PHOTO DIARY OF A FOOTBALL SEASON : FEBRUARY

Busy month this month, with an international theme. To give you an idea, I saw Ajax play as many times as I saw Linfield play.

The first weekend of the month saw me visit Amsterdam for a weekend. While I was there, Ajax were at home, so I booked tickets to see them play.

That match was on the Sunday, so on the Saturday, I went to Rotterdam for the day.

Local side Excelsior were at home, so I went to see them play VVV Venlo in an Eredivise game.

Absolutely loved it. It was a small ground, but the atmosphere was fantastic and I got some nice photos. Excelsior won the game 3-1.

While in Rotterdam, I managed to get some exterior photos of De Kuip, home of Feyenoord.

The following day, I saw Ajax take on Utrecht in the Amsterdam Arena. Fantastic stadium. The game wasn’t as good as the game in Rotterdam, but still enjoyable. Except maybe, if you support Ajax, as the hosts lost 2-0.

My next trip, was to Portadown to see Linfield get a 1-1 draw.

From there, it was on to Old Trafford to see United take on Ajax. On my 42nd visit to Old Trafford, i’d seen United lose (I’d peviously seen defeats at Ewood Park and Windsor Park) for the first time, and it wasn’t nice. Managed to get some not bad photos.

Just 41 hours after leaving Old Trafford, I was heading to Solitude to see Linfield get a 3-1 win over Cliftonville. Usual arrangements at Solitude. Not the best for getting photos, so I had to make do with what I had.

On the last day of the month, a bonus extra day with it being a leap year, I headed to Windsor Park to see Northern Ireland take on Norway.

A busy month indeed. Enjoy.

De Kuip

De Kuip Photo Album

Excelsior Rotterdam v VVV Venlo

Excelsior Rotterdam v VVV Venlo Photo Album

Ajax Amsterdam v Utrecht

Ajax Amsterdam v Utrecht Photo Album

Portadown v Linfield

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

STATISTICAL ANALYSIS OF A FOOTBALL SEASON

You can thank @philmojones4 for the inspiration for this pointless blogpost, when he commented on how many matches he’d been too during the 2011-2012 season, and it got me thinking, then I thought some more, and came up with this statistical analysis of the football season just past (I know technically the season is still going, but for me, it is over)

Matches Attended : 44

Goals Seen : 120

Red Cards : 5

Hat-Tricks : 2

Aaron Burns (Linfield v Dungannon Swifts) Peter Thompson (Linfield v Newry City)

(Last season I witnessed hat-tricks by Dimitar Berbatov and Lionel Messi)

Hat-tricks missed due to being on holiday : 1

Phil Lowry (Linfield v Donegal Celtic)

Hat-tricks missed due to not being arsed with Irish Cup ties v lower league opposition : 2

Rory Patterson (Linfield v Ballyclare Comrades) Peter Thompson (Linfield v Coagh United)

Highest scoring match : 7 (Linfield 7-0 Newry City)

Countries seen football in : 4

England, Holland, Northern Ireland, Scotland

(Last season, it was 4 as well – England, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, Spain)

Teams seen play : 28

Aberdeen, Ajax Amsterdam, Ballymena United, BATE Borisov, Carrick Rangers, Cliftonville, Coleraine, Crusaders, Derriaghy CC, Donegal Celtic, Dungannon Swifts, Excelsior Rotterdam, Faroe Islands, Glenavon, Glentoran, Heart of Midlothian, Linfield, Lisburn Distillery, Manchester United, Newry City, Northern Ireland, Norway, Portadown, Serbia, Sunderland, Tottenham Hotspur, Utrecht, VVV Venlo

Competitions Watched : 8

Eredivise, Euro 2012, European Cup, FA Premier League, Irish Cup, Irish Premier League, Scottish Premier League, UEFA Cup

Stadiums Visited : 14

Amsterdam Arena, Ballymena Showgrounds, Ballyskeagh, Coleraine Showgrounds, Mourneview Park, Old Trafford, Seaview, Seycon Park, Shamrock Park, Solitude, The Oval, Tynecastle, Windsor Park, Woudestein

NB: Stats do not include last night’s Manchester United v Irish League XI game. My visit to Amsterdam for the Holland v Northern Ireland game will be counted towards 2012-2013 statistics.

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