goal for Atalanta against Inter Milan wins the title for Napoli.

There is a full page profile of Torquay United and Tottenham Hotspur.

In news, Manchester United have started using a computerised fitness testing programme called Body Talk.

Also getting a full page profile are Everton having just won the league.

Scotland isn’t left out, with posters of cup winners St Mirren and champions Rangers.

Staying in Scotland, Celtic are planning a summer spending spree after agreeing a sponsorship deal with CR Smith.

Scottish striker Joe Jordan gets a profile, as he prepares to play for Bristol City in a second successive Freight Rover Trophy Final, against Mansfield Town.

PHOTO DIARY OF A FOOTBALL SEASON : AUGUST

August’s football watching began at Wilgar Park to see Linfield take on Dundela in a friendly. The following day, was another Pre-Season Friendly, but in different surroundings, as Manchester United took on Sampdoria at Lansdowne Road.

That weekend, I was in Edinburgh for the Edinburgh Festival. While there, I make an effort to attend a game, and I saw Edinburgh City v Montrose while I was there.

Upon my return, was the start of the Irish League season, and I was out for Linfield’s opening week of matches against Carrick, Ards and Dungannon.

My football watching for the month ended by seeing Linfield take on Ballymena at Windsor Park.

Dundela v Linfield

Manchester United v Sampdoria

Manchester United v Sampdoria Photo Album

Edinburgh City v Montrose

Edinburgh City v Montrose Photo Album

Linfield v Carrick Rangers

Ards v Linfield

Dungannon Swifts v Linfield

Linfield v Ballymena United

MAGAZINE ARCHIVE : SHOOT – 11.4.1992

Teddy Sheringham is the cover star of an edition of Shoot edited by John Fashanu, looking forward to the League Cup Final between Nottingham Forest and Manchester United, with United represented on the cover with an inset photo of Mark Hughes.

Curiously, Sheringham and Hughes were on opposing sides in the League Cup Final a decade later, with Hughes being on the winning side in both games.

Gordon Strachan hits back at critics of the quality of English football by listing six players that are top quality – Roy Keane, David Hirst, Carlton Palmer, Alan Shearer, Rob Jones and Andy Sinton, revealing that Ron Atkinson was looking at signing Jones when he was United manager.

John Fashanu gets a double page feature where he guest edits Shoot.

In letters, one reader thinks it is time for Tim Flowers to be given a chance for England.

In international news, it’s all about departures, or possible departures, with Hugo Sanchez possibly leaving Real Madrid, Darko Pancev leaving Red Star Belgrade for Inter Milan and Sven Goran Eriksson leaving Benfica for Sampdoria.

Shoot dedicates 8 pages to the League Cup Final with interviews with Paul Ince, Mark Hughes, Nigel Clough and Andy Marriott. Guest editor John Fashanu gives his verdict, a victory for Nottingham Forest. Manchester United won 1-0.

Middlesbrough defender Alan Kernaghan is interviewed, wanting promotion to the top flight and a Northern Ireland cap in 1992, while revealing that he most famous person outside of football he has met was his late uncle, Jackie Wright, Benny Hill’s sidekick.

The magazine ends with a double page spread on Gerry Creaney, dubbed “Scottish football’s new Golden Boy”

MAGAZINE ARCHIVE : SHOOT – 23.4.1994

It’s Derby Day in Manchester, and this is reflected with Paul Walsh and Andrei Kanchelskis appearing on the cover of Shoot.

As you open the magazine, there is a poster of Liverpool’s Rob Jones, Steve Nicol and Julian Dicks.

United’s recent FA Cup Semi-final Replay win over Oldham gets a double page spread, with most of the focus being on Andrei Kanchelskis and his goal.

Having just made his England debut, Darren Anderton is already worried that he might not be able to add to his number of caps in future, if Tottenham Hotspur are unsuccessful in their battle against relegation.

Over the page, there is a poster of Neil Webb.

With the World Cup approaching, Shoot does a double page feature focusing on Nigeria’s chances, having qualified for the first time.

In 1994, Shoot had a columnist called Metro, who was the reigning Nintendo UK Champion. He reviewed video games. This week, he reviewed Ryan Giggs Champions World Class Soccer.

In adverts, there were adverts for World Cup Cards, made by a company called Uppper Deck.

Paul Gascoigne had recently suffered a serious and potentially career ending injury. Shoot dedicates a page to this, with a host of footballers offering messages of support to him.

In foreign news, Inter Milan want to offload Dennis Bergkamp and replace him with Chris Sutton, while AC Milan want to buy back Ruud Gullit, a year after selling him after they thought he was too old.

Arsenal’s win over Paris St Germain in the European Cup Winners Cup Semi-Final gets a double page spread. It was a bittersweet night for Arsenal, as Ian Wright would miss the final through suspension.

With the World Cup approaching, Shoot has a series previewing it, with a comic book style full page look at past tournaments. This week featured the 1950 tournament.

Rangers and Dundee United have won through to the Scottish Cup Final, and this gets a double page feature, with Rangers aiming to make history by becoming the first team to win back to back trebles.

The Manchester Derby gets previewed on the final pages, with an interview with City’s Michael Vonk.

MAGAZINE ARCHIVE : SHOOT – 21.6.1986

Action from the opening game of Mexico 86 between Bulgaria and Italy is on the cover of Shoot, as they bring you the latest news from the ongoing World Cup.

