THE SOUND OF 2018

Better late than never, I decided to wait until the first day of 2019 to post my favourite songs of 2018.

It would have been a shame not to continue the tradition of this award* (*Disclaimer, no actual trophy) that goes all the way back to 2006.

I cobbled this up after browsing through my Friday Fives from 2018 with absolutely no scientific methodology whatsoever. So, here it is, the Top 50 Songs Of 2018.

1. Loveleytheband – Broken
2. Alice Merton – No Roots
3. Kyle Falconer – Family Tree
4. Rasmussen – Higher Ground
5. AJR ft Rivers Cuomo – Sober Up
6. Mumford and Sons – Guiding Light
7. Pale Waves – Eighteen
8. Jade Bird – Uh Huh
9. Kyle Falconer – Poor Me
10. Richard Ashcroft – That’s When I Feel It
11. George Ezra – Shotgun
12. Kylie Minogue – Dancing
13. Tom Grennan- Sober
14. Chvrches – Graffiti
15. Kyle Falconer – Kelly
16. Rudimental – These Days
17. Manic Street Preachers – Hold Me Like A Heaven
18. The Coral – Reaching Out For A Friend
19. Portugal, The Man – Feel It Still
20. Snow Patrol – Don’t Give In
21. Sam Fender – That Sound
22. Madame Monsieur – Mercy
23. James – Coming Home (Part II)
24. Manic Street Preachers – Distant Colours
25. Blossoms – I Can’t Stand It
26. Christine and the Queens – Girlfriend
27. Kylie Minogue – Stop Me From Falling
28. Snow Patrol – Empress
29. Dennis Lloyd – Nevermind
30. The Kooks – Four Leaf Clover
31. Blossoms – There’s A Reason Why
32. APRE – All Yours
33. Ash – Annabel
34. Pound Shop Boys – Fireman Sam
35. Editors – Cold
36. Vampire Weekend ft Danielle Haim – Sone Of A Preacher Man
37. Weezer – Africa
38. Natalie Prass – Short Court Style
39. Hozier – Nina Cried Power
40. Sleeper – Look AtYou Now
41. Turin Brakes – Lifeforms
42. Arctic Monkeys – Four Out Of Five
43. Yonaka – Creature
44. Florence and the Machine – Hunger
45. Courtney Barrett – Nameless Faceless
46. Weezer – Roseanna
47. Ten Tonnes – G.I.V.E
48. Razorlight – Carry Yourself
49. Ash – Confessions In ThePool
50. Aurora – Queendom

So, congratulations to Loveleytheband on winning this year’s poll.

If you haven’t heard it, the video is below.

They join an illustrious list of former winners, listed below.

2017 Liam Gallagher – For What It’s Worth
2016 The Strumbellas – Spirits
2015 Blossoms – Charlemagne
2014 Jamie T – Zombie
2013 Haim – The Wire
2012 Taylor Swift – We Are Never Getting Back Together
2011 Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – AKA … What A Life
2010 Marina and the Diamonds – Shampain
2009 Little Boots – New In Town
2008 Sons and Daughters – Darling
2007 Feist – 1, 2, 3, 4
2006 Kasabian – Empire

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PHOTO OF THE SEASON 2013-2014

So, another football season is over, time to look back. It’s taken in four countries and various stadiums, teams and levels. There was a lot of pictures, so here are my favourites. Feel free to vote for yours :

FUGLAFJORDUR

Taken just after the final whistle of Linfield’s match with Fuglafjordur as fans applauded, the composition and framing just works for me which is why I love the photo.

SKODA

Taken before Linfield’s match with Skoda Xanthi, again, the composition and the light works for me, as supporters walk to The Kop, ready for the 90 (well, in this match, it was 120) minutes that await.

JEFFREY

Like the other two, it’s all about the composition, as David Jeffrey observes the action during a pre-season match against Derriaghy CC

RICHMOND

Taken during my trip to Dublin, I took in a St Patrick’s Athletic game. The colours just make this photo for me, as is the fact you came see a rainbow over the stadium.

