Thursday, November 6, 2008

Linfield 1 Cliftonville 2

CAS Final

Apparently we were appalling. Jeffrey must be on borrowed time.

Match highlights here (how that goal was disallowed, I'll never know).

The game, however, will be forever remembered, across the world thanks to BBC and Sky Sports, for a firework fired by scumbag Reds fans hitting Linfield player Conor Hagan as he was lying on the ground right after the final whistle. Linfield fans were rightly livid, and as usual, our MC sit on their hands and do FA. Now if the shoe had been on the other foot...

Scum firework hits Linfield player

This is going to be a long, long season...

Newry 1 Linfield 1

So the great revival, lasts, er, all of one game, as the Blues blow the chance to go top with their game in hand. At least the Gurns surrendered bragging rights by losing the Santa final to Cork and behaving badly down there.

Match highlights.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Cliftonville 0 Linfield 4

Well I didn't see that coming. Our first Sky TV win, and how.

Our first half performance was awesome, i could tell right from the off that we were up for it and wanted it more; it helped that Climville, as predicted, were pure muck.

Top performers? I think I love Carvill. Curran was excellent, I'll lay off the slaggings till I see him next. Munster was hungry and sharp. Garrett battled for everything, I thought he was going to walk 1st half, but he kept at it. Noel held it all together well. Thought Harkness did rightly, O'Kane and Winkie (save one shocking 'backpass' at the end) were ok. Spike wasn't really at it, but battled.

My only fear (negative fugger that I am) is that DJ thinks the 4 results were just a big blip, and that he's still the daddy. Encouraging as it was that he brought Spike and Noel off relatively, he'll still stick with them, justified by this result, much as I'd like to see Munster and Carvill up front.

However, I was (to quote DJ) proud of my team tonight. The most uplifting 45 minutes in a long, long time. Cliftonville are a poor side with some unpleasant individuals, none of whom did anything apart from try to kick the shit out of us. How that classless oik McMullan stayed on the pitch, I'll never know.

Slap it up you Chokenville!


DJ interview
(slightly worrying he picked out the old guard for praise when 3 new boys were our best by a mile)

Oh, and the reason Linfield failed to sell out their allocation for this game yet again is that many fans are fed up with the double standards applied to us in order for us to attend this fixture, 10 years after going back to Solitude, it's a nightmare to get hold of a ticket, fans have to get to a nearby leisure centre car park one and a half hours before kick-off to travel 5 minutes down a road, there's not been a hint of trouble since we've been back and we're the only set of fans who have to go through this. Of my crowd of 8 who are all season ticket holders, only 1 went. I'd have given it a miss too.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Overall Decline of Linfield FC - Part 2- The Official Site

The Official Site of Linfield FC has its moments, and some hard workers who put long hours into the club. Some of their interviews (despite the manager's buck-passing, something the web team can do nothing about) and match reports are excellent (see Gary Peebles interview).

However, there are many things that have gone on on it recently that have been unprofessional and downright embarrassing. The number of 'filler' items has gone beyond the cringeworthy stage. This week alone, we've had

Praise for LinfieldFC.com

and

Advice from 2 supporters [to get behind the team on the back of 4 defeats]

This follows on from

100th defeat for DJ

One wonders if they'd be as quick to post and address criticism? Mr Conn's Chairmanship juggernaut rolls on unashamedly.

2008/9 Clusterf*ck of a Season Continues

11.10.08 IPL Ballymena (3 points prior to game, worst team in league, 0 wins) 2 Linfield 0

18.10.08 IPL Linfield 0 Distillery 2

22.10.08 CIS QF Linfield 0 Dungannon Swifts 3

Jeffrey's on borrowed time, and his cringeworthy interviews, stubbornness, arrogance, and passing the buck fool no-one with 2 eyes in their head and half a brain. We've been saying it since the Clean Sweep season, and we're told to 'look at his record'. Well, his clinging on to past glories and the players that delivered them (Bailie, Spike, Winkie, legends in their own right, but so clearly done) has meant Jeffrey sacrificing a long-term long-lasting empire for short-term success. I've plenty more to say, but not now, I'm too sad and depressed. It could take a lot more clusterf*ck results like this before the Fat One is removed.

Never has the suspicion been more apt: In Spite Of, Not Because Of.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Derry City 3 Linfield 0

Setanta Cup Matchday 6

So that was that then. Our fine Setanta record destroyed in the space of 2 weeks. Our first non-qualification. Dire's first win over us. Glentoran's first Santa progression. All most depressing. Watched it in the pub in Liverpool. I was the only one, fortunately.

Tonight showed us up finally for the average side that we are. We were second best all night long. The fact I thought we well deserved it and that we didn't play that badly says it all.

We just have too many journeymen players and off-form regulars. Let's be honest, Carvill aside, our injured players would have made little difference.

We are suffering the side effects of

1. Too many aging players in key positions
2. Too many new players expected to integrate too soon, and
3. The lack of players to glue the two together

Let's be clear here. Noel, Winkie and Spike may well win another Irish League, but they're done, despite Noel's many last-gasp interceptions (most bailing out the woeful Harkness) and Spike being our only real footballer.

Gault cannot be fit. A shadow of the player I saw in Zagreb.
O'Kane should never play LM for us again.
Harkness was very very poor.
Munster was anonymous.
Noel and Winkie are too slow nowadays, we were pulled apart tonight by quick interplaying strikers (Farren and Morrow were excellent).

Other than that, I thought we played ok, considering. Curran didn't do much wrong; I still think he's too slow to make a difference. Maccers at least tried to make things happen. Garrett was the only player who excited me when on the ball. Hagan was just ok.

I'm a bit depressed right now. Time for more alcohol.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Highlights Updates

CAS Semi 30.09.08 Linfield 3-3 Crusaders (Blues win 3-0 on penalties):

JJB Prem 27.09.08 Linfield 1-0 Coleraine (2:38 in)

JJB Prem 23.09.08 Distillery 1-2 Linfield

JJB Prem 20.09.08 Bangor 0-5 Linfield

Setanta Cup 15.09.08 Linfield 1-4 Glentoran (no highlights, thank goodness)

JJB Prem 13.09.08 Linfield 1-0 Crusaders

Not at the games, no time for updates. Back home Saturday for the Glens match at the Oval. I'm not optimistic.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Linfield 1 St. Pat's Athletic 1

Only got seeing the last 30 minutes of this one on TV (back in exile), glad I did. Bluenose told me the first half was fairly even; others said Pat's were more on top. Bad news reached me on my way to the pub: 1-0 down. What I did get seeing was most encouraging. We battered them, prompted by the efforts of the excellent Carvill (again, what a player he's turning out to be) an industrious Mulgrew, a battling Hagan, and a nuisance-factor in Miskimmon. Munster impressed greatly when he came on too. A couple of penalty appeals were turned away by the ever-awful Courtney, we hit the bar, had one cleared off the line, until a deflected shot by Mulgrew from a free gave us a deserved equaliser. We should be good for the semis now, a win against the Glens at home should do it.

