NORTHERN IRELAND 3-0 BELARUS 27.5.2016

Just 16 days before their opening Euro 2016 game against Poland, Northern Ireland warmed up with a friendly at home to Belarus, on a night that would see the air in South Belfast filled with smoke, and it was only partly caused by Will Grigg.

It was the first meeting between the two sides, meaning that Northern Ireland need games against Andorra, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Gibraltar, Kazakhstan, Kosovo and Macedonia to have played against every other country that is a member of UEFA.

Northern Ireland were straight on the attack, with Kyle Lafferty putting the Belarus keeper under pressure from a cross in the first minute.

A free-kick was awarded for that incident, but Lafferty’s next involvement was to put the ball in the Belarus net when poor defending from Belarus allowed Kyle Lafferty the opportunity to toepoke home from close ranger to make it 1-0.

It was his 17th international goal in 50 appearances, only the 19 behind record holder David Healy.

The game died out a bit after that bright start, with Belarus almost equalising via a Jonny Evans own goal when a cross hit him and looped over, but it was enough to cause Roy Carroll concern.

That was the best that Belarus offered. Any time they got into Northern Ireland’s final third, the danger was easily snuffed out, and any through balls were easily shepherded out for a goal kick.

As the half neared it’s end, Belarus gave Northern Ireland another gift when their keeper punched a cross straight to Conor Washington, who headed home from a few yards out for his second goal at Windsor Park in two appearances.

At the start of the second-half, there were the inevitible substitutions, including Alan Mannus replacing Roy Carroll, Linfield past for Linfield future.

Despite the changes in personnel, the second-half continued to be dominated by Northern Ireland.

Will Grigg, the man on fire, almost scored with his one of his first touches, a header from a free-kick, after coming off the bench.

Also coming off the bench, was Aaron Hughes, winning his 99th cap, meaning he is on track to win his 100th cap for Northern Ireland next weekend against Slovakia, the country he won his first cap against, way back in the last century.

The crowd got what they all wanted to see, when The Man On Fire scored after another gift from the Belarus keeper, who punched a cross straight to him, leaving him only needing to put the ball into the empty net.

And that, was the end of the action, as Northern Ireland recorded an easy win against poor opposition.

After the final whistle, the players made their way back onto the pitch for Michael O’Neill to say a few words to the fans before a fireworks display

For me, that is almost my 2015-2016 season over. I’m planning to do a day trip to Dublin tomorrow, so might take in a League Of Ireland game while i’m there.

In just over two weeks, my 2016-2017 season will start, watching Northern Ireland take on Poland in Nice, and then a few days after that, the fixtures for English and Scottish football get published.

I’m not sure if i’m going to Edinburgh this August, so might not get to any Scottish games.

In terms of Manchester United, i’m at a wedding in the North West of England in September, so hope for a home Sunday game that weekend, while i’ll be hoping the UEFA Cup draw is kind enough to offer the possibility of Thursday and Sunday back to back home games, which I might do.

That can wait though, it’s all about Northern Ireland v Poland. It can’t come soon enough.

We’ve been waiting thirty years for this, another two weeks isn’t going to hurt.

Photo Album

MAGAZINE ARCHIVE : SHOOT – 7.12.1985

Pat Jennings is the cover star of this week’s edition of Shoot, celebrating a clean sheet at Wembley in a 0-0 draw between England and Northern Ireland that was enough to send Northern Ireland to the 1986 World Cup.

England were the only unbeaten team in European qualification, and Bryan Robson uses his column to compliment the players who helped England get there, such as Gary Stevens, Paul Bracewell and suggests that Peter Barnes could be a long shot for the squad.

Shoot gives a double page photo spread to Pat Jennings and his saves that secured Northern Ireland the draw at Wembley they needed to qualify.

Terry Butcher will be a key man for England in Mexico, and gets a double page spread as he returns from injury, aiming to keep Ipswich in the top flight.

Alan Ball is the subject of a new series where Shoot collates quotes about a famous footballing figure, where former team-mat Gordon West reveals that defeat makes him cry.

Shoot’s editorial appeals to UEFA to allow English clubs back into Europe, after a season in exile as a result of the Heysel Disaster.

As well as Bryan Robson, Peter Reid jumps on the Paul Bracewell bandwagon, praising him in his column.

Linfield get a feature as they aim to win their 5th successive title in what is their centenary season, despite the absence of Martin McGaughey through injury.