CAMERAS

Taken during the Northern Ireland v Portugal match, the two cameras, focused on the action in sync does it for me, alongside the composition of the players, so small in comparison with their surroundings.

BRISBANE ROAD

I’m a sucker for arty pics of football stadiums. I took this during a trip to London, when I took in a match at Leyton Orient.

THE OVAL

Linfield fans looking on, under the floodlights, as their side has a free-kick against Glentoran at The Oval.

ROONEY

Manchester United fans looking on as Wayne Rooney prepares to take a free-kick against Olympiacos.

SEAVIEW

Linfield fans looking one at a match at Seaview. Seaview is always good for photos.

BLUE

Arty one, take of seats in the South Stand at Linfield’s last game at Windsor Park before redevelopment, which the South Stand will be one of the main areas getting redeveloped.

CLARKE

Taken on the last day of the league season, love the composition, especially of the two players, one with the ball, and one trying to win the ball back,

STATISTICAL ANALYSIS OF A FOOTBALL SEASON : 2013-2014

Barring something amazing, my matchgoing 2013-2014 season is over, time for a statistical analysis.

There were no curiousities to report. Went to some games, saw some goals, visited some new grounds. Standard stuff.

Matches Attended : 47

Goals Seen : 139

Red Cards : 23

Hat-Tricks : 2

Cristiano Ronaldo (Northern Ireland v Portugal)
Robin Van Persie (Manchester United v Olympiacos)

Penalties Missed/Saved : 2

Highest Scoring Match : 7 (Linfield 5-2 Ards, Glenavon 2-5 Linfield)

Countries Seen Matches In : 4

England, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, Scotland

Teams Seen Play : 31

Ards, Ballinamallard United, Ballymena United, Cliftonville, Crusaders, Crystal Palace (1st time) Derriaghy CC, Drogheda United, Dundee United (1st time), Dungannon Swifts, Everton (1st time), Glenavon, Glentoran, Hibernian, IF Fuglafjordur (1st time), Leyton Orient (1st time), Linfield, Manchester United, Northern Ireland, Peterborough United (1st time) Portadown, Portugal, Russia (1st time) Skoda Xanthi (1st time), St Patrick’s Athletic, Tottenham Hotspur, Warrenpoint Town (1st time)

Competitions Watched : 11

County Antrim Shield, European Cup, FA Premier League, Football League One (1st time), Irish Cup, Irish League, League Of Ireland, Northern Ireland League Cup, Scottish Premier League, UEFA Cup, World Cup,

Stadiums Visited : 18

Ballymena Showgrounds, Brisbane Road (1st time), Coleraine Showgrounds, Dixon Park (1st time), Easter Road, Ferney Park, Milltown (1st time), Mourneview Park, Old Trafford, Richmond Park, Seaview, Seycon Park, Shamrock Park, Solitude, Stangmore Park, The Oval, White Hart Lane (1st time), Windsor Park,

PHOTO DIARY OF A FOOTBALL SEASON – SEPTEMBER

September began for me with the World Cup Qualifier between Northern Ireland and Portugal. Everything looked set for a Northern Ireland win, until Ronaldo turned on his magic, aided by playing against nine men.

The next day, it was back to Irish League action, as I made my first visit to Dixon Park, to see Linfield take on Ards.

The following weekend, I was Old Trafford bound. A trip with a difference, as it was my first visit with David Moyes as United manager, for the game against Crystal Palace.

There was much hype in the build-up about a Belgian on the bench about to make his first appearance for United at Old Trafford. Little did we know, it would be another Belgian on the bench that day we would be falling in love with over the season.

Seven days later, I was on my travels again, to Fermanagh, to see Linfield take on Ballinamallard, getting some nice shots on a sunny day, and watching Linfield win.

To end the month, it was back to Windsor Park for the first time in three weeks, to see Linfield take on Coleraine, which was won by Linfield with an injury time goal.

The sunny days might have been ending, but the football season was in full swing. Time to look forward to the Winter months.