Very encouraged now for the rest of the season, if DJ can only learn to hold up that '9' after an hour or earlier now, and Misky gets a fair crack of the whip, we should be good.

Downey away back to Cliftonville

This was the best news I've heard all season, made my night. I wouldn't criticise DJ here, I think he's been very clever about this: he identified a striker shortage (admittedly of his own doing) at the start of the season, played Downey in the hole behind Spike until such times as we got in striking options, then shipped him out. Well done, DJ.

And good riddance to an overweight, gurny, ballgreedy wee shite who has contributed next to nothing at Linfield.

Linfield 7 Institute 0

Great performance, good football, Carvill 3, Fergie 2, Miskimmon 2 after a great cameo, BJB great again, only poor player was Gault and Maccers who both weren't fit, poor crowd (1500ish), we stayed and got pissed in the VL. Lovely.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Dungannon Swifts 1 Linfield 1


Billy Joe's Wonder Goal (courtesy of Crooksy). He'll not be with us much longer.



JJB Sports Premiership, Stangmore PArk, Tuesday 26th August 2008


Team : Mannus, Burns, O'Kane, Murphy, Bailie, Curran, Mulgrew, McAreavey (Martin 60), Downey, Ferguson, Carvill
Subs not used : Douglas, Lindsay, Addis, Miskimmin

Scorer: Burns (92)

Attendance: ca. 1000 (750 Bluemen?)

Right, I've just got in, and I'm pissed off after watching that.

First, as objective a summary as I can give. Both sides had chances in the first half, the Swifts looking dangerous every time they attacked, having a goal disallowed for offside/a foul on Mannus/goodness knows as we were at the other end and it didn't look like a foul. Linfield managed to break through on occasion, Mulgrew forcing a couple of saves from long-range shots, Carvill shooting straight at Nelson after breaking through, and Billy Joe heading wide when he should have done better. The Swifts took the lead in controversial fashion. They got a free-kick after Bailie was harshly adjudged to have pushed their forward (McAllister?), Carvill got booked for not retreating enough, the ball came in, looked to have hit Carvill on the knee, a penalty was given, McAree converted.

The second half saw Linfield with the bulk of possession but not a great deal of chances, Dungannon hitting us on the break. McAree cleared off the line, Carvill's follow-up from a Downey shot was ruled offside, Linfield had a number of ineffective long-range shots, and Billy Joe volleyed home spectatularly in injury time into the top-right corner to gain us an ill-deserved point.

Where do I start with that abject effort? The good:
-Billy Joe Burns. MOTM again. Confidence personified.
-Carvill worked hard
-Curran was better, always does look for the ball and played the simple passes well
-Aidy was ok

The bad:

- Our central midfield. Maccers was unfit. Again. A passenger. Again. Too slow. Again. Downey is not a striker, nor a in-the-hole player. He's too slow, can't shoot, too greedy.
-Our central defence. Leaky, rushed, panicked, like they've never played together. A season too far?
-Our passing was fu cking shocking. Atrocious.
-Our tactics, given the lack of width which we've been bemoaning for 2 years, was the same old predictable hoofball bollocks AGAIN AND AGAIN. We play a couple of pretty passes in the middle third, get nowhere with them, then hoof it up to Spike. Except a) Spike is getting too slow and laboured, and outbattled in the air, and b) half the time tonight, the hoofball was put up to Carvill, the smallest player on the pitch. We have no pace in our team save Carvill and he's not getting the through balls or the service. We're too slow, and static. The lack of movement in our team is scary, especially when Gault is missing.
-Our substitutions. Martin comes on for Maccers, with 30 minutes to go, we seem to shift to 4-4-2. Then... nothing. If Martin is the only Plan B we have until Christmas, we're fucked, quite frankly. Jeffrey clearly doesn't trust Miskimmon at all, if he's not prepared to throw him on in a game we're losing, where our main striker is knackered. I've said it before and I'll say it again, our (sorry, DJ's) over-reliance on Spike is going to cost us dearly. It's already foreced potentially able replacements out of the club, cemented our reliance on the panic hoofball and the precentages game, and it's going to take a lot of adjustment once Ferguson can continue no more. Jeffrey's incompetence in contract negotiations and dealings these past 8 months have meant we have to rely on him now until New Year AT LEAST. He cannot last 90 minutes anymore. The pace, the presence, has deserted him. We cannot rely on him anymore.
- Fearless Leader. Displaying his remarkable leadership qualities once more when the chips are down. Barking orders to his troops, motivating them, railing them, driving them on to get the equaliser? Was he fuck. Hiding in the dugout, hardly a peep out of him. I've rarely seen a Linfield support so quiet, subdued and resigned as tonight. We weren't clapping you, Jeffrey. We were criticising.

Billy Joe got you out of jail. Simply not good enough, Jeffrey.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Linfield 1 Newry City 0

JJB Sports Premiership, Windsor Park, Saturday 23rd August 2008.

Team: Addis, Burns, Bailie, Murphy, O’Kane, Mulgrew, Gault (Martin 60), Downey, Curran, Carvill (Lindsay 90), Ferguson
Subs not used : White, Miskimmin, Douglas


Scorer: Martin (1st goal for Linfield on debut)

Attendance: ca. 3000 (approx. 40 Newry fans)


ZZZZZZ was the text Bluenose sent just before half-time, and it pretty much summed up the game. We were apparently playing a 4-3-3 in the absence of Maccers, Hagan, Kearney, Harkness, Dougie etc, but to most of us, we had no shape in midfield at all, players looked confused and swapped about, and we couldn't get going.

The second half was slightly better, we played quite a bit of neat one-touch football, but it was mostly all fart and no shite, no end product. It took Martin's substitution and almost immediate goal to spark some life into us, and Newry rarely theatened, apart from a brilliant save Addis made from a close-range header in the first half, and a brief revival near the end when Garrett (should never have been let go) perked up the Newry attack, on for the ineffectual Lee Feeney.

Other incidents: Gaulty clattering the post trying to get on the end of a Fergie cross (just bruising thankfully)
Collins looking a shadow of his former self, trying to intimidate and keep up with Gault and Mulgrew
Loughrey (going against the grain here) had a good game imo, let it flow where possible, always talking and explaining things to the players

On our players:

- Billy Joe Burns: made his full legaue debut at right-back, and was a revelation, pace, confidence, passing, touch, he's got the lot. Forced a great save in the first half, put Monkey Head on his back. Why it's taken this long, and the loss of THREE RBs to give him his chance, I don't know. He's a natural successor to Noel, if a) we give him a new contract NOW and b) if bigger clubs don't snap him up first
- Michael Carvill: impressed again, pace to burn, keeps going, gets up and gets on with it when busted, would be nice to see him at CF for a bit
- Curran: opinions divided among fans I spoke to. I just don't see the point. He brings nothing. Too slow, cumbersome, his passes unremarkable, his set-pieces poor.
- Downey: All fart and no shite. Nice turns, but he is one gurny wee fu cker, his attitude stinks.
- Spike: ever slowing and tiring. Still got the touches and the brain, alas not the body anymore.
- Addis: had a solid game, including that great save.
- John Martin: looks like he could do a job for us this season as an impact sub. Bit of pace.

