MANCHESTER UNITED 3-0 PARTIZAN BELGRADE 7.11.2019

Ole’s still at the wheel, but this journey has been a bit bumpy.

It’s one of those journeys with piss breaks every five minutes. And then, somebody nips out for a quick smoke, meaning you’ve been parked for twenty minutes. Then you stop off to a Service Station for a quick toilet break, and half the bus rushes to Burger King and you spend half an hour there.

This is why I usually make my own way to football matches.

A case of two steps forward, and one back, perfectly summed up by recent events, with three wins in a row followed up by a defeat to Bournemouth, just as the Top 6 was within reach.

This was my first trip of the season to Old Trafford, my third with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as United Manager. United had yet to win in the previous two games I had been to.

Things were going so well for Solskjaer, winning his first eight games in charge, and then I turned up against Burnley.

United went into this game knowing that a win would send them through with two games to spare. The last time they were in the Group Stage of the UEFA Cup, they didn’t secure qualification until the last game, and didn’t even win the group.

Going to this game meant that I would be able to tick Partizan Belgrade off my 102 Club list, although, I rather they weren’t on it.

They are on the list as they reached the 1966 European Cup Final, beating United 2-1 on aggregate in the Semi-Final.

Having already won 1-0 in Belgrade, a win tonight wouldn’t represent revenge for a defeat 53 years earlier, United were looking to secure European football for February 2020.

One good thing about being in the UEFA Cup is that Thursday night games are a lot more convenient to travel to. In 2016, I made a long weekend of it by seeing a match against Feyenood on the Thursday and the match against West Ham on the Sunday.

United had home games scheduled for the Sunday after Matchday 4 and 5, so there was the potential for a repeat.

Unfortunately, I had to wait until the draw was made. When I looked at booking a double header, unfortunately, the prices were too much to do Partizan and Brighton, I had to make do with Partizan.

Hypothetically speaking, if I was making a long weekend of it, I would have went to a game on the Saturday.

Possible options included Burnley v West Ham or Wigan v Brentford.

There was also cup games at Accrington Stanley (took in a game there in 2014. Turned out their FA Cup game was delayed by an hour due to officials getting injured), or Salford City, Stockport County at home in the National League or FC United at home in the FA Trophy (I planned to do this in my long weekend in 2016, but a frozen pitch denied me)

Of course, when I went to the Burnley match in January, I took in a day trip to Sheffield. I could have done that and taken in Sheffield Wednesday v Swansea City. However, that would be dependent on Northern Rail running a Boat Replacement Service.

Barnsley is just over an hour away from Manchester, though I couldn’t think of a reason why their match against Stoke City would be appealing.

It would only be Partizan I would be seeing, a match where Ashley Young would be starting due to his suspension against Brighton, necessitating that Brandon Williams not be risked.

Based on his appearances so far, I see no reason why Williams shouldn’t be United’s first choice left back, regardless of wether Ashley Young is suspended or not.

As kick-off approached, the rain continued to lash down.

This game saw two early goals, though both of them were disallowed.

Partizan’s goal that was disallowed was one of those horrible efforts that looped up and in after their striker was tackled by a United player. If it did count, it would have just summed up United’s season.

United missed a few opportunities early on, a couple of Marcus Rashford volleys going well wide, while Anthony Martial had a shot smothered by Partizan’s keeper, who was wearing a headband that made him look like Rab C Nesbitt.

Eventually, United got the breakthrough when Mason Greenwood fired home low after being found in space.

Despite not having many attempts on goal, Partizan still offered enough of an attacking threat to keep United worried. They needed a second goal to relax.

That came when a Partizan clearance was charged down and fell perfectly to Martial, who danced past a couple of defenders and poked the ball home.

It was a key goal as it gave United breathing space and deflated Partizan.

In the early minutes of the second-half, Marcus Rashford finished after a tee-up from Ashley Young, and that was the three points and qualification secured.

Unsurprisingly, the rest of the match was a non event, as United got the three points and qualified. Now all they need is four points from their last two games to win the group, which will be hand when the Last 32 draw comes around.

Elsewhere, the football news has been dominated by two Michael, with Michael O’Connor being on trial at Hibs and Michael O’Neill joining Stoke City.

But not quite leaving Northern Ireland, he’ll leave when the Euro 2020 campaign ends. So that’ll be 12th July 2020 then.

Stoke doesn’t look that appealing, but he’s obviously seen the impact that The Cowleys have had at Huddersfield and believes he can do likewise.

My next United match will be Burnley in mid January, a match that won’t be rearranged now that the League Cup Quarter-Final dates have been confirmed.

Hopefully, by then, United will be progressing in the two domestic cup competitions and climbing up the table.

Photo Album

MAGAZINE ARCHIVE : MANCHESTER UNITED – MARCH 1997

Andy Cole is the cover star of Manchester United’s official magazine in a month which sees United return to European action after a Winter break.

There is speculation about Alex Ferguson’s future at United, saying he has no plans to retire this side of the millennium.

United’s forthcoming tie against Porto gets a four page preview, with former Porto manager Bobby Robson expecting his former side to go through.