Northern Ireland v Portugal

Northern Ireland v Portugal Photo Album

Ards v Linfield

Manchester United v Crystal Palace

Manchester United v Crystal Palace Photo Album

Ballinamallard United v Linfield

Linfield v Coleraine

STATISTICAL ANALYSIS OF A FOOTBALL YEAR : 2013

So, my football watching is over for 2013. Time to look back at the year just gone. And what better way to do it than with a load of stats.

Games : 48

Goals Seen : 135

Red Cards : 19

Missed/Saved Penalties : 5

Hat-Tricks : 2

Matthew Tipton (Linfield v Coleraine)
Cristiano Ronaldo (Northern Ireland v Portugal)

Teams Seen : 35

Ards, Ballinamallard United, Ballymena United, Bangor, Cliftonville, Coleraine, Crystal Palace (1st time), Crusaders, Derriaghy CC, Drogheda United, Dundee United (1st time), Dungannon Swifts, Falkirk (1st time), Fulham, Glenavon, Glentoran, Hibernian, IF Fuglafjordur (1st time), Israel (1st time), Linfield, Lisburn Distillery, Manchester United, Northern Ireland, Norwich City, Portadown, Portugal, Queens Park Rangers, Rangers, Reading (1st time), Russia (1st time), Shamrock Rovers (1st time), Skoda Xanthi (1st time), St Patrick’s Athletic, Tobermore United (1st time) Warrenpoint Town (1st time)

Stadiums Visited : 21

Ballymena Showgrounds, Clandeboye Park, Coleraine Showgrounds, Craven Cottage (1st time), Dixon Park (1st time), Easter Road, Ferney Park, Hampden Park, Ibrox (1st time), Loftus Road (1st time), Mourneview Park, Old Trafford, Richmond Park, Seaview, Seycon Park, Shamrock Park, Solitude, Stangmore Park, Tallaght Stadium (1st time), The Oval, Windsor Park

Competitions : 11

FA Premier League, IFA Championship, IFA Premiership, Irish Cup, League Of Ireland, Northern Ireland League Cup, Setanta Cup, Scottish Cup, Scottish Premier League, UEFA Cup, World Cup,

Curiousities :

2nd Feb/6th Apr : Two matches in one day

2nd Feb : First ever floodlight failure at a match attended, Fulham v Manchester United

Feb – Apr : Visiting, Queen’s Park, Rangers, and Queens Park Rangers grounds.

UEFA 100 Club : Dundee United (now at 30 clubs)

Top Five Matches :

1. Northern Ireland 2-4 Portugal
2. Falkirk 3-4 Hibernian AET
3. Fulham 0-1 Manchester United
4. Linfield 3-1 Cliftonville
5. Coleraine 2-3 Linfield

2013 IN PICTURES – SEPTEMBER

The summer might have ended, but that wasn’t the end of my photo adventures.

My first weekend saw me having a football double bill, Northern Ireland’s World Cup Qualifier against Portugal, followed by Linfield’s trip to Ballyclare to take on Ards, my first ever trip to Dixon Park

The following weekend, was another first, my first trip to Old Trafford to see a David Moyes Manchester United game, against Crystal Palace.

The weekend after that, was Culture Night, then a trip to Ballinamallard to see Linfield, then back to Belfast in time for Manic Street Preachers.

The day after the Manics, I was headed to the Cathedral Quarter to see the new Street Art painted as part of Culture Night, now that the dust had settled.

In fact, there was so much Street Art, I missed some, and had to come back the following Saturday. Later that day, I went to see Linfield take on Coleraine.

To end the month, I headed to East Belfast to get some Street Art shots, the Newtownards Road also getting the same treatment as North Street on Culture Night

Northern Ireland v Portugal

Northern Ireland v Portugal Photo Album

Ards v Linfield

The Butcher

Manchester United v Crystal Palace

Manchester United v Crystal Palace Photo Album

Manchester

Culture Night Belfast 2013

Culture Night Belfast 2013 Photo Album

Ballinamallard United v Linfield

Manic Street Preachers Live At Ulster Hall

Manic Street Preachers Live At Ulster Hall Photo Album

North Street – A Culture Night Legacy

North Street – A Culture Night Legacy Photo Album

North Street – A Culture Night Legacy Part 2

Linfield v Coleraine

East Belfast Street Art

NORTHERN IRELAND 2-4 PORTUGAL 6.9.2013

Where do you start with this one?