Jimmy Greaves Letters Page has a letter suggesting that England’s 0-0 draw with Northern Ireland was fixed, but Greaves disputes this by praising Northern Ireland, who narrowly lost to England in Belfast and beat Romania home and away.

In news, Aston Villa are in danger of losing their shirt sponsorship deal with Mita Copiers as a result of the TV blackout due to a dispute with broadcasters, while the FAI and Sligo Rovers denied a claim by Leicester City player Steve Lynex that he was run out of town by a gunman when on trial at Sligo.

Mark Hughes offered tickets to a 12 year old Sheffield Wednesday fan to their visit to Old Trafford later in the season, after he was hit by a ball that Hughes hit into a crowd when the sides met at Hillsbrough.

Les Sealey had his car stolen, but what he wants back the most is his shin pads, which he has worn throughout his career and views them as lucky.

Aberdeen get a team profile, where talk of a Clean Sweep of Scottish trophies has been banned, according to Willie Miller.

Staying in Scotland, they believe they’ve unearthed a new Danny McGrain, but it’s a Rangers player, Hugh Burns.

In foreign news, Brazil’s older players such as Socrates, Zico and Falcao are worried that Mario Zagallo will axe them for the World Cup if he is appointed manager. Derry City’s crowds of 7,000 are the biggest in the League Of Ireland, while San Marino are applying for membership to FIFA and UEFA, and hope to enter the qualifiers for the 1990 World Cup.

David Williams of Norwich City gets a feature, having taken the unusual step of quitting as Bristol Rovers manager (He was a 30 year old player/manager) to become a player at Norwich City.

Mark Falco gets a feature, after having to fight off competition to gain a place in Tottenham Hotspur’s starting team.

Franz Carr of Nottingham Forest has made such an impression, that Bobby Robson has marked him as one of England’s stars of the 1990 World Cup. No pressure on him, as Shoot bills him “The new George Best”

Charlie Nicholas uses his column to cheerlead for Steve Williams, his Arsenal team-mate to be in the England squad.

Shoot does a feature on Charlton Athletic, aiming for promotion to the top flight, despite having to play their home matches at Selhurst Park.

In adverts, Bucks Fizz are advertising calculators.

Frank McAvennie is the subject of this week’s “Focus On ….” where he reveals his favourite bands are U2 and Queen.

MAGAZINE ARCHIVE : SHOOT – 17.12.1983

Jesper Olsen, in an Ajax kit doing keep-uppeys, is the cover star of this edition of Shoot. Despite wearing an Ajax kit, he’s very much a Manchester United player, having just signed for the club.

The headline desribes him as “United’s new George Best” – No pressure there.

United’s purchase of Olsen, in the week that Notts County couldn’t afford to sign Glenn Roeder is used as evidence in an editorial that a breakaway Super League of England’s top club beckons.

Olsen helped Denmark reach Euro 84 at the expense of England. 1966 World Cup winner Alan Ball speaks to Shoot about what England can do to win the 1986 World Cup in Mexico, suggesting that England should start throwing young players into international games.

Olsen wouldn’t be wearing a United shirt until the summer of 1984, as he’d be seeing out the season at Ajax, with Bryan Robson using his column to compare him to George Best, and urging United fans to keep a close eye on him when Denmark are playing in the European Championship in France.

England might not be heading to the finals in France, but Wales have a chance, and their qualifier against Yugoslavia is previewed. A win for Wales would send them to France.

The match finished 1-1, which meant they had to hope Yugoslavia fail to beat Bulgaria, but the Yugoslavs won it with an injury time winner.

If Wales were dreaming of France, Scotland weren’t, with a dismal campaign which saw them finish bottom of a group containing Belgium, East Germany and Switzerland.

Scotland were now looking to the 1986 World Cup Qualifiers, and that began with a British Championship game at Windsor Park against Northern Ireland, a side who Jock Stein has failed to beat as Scotland manager.

In competitions, Shoot were giving away a trip to the European Championship in France. The Subbutteo European Championship that is.

In club football, Dennis Mortimer speaks to Shoot about his return to the Aston Villa team, and how it has given him a new lease of life.

Paul Mariner is interviewed by Shoot, telling them that he fears he is played his last England game, having just turned 30, and how he revels on the verbal abuse he receives from oppositions fans.

It’s not just the 1986 World Cup that people are looking forward to, as England have submitted a bid to host the 1990 World Cup. They fear they have been upstage by Italy, who sent a delegation to FIFA HQ, while Greece sent a Telex, and Soviet Union hand delivered theirs.

