Barring something dramatic, the 2012-2013 season is over for me in terms of football attending.

The season began in June at the Amsterdam Arena, and ended in May at Clandeboye Park.

Unsurprisingly, most of the Linfield matches I attended weren’t particularly enjoyable.

There wasn’t much in the way of curiousities (last season, I saw two twins on opposing sides) apart from going to two matches in once day – twice, and there being a power failure at a match I was at.

Amazingly, it was an FA Premier League game, rather than an Irish League game.

So here, is a statistical look back at my 2012-2013 football season :

Matches Attended : 52

Goals Seen : 147 (should be 149, but I missed 2 goals in 2 different matches due to being late)

Red Cards : 11 (Plus also 2 players sent-off in dressing room for on field incident)

Hat-Tricks : 2

Matthew Tipton (Orangefield OB v Linfield, Linfield v Coleraine)

Penalties Missed/Saved : 7

Highest Scoring Match : 7 (Linfield 5-2 Coleraine, Falkirk 3-4 Hibernian AET)

Countries Seen Matches In : 5

England, Holland, Northern Ireland, Republic Of Ireland, Scotland

Teams Seen Play : 35

Australia (1st time), Azerbaijan, B36 Torshavn (1st time), Ballinamallard United (1st time), Ballymena United, Bangor, Cliftonville, Coleraine, Crusaders, Donegal Celtic, Dungannon Swifts, Falkirk (1st time), Fulham, Glenavon, Glentoran, Harland and Wolff Welders (1st time), Hibernian, Heart of Midlothian, Holland (1st time), Israel, Linfield, Lisburn Distillery, Luxembourg (1st time), Manchester United, Northern Ireland, Norwich City, Orangefield OB (1st time), Portadown, Queens Park Rangers (1st time), Rangers, Reading (1st time), Rosenborg, Shamrock Rovers (1st time), Scotland, Tobermore United (1st time)

Competitions Watched : 11

County Antrim Shield, European Cup, FA Premier League, Irish Cup, Irish League, Irish League Championship 1, Scottish Cup, Scottish Premier League, Setanta Cup, UEFA Cup, World Cup,

Stadiums Visited : 20

Amsterdam Arena, Ballyskeagh, Clandeboye Park, Craven Cottage (1st time), Cregagh Sports Ground (1st time), Easter Road, Ferney Park (1st time), Hampden Park, Ibrox (1st time), Loftus Road (1st time), Mourneview Park, Old Trafford, Seaview, Shamrock Park, Stangmore Park, Solitude, Tallaght Stadium (1st time), The Oval, Tillysburn Park (1st time), Windsor Park,


November began slowly, but ended with a trip to Manchester and a penalty shoot-out.

My first big photo adventure came as part of Belfast Music Week, when I got some photos of a concert in The Limelight which featured Wonder Villains.

As part of Belfast Music Week, a plaque dedicated to Terri Hooley was erected in tribute to his contribution to music in the city, so I headed out to get some photos of this.

Football wise, it was a mixed bag. My first match of the month was at Solitude. The less said about the match, the better. A mixed bag phototaking wise, it always is at Solitude.

Went to the Northern Ireland v Azerbaijan game and got one good photo and a lot of bad ones. Later in the month, I headed to Old Trafford for the match against QPR, and had mixed results, but mostly pleasing.

Got some photos of the newly erected statue of Sir Alex Ferguson, but it’s not in a great position for amateur photography.

And finally, I graced the County Antrim Shield with my presence, but it was not much help as Linfield lost to Ballymena United. Managed to get some good crowd and portrait shots of The Oval.


Belfast Music Week

Pretty Child Backfire Photo Album

Wonder Villains Photo Album

Cliftonville v Linfield


Northern Ireland v Azerbaijan

Northern Ireland v Azerbaijan Photo Album

Linfield v Glenavon

Manchester Sticker Art

Manchester United v Queens Park Rangers

Manchester United v Queens Park Rangers Photo Album

Ballymena United v Linfield

County Antrim Shield Final Photo Album


My fifth, and final, international match of 2012 saw World Cup action at Windsor Park as Northern Ireland looked to build on their point against Portugal last month, against Azerbaijan.

This being Northern Ireland, you know what is happening next.

For me, the night got off to a less than great start, as a RTC on the Lisburn Road brought traffic to a standstill, meaning I missed the start of the game, and Azerbaijan’s goal.

It was a good job I asked someone for the score when I eventually got to my seat, otherwise I would have looked a bit silly celebrating a last minute 1-0 win.

It looked like it was going to be the cliche ‘one of those games’ as Northern Ireland missed chance after chance. Good chances too. In some case, glorious chances.

Eventually, the goal came on 95 minutes, David Healy, remember him, from a free-kick.

I was glad of this, not just because it meant Northern Ireland avoided defeat, but it would have been the second successive match at Windsor Park where the game finished 1-0, and I missed the goal.

If word had got out, I may have found myself banished to the forecourt of the South Stand on Saturday if Linfield were drawing 0-0 at half-time.

Unfortunately, the winner didn’t come. Would have been nice to have the time to do so, as Azerbaijan players made a mug out of the referee with their constant time wasting and feigning injuries, the referee not adding the correct amount of time for further stoppages in injury time.

It looks like the World Cup drive is over once again. It already was before kick-off, but a win would have put us 2 points behind Portugal and Israel, and we could have had four months of “you never know” ahead of the double header with Russia and Israel.

It’s now all about trying to secure 4th spot and getting ranking points to get a favourable draw in the expanded Euro 2016. We would probably have a better chance if we knew how to finish.

Was in the Railway Stand and it wasn’t great for phototaking. Got some arty stadium shots to make up for the lack of match action.

Photo Album



We’re not Brazil, we’re Northern Ireland ….. but that’s where we want to be. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like that will be happening.

After opening day defeat in Russia, a win was essential, it didn’t come, it should have come. A lesson learnt. The lesson being, learn how to finish, and learn how to finish teams off when you are in control.

Realistically, Portugal and Russia are fighting for qualification. The fact that they are both five points clear after two games shows how superior they are in relation to the rest of the group.

These are the sort of games we need to be winning if we are to get a good seeding for the newly expanded Euro 2016.

Was pleased for Dean Shiels to score his first international goal. When I was 11 (and he was 9) we were both in a holiday club at a resort in Majorca (the sort that parents send their kids to in order to get rid of them during the day so they can sunbathe) so i’ve always had an interest in his career.

Anyway, time to put it behind us and worry about Portugal. They might have Ronaldo, but we have Kyle Lafferty.

Got a seat in The Kop which was OK for phototaking. Standard Windsor Park phototaking arrangments. Was sat beside some QPR fans with London accents (as opposed to local based QPR fans) so I assume they were over for the Alan McDonald Tribute game the previous night and decided to take in another game while they were here.

Photo Album