The other depressing thing, despite the weather, was the fact that only around 3000 were there, despite it being free in. We really are down to the hardcore, people won't even come if it's free. Some kids tried to get an atmosphere going, but 30, in a 22k stadium, with only 40 opposing fans, were always fighting a losing battle.

Rumours during the game were that Waterworth is Derry bound. Another striker escapes us, and 1 week of the transfer window left. DJ in the NOTW today:

"We may have to go down the road of getting someone on-loan - perhaps from across the water. Time is running out... in the end we may have to go along with what we've got"


Not good enough. Fergie and Downey are not going to beat St. Pat's, or Derry, or the Glens. Sort it out Jeffrey.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Waterworth Update

A striker we should have captured either last summer before Hamilton Accies snapped him up in the winter transfer window, Andrew Waterworth, has been made available for transfer after only half a season in Scotland. No reason has been given, homesickness, failure to settle, indiscipline or whatever, but he's definitely a player we should be signing. In a way, he'd be the ideal eventual successor to Spike: tall, good in the air, holds it up well, a bit of pace, comfortable on the ball, knows the way to goal.

He was at Windsor last Saturday for talks. However, he has been talking to Glentoran, St. Pat's, and Derry City too. We can afford the fee, rumoured to be in the region of 25k and apparently agreed terms, but:

1. The LoI sides have more money to offer for wages
2. The boy is said to be a big Glenmen (he was released by them when younger) and to prefer a move there
3. Apparently a signing-on fee and unwillingness to deal with his agent after an earlier 'to-do' with our manager could scupper things.

This would be a great signing imo, and after seeing Carvill last night, I feel the two of them could link up nicely, but I'm not confident.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Linfield 7 H&W Welders 1




New boy Carvill (10)


Where the missing seats from the Railway Stand have gone


CAS 1st round, Tuesday 19th August 2008, Windsor Park

Team: Addis, Douglas, Bailie, Murphy (Lindsay), Hagan, O’Kane (Curran), Gault, McAreavey, Mulgrew (Carvill), Downey, Ferguson
Subs not used : Miskimmon, Burns

Scorers, OG, Ferguson 3, Carvill 2, Downey

Attendance: ca. 500


An entertaining game. We could have had double figures, but the Welders really should have scored about 5, a few shocking misses, especially from their number 10, wasteful crosses and trying to be too fancy. Defence looked really shaky (apart from Winkie's usual aerial dominance), some poor missed tackles.

Hagan really looks the part, I take it all back. Still not tested too much defensively. But great going forward.
Addis didn't have a great deal to do, came out well when needed.
The Dougster looks comfortable at LB, a few good deep crosses and surges and almost curled one in first half.
Jamie started well, was busy, but came off early.
O'Kane was ok.
Maccers is done. Seriously. He's a passenger. He looks permanently unfit, fat and too slow.
Gault was everywhere, as usual. Some of the tackles he throws himself into, even in such a game, are unbelievable.
Downey was his usual frustrating self. He was at the heart of most of our moves, but he's not mobile or fast enough to play the AM C role. Still a bit too greedy, still moans too much.
Ferguson posed the eternal dilemma. Scored a great hat-trick; still has the skills; still drops back far too much into midfield and gets in the way and breaks up attacks.

Carvill was a revelation when he came on, it was no coincidence that our performance suddenly picked up. Pacey, able to beat a man, not scared to mix it, great finishing, super at crosses, his cross for Spike's header was a peach. However, Bluenose reckons he is too small and should be played at RM, and EBB reckons that's his best position. You heard it here first.
Curran continues to be pointless. He just doesn't look like a footballer.

Crowd sparse, maybe 500 there. The only things I was annoyed with was the unwillingness of DJ to experiment with BJB and Misky. And We play pretty build-up play with Downey in the hole, but really lack pace and penetration through the middle, Carvill excepted, not much pace in the team.

A good workout.

Only In Northern Ireland Part 94

The new-fangled JJB Sports Premiership was supposed to signal the dawn of a new era for Irish League football. Finally, we got a decent sponsorship package, backing from the IFA, a marketing strategy (which apparently features star players from each team in the IL on billboards not far from the grounds, and adverts on national radio, respect) and a bumper television deal with Sky Sports.

What a pity the same old clowns pervade the IL on the ground. We're now supposedly two matchdays into the new season, and the league table looks like this:


Team P W D L F A W D L F A GD PTS
1 Crusaders 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 1 0 1

2 Institute 1 0 1 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
3 Ballymena 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

4 Bangor 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
5 Cliftonville 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
6 Coleraine 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
7 Dungannon Swifts 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
8 Glenavon 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
9 Glentoran 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
10 Linfield 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
11 Lisburn Distillery 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
12 Newry 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0




The reasons?

Matchday 1: the referees, in line with their Scottish counterparts, threaten to withdraw their services over pay, the absence of linesmen in the Championship, and recognition. Bear in mind this row has been rumbling on for years. Unlike Scotland, the IFA can't solve the dispute satisfactorily before the deadline, and as such, no IL games take place on the first weekend of the new-spangled Premiership season. JJB must be delighted with entering into partnership with such an organised, professional outfit.

Matchday 2: A torrential downpour (a month's rainfall in half a day) strikes Northern Ireland. The streets are already swimming before the match. The pitch is already covered in huge puddles BEFORE the match:




Now while I sympathise with IL referees wanting more money (they were getting paid 60 pounds per match, had to pay for their own uniforms despite them being sponsored, and when you consider the travelling they have to do, it's peanuts) but, when they make decisions like this, they really do themselves no favours whatsoever.

Alan Black is a particularly dislikeable individual. I have no idea whatsoever why he let this match go ahead, the pictures above show the pitch was unplayable and the game should never have started; maybe he wanted to get the ball rolling after he and his colleagues halted proceedings the week before; maybe he's just incredibly incompetent.

In either case, the losers are the prestige of the new league as a whole, and the common fan. Linfield FC compounded the problem on Saturday for not having any provision in place for refunding or recompensing fans after the game was abandoned. So there is a big dilemma about what to do for fans for the replay: charge the same again, thus pissing off hundreds who already paid 10 quid into a game only to see a mere half hour of a joke game, or let everyone in for free, thus creating the potential for hundreds of hangers-on and dickheads to cause problems and let the club down. Maybe a compromise is the best: free in for kids, half-price for adults.

In any case, the club are going to have to have a plan in place for any such future occurrences: a huge pile of Linfield-branded vouchers, with no specific date or opponent, should suffice.

All in all, billboards aside, it's not been a great couple of weeks for a would-be new professional era of Irish League football. A lot of work to be done.


UPDATE: Finally the MC have shown some common sense, and rewarded true fans by allowing free entry for all to Saturday's home game with Newry, getting the issue out of the way immediately as well.

It has been a long time since a game has been abandoned at Windsor Park and who could have predicted such an outcome in August, of all months.

The last game we can remember being abandoned was a famous game against Glentoran in the snow.