United’s recent games get reviewed, a period that saw progress in the League but an FA Cup exit.

Ray Wilkins gets interviewed as he is nearing the end of his playing career at the age of 40.

Cover star Cole gets a four page interview as he aims to recover from injury to help United’s bid for trophies in the final months of the season.

The magazine ends with a Q and A with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who reveals he likes living in Altrincham.

MAGAZINE ARCHIVE : 90 MINUTES – 24.2.1996

Dennis Wise and Dan Petrescu are the cover stars of this week’s edition of 90 Minutes, which has declared Chelsea as the season’s surprise package.

In news, Manchester United have taken Mark Fish on trial. United have also signed a new kit deal with Umbro worth £40m – £65m.

Leeds United have been ordered bu UEFA to upgrade their dressing rooms for Euro 96, at a cost of £500,000.

There is a three page spread on Chelsea, with 90 minutes describing it as their finest team since the 70s.

Clyde are facing Rangers in the Scottish Cup, and 90 Minutes has an interview with Clyde’s ageing Celtic legend Charlie Nicholas.

Also getting a feature is Blackpool, after it is claimed that their stadium is being haunted by the ghost of Admiral Nelson.

In competitions, you could spend a night with Paul Merson.

As Euro 96 approaches, there is a full page profile on the French team, so good, that David Ginola and Eric Cantona can’t get a game.

90 Minutes Live canvasses supporters at Coventry City v Manchester City for the worst refereeing decision they have ever seen.

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.

MAGAZINE ARCHIVE : SHOOT – 14.8.1993

The rhyming duo of Deane and Keane are the cover stars of this edition of The Magazine Archive as the 93/94 season is about to start, having made big money moves during pre-season to Leeds United (Brian Deane) and Manchester United (Roy Keane)

As you open the magazine, there is a double page spread of Shoot staff offering predictions for the forthcoming season. Manchester United were heavily predicted to win the league, though there were suggestions for Aston Villa, Arsenal and West Ham.

Shoot aims to find the best footballer in the world, and this week is a play-off between Ally McCoist and Dean Saunders. A penel of Denis Law, Gary Stevens, Terry Yorath, Tony Coton and Howard Kendall gave McCoist the decision by a score of 243 to 237.

Tony Cascarino of Chelsea is the subject of a Q and A on the theme of First and Last, revealing that the last concert he was at was Steve Harley in Motherwell, when he was living in Scotland as a Celtic player.

Neil Webb issues a warning for Roy Keane, who is hoping to avoid the fate of Neil Webb, Ian Storey-Moore, Garry Birtles and Peter Davenport, who all flopped at Old Trafford after joining from Nottingham Forest.

In competitions, you could win a trip to Italy to see AC Milan in action, as well as getting to meet their players.

In posters, there was a poster of Coventry City’s Roy Wegerle, Mick Quinn, Peter Ndlovu.

In news, Chelsea have won a trophy, The Makita Tournament, beating Tottenham 4-0 in the Final at White Hart Lane.

Everton goalkeeper Neville Southall voices his opinion on the price of football, by stating that admission prices are too expensive for supporters.

MAGAZINE ARCHIVE : MANCHESTER UNITED – JANUARY 1997

Ryan Giggs, modelling United’s new third kit, is the cover star of the club’s official magazine, laying down the gauntlet to FC Porto, United’s opponents in the European Cup Quarter-Final.

As you open the magazine, there is an advert to buy a Manchester United branded Gameboy, if that’s your thing.

Pat Crerand’s column continues on a European theme, commenting that the main difference between United and Juventus – who beat United twice in the group stages – is that Juventus players are more experienced.

In news, Roy Keane is hoping to return to action this month after injury, while there is a new Norwegian at Old Trafford with Erik Nevland joining Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ronny Johnsen.

A breakout star this season, David Beckham gets a five page interview.

Also getting five pages is United’s recent game against European Champions Juventus, canvassing the viewpoints of those who witnessed it on TV, touchline and stands.

There is a review of United’s matches in November 1996, a month that brough mixed results.

United’s mixed form doesn’t concern manager Alex Ferguson as he gives a mid season report.

In ads, ASDA announce that you can now buy United merchandise at their stores.

The magazine ends with a Q and A with Ben Thornley, who reveals that he recently went to see Bryan Adams in concert.

MAGAZINE ARCHIVE : WORLD SOCCER – JANUARY 1986

Bryan Robson is the cover star of the first World Soccer of 1986, a year he hopes will bring him glory for club and country, neither of which have celebrated glory since the 1960s.

The draw for the 1986 World Cup has taken place, the first World Cup where final group games are played simultaneously, amid complaints of travelling between stadiums.

This draw gets plenty of coverage. The group stages sees Italy and Argentina paired together, the 4th successive World Cup they would meet each other.

There is a feature on Canada captain Bruce Wilson, who finds himself without a club six months before the tournament, while Morocco get a profile.

There is a double page report on Juventus, who have just won the World Club after beating Argentinos Juniors on penalties.

There is a feature on European Cup Quarter-Finalists Steau Bucharest.

