Monday, August 27, 2007

Winkie Murphy Testimonial Match

Linfield Legends 3 Digger's Select 0

As part of Winkie Murphy's Testimonial year, a match was organised at Paisley Park up the Shankill yesterday. A team of Linfield Legends triumphed 3-0 over an IL Seniors select.

I got the bus up there with the Raven club, a couple of wee drinks on the way to warm me up. There were about 3-400 there, I'm terrible at crowd estimates; bouncy castles and football for the kids, burger van, beer and Magner's at cheap prices.

It was great to see so many Linfield heroes on display, among others:

Wes Lamont
Alan Dornan
John Garett
Jeff Spiers
Tommy McDonald
Tony Gorman
Pat Fenlon
Martin McGaughey
Stephen Beatty
Philip Mitchell
John Easton (though he never played :( )

And Digger's side had some household IL names, including Billy Caskey, Ray Morrison, Paul Kee, Davy Nixon, Surgeon etc.

The years and the pounds have caught up with a few, it was only 30 minutes each way, and Linfield had the better younger fitter performers (including Spiersy, still not retired at 39, and Tony Gorman looking as sharp and fit as ever) but some good football was played; as we said there, they've all still got it in their heads, it's just the bodies can't correspond.

Unfortunately I missed filming the first half action, and my camera can only take films, so no photos. McGaughey had a brilliant bicycle kick saved by Kee (eejit, should have let it in) and Phil Mitchell opened the scoring with the best goal of the day, a 25-yard screamer.

Second half goals here:

Number 2, finished by Tony Gorman

Number 3, finished by a mate of Winkie's?

After the game, most retired to the Pony Club, where a cabaret was held, ballot, auction, singsong etc. We stayed in front to watch the Utd- Spurs game, then mosied in after. Lots of players and fans in attendance. I can't remember too much of the night. Wrote. Great day though, and apparently lots of money was raised for Winkie, so happy days.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Glenavon 0 Linfield 1

CIS Group stages, Friday 24th August 2007

Mannus, Ervin, O'Kane, Murphy, Lindsay, McAreavey ( Mulgrew ) , Gault, Mouncey ( Ferguson ), Curran ( Stewart ), Dickson, Thompson

Not a great performance, but we were very comfortable, many thought we played crap, but I think they're being a bit harsh, maybe my expectations are lower, but I thought we were ok, some nice moves and we were never really in danger.


Kris Lindsay (if he keeps fit, he really is The Future)
O'Kane (still pulls out too often for me, but great cross for the goal and worked hard)
Dickson: Works tirelessly, great at holding up, controlling the ball, turning, and running at defences, maybe a mini-Spike?
Mouncey/ Ervin combining down the right in the 1st half, less so in the second
Cheapish pints
Being able to drink pints outside in the sun on the terraces while watching the game, more please


Curran: Jury's out. Set pieces awful. A poor man's O'Kane. If he can't play LM, he shouldn't have been signed
Maccers: off the pace, ineffectual
Thompo: Not running for him at the minute, wrong options chosen, loses possession too easily
DJ's substitutions: STOP PLAYING STEWART ON THE LEFT WING. And moving our best striker to the right wing.
9 quid in.

I managed to film Kris Lindsay's winning goal here:

That's us all but qualified for the Quarter Finals now. Was nice to be back.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

BBC NI in Postitive Linfield Report Shock!

Great radio report about Linfield, the True Blues initiative, its moves to eradicate sectarianism, and the changing perception of the Blues. Great interviews with Maccers (Vive le Maccers) Pat McShane and David Jeffrey:

BBC Radio Ulster Linfield Article

Listen from 1h 40 in. Good stuff.

Makes a change from non-existent TV coverage and pushing the NIO Long Kesh stadium agenda, but refreshing nonetheless.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Dungannon 0 Linfield 1... and Tommy Stewart

CIS Group stage, 19th August 2007

Mannus, Douglas, O’Kane, Murphy, Lindsay, Mulgrew (Mouncey 60), Curran (McCann 78), Gault, McAreavey, Stewart, Ferguson (Thompson 55)

Scorer: Stewart (63)

Apparently a comfortable enough win, with good performances from Curran and Douglas just failing to edge out Michael Gault as Man of the Match.

Tommy Stewart got the winner after getting a rare start at his favoured position up front, but his performance has been much-criticised on ILF.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: some fans should give him a break, as well as a chance. He stands accused of being brushed off the ball too easily, of not getting stuck in enough and of being too scared for the IL. But it's what he could offer to the team that excites me. He's big, fast, has bags of skill, can run at and terrorise defences, and certainly knows how to score goals, as his Setanta efforts against the Glens showed.

I am very much in the camp that believes the lad should be given a fair crack of the whip in his favourite position, an extended run up front. He's not been given that, but DJ finally seems to be showing signs of dropping Spike and giving the others a chance, and rotating, though perhaps too much.

Anyway, this exile will get an extended chance to see his heroes live in the flesh, starting from this Friday away at Glenavon. I predict an edgy 2-1 Blues win, Thompo and Dicko to get the goals. Expect plenty of match reports, photos and videos to come...

Friday, August 10, 2007

The Season Starts Here...

CIS Cup Group Stages, (h) vs Ballymena

I predict a 3-1 win for the Blues, Thompo, Spike and Maccers.

If you fancy a crack at predicting Blues' results over the season, enter SSS's Prediction League.

One more piece of news: Linfield have signed some 19 year-old Maltese, David Fenech, who plays on the left apparently. Another one for the future, along with McSkimmon, Ferguson, Burns, Dick, etc etc...

Bring it on!

Season predictions:

We should at least win the league again. A triple double is possible, but will be very difficult. Would take one of the 2 minor cups, and at least a semi-final spot in the Setanta. Our squad is slightly stronger than last year, but it depends how DJ uses his resources. Noel and Spike MUST be used sparingly, and imo, Kris Lindsay and Tommy Stewart have to have a crack ahead of them. Can't wait for Conor Downey and Oran Kearney to get back from injury after Christmas, some sexy football with Maccers and Downey in centre mid has me drooling with anticipation...

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Exile Interviews Part 2 - Lewis

From New Zealand to Bahrain this month for the next Exile Interview on South Stand Says, with the venerable Lewis.

The interview.

Great stuff.