After Saturday's game and on the phone today, Windsor Park officials and staff have received several requests enquiring what the club proposed to do to reimburse supporters who through the "unprecedented acts of nature" did not get to enjoy a full 90 minutes of football on Saturday.

The issue has been debated fully at tonight's scheduled meeting of the Management Committee and the following has been agreed to reimburse supporters who may have been inconvenienced by Saturday's unfortunate weather and subsequent postponing of the opening JJB Sports Premiership game.

Linfield Football Club will grant free admission to ALL spectators to this Saturday's home game against Newry City.

Members and season ticket holders will have an extra match added centrally to their ticket allocation to ensure they are not disadvantaged in any way.

This offer will apply to ALL supporters home or away, whether they were inconvenienced on Saturday or not.

Linfield FC would point out that it would be virtually impossible to ascertain who was and who was not in attendance at Saturday's game and the club hopes that supporters understand and accept this gesture as a suitable way of reimbursing those supporters who were ( through no fault of this club ) inconvenienced by the unforseen postponement of this fixture.

Due to a heavy fixture load, it could be some time before the Cliftonville game could be rearranged and Linfield FC wants the issue of refunds cleared up as soon as possible, hence the decision to grant free admission to this week's game.

Linfield are working closely with Cliftonville regarding their supporters who were inconvenienced and when a decision has been reached, they will announce it to their supporters.


Well done MC (words you don't read on here very often!)

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Linfield FINALLY sign a STRIKER!



Michael Carvill


A NI under-21 international who was recently released by Wrexham. By all accounts, he's very nippy, but very small; no goals for Wrexham last season, but few appearances, and he has scored quite a few for the under-21s.

Here's a few views from Wrexham fans:

decent player only scored 1 goal for us although to be fair he didnt make too many appearances for us and most of those were off the bench.likes to take on players and has good pace.never really given a chance here so we never saw him at his best but with a bit of a run in the first team he could prove a good signing

yes, he's got alot of pace. he didn't really get much of a chance while he was here and only scored one goal but to be honest i'd liked to have seen more of him. i really hope he does well over there because he always looked like he was working really hard

he never really impressed for me when i saw him continually bustled off the ball by the defenders due to his lack of size.on saying that he was played out of position alot of the times he came off the bench.nippy player though and certainly seen worse play.


The more promising rumour is that Derry City have apparently offered us Sammy Morrow (injury-prone, coming back from injury now, but highly-rated) if we cease our pursuit for compensation over Tommy Stewart's 'professional development'. Now THAT would be a piece of good news.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Dinamo Zagreb 1 Linfield 1




Champions’ League 1st Round qualifier, Wednesday 23rd July 2008

Team: Mannus, Douglas, O'Kane, Murphy, Bailie, Lindsay ( Ferguson ), Hagan, McAreavey, Gault, Mulgrew, Downey
Subs not used : Addis, Miskimmin, Gary Thompson, Burns, Kearney

Scorer: Michael Gault

Attendance: 3000 max (70 Bluemen)

What a result and what a performance. We rode our luck a little at times, thanks to poor finishing and a yet again inspired Tino, but we had chances of our own, and with a little luck, could have even won late on. This is what Jeffrey’s Linfield excel at: a gritty, backs-to-the-wall performance, featuring 100% commitment and application against a superior opponent, making our own luck and getting the result: see numerous previous Setanta ties (Drogheda, Cork, Shelbourne, Derry City).

The ground was a dump, we got rained on for 90 minutes, and I’ve a cracking photo from a Croatian newspaper I’ll scan soon showing the contrast in our fans, half huddled up together in raincoats and umbrellas, the other half, bellies exposed, waving their tops like scarves. But we all loved it, and could have sung on for another 90 minutes.

To the match itself. Zagreb scored early on after a flowing move and I feared a trouncing. Then the BBB must have lit at least 30 flares and proceeded to fire them onto the pitch, some landing dangerously close to Tino, the ref stopped the game for 3 minutes, he had a case for abandoning it.

But the Blues gradually found their way into the game, despite having a less-than-mobile overweight midfielder as our lone striker, and indeed created chances of our own in our brief forays into the Zagreb half, Aidy should have at least hit the target after a cross from the right was missed in the centre by a Zagreb defender, O’Kane wrecking the ball over the bar.

We all sheltered near the burger stand under cover at half time, and indeed some stayed there so long (ahem, MB, Rog and Carsie) that they missed our goal… we got a free kick over on the right touchline, (I just had a feeling we’d score from it), Maccers whipped it in, and there was that man Michael Gault (if only we’d a team of him) to head home from close range. We all went ballistic. Zagreb forced but Linfield were equal to everything. Late on, a cross from the right cleared their defence, if Downey’s first touch had been in any way good he’d surely have scored, but he overhit it and the keeper could save. Apparently from the resulting corner, Spike was brought down and we should have had a stonewall penalty, but I don’t even remember that. We clung on at the end to secure a great result. There were inspired performances all over the pitch: Tino once more, Dougie again inspired at LB, Hagan more than capable at RB, Jamie running his socks off, Maccers and Downey showing their skill (some of our short one-touch passing was a joy) but Gault was the undoubted star of the show. He was everywhere. What a player.

The celebrations went on long into the night, many of the fans joining the players for a few drinks and a chat, incurring the wrath of the local constabulary.


It was my first European trip, and I had an absolute ball, despite us being more or less confined to the hotel and needing police escorts EVERYWHERE (including round the corner to the Chinese for a meal one evening) because of the hooligan threat from the ‘Bad Blue Boys’, whose HQ was located round the corner from our hotel. I can’t wait for a ‘normal’ Euro away trip. Some of the many memories:

- Bluenose’s first text: “Zagreb is shite. Hotel OK though” High praise indeed for the hotel!
- Getting a police escort round the corner to a Chinese, told to wear no colours
- Torrens falling over in the Chinese, breaking a vase. Torrens would continue this permadrunk state for the duration of the trip
- No singing demanded by police
- “9 fellas and one girl”
- “Wednesday flight”
- “Shut the fu ck up, you’re a boring fucking borebag Torrens”
- Torrens’ topless headstands. What a mess.
- MARIIIIIAAAAAA – didn’t get bundled after the boys being warned, but had her feet tickled instead. Froots.
- Drive through Zagreb – near run into trams, dead ends, slum areas, BBB graffiti everywhere, stumbled upon the Laguna – shit outside, ok in, had a pint and a natter with the exiles 

mural outside our hotel


Luxurious Laguna

- Back to our hotel, boys already tanked up
- Reinforcements arrive including the Laguna crew and Mid-Shankill, police finding it increasingly difficult to enforce ‘no singing’ rule
- “Getty is a wanker”
- Flags flown proudly for photos outside the hotel, as the rain continues to piss down
- Mid –Shankill go off in their bus, we get a full-on police escort to the tram stop, singing non-stop, a few BBB appear, ushered away by cops “Who are ya?!”