For the first time in a long time, there was a feelgood factor about going to Northern Ireland matches. What Michael O’Neill is doing was always going to take a while to bring results, and it did spectacularly against Russia last month.

With Portugal, and Cristiano Ronaldo in town, another major scalp was on offer. It wasn’t his visit to Windsor Park, having played there for Portugal in a friendly in 2005. It’s fair to say he’s a better player now than he was now.

The opening 20 minutes, neither side had a real chance and Northern Ireland held their own, but soon after, Portugal went 1-0 when a clearance from a corner was slotted home by Bruno Alves. From where I was in The Kop, it was a poor goal to concede.

It was a familiar story, holding our own but go 1-0 down to superior opposition. Surely it would now be a matter of how many?

But no, instead of feeling sorry for themselves, Northern Ireland just got on with it and went in at half-time level when Gareth MacAulay headed home from a corner. It got better, as Helder Postiga was sent-off in first-half stoppage time.

Holding our own, at home, against ten men, with the best atmosphere at Windsor Park in ages ….. it was on.

The most notable thing was Cristiano Ronaldo being deep in conversation with Portugal’s bench. He wasn’t having the best of nights. To me, it looked like he was carrying an injury.

The second-half kicked off, and Northern Ireland went in front, when Jamie Ward nudged the ball home from a yard out. There was a delayed celebration in The Kop, as a lot of people thought the goal was going to be disallowed.

The momentum, would swing again, as Chris Brunt was sent-off. You couldn’t argue with any of the red cards on the night. The annoying thing about both Northern Ireland red cards was that the fouls were in positions where Portugal weren’t going to do any damage.

Especially frustrating, was that against Russia, Northern Ireland displayed a new level of street smartness.

I’ve no doubt if Northern Ireland had kept 11 men on the pitch, they would have won. Once the one man advantage had been wiped out, Portugal were always going to go on and win.

From there, it was The Cristiano Ronaldo Show. Panto booed all night, and subjected the ironic cheers for Lionel Messi and Gareth Bale, he responeded by scoring two headers to put Portugal in front.

Soon after, Kyle Lafferty was sent-off. Like Brunt, for a second yellow for a foul in an area where Portugal couldn’t do any damage.

It was already an uphill task. It was now impossible.

When Portugal got a free-kick on the edge of the box, there was an inevitability that he would complete his hat-trick. They were his only three meaningful touches all night.

Having been booed and taunted all night, he eventually got a standing ovation when he was substituted soon after.

At 4-2 behind and a man down, it could have been easy for Northern Ireland to capitulate and lose 5-3 or 6-2. Thankfully, they didn’t. It was pleasing to see Northern Ireland want the ball and not be afraid to go forward with it.

However, the standard has been set, and performances like against Russia and Portugal must become the norm, beginning with Tuesday against Luxembourg.

These last two games, however, have given me so much optimism for Euro 2016, especially with 23 places up for grab instead of 14/15

Ideally for the draw, i’d love Gibraltar, purely to play them at home in the first game, purely to witness a historic first competitive game for them (Not many firsts you can claim in this day and age) and a home nation, preferrably England.

Hoping to go to Cardiff for the 2014 European Super Cup Final, and was at Hampden this year, so it would be nice to see Northern Ireland at Wembley.

I’m seriously considering going to Euro 2016, especially as the host cities are on a clear North/South divid, I could base myself in Paris or Nice and commute to other cities. I’ll have to wait until the tournament schedule is released though.

The next time I see Northern Ireland play at Windsor Park, hopefully, it’ll be a different stadium due to the refurbishment. A defeat last night, but some positivity.

Got some photos of last night’s game, enjoy.

Photo Album

MAGAZINE ARCHIVE : SHOOT – 28th APRIL 1990

This edition of the Magazine Archive sees us look at Shoot from 28th April 1990.