England are hoping to win it for the first time since 1966, and their winning captain that day, Bobby Moore, is now a columnist for Shoot, and he lists the players that have impressed him in the opening games, such as Socrates, Maradona, Platini, Papin, Boniek, as well as Randy Regan and Bruce Wilson of Canada.

Bryan Robson is hoping to emulate his fellow Shoot columnist by lifting the trophy, but it hasn’t got off to the best of starts, as he writes of his frustration of England failing to win their first two games, but predicts England will reach the knock out stages. Beside his column is an advert for New Balance, which he endorses.

There is a double page interview with Jim Leighton, where he reveals that he didn’t want to be a goalkeeper.

News from Mexico includes that Fenerbache made approached Franz Beckenbauer to quit West Germany and become manager of Fenerbache, while in Italy, there is a potential match fixing scandal about to blow open.

Italy’s group opponents Bulgaria haven’t made many friends, by holding training behind closed doors and having armed guards outside their training facilities.

Shoot’s man in Mexico, Bill Day brands England’s performances “A disgrace”, while being complimentary about Northern Ireland, despite losing 2-1 to Spain.

Ray Daly from County Offaly writes to Jimmy Greaves to suggest that when Ron Atkinson’s inevitable departure as Manchester United manager is confirmed, the job should go to United legend Lou Macari.

There is a round-up of results from the 1985-1986 Scottish League seasons, with Steve Cowan of Hibs being top scorer, 2 ahead of Brian McClair. Both men would go on to win league titles outside their native country, Cowan with Portadown and McClair with Manchester United.

Outside of the World Cup, Republic Of Ireland are making progress under Jack Charlton, already lifting a trophy by winning a triangular tournament in Iceland against the hosts and Czechoslovakia.

Steve Hodge gets a full page profile having broken into the England squad in time to head to Mexico. A potential Aston Villa team-mate of Hodge’s is John Hewitt, in a contract dispute with Aberdeen, which gets a full page feature. Discussions are on hold at the moment, due to Aberdeen manager Alex Ferguson being in Mexico in his role as Scotland manager.

Nigel Winterburn of Wimbledon, looking forward to playing in the top flight for the first time, gets a full page interview, where he credits his former manager at Birmingham, Jim Smith, with saving his career.

There is also a full page profile of League of Ireland champions Shamrock Rovers.

In club news, Alex Ferguson spoke of his dislike for agents after Eric Black moved to Metz, while Liam Brady was leaving unsubtle hints for Arsenal to buy him back.

MAGAZINE ARCHIVE : SHOOT – 15.2.1986

The other way around from the movie series, it is Bond sending rather than receiving an SOS, as Birmingham City manager John Bond wants to bring cover star Trevor Francis beck to St Andrews from Sampdoria.

As you open the magazine, Mark Hughes tells Shoot that he doesn’t want to leave Manchester United, amidst rumours of a move to Barcelona.

In news, Terry Venables is linked with a move to Spurs at the end of the season, while leaving White Hart Lane could be Ally Dick, linked with a move to Hibs.

In World Cup news, Billy Bingham hits back at criticism of Northern Ireland’s preparation being against heavyweight sides such as Denmark and France, while Scotland manager Alex Ferguson has added Archie Knox and Craig Brown to his backroom staff for their campaign in Mexico.

Cover star Francis tells Shoot he is still available for England, having missed a recent friendly due to injury, and suggests he could create a place for himself in right midfield in Mexico.

Bryan Robson uses his column to state that the recent signing of Terry Gibson could be a boost for Manchester United in the title race.

In Scotland, Falkirk winger Jimmy Gilmour is playing so well, he is drawing comparisons to his uncle, former Celtic winger Jimmy Johnstone.

Crystal Palace manager Steve Coppell, only 30, tells Shoot that his side have had to change their style of play in order to get results, after previously missing out despite playing well.

Having saved Manchester City and Swansea City from relegation, John Bond is looking for a hat-trick by keeping Birmingham City up. In order to do this, he tells Shoot he wants to bring Trevor Francis back to the club, after Francis left to join Nottingham Forest in 1979 in England’s first £1m transfer.

Gary Mabbutt gets scouted by Shoot during Tottenham Hotspur’s match against Nottingham Forest, stating that he was exposed against a striker like Peter Davenport.

Back to Scotland, and Aberdeen’s John Hewitt tells Shoot that Dons manager Alex Ferguson is hard to please.

West Brom’s George Reilly tells Shoot he is happy at The Hawthorns after a short spell at Newcastle United.

Kenny Swain tells Shoot that he believes his experience of winning the title with Aston Villa in 1981 will help Portsmouth as they aim to get promoted to the top flight for the first time in 27 years.

West Ham goalkeeper Phil Parkes is having the best season of his career, and owes it to giving up booze after a drink driving ban in January 1985.

Ian Rush uses his column to praise his Liverpool team-mate Sammy Lee, who is celebrating his 27th birthday thsi week.

Meanwhile, Shoot does a double page spread on how Sunderland fans are losing patience with Lawrie McMenemy, after failing to launch a promotion bid.

The magazine ends with a “Focus On …..” Gordon Durie. His favourite bands are Depeche Mode and Simple Minds.