- On the tram, bouncing away, the driver loved it, but the police were having fits, meanwhile meatwagons accompanied us alongside on the street
- “We all dream of a team of Michael Gaults, a team of Michael Gaults, a team of Michael Gaults, we all dream of a team of Michael Gaults, a team of Michael Gaults, a team of Michael Gaults, Number 1 is Michael Gault, Number 2 is Michael Gault, Number 3 is Michael Gault, and number 4 is Michael Gault” ad nauseam. All night long.



- Police kindly lead us to a bar near the ground, flags hung, many beverages consumed, songs sung, too much flesh exposed…





- Taken to ground, pissing it down, club paid for fans’ tickets (only 20 kuna, but still a nice gesture) ground is a shithole, puddles everywhere, no cover
- Shite crowd, loads of them behind the opposite goal, not much else, 3k max.
- “Tops off for the Ulstermen!”



- “Our city our rules!”
- “Nanananananana Get her get her bucked, get her bucked, GET HER GET HER BUCKED!!!!”
- “We all dream of a team of Michael Gaults, a team of Michael Gaults, a team of Michael Gaults, We all dream of a team of Michael Gaults, a team of Michael Gaults, a team of Michael Gaults, Number 1 is Michael Gault, Number 2 is Michael Gault, Number 3 is Michael Gault, and Number 4 is Michael Gault…” ad nauseam
- Torrens 90-minute top-off to win a bet with me of 5 pints. Mug.
- Mad number of flares shortly after their goal thrown onto the pitch. Disgraceful.
- Ahem, ‘old-school’ singing…



- Soaked to the skin by a constant downpour. Soaked.
- Mad dancing, singing while waiting to be let out (song might sound familiar)



- “We’ve got our own tram”. Eejits.



- Banter with the police, who were brilliant btw, many of whom were Dinamo fans and said that the hostility towards us was in part due to newspaper reports saying we sang ‘Serbia’ in the home leg
- Off to players bar after a well-deserved shower.
- Torrens talking more shite, (‘Wednesday flight’ to Spike, who deservedly replied with ‘what the fuck?’), slagging Downey for not clapping the fans after being substituted (YEEEO! Downey had a great game btw, the best I’ve seen him play)
- Torrens lit, drinking beer/peanut mixtures
- Getty up to his usual mischief after the others had faded, nice IRA tattoo on MB, ‘Get her bucked’ on EBB etc
- 3 hours’ sleep
- MB losing his flag next day :sob:
- Jonesy flagrantly ignoring Slovenian police’s demand for 35 Euros to use the motorways by just driving on ignorantly lol
- Betamax Klagenfurt airport, fecking Austrian May McFetridge on the plane talking shite to her schoolkids
- Shemale air stewardess to Getty in emergency door seats : “How old are you?”
- Fucked for 3 days afterwards

What a trip. I’m sure there’s loads I’ve missed out on, even though I wasn’t that blocked. Cheers to all I was with, you helped make it a cracking away tour. All being well, I’ll definitely be back next year for a more ‘normal’ experience…

More photos here.

Match highlights here (turn the screwed-up sound off):



Thursday, July 31, 2008

Spineless Linfield Management Committee Dance to BBC's Tune Part 94

...or: Kerr Out.


This non-story appeared on the BBC's website earlier:

Club removes 'provocative' pics

Linfield Football Club has removed a number of sexually provocative pictures from its website, BBC Radio Ulster has learned.

The pictures showed a female model in the club's new home kit, some of which had been ripped in a revealing manner.

The six most revealing pictures were removed from the website after board members discussed the matter.

In a statement, the club said a concern had been highlighted and it had now taken action.

Chairman Jim Kerr said he was not aware of the offending pictures, but would raise the issue at Monday's board meeting.


Here is a segment of one of the offending pics (saved onto his pc by a linfield fan, without the 'offensive' bikini bottoms and belly button) as well as one of the 'risque' pics:





Now this 'story' raises a number of depressingly familiar issues:

1. It is clear, demonstrably, that the BBC have an anti-Linfield agenda, no doubt driven in no small part by their friendliness with the NIO and wish to promote the Long Kesh Stadium proposals.

2. Who made the complaint, weeks after they first appeared online?

3. Who removed them? Conn?

4. Why were they removed? So as not to offend the sensibilities of the anti-Linfield lobby?

5. When is the burqa going to be introduced for women at our matches (in some of the Linfield Ladies cases, maybe not a bad thing :) )

6. Why was our erstwhile chairman unaware of the pics?

7. Why does our club feel the need to pander to our critics at EVERY turn? Castle Street, Windsor Roar, Hatchets and Hammers, St. Pat's away, now this. Why did they feel the need for them to be removed?

8. When is our club going to be dragged into the 21st Century with regard to our dealings with the media and approach to the world wide web? Our website is an embarrassment at the moment, club shop down for months, full of viruses, website down at regular intervals, parts not updated for months.

9. When is Mr. Kerr going to do the honourable thing, accept the collective responsibility, and resign?

Jim Kerr: the new Stafford Reynolds. No wonder the rest of the IL is laughing at us.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Linfield 0 Dinamo Zagreb 2

Champions' League First Round Qualifier, Windsor Park, Wednesday 16th July 2008

Team:

Some observations:

-That was hard to watch
-Tino saved us from an absolute trouncing, that could be him snapped up by an English side now, then we're well and truly Donald Ducked next season, with no keeper and no strikers
-It's the first time in my life I remember Linfield taking the field with no (recognised) strikers. Playing 5-5-0 is an absolute embarrassment
-Linfield are pointless without a big player upfront to hold the ball up, ie Spike
-Watched the game in a city centre Portsmouth bar, the only person watching, with no sound
-Our players really did look amateurish at times, big rushed sliced clearances and passes all over the shop, no composure on the ball, like it was a hot potato
-Zagreb never really broke sweat, but I was still disappointed with the timing of the second goal, 1-0 would have given us the illusion of something to play for in the second leg
-Think we'd one shot on target all night, O'Kane from an acute angle. Shame really as their keeper looked a right flapper
-Downey is the best player in the world in his head. In reality, he cannot pass 2 yards away from himself
-Maccers is as unfit as ever, and needs shipped out
-The Dougster excelled at LB
-Lindsay is a liability, sell-the-ranch player. Why the fuck did we give him a 2-year deal?
-Hagan did ok
-DJ leaving Thompo on the bench. Wise up Davy.
-Kudos to Wintz for making DJ react in his usual arrogant 'how dare you' way right when the cameras were filming him :)
-The new HnH flag looked shit with no ties on the bottom. Should look better in Zagreb next week.
-Mile-long queues for tickets and only printing a minimum of concessionary tickets is a fecking disgrace and sums up our two-bit club with their new two-bit team.
-All the best, Thompo, thanks for the memories

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Live: Linfield vs Dinamo Zagreb

On Sky Sports 1!

Thompson to Stockport?

As reported on the BBC and in the Bel Tel.

Well, after 44 goals last season and doing the running of 2 strikers, as well as a first international goal and 2 goals in the Cup Final, it was to be expected, especially with him entering into the last year of his contract. We shouldn't stand in his way, he deserves a crack at English full-time football.