Paolo Rossi has been fined £1,400 by authorities in Italy for the crime of wearing the national shirt without permission, after wearing it in an advert for sunglasses.

Another star with money problems was Diego Maradona, who had to pay £4,000 on excess baggage on a flight back home to Buenos Aires.

Raymond Goethels, manager of Standard Liege, predicts that Dundee United will win the European Cup in 1984.

Staying with Scottish teams, Rangers defender John McClelland is a guest columnist, and he declares that Mark McGhee is his toughest opponent.

Gary Mabbutt is another guest columnist, and he praises his young Tottenham team-mate Ally Dick.

Kenny Dalglish’s column focuses on Scotland’s visit to Windsor Park, saddened that this is the last season of the British Championship.

NORTHERN IRELAND 1-0 SLOVENIA 28.3.2016

Slovenia were the visitors to Windsor Park for Northern Ireland’s opening home game of 2016, one of only two before they jet off to France this summer.

Northern Ireland’s record against Slovenia is relatively good, having met four times in the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012 Qualifying campaigns, winning two and drawing one of those games, keeping clean sheets in three of those games.

It was a changed line-up from the game against Wales, with Michael Smith and Conor Washington being given a late opportunity to force their way into the 23 for France.

It was Slovenia who looked the most dangerous in the first-half, getting in behind Northern Ireland’s defence a worrying amount of times, only for waste the chances they had.

Conor Washington was Northern Ireland’s livliest attacking player, doing a Pat McCourt-esque run past a Slovenian defener, only for the goalkeeper to make himself big and save the shot.

The next time, he wasn’t so lucky, as on 41 minutes, Washington forced his way past a Slovenia defender to set himself up for a shot to put Northern Ireland 1-0 up.

By the end of the game, the Railway Stand was singing his name. That’s one way to make an impression.

In the second-half, Northern Ireland brought on Kyle Lafferty and Josh Magennis. A rare outing for the pair of them together, as it’s usually one or the other.

They combined well together, but could get a second goal to kill the game, usually denied by a last gasp tackle or some rotten luck.

It looked like they were going to rue those missed opportunities when Slovenia were awarded a penalty on 64 minutes.

In their previous two visits to Windsor Park, Slovenia had failed to score. Roy Carroll’s save ensured that run would continue for them.

It wasn’t as important as the kick he saved against the Faroe Islands in October 2014, but it was celebrated just as much.

Northern Ireland were able to see the game out and get a 1-0 win, making it ten games unbeaten for Northern Ireland.

There’s never a bad time to go ten games unbeaten, but in the build-up to a major tournament is certainly a good one.

Up next, a home game in May against Belarus followed by a trip to Slovakia, before the big night (well, teatime) against Poland in Nice.

Conor Washington gave himself a great chance of being there.

Photo Album

Northern Ireland v Slovenia 2011

Northern Ireland v Slovenia 2011 Photo Album

WALES 1-1 NORTHERN IRELAND 24.3.2016

Wales and Northern Ireland faced each other in their opening match of 2016, as both countries begin their preparation for this summer’s European Championship – a sentence that both sets of supporters are pinching themselves to believe.

It’s the little milestones that make it so real. In the build-up to this game, it was announced that Manic Street Preachers would be doing Wales official song. Obviously, Bonnie Tyler and Shakin Stevens were unavailable. Sadly, we didn’t get a pre-match concert from the Manics.

Supporters buying a programme got a free Panini Euro 2016 sticker book. If ever there was a sign that a major international tournament is getting close, it’s seeing the Panini sticker book be released.

If you’re interested, there are 680 stickers. Yes, 680 stickers. If your kids suddenly ask you for an increase in their pocket money, that will probably explain why.

Panini have even embraced modern technology to create an app top check which stickers you have and don’t have. That takes away most of the fun, threatening to consign the phrase “Got got need” to history.

I’d previously been to Cardiff twice, in 2014 for a World Cup Qualifier between Wales and Northern Ireland, and in 2014 for the European Super Cup Final between Real Madrid and Sevilla.

That game in 2004 was in early September, a lovely sunny day and a totally memorable trip, my first Northern Ireland away game.

It was the second game in the 2006 World Cup Qualifying group, both sides went into it in optimistic mood, after having recent success.

Wales had just lost in the Play-Off for Euro 2004, while Northern Ireland had scored a goal. Success is all relative.