This week, was focusing on the Rumbelows Cup (That’s Carling Cup in modern currency) Final between Nottingham Forest and Oldham.

Then, Forest were a top flight club while Oldham were riding high (Getting promoted in 1991, and being Premier League founding members in 1992) in the Second Division (That’s The Championship in modern currency)

With the two clubs not meeting in the league that season, the cover image is of an Oldham player in a challenge with Manchester United’s Bryan Robson during the recent FA Cup Semi-Final between the two sides.

Personally, I would have went with a split image of a player from each team.

Each team gets a double page spread preview

A further double page spread is given to “Shoot Star Writer” Tony Cottee’s pre-match preview.

He rates each player in the starting 11 and 2 subs out of 10, with Nottingham Forest scoring 103 and Oldham scoring 104 with Cottee declaring that Oldham would win.

Nottingham Forest won the final 1-0 with a goal from Nigel Jemson, who 14 years later would be playing for Ballymena United.

Meanwhile, there is a competition to win flights and tickets to see England’s World Cup games against Republic Of Ireland or Holland.

Keir Radnedge’s column (He was the editor of World Soccer, owned by IPC who also owned Shoot)focusing on the rest of the world, sees FIFA President Joao Havelange stating that he wants to see China host the 2002 World Cup finals, while Japan have stated they wish to bid to host this event.

Japan did eventually host the 2002 World Cup, but in a co-hosting arrangement with South Korea.

That week, it was also announced that Portugal are wishing to bid to host the 1998 World Cup, in a candidate list which also includes Switzerland, Morocco, France and Brazil.

France were awarded hosting rights to the competition, which they won, beating Brazil 3-0 in the final.

Portugal (Euro 2004) and Switzerland (co-hosting of Euro 2008) have since gone on to host further tournaments, while Brazil (2014 World Cup) and Morocco (2015 African Nations Cup) are scheduled to host tournaments withing the next five years.

Morocco would also have a failed bid to host the 2010 World Cup, losing out to South Africa.

The build-up to that summer’s World Cup continues with team previews of Italy, Romania, Holland, England and Scotland.

There is also a double page spread of Stuart Pearce proving how hard he is by driving a tank.

He admitted that he almost joined the army after leaving school, and blames not getting in on telling them that he had an application pending with his local police force.

In rumours, Chris Woods is going to sign for QPR and Pat Nevin is going to sign for Celtic. Neither transfer happened.

Jimmy Greaves letters page is an eye-opener as Richard Barlow from Heaton suggests that England should bring Ray Wilkins to the World Cup in Italy.

Julie Glover from Kent dishes it out to Greavsie over his prediction that Crystal Palace wouldn’t stand a chance against Liverpool in the FA Cup Semi-Final at Villa Park.

Paul Knauer from Avon writes in to complain about the Third and Fourth Division (That’s League One and League Two in modern currency) Play-Off Finals at Wembley as it devalues the prestige of the venue.

Jimmy Jones from Wallasey in Merseyside writes in to congratulate Kenny Dalglish on unearthing a world beater in Ronny Rosenthal.

Oh hindsight, what a wonderful thing.

In the latest league standings, Liverpool lead Aston Villa by two points with a game in hand, while Leeds, Sheffield United and Newcastle United are locked in a tight battle for promotion to Division One (That’s Premier League in modern currency)

In Scotland, Rangers are facing competition from Hearts and Aberdeen for the title, with Celtic 15 points behind in 4th.

The ad for the following week’s edition has the headline “STEWART HITS OUT”, referring to Tottenham Hotspur’s Paul Stewart.

Meanwhile, a double page spread is dedicated to an explosive interview with Charlie Nicholas, then of Aberdeen, declaring that he is leaving Pittodrie and that he is “Finished” with Scottish football.

He signed for the very much Scottish Celtic that summer.

The back page has an advert for a collection of figurines called “Sportstars”

Think of it as Corinthan figurines, but a bit bigger.

I had Bryan Robson, Neville Southall, Diego Maradona, Marco Van Basten, Peter Beardsley, Thomas Von Heeson, Mo Johnston, Ruud Gullit and Paul McStay.