Should he sign in the next week, or even tomorrow, it leaves us with ZERO strikers for the biggest games of our season, the Champions League qualifiers. Since the turn of the year:

January - DJ foolishly let Stephen Garrett leave 'cos he said he wanted to leave'. As he wasn't get a look-in due to Ferguson's undropability.

April - Adamson leaves, Linfield seemingly too big a challenge, his face not fitting in the dressing room, apparently not the tight personality for DJ's Linfield.

May - Dickson leaves, a lifelong Blueman remember, but seemingly the wrong personality, not helped by being woefully off-form for much of the season and constantly being played out of position at RW, a victim of his own success from the previous season and not getting a look-in due to Ferguson's undropability at CF.

June - Tommy Stewart declines a new contract offer and signs for Derry (one game, one goal, one assist thus far) after having seemingly the wrong personality, and being constantly played out of position at LM, not getting a look-in due to Ferguson's undropability... you get the picture.


Now for Europe, Ferguson is yet again unavailable as this is the only time of year he can book Disneyland, which left us with Thompson. Oh, and McSkimmon (first team appearances - one).


There is only one man to blame for the position we find ourselves in, Fearless Leader, the folically-challenged, pie-loving one. Short-term success and blinding devotion to Ferguson in his quest for the 600 is obviously valued greater than long-term dominance and development. Bravo, DJ.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The Pre-Season That Just Keeps On Giving

Carrick 2-1 Linfield

-yes, experimental 4-5-1 with Zagreb in mind, but What. The. Fuck. Dinamo must be pissing themselves. Oh, and I'm going after all, along with at least 20 HnHers.

Transfer Rumours:

IN?:

Kevin Kelbie: rumours of a possible swap deal abound, but unlikely to have any basis in reality

Albert Watson: one-time target handed in a transfer request. Missed the boat, I think.

Mandy Smith: wants to leave Portadown for a IPL team. Still wouldn't take him.


OUT?

Conor Downey: handed in a transfer request. If we recoup close to the 10k for him, see ya.

Phil Mulryne: trained with us, DJ FINALLY realised after losing 4 strikers in 5 months and having only one available one for our CL games that strikers are our priority, so said no to Mulryne. Good.

Peter Thompson: Kilmarnock apparently showing interest with 2 bids. Seeing as he's only 1 year left on his current deal, why don't we try and sign him up? Our current situation demands that he stays, but as for the player himself, I wouldn't blame him one bit for leaving and trying to better himself.

Oh, and we rewarded our manager with a new 3-year contract, 2 years before his old one was due to run out. What a joyous club of double standards we run, one rule for the managers, one for the players. We've already lost players this summer due to FDJ's ridiculous prehistoric 'medals win contracts' policy, and we're due to lose our 3 best players, all homegrown, all NI internationals, next summer if we don't get them signed up soon. Can't see it.


We are in big big shit if miracles do not happen on the transfer front soon. Our manager has finally realised there are no available IL players of sufficient standard and has turned to the Eircom and England. Whoopy fucking doo. We have one shitty system of scouts, and one downright amateurish man in charge. But look at his record.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Champions League Qualifier Draw

Linfield vs Dinamo Zagreb.

Crap. We'll get skinned, and flights are excessively expensive, if I could go on holiday to Croatia for 2 weeks and visit Split and the coast, it'd be worth it, but 240+ bills for 2 days is too dear. Could be a bit spicy there too.

But as some said, Modric must be counting his luck that he left and doesn't have to face the white Vieira!

Ah well, always next year.

Monday, June 23, 2008

This Pre-Season Just Gets Worse And Worse

From Today's Bel Tel:
Mulryne set to rekindle career in Irish League

So:

Possible Ins:

John Martin - signed and sealed, apparently.

Phil Mulryne - where has he been the last 2 seasons?

Stephen O'Flynn - so good, he was released by bottom-of-Eircom Galway United. Apparently always injured, never scores.

Stuart King - so good, DJ released him 2 seasons ago, apparently we're so desperate that now he's a viable option again, despite not being good enough.


Out:

Tommy Stewart - ended specualtion by finally signing for Derry City. Disappointing. Never really got a chance at Windsor, an opportunity lost

Conor Downey - handed in a transfer request apparently. Disappointing attitude, and if rumours are true, and he doesn't buck up his ideas on and off the pitch, then cheerio.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Transfer Rumours - Latest

In?

John Martin (Reds) - In talks with the club. We need a winger, but not a 32 year-old who was never quite good enough anyway

Tony Grant - We are interested, but he's holding out for Glenavon, his former club, and seems certain to go there now McBride has just been appointed boss. Too old too.

Steven Carson - we showed interest, he was always going to sign a new contract at Coleraine.

David Larmour - apparently only training with us with a view to getting fit in order to find a new club, but the way things are going, with us having only two strikers, who knows...

John Convery - rumours rumble on...


Out?

Tommy Stewart - revealed in the Telegraph at the weekend that he's now a free agent, Linfield offered a new contract and the offer still stands, but he wants to get back into full-time football in England and is training with Morecambe. Really can't see him coming back to us now, the South Stand hated him before, and when you get asshats on ILS comparing him to Haylock, you gotta think it's what we deserve. He's a full-time professional, owes nothing to Linfield, we're a two-bit club in a one-bit league.

Conor Downey - rumours in the Sunday World that he wants to leave, with Cliftonville his likely destination. I'd give him to January, and if his fitness and form still haven't bucked up, think about offloading him. Off-field rumours persist.


All most worrying. We have 2 strikers at the club at the moment, one of whom is off on holiday during our European games. Time to get the finger out, DJ.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Scurrilous Transfer Rumours

Linfield don't appear to be signing anyone. Yet. Now, there's a dearth of talent in the league, but it seems that we're going to start the new season with only 2 strikers, one of them a 39 year-old. Which is a disgrace. In the absence of real news, rumour and intrigue do the rounds, and I thought I'd reveal who has been mentioned.

In?

Andy Smith (Ports) - I'd tear up my Season Ticket etc. Non goalscoring crock, would destroy team spirit with primadonna antics. Ideal DJ CF mould.

Mark McAllister (Dungannon) - no basis, apart from the fact he3 plays well against us and DJ picks him for the NI U23s.

Daryl Fordyce (Scum) - malicious, unsettling, unlikely.

John Convery (Ports) - heard this was a done deal, and one I'd welcome.

Wesley Boyle (Ports) - rumour been doing the rounds for over a month. We need a winger, but apparently this one plays well one in 5. Very possible.


Out?

Tommy Stewart - Still not gone, but apparently no longer in touch with the club, agent trying to get him a move back to England, Derry City and Glenavon and Glentoran sniffing around. My guess is he didn't get enough assurances from DJ that he'd be given a fair crack of the whip, that Ferguson will still be No. 9 next season, and so he's off.

Feel free to add your own.

Linfield: 85/86 Highlights/Lowlights

Great nostalgic video on youtube, including tankings from the Ports and Crues, beating the Glens including Windy acting the cock as usual, and the secrets of Mark Cuaghey's success! I might even have been at a couple of these:

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Contract Update

Out:

Mark Dickson - to the Crues, despite being offered a new deal

Tim Mouncey - to Portadown, despite being offered a new deal. See a pattern emerging?