In Austria, Bruno Pezzey has been appointed captain of the national side, as they aim to qualify for Euro 88.

In England, it looked like Manchester United were going to run away with the title, but have been pulled back by Liverpool after a series of bad results.

Malcolm Allison has the World Cup on his mind, but the 1990 one, having been appointed manager of Kuwait.

In Turkey, there is unrest at Fenerbache, with players protesting at bonuses that were promised to the squad not being paid.

MAGAZINE ARCHIVE : WORLD SOCCER – NOVEMBER 1986

Nery Pumpido is the cover star of World Soccer as he aims to win a unique double of World Cup for both club and country in the same year, as River Plate are getting ready for the World Club Cup Final.

Kier Radnedge’s editorial focuses on the perilous state of defending continental champions France, Steau Bucharest and Argentinos Juniors, as they try to defend their trophies.

APOEL of Cyprus have been banned for European competition for two years after failing to turn up for their European Cup tie against Besiktas.

Also facing a possible European ban were Feyenoord, after crowd trouble at a UEFA Cup tie in Germany.

Juventus face Real Madrid in the 2nd Round of the European Cup, prompting Juventus President Giampiero Bonipierti calling for a seeding system in the European Cup.

There are Club Focuses on Sion, Anderlecht and IFK Gothenborg. The Swedish side recently won their league title, securing a place in the 1987-1988 European Cup, a competition they would go into as holders of the UEFA Cup, beating Dundee United 2-1 on aggregate.

There are four pages dedicated to the results of the early rounds of the three European competitions.

In their round-up from England, Manchester United are looking for a new manager, but only due to a printing error as it says Billy McNeill left Manchester United (It was actually Manchester City) for Aston Villa.

That month, United would actually have a managerial vacancy due to the sacking of Ron Atkinson, being replaced by Alex Ferguson.

Paolo Maldini has just been called into the Italy Under 21 squad for the first time, his dad Cesare being the Chief Scout for the Under 21s.

Branko Elsner offered his resignation as Austria manager after a 4-0 defeat to Romania, their biggest competitive defeat since 1978, while across the border in Switzerland, the national team lost their opening Euro 88 Qualifier, 2-0 to Sweden.

The magazine ends with a full round-up of results and fixtures of the Euro 88 Qualifiers.

PHOTO OF THE SEASON : 2018-2019

2018-2019 is now over and consigned to history. I hope you’ve enjoyed my month by month look back. I thought i’ll end with a look through some of my favourites. Feel free to vote for yours.

NEWFORGE

Taken during a Pre-Season Friendly, I like arty farty shots in the style of Stuart Roy Clarke, so I unashamedly try to copy him.

MOURNEVIEW

I like this shot because of the way everybody is lined up, and how everybody has their eyes fixed on Kirk Millar, being the man in possession

COLERAINE

This shot came about by fluke, I was hoping to capture a Linfield goal, but again, it’s the fans who make the picture for me, all heads in the one direction.

DUNGANNON

Got some good photos this day due to generous Winter Sun. Dungannon is always good for photos. I like the framing, getting the terraces in alongside the pitch.

JORDAN

Jordan Stewart makes it 4-0 against Crusaders in December. I like being able to capture the celebrations on the pitch and in the stand. Even a Steward joined in.

CLANDEBOYE

That spot at Clandeboye Park is handy for getting photos, as long as something interesting happens at that end during the game. Thankfully, Linfield scored while I was at this end. Not just in terms of phototaking, but the match, as it was looking like a frustrating afternoon against opponents who had already proved tricky earlier in the season.

SNOW TRAFFORD

Having got snow photos of Windsor Park in 2010, I couldn’t believe my luck when Manchester was hit with snow the day after United’s match against Burnley. Staying close to the ground, I was straight out with my camera to get photos.

McCLEAN

An explosion of emotion. 2-0 down and looking to be pegged back in the title race, to 2-2 and being frustrated, then a last minute winner, I managed to capture the reactions, of fans and players both going wild in unison.

RAIN

A weather based photo that just works. Bleurgh, an awful night for weather and football.

PHOTO DIARY OF A FOOTBALL SEASON : APRIL/MAY

April 2019 meant the run-in was approaching, and my first football match of the month saw Linfield get a crucial 1-0 win against Ballymena United to virtually secure the Irish League title.

The following week, Linfield got the job done with a 0-0 draw at home to Crusaders.

A week later, Linfield lifted the title, on a day they lost 4-0 at home to Glenavon.

My last Linfield match of the season was a lot better, a 5-1 win over Cliftonville on Easter Tuesday.

That wouldn’t be my last match of the season, as I headed to Old Trafford in mid May to see Manchester United lose at home to Cardiff City. Not the way I wanted the season to end.

Tomorrow, you’ll get your chance to vote for your favourite.

So, that’s 2018-2019 over. Here’s to more football photos in 2019-2020.

Ballymena United v Linfield

Linfield v Crusaders

Linfield Title Win Photo Album

Linfield v Glenavon

Linfield Title Celebrations Photo Album

Linfield v Cliftonville

Manchester United v Cardiff City

Manchester United v Cardiff City Photo Album