MAGAZINE ARCHIVE : WORLD SOCCER – AUGUST 1986

It’s the summer of 1986, and Diego Maradona, holding aloft the World Cup is the cover star of World Soccer, with Mexico 86 still a recent memory.

As you open the magazine, there is a tribute to former FIFA President Sir Stanley Rous, described as “The Father Of Football”, who was taken ill in Mexico, and died a few weeks later on his return to London.

World Soccer views Mexico 86 as a success, but the tournament was not without flaws. Having 24 teams in the finals and allowing some 3rd placed teams to qualify, in their view, encouraged Bulgaria to employ negative tactics against Argentina, as a narrow defeat would put them through.

Azeglio Vicini is the favourite for the Italy job, should Enzo Bearzot leave his job as manager of the recently dethroned champions.

There is a double page profile of Argentina’s winning squad.

France get a post-mortem, having reached the Semi-Finals for the second successive tournament, where it is declared that their glorious midfield is a thing of the past.

Denmark get previewed, but are looking forward, not back, to an upcoming friendly against West Germany as they aim for revenge against a team they beat in Mexico. Why revenge? West Germany manager Franz Beckenbauer described their style of play as primitive.

England’s post-mortem focuses om the future of Bobby Robson, with writer Eric Batty saying he must stay in the job.

Bayern Munich get a double page feature as they aim to win the European Cup. They came close, losing to Porto in he final that season.

There is a feature on two young Scottish managers in big jobs, Kenny Dalglish who won the League and FA Cup in his first season as Liverpool manager, and Graeme Souness, given his first job at Rangers, and caused a stir by calling them the biggest club in Britain.

In Yugoslavia, Partizan Belgrade have been stripped of the league title as a result of alleged match fixing.

The draws for the 1st Round of the three European trophies are reviewed, with the tie of the round being the meeting of PSV Eindhoven and Bayern Munich in the European Cup.

There is a feature about club football in Canada, or rather, the lack of, something which World Soccer says is vital is they want to capitalise on reaching their first World Cup.

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PHOTO DIARY OF A FOOTBALL SEASON – NOVEMBER

The early weeks of November 2015 were spent at Windsor Park, taking in Linfield’s matches against Crusaders and Cliftonville, as well as Northern Ireland’s match against Latvia

The final two Saturdays of the month were on the road to Mid-Ulster, but no upturn in fortune for Linfield

Sandwiched inbetween those two trips to Mid-Ulster was my first trip of the season to Old Trafford to see United play out a drab and ultimately costly draw against PSV Eindhoven.

It’s a good job I went to that Northern Ireland match, otherwise it would have been a totally awful month of football watching.

Linfield v Crusaders

Northern Ireland v Latvia

Northern Ireland v Latvia Photo Album

Linfield v Cliftonville

Glenavon v Linfield

Manchester United v PSV Eindhoven

Manchester United v PSV Eindhoven Photo Album

Portadown v Linfield

STATISTICAL ANALYSIS OF A FOOTBALL YEAR : 2015

My football watching for 2015 is now over, so, it’s time for a statistical look back at the football I watched.

Games : 54

Goals Seen : 143

Red Cards : 10 (Doesn’t include Caoimhin Bonner being sent-off in the tunnel after the game)

Missed/Saved Penalties : 6

Hat-Tricks : 2 (Andrew Waterworth, Linfield v Dungannon Swifts. Andrew Waterworth, Linfield v Warrenpoint Town)

Teams Seen : 40

Arsenal, Ballinamallard United, Ballymena United, Bray Wanderers, Carrick Rangers, CE Europa (1st time), Cliftonville, Coleraine, Crusaders, Dundee (1st time), Dunfermline Athletic (1st time), Dungannon Swifts, Espanyol (1st time), Finland, Glenavon, Glentoran, Greece (1st time), Heart of Midlothian, Hibernian, Hungary, Institute, Latvia (1st time), Linfield, Manchester United, Masnau, Northern Ireland, NSI Runavik (1st time), Partick Thistle (1st time), Portadown, PSNI, PSV Eindhoven (1st time), Qatar (1st time), Rangers, Romania (1st time) Scotland, Sligo Rovers, Spartak Trnava (1st time), Tobermore United, Valencia (1st time), Warrenpoint Town

Stadiums Visited : 23

Ballymena Showgrounds, Carlisle Grounds, Drumahoe, East End Park (1st time), Estadi Cornella y Prat (1st time), Ferney Park, Fortwilliam Park (1st time), Gresty Road (1st time), Hampden Park, Ibrox, Milltown, Mourneview Park, Newforge (1st time), Nou Sardenya (1st time), Old Trafford, Seaview, Shamrock Park, Solitude, Stangmore Park, Taylor’s Avenue (1st time), The Oval, Tynecastle, Windsor Park

Competitions : 13

European Championship, European Cup, FA Premier League, Irish Cup, Irish League, Irish League Championship, La Liga, League of Ireland, Scottish Championship, Scottish League Cup (1st time), Scottish Premier League, Tercera Division (1st time), UEFA Cup

Curiousities :

No real curiousities, other than a match with kick-off delayed for an hour due to the weather

UEFA 102 Club : Espanyol, PSV Eindhoven, Valencia (now at 35 clubs)

2015 IN PICTURES – NOVEMBER

November took a while to get going, my first adventure being on the 7th, to see Linfield take on Crusaders. I would be spending a lot of time at Windsor Park in the opening fortnight of the month.