Both countries have a lot in common since then, following up agonisingly failed European campaigns (in Northern Ireland’s case, Euro 2008) by years in the wilderness, before appointing managers in early 2012 (albeit, in totally different circumstances) and reaping the rewards for standing by them after disappointing campaigns in the 2014 World Cup Qualifiers.

The attendance wasn’t as many as the 63,500 that saw Northern Ireland’s last visit to Wales in 2004, but it was higher than the 529 who saw the last meeting between the sides in Dublin in 2011.

It was a, in my opinion, disappointing, 21,855. Disappointing, in that it was Wales last home game before they head to France. I thought it would have been a full house for Wales fans to see them off.

There was some early pressure for Northern Ireland to defend, George Williams whipping in a dangerous cross that had nobody running in on it inside the first minute, and Paddy McNair having to head another dangerous cross away a minute later.

Wales went into this game without the rested Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey, Northern Ireland fans taunted their Welsh counterparts throughout the game, singing “Where’s your famous Gareth Bale?”

Northern Ireland’s line-up wasn’t too dissimilar to that which finished the qualifying campaign, a very full strength team. The most notable name on the teamsheet was Conor Washington of QPR being given an international debut.

After surviving the early pressure, Northern Ireland came into the game more. In truth, it wasn’t a good first-half, as both sides returned to their dressing rooms drawing 0-0.

The second-half was a lot better, with Northern Ireland showing more of an attacking threat.

On 59 minutes, Northern Ireland took the lead when Wales couldn’t clear a dangerous cross from Paddy McNair, falling for Craig Cathcart who fired home. That’s two goals in three games for him. Prolific.

Northern Ireland then went for a second, but couldn’t get it, Billy McKay being the man frustrated by last ditch Wales defending.

As the clock ran down, it looked like Northern Ireland would be getting their first win in Cardiff since 1980, until Wales got a late penalty for a foul by Gareth McAuley. Simon Church fired home the resulting spot kick to make it 1-1.

The goal gave Wales a bit of momentum as they looked for a winner, but both countries had to settle for a draw in their first match of what they hope will be a memorable year.

Photo Album

MAGAZINE ARCHIVE : SHOOT – 11.8.1984

The 1984-1985 season is about to start, and it’s Mark Hughes, billed as “one of the young hopefuls trying to break into the team at Old Trafford next season” who is the cover star of Shoot.

Shoot gives United a double page spread, saying they have the potential to be England’s biggest box office attraction, due to the number of attacking players in their squad.

Vince Hilare gets a full page profile, after being blasted for leaving Crystal Palace for Luton Town, citing the lure of top flight football and Luton’s attacking style of play as the reason for his move.

Another player on the move is Mick Mills, who has left Ipswich for Southampton. At the age of 36, he feels this is his last chance to win the title, having gone close with Ipswich in 1981 and 1982.

European draws have thrown up trips behind the Iron Curtain for Liverpool and Aberdeen in the European Cup, as well as a Northern Ireland v Republic Of Ireland clash between Linfield and Shamrock Rovers.

The UEFA Table is used to allocate UEFA Cup places based on results, with England top ahead of Italy and USSR.

Shoot does a double page feature on new Barcelona manager Terry Venables, where he describes the job as the biggest test of his career.

Venables old club QPR are getting used to life without him, but Terry Fenwick predicts a title challenge under new manager Alan Mullery.

Charlie Nicholas reveals in his column that Kenny Sansom fancies himself as an impressionist, with Norman Wisdom, Frank Spencer and Prince Charles his favourites.

Shoot looks at he the lack of job security for managers in Scotland, with 20 of the 38 league clubs changing manager between the summers of 1983 and 1984.

Mike Hazard gets a full page feature, having overcome an addiction to chocolate and hamburgers to get a place in the England squad.

Kenny Dalglish writes about his excitement of the forthcoming season, as Liverpool face Everton in the Charity Shield at Wembley. The two sides had met earlier in the year in the League Cup Final, which Liverpool won the replay 1-0 at Maine Road, though Dalglish incorrectly says the game was at Old Trafford.

In news, West Ham are looking to replace Frank Lampard Snr with Colin Gibson from Aston Villa, Liverpool have been told that Celtic won’t sell Paul McStay to them, and Billy Bingham says he have to rethink his tactics for away games after Northern Ireland’s defeat to Finland in their opening World Cup Qualifier.

Steve Foster is this week’s “Focus On ….” subject, where he reveals he likes all music, except Boy George.