Tommy Stewart - probably - been offered a new contract and asked to mull it over, but still hasn't decided. Glentoran, Glenavon and Derry City are waiting in the wings, and it'll be a disgrace if he goes.


Staying:

Jamie Mulgrew - signed a new 3-year deal. The only piece of good news this week


In:

Stuart Addis - 2-year deal. When even Larne rejected him and many IL fans saying Addis was always good for a couple of goals a season for their team, you know the dude is dodgy and not Linfield standard.

Conor Hagan - 1-year deal, signed as a right-back cover, thus he'll be played out of his best position, Centre Midfield (ANOTHER CM). Quelle surprise. Ask Tommy Stewart, Mark Dickson, Tim Mouncey, Jamie Mulgrew, Damian Curran...


All very worrying. And apparently there's worse to come...

Monday, May 19, 2008

Contract Renewals Part 1

It's that time of year when our intransigent manager hands out contracts, or not. No other time of year is appropriate, as trophies win contracts. Apparently.

Anyway, here's what's been decided thus far:

Stephen Douglas – 2 years [ correct decision, despite his inconsistency, there's not many good IL RBs out there ]

Kris Lindsay – 2 years [wrong decision. Seemingly always injured, 1 year would have been risky enough, I'd have even released him, his performances since Xmas have been dodgy to say the least ]

Noel Bailie – 1 year [correct, as long as he's a back-up player ]

Oran Kearney – 1 year [correct decision, let's see if he can stay injury-free ]

William Murphy – 1 year [correct ]

Jim Ervin – 1 year [correct, despite his long-term injury, it's right to stay loyal to him ]

Glenn Ferguson – 1 year [see Noel ]

In addition, Glenn Ferguson has been granted a Testimonial season in recognition of his quite outstanding and lengthy service in Linfield’s cause.

Pat McShane and Tim McCann have both been released. [both correct decisions, Pat has been a great servant to Linfield, and Tim never let us down despite hardly getting a look-in and being unlucky with injuries ]

Of the rest, Tommy Stewart is thinking over a contract offer, I can only imagine it's reduced to part-time, and I know a megabucks offer from Glenavon has been made to him, I can see him leaving, and I wouldn't blame him for a second. Rather to Glenavon than the other Glens from the East, put it that way.

Mark Dickson has apparently been made an offer but is likely to sign for the Crues, I'd hand him another one-year contract.

Tim Mouncey was due to head to the Ports, but now, due to their non-qualification for the Invitational League, that now looks all up in the air. I'd release him, 'ill' too often.

More still to come...

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Linfield Nostalgia - The Early Days

Well narrated video about the formation and development of Linfield FC:

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Monday, May 5, 2008

Linfield 2 Coleraine 1 - TREBLE DOUBLE!







Irish Cup Final, Windsor Park, Saturday 3rd May 2008

Team: Mannus, Lindsay, O’Kane, Murphy, Bailie, Mulgrew, Gault, McAreavey (Dickson 46), Kearney (Curran 87), Ferguson, Thompson
Subs not used : Stewart, McShane, Downey

Scorers: Thompson 2

Attendance: approx. 10000 (6000 Linfield fans)


A great day out, the weather stayed good, and Linfield managed to clinch an historic treble double, the first in 115 years. This team will go down in Linfield and IL history.

Quick summary, Coleraine had the better of the first half, though not as dominant as most of the press were making out, Linfield performed poorly, couldn't string 2 passes together, were outbattled and were deservedly booed off at the break.

Second half was a different tale. Maccers came off for Dicko, Jamie moved into the middle and we seemed to have more shape and composure. Peter Thompson, in what must be some kind of record, scored his second match-winning double in 3 years, the first, shrugging off the defender, beating him for pace and slotting home after a dummy from Spike let him through, then he scored a great one-on-one goal after being released by Spike again, two great opportunist goals. We then played out the rest of the game comfortably without excelling.

Well done DJ and players. I was particularly pleased that the team came into the bottom bar with the trophy after the match to let the fans congratulate the players and lift the Cup.

The evening was one big alcohol-fuelled celebration in the Edinburgh Club. What a day and what a night.

Next season is going to be the biggest challenge yet, with signs that a major refurbishment of the squad is necessary. But for now, we'll celebrate another trophy.

Thursday is the next major date, with contract renewals being announced. I expect Tim McCann, Pat McShane (retiring), Tim Mouncey (Portadown) and possibly Mark Dickson (Distillery) to be released, with Tommy Stewart (Glenavon) going in September when his contract is up, possibly to Glenavon.


Thompo's photos, for the last time (farewell, and thanks for the memories) here.

My poor photos here.

Gareth Irvine's photos here.

Press Eye photos here.

Very poor quality match highlights available here:



Better quality highlights here:

Monday, April 28, 2008

Crusaders 0 Linfield 3 - CHAMPIONS






Team: Mannus, Douglas (Lindsay 63), O’Kane, Murphy, Bailie, Kearney, Gault (Downey 75), McAreavey (Dickson 46), Mulgrew, Ferguson, Thompson
Linfield Subs not used : Curran, Stewart

Scorers: Ferguson 2, Dickson

Attendance: Approx 4000 (ca 3500 Linfield fans)


3-in-a-row Champions, but you would have hardly known it. A crowd that was more akin to a library public. A flat, do-the-minimum-possible-to-win performance against an average side, typical for this season (with notable exception of Spike's goal and the well-worked third). A shambles of a trophy presentation.

I'm not unhappy with the kids on the pitch, in a way it was a shame we actually won the league and got presented with the trophy on the same day.

I'm thoroughly fucked off with

a) the inordinate amount of time it took for the trophy to be presented, resulting in people/kids being over-impatient and wanting on the pitch sooner, meaning
b) the players had no way of getting through the throng to do a lap of honour, meaning I stood extra long behind the goal waiting for, ultimately, sweet FA. I couldn't even really see the trophy and get the chance to applaud the players. And OK, I was pissed off at not being able to give my inflatable hammer to the Dougster, a big empty head who would have appreciated it

The whole day was one huge damp squib, imo. Yes, I do realise I'm a miserable old fu cker who soon will occupy his rightful place in the South Stand, but the game was flat, we yet again did the bare minimum, third goal excepted, against a very ordinary side, the atmosphere was pathetic, it really was like a library at times, even when whispering, I could be heard by those around me, and the farce after the final whistle just summed it up.

HOWEVER. This team and era will go down in history, regardless of opposition and manner of victory. Well done to DJ and the whole squad and backroom staff, now go complete the job next week, make real history in a treble double, and I'll be able to have a proper celebration and hopefully get my hands on a trophy.

Great photos as ever on SSS from Thompo.