Windsor Park is where I would be based in the opening two weekends of the month, taking in Northern Ireland’s friendly against Latvia, then Linfield’s match against Cliftonville the next day.

The following midweek was all about music, as Paul Weller and U2 came to Belfast.

The busy month continued when I took in my annual Ulster European game, a defeat to Saracens.

The final two Saturdays of the month saw me on the road, to see Linfield lose in Mid-Ulster against Glenavon and Portadown.

Sandwiched inbetween that, was a trip to Manchester to see United take on PSV Eindhoven, where I also took the opportunity to get some Street Art photos.

Linfield v Crusaders

Northern Ireland v Latvia

Northern Ireland v Latvia Photo Album

Linfield v Cliftonville

Paul Weller live at Waterfront Hall

Paul Weller live at Waterfront Hall Photo Album

U2 live at The Odyssey

U2 live at The Odyssey Photo Album

Ulster v Saracens

Ulster v Saracens Photo Album

Glenavon v Linfield

Manchester Street Art November 2015

Manchester Street Art November 2015 Photo Album

Manchester United v PSV Eindhoven

Manchester United v PSV Eindhoven Photo Album

Portadown v Linfield

MANCHESTER UNITED 0-0 PSV EINDHOVEN 25.11.2015

As Manchester United fans paid tribute to George Best on the 10th anniversary of his death, it was the current incumbent of the number 7 shirt, Memphis Depay, who was hoping to build on his goal against Watford the previous Saturday, and fire United into the Last 16 of the European Cup.

It was my first trip of the season to Old Trafford, and thus, my first game seeing Adidas United in the flesh. How exciting.

Curiously, the last few years have seen me wait until November to make my first visit to Old Trafford. It’s purely coincidental, and not a conscious move. I had hoped to go to the Sunderland game in September, but that fell through.

United players arrived at Old Trafford knowing that a win would send them through to the next round as they led the tightest group in the competition due to the fact that their draw in Moscow was the only game in the previous four matchdays that wasn’t a home win.

At teatime, the other game in the group took place between CSKA Moscow and Wolfsburg, resulting in a 2-0 win for Wolfsburg. The result meant that United wouldn’t win the group with a win, but it did guarantee European football in early 2016. What competition it would be in, was still to be determined.

Even though they played a long ball forward in the first five seconds of the game, PSV had set their stall out to defend. United had a lot of possession but no clear chances. Bastien Schweinsteiger created space for himself in the early minutes and fired a shot straight at PSV’s keeper.

Memphis also managed a shot on goal while Jesse Lingard but through on goal, only to miscontrol the ball.

The highlight, no pun intended, of the early moments, when Old Trafford paid tribute to George Best on the tenth anniversary of his death, as supporters switched on the lights on their phones as a tribute and sang Spirit In The Sky.

I’m not usually a fan of designated minute applause, but this one worked, as a small pocket of fans started, and the numbers got bigger and bigger.

More chances for United came, Morgan Schneiderlin coming the closest when his effort was cleared off the line after a scramble, Martial had a low shot saved when he perhaps should have scored. Wayne Rooney couldn’t get to the ball from the cross when a touch would have put the ball into the empty net. He didn’t have much luck when he chased down PSV’s keeper taking a backpass.

Jesse Lingard glanced a header wide in the early minutes of the second-half.

On the hour, came a double substitution for United, as Young and Fellaini came on as United chased the win, with Juan Mata left sitting on the bench.

The attacks were slow and predictable, only stepping up when prompted by the crowd groaning or shouting “Attack!!! Attack!!! Attack!!!”

When they did step it up, they looked like scoring. They didn’t do it enough, or for a sustained period of time.

PSV naturally came more into it, having a few counter attacks and forcing David De Gea into saves, albeit saves you would expect him to make.

Jess Lingard had United’s best chance when he fired over in the penalty area after a cross.

Lingard was getting into good positions out right, but Wayne Rooney’s attempts to find him with a crossfield “Hollywood Pass” only resulted in landing straight to the head of PSV’s left-back instead of getting in behind him and playing Lingard in.

Marouane Fellaini, brought on to win headers, only succeeded in fouling his opponent whenever the ball went to him. I’ve no problem as such with him being a target man, it would be nice if he was actually good at it.

Another worrying theme throughout the game was Morgan Schneiderlin giving away cheap possession. Thankfully, it wasn’t costly for United.

In the final moments, PSV sensed they could sneak a win and gave United some worrying moments.

With Juan Mata finally on from the bench, United couldn’t do likewise, as the game fizzled out into the 0-0 draw those watching were fearing with each passing minute.

Despite the result, it was good to get my first visit to Old Trafford this season. I’ll be back for the Southampton game in February and hopefully the Bournemouth game in May.

If United get into the Champions League next season (A wonderful hangover from the David Moyes era, referring to next season’s European campaign as “if”) and play a Wednesday night game at home, I might be tempted by that and head over on the Tuesday and see a local Football League side who are at home. Bury and Oldham (both on the Tramline) were both at home on the Tuesday night.

What this means for United, is that they must win their final group game away to Wolfsburg in order to ensure qualification for the next round. Otherwise, they’ll be begging for a favour from CSKA Moscow to avoid defeat away to PSV Eindhoven.

Failing to get qualification sorted out when the opportunity was there is an inconvenience.

Having to play UEFA Cup ties in February will be an even bigger inconvenience.

Photo Album

FOOTBALL IN 2015

Another year of football watching is over, and it’s all about looking forward to 2015. But what, realistically, are my hopes for 2015?

Well, these are my football watching hopes for 2015.

LINFIELD

Well, stating the obvious, I obviously want Linfield to win the Irish League and the Irish Cup.

This season’s Irish Cup draw has already given a treat in the form of an away game against Tobermore United – another new ground to visit.

In terms of pre-season, it’s the usual wishlist of Dundela, PSNI or Stranraer away. Seeing as we invited Cowdenbeath over for a friendly in the summer of 2014, would it be too much to ask for them to return the favour in the summer of 2015?

In terms of promotion, i’m hoping Carrick Rangers go up as i’ve never been there. So again, a new ground to visit. If there is to be another team promoted, hopefully it will be Ards or Bangor, with an away game early in the season on a sunny day.

Of course, there is also the ongoing redevelopment work at Windsor Park. It is expected for this to be completed by November.

Obviously, i’d be getting use of the South Stand, but hopefully, i’ll get an opportunity to sit in the Railway Stand just to see what it’s like. I’m guessing it might have to be used for a Linfield match before it is passed for a Northern Ireland match, in the same way Wembley had to stage an underage international with a restricted attendance before being allowed to host full events.

EUROPEAN FOOTBALL

Obviously, i’m hoping for Linfield to be in the European Cup, but i’m hoping that the other Irish League sides get fallen giants who are part of the 101 Club, that I can tick off my list.

The closest an Irish League side got in 2014 was when Crusaders got duffed by a Swedish team who went on to play Torino.

Seeing as Glenavon are best mates with PSV Eindhoven, if they want to invite them over for a friendly, that would be great.

MANCHESTER UNITED

I’m hoping to get to Old Trafford before the end of the season. I’ve nothing booked yet, but i’m eyeing either Tottenham in March or Arsenal in May.

Hopefully, there’s be European Cup football returning in September 2015. I might be tempted to a there and back group game. Just have to wait until the 2015-2016 fixture list comes out.

NORTHERN IRELAND

I’m planning to be at four Northern Ireland games in 2015 – the home games against Finland, Romania, Hungary and Greece. I bought a Block Booking for the first time ever for this campaign. The downside is, i’m going to go to hell for attending the Finland game, which is on a Sunday night.

Tempted by the Scotland friendly in March. Haven’t booked anything yet, but a quick there and back for an away friendly is very tempting.

EURO 2016

Whatever the fate of Northern Ireland’s qualification campaign, i’m planning to be in France in the summer of 2016. The reason i’m posting it with reference to 2015 is, the flights will probably go on sale in August/September 2015, and i’m planning to be straight in with my booking. The plan is to go out for the first four days of the tournament and be based in Paris, with two games there, one in Lille (one hour away) and Lens (one hour away)

BIRMINGHAM

Toying with the idea of heading to Birmingham in September for the Rugby World Cup, as Australia and South Africa play on successive days at Villa Park. If I was to do this, i’d be planning to try and take in a football match taking place in the city (if feasible) at either Birmingham City or Walsall. Nothing definite in this idea though.

BARCELONA

Going to Barcelona for a weekend in February. Espanyol are at home to Valencia that weekend, so i’m hoping to take in that match. I’m also looking at lower league sides in the area to try and catch more than one game. The most likely bet is CE Europa, who play in Spain’s 4th tier. Frustratingly, Barcelona B (in Spain’s second tier) are away that weekend, to Real Zaragoza, a 101 Club member.

LEAGUE OF IRELAND

I don’t plan to go to a League Of Ireland game every year, but there’s usually something that takes me to Dublin, so I end up taking in a game. If I do end up taking in a game in Dublin, hopefully, it will be UCD, as the Bellefield Bowl is the only football ground in Dublin I haven’t been to.

SCOTLAND

As well as the previously mentioned international i’m tempted by, i’m planning to head to Edinburgh in August for the festival. Obviously, there’ll be Hibs and Hearts, but i’m hoping they’ll be at home on a Sunday, leaving the Saturday free to see Spartans or Edinburgh City, hopefully by now promoted to League Two (4th tier)

Of the two, Edinburgh City look the most likely. The downside is, they play at an athletics stadium.

MOROCCO

One place i’m definitely not visiting in 2015 is Morocco. I was tempted as they were the host of the 2015 African Cup Of Nations. It turned out I made the right decision by not making plans, as they were stripped of hosting rights, which were given to Equatorial Guinea, which is a bit harder to get to.