THE FRIDAY FIVE – 18.3.2016

1. The 1975 – The Sound
2. Jake Bugg – Gimme The Love
3. James – Nothing But Love
4. The Last Shadow Puppets – Aviation
5. Gwen Stefani – Misery

First of all, apologies for not doing a St Paddy’s Day chart for you last week. I forgot. Too busy doing a Red Hot Chilli Peppers one.

Still, here’s some songs for you to get through your hangover today.

FIVE SONGS BY ACTS FROM NORTHERN IRELAND

1. Wonder Villains – TV
2. Ash – A Life Less Ordinary
3. The Adventures – Broken Land
4. The Divine Comedy – The Pop Singer’s Fear Of The Pollen Count
5. Baltimora – Tarzan Boy

FIVE SONGS BY ACTS FROM REPUBLIC OF IRELAND

1. U2 – The Fly
2. Heathers – Remember When
3. Phil Lynott – Yellow Pearl
4. The Cranberries – Dream
5. Kodaline – High Hopes

Meanwhile, this week saw the latest Belsonic headliner announced – Chemical Brothers. I love Chemical Brothers, but live dance music doesn’t do it for me. Anyway, i’ll be in France when they are in Belfast.

I saw them live at T In The Park once, so if you are going, you’ll probably have a good night.

Now, if Belsonic could hurry up and get Noel Gallagher, The 1975, Chvrches and Madness to do headline gigs, that would be nice. I’m not asking for much.

Anyway, here’s a Chemical Brothers chart for you.

FIVE SONGS BY CHEMICAL BROTHERS

1. Go
2. Galvanize
3. Do It Again
4. The Test
5. Out Of Control

MAGAZINE ARCHIVE : JIMMY HILL’S FOOTBALL WEEKLY – 31.10.1969

It’s the tail end of the 1960s, and it’s Jimmy Hill’s Football Weekly, a weekly magazine fronted by the multi talented Jimmy Hill (who died late last year), who was then a pundit for ITV.

You can’t really imagine Andy Townsend’s Football Weekly, can you?

Jimmy Hill uses his column to criticise a BBC reporter who was quick to criticise a recent Chelsea v Arsenal game, likening it to a playground game.

Johnny Morrissey of Everton writes a column and John Robson of Derby County gets a profile.

Ralph Brand, who has played top flight football in England and Scotland, is currently attending a Coaching School with the SFA, and writes a column claiming that Scotland is years behind in terms of coaching tactics.

Bobby Moncur of Newcastle United gets drawn by Ron Davies of Southampton.

There is a full page feature on Fulham, while future Fulham player George Best has a column, where he expresses his frustration at not being able to play for Northern Ireland in their World Cup Qualifier away to Soviet Union as he was playing in a League Cup tie for Manchester United.

Getting in early for the Christmas Market, there is an advert for Jimmy Hill’s Soccer 70, billed as “The best annual on the market”

Alan Birchenall of Chelsea has a column, where he states that footballers in the South of England are just as hard as their counterparts in the North.

There is a book review, of George Best’s Soccer Annual (strange to review a competitor to Jimmy’s own in the annual market) which gets a favourable review, despite the lack of colour photographs.

Ben Arentoft, a Dane playing at Newcastle United gets a profile, where he reveals his favourite meal is Roast Pork.

On the back cover, there was a poster of Brian Kidd of Mancheaster United.

MAGAZINE ARCHIVE : WORLD SOCCER – APRIL 1996

Alexi Lalas, one of the more recognisable US footballers, is the cover star of World Soccer, as Major League Soccer, the national league of the United States, is about to launch.

The creation of a national league was a condition for USA hosting the 1994 World Cup.

Lalas got a move to Serie A after the 1994 World Cup, and was one of the headline signings as the league was about to launch, signing for New England Revolution.

Four pages get dedicated to the launch, with a team by team preview, with most of the players being American, including players such as John Harkes and Roy Wegerle, returning from Europe.

Kier Radnedge, the editor, uses his column to pay tribute to the recently deceased Bob Paisley and Helmut Schoen, and suggesting that the signing of Faustino Asprilla might derail Newcastle’s title bid, similar to how signing Rodney Marsh did for Manchester City in the 1970s.

Japan and South Korea are battling to host the 2002 World Cup, with the decisive vote coming up on 1st June. Eventually, both countries would co-host the tournament.