Poor quality match highlights here:

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Jim Kerr – Out Of Touch, Out Of His Depth

I was present, for my first away trip to Dublin, at the St. Pat’s – Linfield match last night. We had a great day out, bus down with friends and acquaintances, a few shandies consumed, nice feed at the Carrickdale on the way, a good old singsong, an inadvertent tour of Dublin, stress-free walk to the ground, and a police escort to the motorway on the way home. In fact, from my perspective, the only bad thing about the day was the woeful performance of Linfield on the pitch.

Imagine my surprise when I learned on the way home, and when I got home, that there had been some trouble. Apparently there were a couple of minor scuffles outside the ground, during which 4 Linfield fans and 2 St. Pat’s fans were arrested. According to eyewitnesses, the Garda were demanding ID (bizarre) from a section of fans just before kick-off (most fans were long in the ground), started trying to confiscate Union flags and Ulster flags from said fans, during which an altercation ensued, leading to the Garda getting out the batons and being heavy-handed.

The Garda themselves dismissed the crowd trouble incidents as "minor public order disturbances", and said they were brought under control very quickly.

Not surprisingly, the press, never slow to put the boot into Linfield, where blowing things up. My beef here is not really with the press, I’ve come to expect nothing more of the weasels. However, I’d like to point something very briefly at this juncture before moving on: the blatant double standards employed by the media both North and South of the border. To wit:

St. Pat’s – Glentoran: Glens fans arrested, some trouble, net press coverage: virtually none.

Drogheda – Cliftonville: some trouble outside the ground before and after the match, net press coverage: virtually none.

St. Pat’s – Linfield: minor scuffles outside the ground, 4 arrests from a crowd of 800+, net press coverage:

Belfast Telegraph: Six arrested at Linfield match in Dublin

Irish Independent: Ugly face of football as violence flares at cross-border clash

Newsletter: Linfield fans clash with Dublin police

BBC: Trouble flares at Linfield match

At least the Newsletter allowed a Linfield fan to put their point of view across. The double standard meticulously applied to Linfield FC and fans was doubtless inspired by the large numbers of ‘freelance’ press photographers in exactly the right place at the right time, again. To wit, see the numerous photos of:

Press eye

Pacemaker press

Sportsfile

Let us recap:

Linfield fans present: 800+

Number of arrests: 4

Newsletter: “The Garda dismissed the crowd trouble incidents as "minor public order disturbances", and said they were brought under control very quickly.

A Garda source added: "It is not clear who started the different
incidents of fighting, but they were separate incidents controlled very quickly."”

Not exactly a major incident, hardly comparable with Dundalk ’79. Remember 800 fans went to the game, watched it and had a good day without trouble. So how does our esteemed chairman react? In an incredibly kneejerk, over-the-top way:


Linfield club chairman Jim Kerr insisted those arrested were drunken hooligans who had tagged themselves on to true Blues supporters.

He added the team is now considering its future in the competition to avoid the team's name being dragged through the mud by yobs.

The club chief said: "The biggest problem was people fuelled by alcohol and people spoiling for a fight.

"I saw people at the grounds I have never seen before in my life being aggressive to security staff. I condemn it utterly.

"Should we continue in Setanta next season then we have to look at busing supporters from Windsor Park... but we will have to look at whether we are going to continue.

"There is no place in football for these people – totally uncalled for."



I find that statement frankly pathetic. It was made no later than two hours after the conclusion of the game, when there was no way that Mr. Kerr could have been in full possession of the facts, and was clearly done, yet again, as a pathetic, sniveling, handwringing apology to the media, to be seen to be doing something, to wipe his hands of the whole matter, in short, to protect the image of the club, yet again, at the expense of the vast vast majority of fans (he’d have been better off saying nothing).

Well Mr. Kerr, I’ve had enough of your lies and gutlessness. I’ve had enough of you coming out in the press and tarring ALL of your OWN fans with the same brush. I’ve had enough of your amateurish gutless dealings with the media. I’ve had enough of the Irish media putting the boot in, only for you, as my club’s ultimate representative, feeling the need to kick me when I’m down, even though I’ve done nothing wrong.

You’re a liar and a gutless coward. You’re scared of the BBC, Stephen Nolan and so-called ‘popular opinion’, and you, in your ivory tower, cannot see that nothing this fine club and its fans do will ever stop these people sniping at us or finding fault in every little thing connected with us. You lied when you said a 3-word banner would get us points deducted. You condemn all of our fans for the actions of a tiny minority who were doubtless provoked, then impose yet more draconian measures on a support already the most controlled in Ireland. You lied that these fans were hangers-on; their faces are well-known as loyal Bluemen.

Your agenda is now clear for all Linfield fans to see: to create a sanitized Stepford Supporters base who you can take anywhere, won’t say boo to a goose, won’t offend anyone in any way, and who you can control.

Well I, along with many others, have had enough. You’re out of your depth, Mr. Chairman. You cannot deal with the media at all, and are just a pandering apologetic puppet. You hang loyal fundraisers for the club out to dry after a smidgen of uninformed criticism from a radio shock jock, without even going on to defend the club’s name. You’re so out of touch with the feelings of supporters, it’s unreal. See the reaction of supporters at the recent Newry and Glentoran matches, belting out ‘Hatchets and Hammers’ almost to a man in defiance of your ‘no longer welcome’ policy, based on cowardice. Now it is your wish that supporters should only travel on Linfield FC-approved buses, with no alcohol and presumably no noise, very much in line with the current ridiculous restrictions still in place if we wish to go to Solitude. I will not be dictated to in this way. I have never committed an offence within or immediately outside a football ground in my life, and I will not be treated like scum BY MY OWN CLUB because you’re scared of our precious public image.

Enough is enough, Mr. Chairman. If you’re not prepared to defend your club or stand up for your members or supporters, 99.6% of whom behaved impeccably last night and had a great time, then do the honourable thing and resign.

St. Pat's Athletic 2 Linfield 0

Setanta Cup, Richmond Park, Tuesday 15th April 2008

Team: Mannus, Douglas, McShane (O'Kane 68), Gault, Murphy, McAreavy, Dickson, Mulgrew, Downey (Curran 71), Stewart (Kearney 63), Thompson

Attendance: approx 1600 (ca. 800 Linfield fans)

A great day out ruined by a woeful Linfield performance.

Men against boys. Any team with pace will trouble us greatly, I lost count of the number of times they tore us a new arsehole, driving holes the size of Jim Kerr's mouth through our defence.

DJ's substitutions are reactionary, knee-jerk, and becoming of a petulant under-12s manager. You just know that one mistake from Stewart, or Downey, in the second half, and he'll haul them off. Stewart's treatment, as a NI under-21 striker, is nothing short of a disgrace.

Tired legs or not, we were second to every ball, were bereft of ideas, resorting to hoofball up to Thompson, who sometimes managed to flick it on to, err, nobody.

I'll ask it again, what is the point of Curran?

McShane should never play in a Blue shirt again, he's done.

Downey and Maccers, too fat and unfit. Downey is one ballgreedy moany so-and-so.

We have one big fucking team rebuilding job in store over the summer. I can see 7 or 8 leaving in the summer.

Thank goodness for Tino.

Oh, and well done Pat's, played us off the park. What a second goal.

Lots of photos from a new source here.

Highlights here: