PHOTO DIARY OF A FOOTBALL SEASON – JUNE/JULY

For me, the 2012-2013 season began just two and a half weeks after the 2011-2012 season ended.

I had thought about going to the Holland v Northern Ireland game when it was announced, but I was going to Amsterdam in February 2012, so the idea was put on the shelf.

In March 2012, I won free flights with an airline. I had to redeem my prize within three months. Looking through the possible destinations, a trip to Amsterdam for the Northern Ireland match soon became a no brainer.

I had a great weekend in Amsterdam, and having been there before was so useful in getting around. Fantastic city, fantastic stadium, unfortunately, Holland have a fantastic football team (though they didn’t show it at Euro 2012)

The seat I had wasn’t that great for match photos, but I still managed to get some good shots.

My next football shots, came off the pitch in late June, as a new mural in Sandy Row celebrated the life of local heroes, including those who’ve had football careers such as Tommy Dickson and Joe Bambrick.

July started with European football, going to Linfield and Crusaders home matches.

The Crusaders match, v Rosenborg, was the most productive of the two in terms of phototaking, with the closeness to the pitch and a bright night making for good conditions.

The month ended with the Pre-Season Friendly between Orangefield OB and Linfield. It was a mixed night in terms of phototaking, but I got a good one of Orangefield’s bench.

Holland v Northern Ireland

Holland v Northern Ireland Photo Album

Linfield v B36 Torshavn

Crusaders v Rosenborg

Crusaders v Rosenborg Photo Album

Orangefield OB v Linfield

2012 IN PICTURES – JUNE

Not a lot happening this month, but still managed to get some good photos.

At the start of the month, I went to Amsterdam to see Northern Ireland play, and got some nice photos of the stadium (my seat was too far for match photos) and Street Art within Amsterdam.

Less said about the actual football, the better.

Fantastic city, can’t suggest you visit there enough.

Talking of Street Art, there was a Sandy Row Hall Of Fame mural launched in June, and I went out and got some snaps of the Linfield players featured, as well as Alex Higgins.

Amsterdam Street Art

Amsterdam Street Art Photo Album

Holland v Northern Ireland

Holland v Northern Ireland Photo Album

Graffiti Round-Up

Knitted Art

Sandy Row Hall Of Fame/Rory McIlroy Mural

2012 IN PICTURES – FEBRUARY

Busy month this. February usually is, as I go away somewhere to forget the trauma that is my impending birthday.

Went to Amsterdam for a weekend, and also went to Rotterdam for a day. Both nice cities.

Went to football matches in both cities, both were enjoyable, but I enjoyed seeing Excelsior Rotterdam the most. Managed to get some brilliant photos of the ground and match when I was there.

Excelsior’s ground, Woudestein, has a stand named after Robin Van Persie. The club’s bar also has various pictures of him from throughout his career. In case you’re wondering, he began his career there.

Little did I know then, that six months later, he would be a Manchester United player.

It was snowing as well whenever I was there, which made for great photo opportunities.

That wasn’t the only travelling done that month, as I went to Old Trafford for the UEFA Cup tie between Manchester United and Ajax, and even managed to fit in trips to Portadown and North Belfast to watch Linfield.

This year, February had an extra day, and I made the most of it by going to see Northern Ireland v Norway.

It wasn’t all about football, as I went to see Noel Gallagher at The Odyssey.

A very photo-filled month. Enjoy

Amsterdam/Rotterdam Street Art

Amsterdam/Rotterdam Street Art Photos Album

Amsterdam Snow

Amsterdam Snow Photo Album

Rotterdam Snow

Rotterdam Snow Photo Album

The Tub

The Tub Photo Album

Excelsior Rotterdam v VVV Venlo

Excelsior Rotterdam v VVV Venlo Photo Album

Ajax Amsterdam v FC Utrecht

Ajax Amsterdam v FC Utrecht Photo Album

Great Victoria Street Graffiti

Noel Gallagher Live At The Odyssey

Noel Gallagher Photo Album

Portadown v Linfield

Holylands Graffiti

Manchester United v Ajax Amsterdam

Manchester United v Ajax Amsterdam Photo Album

Cliftonville v Linfield

Northern Ireland v Norway

Northern Ireland v Norway Photo Album

HOLLAND 6-0 NORTHERN IRELAND 2.6.2012

Must we really talk about the football?

In truth, Northern Ireland actually weren’t *that* bad. It was great to see young players not being afraid to have a go. The only problem was, the opposition were bloody brilliant.

If it wasn’t the fact that Northern Ireland were the opposition, i’d have enjoyed it a lot more. It was similar to their performance against Yugoslavia in Euro 2000 Quarter-Final. The Dutch could at least have had the decency to play the “4 goal rule” seeing as it was a friendly.

When the game was announced, I wasn’t originally planning to go, but I won free flights which needed to be used by June 30th. If it wasn’t a tournament year and La Liga ran on later, i’d have went to Malaga or Alicante for a game, or if Villa faced United at Villa Park, I probably would have headed to Birmingham to try and go to that.

An excellent trip, result aside. Spent some time in Oranje Park, a fanzone set up for Holland fans pre-match with some really bad techno outfit fronted by Jens Lehmann and Frank McAvennie lookalikes. They loved it.

Got some not bad photos, unfortunately my seat wasn’t handy for match action shots. Amsterdam Arena is a fantastic stadium worth visiting, I can’t suggest it enough.

The game marked my first match attended of the 2012-2013 season, only the 17 days since my last game of 2011-2012. So much for pre-season. By my maths, it was my 4th game been to in June ever.

Onwards and upwards I guess, it’s all about Finland in August (and hopefully, three points in Moscow in September)

Photo Album

AMSTERDAM STREET ART – JUNE 2012

Was in Amsterdam over the weekend just past, my second visit this year.

When I was last there in February, I got some Street Art photos, and some extra from when I spent a day in Rotterdam.

Took some photos of ones I missed on my first visit, and ones that have appeared since.

Got some fantastic pieces, my favourite was the one of the Big Cat.

Also got some sunset photos on the Friday night. Not worth doing a whole blog on, but some nice shots.

Got some photos of my shadow, one of which is now my Facebook photo.

Enjoy

Street Art Photo Album

Amsterdam Sunset

AJAX 0-2 FC UTRECHT 5.2.2012

Having been to a match in Rotterdam, I decided to go to a match in Amsterdam, with Ajax at home last weekend, I decided to take in their match against Utrecht.

Got to the stadium easy enough by tram, and got off at the relevent stop.

The area around the stadium is multi purpose with a concert arena, shopping centre, large stores and a cinema surrounding the stadium.

Got a ticket for behind the goal, and a free voucher worth €10 for food and drink.

Everything in the stadium is done via smartcard, the only money that passes is the money used to top-up cards.

I had decided to wait until the end of the game to get something, and all the kiosks were closed, Silly me.

If anyone is going to the Holland v Northern Ireland friendly in June and wants to chance using my voucher, just get in touch.

The match itself wasn’t great as a below-par Ajax fell to a shock 2-0 defeat.

Every misplace pass was met with jeers, and the stadium emptied when Utrecht went 2-0 up. If there was a protest in the carpark afterwards, it would have been just like being at The Oval.

I can also tick Ajax off in my UEFA 100 list. They are number 29. I’m going to see them again later in the month for their UEFA Cup clash at Old Trafford. Hopefully, i’ll scud them again.

My view was fantastic, but not the most photo friendly.

Photo Album

 

EXCELSIOR ROTTERDAM 3-1 VVV VENLO 4.2.2012

As you’ve guessed by the prevous posts, I was in Holland over the past week, doing an Amsterdam/Rotterdam double header.

When it comes to Rotterdam football, i’d already knew of the city’s two main clubs, Feyenoord and Sparta Rotterdam, but it was a pleasant surprise to discover that there is a third team in Rotterdam, and they also play in the top flight.

The fixture list was kind, as the game was taking place on the Saturday when I was in Rotterdam. Sparta Rotterdam were at home on the Sunday, but I was unable to make that game.

I booked a ticket online and did some web browsing before heading over, and I didn’t get a surprise when I arrived.

Excelsior are a very small club, punching way above their weight (think Wimbledon when they were in the Premier League) and kicked-off the game bottom of the league, but facing the team that were second bottom, VVV Venlo.

The stadium is very much like an all seater Stangmore Park, and that’s a compliment.

But the most Irish League aspect about the club is that they have their club shop in their social club.

I spent pre kick-off and half-time there purely to stay warm, it was “Wile caul” as they say in Coleraine.

The main stand behind the goal is known as the Robin Van Persie Stand, in tribute to the player who began is career at the club, before moving on to Feyenoord and then Arsenal.

Perhaps he should fly me over to all Excelsior home games as he had scored a hat-trick against Blackburn Rovers earlier that day.

That is where the clubs “Ultras” are based, and when the teams emerged, they waved flags and shot tickertape into the air.

Managed to get some OK views and shooting positions.

Excelsior deservedly won the match 3-1, a much needed win in their fight against relegation.

Photo Album

 

THE TUB

Or “De Kuip” as it’s known in Dutch, the home of Feyenoord.

Was doing an Amsterdam/Rotterdam double header so popped along to see it.

To give an idea of the stadium’s standing, it has hosted both the European Cup and European Championship Final.

Was easy to get to from the city centre, but it was locked to the public before you get to the turnstiles, so I had to make do with some long range shots.

Visited the club shop and got a cheap Feyenoord away top. Would have loved to have seen a game but the fixture list transpired against me, although I have already seen Feyenoord in action (1999 – a friendly at Windsor Park against Liverpool) and can mark them off my 100 Club list (1970 European Cup winners and UEFA Cup winners in 1974 and 2002)

Anyway, enjoy some photos.

Photo Album

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AMSTERDAM SNOW

Was in Amsterdam over the past week for a short break, my STLFTEM for February.

I arrived, during the middle of a snowstorm. Amazingly, the whole country carried on as usual. No public transport delays or cancellations whatsoever.

Unsurprisingly, given my love for snow photography, I went and got some pictures. Enjoy.

Photo Album