Radnedge also writes about Pay Per View football, stating that it is inevitable in English football. It eventually happened in 1999, as a one-off, when Oxford United played Sunderland (followed later that season by Colchester United v Manchester City), before becoming a regular occurrence from the 2001-2002 season, with the launch of dedicated channel, Premiership Plus.

In news, Manchester United signed Britain’s biggest kit deal, with Umbro, believed to be around a total of £40m until 2002.

South Africa fans at the recent African Cup Of Nations have been honouring defender Mark Fish by taking fish to matches.

Ahead of Euro 96, Kier Radnedge interviews Spain manager Javier Clemente, where he declines to answer if he intends to call-up Barcelona’s Dutch born but Spain eligible Jordi Cruyff, and declares England as favourites for Euro 96, but that the standard of club football in England has decline in the past decade.

Faustino Asprilla, who also appears on the cover, gets a double page profile.

World Soccer gives two pages to the recent Bosman Ruling, which has seen various clubs offer stars long-term contracts to protect their transfer value.

In Iberia, Atletico Madrid are aiming to win their first La Liga title since 1977, while a moustached Carlos Queroz has been sacked by Sporting Lisbon.

Oliver Bierhoff, just broke into the Germany squad, gets a profile. Little did he know, he would be Germany’s hero at Wembley three months later.

In Northern Ireland, Crusaders are on course to win the Irish League title. They didn’t, Portadown did. Bangor were struggling to avoid relegation, while the national team have arranged friendlies against Norway, Sweden and Germany.

Across the border, there are rumours that the League Of Ireland is planning to move to Summer Football.

Sami Hyypia, who attracted interest from Oldham Athletic, has moved to Willem II in Holland.

Brian Glanville uses his column to criticise UEFA’s proposals to allowing some countries to have more than one club competing in the European Cup.

On the final page, there is a feature called “Soccer Cities”, profiling football in a different city. This edition, was Glasgow.

MAGAZINE ARCHIVE : SHOOT – 28.5.1983

It’s Cup Final Day in England and Scotland, but it’s the English game that is on the cover of this week’s edition of Shoot, as Brighton take on Manchester United at Wembley.

As you open the magazine, there is a double page spread with Bryan Robson, Jimmy Case and Michael Robinson giving their thoughts on the game, with Robson wanting to win the cup for Remi Moses, who was suspended for he game, alongside Steve Foster of Brighton.

There is also a double page interview with the two managers, Ron Atkinson and Jimmy Melia, both Scousers.

There is a feature on the two referees in London and Glasgow, with David Syme achieving a rare double, referee the Scottish Cup Final 16 years after his dad did.

In ads, you could buy a Paolo Rossi branded boot, made by Pony.

In posters, the centre page spread is a poster collage of Manchester United and Brighton players.

Gary Shaw previews the European Cup Final between Juventus (who eliminated holders Aston Villa) and Hamburg, with Shaw predicting a win for Juventus, and addressing rumours of a move for him and Gordon Cowans to Italy, stating he is well suited to continental football.

Shaw also previews the FA Cup Final, stating he wants United to win, only because it would secure a UEFA Cup place for Aston Villa.

Staying in the West Midlands, West Brom’s Dutch duo of Romeo Zondervan and Martin Jol being annoyed about their exile from the national team, and declaring that the standard of football in England is better than in Holland. Jol speaks about Holland’s best young players, including Frank Rijkaard, stating “He would only last one game in England, he twists and turns too much and holds the ball too long”

1983 was the year Everton won the league …….. for Liverpool, with a 2-0 win over Manchester United at Goodison Park which ended United’s title challenge, with Everton defender Mark Higgins believing the club are on the verge of making a serious challenge in future years to send the title to the blue half, rather than the red half of Merseyside.

Another Blue (of the Manchester variety) hoping for a big future was Alex Williams, who had a breakthrough season at Manchester City, and was setting his sights on being England’s goalkeeper.

It wasn’t a World Cup year, but there was news about the competition this week, with the official film of the 1982 tournament being broadcast on TV after cinemas in the country deemed it too expensive to show., while Toluca was rejected as a host city for Mexico 86 sue to security fears.

From the World Cup to the British Championship, Northern Ireland head to Hampden Park looking to get their first win in 7 visits. A more prouder record, is Sammy McIlroy, who has played in Northern Ireland’s last 22 games and is looking to continue that run.

There was also coverage of the Scottish Cup Final, with a poster of Aberdeen and Rangers, and interviews with John McClelland, Peter McCloy and Jim Leighton.