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Season Ticket 2017-2018
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    Northern Ireland OWC

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  1. Bosnia. And Herzegovina too. What are they like?

    According to the IFA website: "Both the East and North stands at the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park are sold out for the UEFA Nations League opener against Bosnia & Herzegovina next month. And only a limited number of tickets are still available for the two other stands in the ground, the South and West stands" https://www.irishfa.com/news/2018/august/two-stands-sold-out-for-bosnia-herzegovina-match Yet when I went to look for (£50) tickets for a mate in the North Stand Upper, it offered me one, but not two.
  2. Israel (H) friendly - Sept 11

    What is often overlooked is that the catalyst for the suspension of home games in NI after 1971 was not The Troubles generally, but specifically an IRA threat to Scotland/Scottish FA if they came to Belfast for our sole home game of the British Championship of 1971/72. Meanwhile, 1971 was also the year that the IRA issued a death threat to George Best: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/football/2018/02/10/day-ira-threatened-shoot-george-best/ And it wasn't just football which suffered from the IRA's threat of violence. The following year (1972) Mary Peters received a death threat purporting to come from the IRA, stating that as a "Protestant who competed for Britain" at the Olympics, she would be shot if she came back to Belfast: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/othersports/article-2891795/Hail-Dame-Mary-Peters-Queen-Belfast-defied-bombers-picks-prestigious-New-Year-s-honour.html Meanwhile, Rugby got the same treatment from the Provos as well that year, with both Scotland and Wales intimidated from playing in Dublin: http://en.espn.co.uk/england/rugby/story/159995.html And, of course, a decade later the threats against Barry "The Brit" McGuigan were so bad that the police issued him with a gun and also allocated him an armed bodyguard for his personal protection for a period: https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/barry-mcguigan-the-police-gave-me-a-gun-131630 None of which is ever mentioned when we get our periodic abuse for some toerag having threatened Neil Lennon etc, often from the self-same SF/IRA thugs who were threatening those sports stars previously.
  3. Israel (H) friendly - Sept 11

    So Argentina have decided not to play Israel because they don't like the (elected) government in power over there? Hmmmm. They're lucky other countries didn't take that stand in 1978, when the World Cup was held in their country, what with the place being ruled by a military dictatorship which had seized power from the elected government two years earlier, and proceeded to prosecute the "Dirty War" against its own people, during which an estimated 30,000 people disappeared.
  4. Israel (H) friendly - Sept 11

    Argentina have caved into pressure demanding that they cancel their forthcoming friendly in Israel: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-44378669 Pretty shameful, really (though the Israeli FA didn't help them - or themselves - by switching it from Haifa to Jerusalem, allegedly after being paid to do so by the Israeli Government)
  5. Bosnia. And Herzegovina too. What are they like?

    Agree - In the end, it's not the system, but how you use it which counts most, esp insofar as it suits the players available to you. In which case we can all trust Michael to sort it!
  6. Bosnia. And Herzegovina too. What are they like?

    If you're playing 3 at the back, both your Wing Backs can get forward without worrying overly much about defensive duties etc, esp if their three CB's push up with a high line. And remember too that teams playing three at the back don't mind pushing attacking opposition players out wide, since they can't score from there and if/when they cross it into the middle, you have 3 CB's available to head it out or clear. Meanwhile, opponents who try to negate that by using inverted wingers, find that they're turning into a crowded central midfield, which will always have at least one holding/defensive midfielder, and often two.
  7. Bosnia. And Herzegovina too. What are they like?

    He was born in the same year as Michael O'Neill! (Few months earlier) I suspect "lifestyle choices" may have something to do with it - seems he's long been a 40-a-day smoker, even when playing eg for Pompey. According to Peter Crouch: "He'd smoke before the game, at half-time in the showers and after the game as well. Red Marlboros, too. The real heavy stuff." And it wasn't just the fags, either: "If there was no booze(?), I would be the best in the world," said Robert Prosineck, who, in addition to his favorite Zagorje cocktail, was a great acquaintance of Marlboro and whiskey. That's why he later had serious health problems, but he said he did not drink in the last few years. The cigarette was still there, but the doctors did not forbid it. Let's hope no-one introduces him to the pleasures of Buckfast when he comes to Belfast.
  8. Bosnia. And Herzegovina too. What are they like?

    Fair enough, here ya go: Sorry, you meant this one?
  9. Bosnia. And Herzegovina too. What are they like?

    Interesting analysis of the current/February state of the BiH National Team: http://futbolgrad.com/prosinecki-introducing-new-bosnia-heroes/ Three things stood out for me. 1. Like ourselves, they've lost, or will soon be losing, a few important veterans after their failed 2018 WC qualification campaign; 2. Prosinecki seems to favour a 4-2-3-1 formation, with Edin Djeko as the obvious spearhead up front. If so, I wonder whether Michael will play three at the back against them, since that formation best suits countering a team which has two* up front, not one; 3. Re Buckfast Kid's above query, it seems that BiH may no longer be able to rely on the the children/grandchildren of their huge expatriate population opting to represent their ancestral homeland, as before. However this may be made up by increasing numbers of locally-born Bosnian Serbs and Croats choosing to represent BiH, rather than their ethnic homelands. * - Three CB's vs two strikers means you can man-mark both of them and have one left over to cover. Whereas three vs one means there's one marking and one covering CB, with the third one redundant.
  10. Bosnia. And Herzegovina too. What are they like?

    Funny enough, I think it is a bit like our situation. As the FIFA/UEFA recognised successor to Yugoslavia, I think anyone born when* Yugoslavia existed can still represent Serbia. Therefore those who are now from Rep.Srpska can play for Serbia, like eg players from the old USSR playing for Russia (see eg Lithuanian/Ukrainian Alexei Kanshelskis). However, it may be that not many do/have, either because they are happy to play for BiH, and/or because they're not good enough to get regular starts for Serbia (bigger playing pool): https://www.quora.com/Are-sportspeople-from-Republika-Srpska-more-likely-to-represent-Serbia-than-Bosnia-Herzegovina Beyond that, Rep.Srpska do have a "national" team, which is kinda tolerated, but not fully recognised, by FIFA/UEFA, in a similar way to the Catalan team(?): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Republika_Srpska_official_football_team Interestingly, that link suggests that the domestic Rep.Srpska club League failed to get off the ground, and has become a part of the BiH set-up. Anyhow, whatever the ins-and-outs of the Balkans conflict etc, I retain a soft spot for the old Yugoslavia team, since they were the first international team to play in Belfast after a four year break due to The Troubles in the mid-70's: http://www.wsc.co.uk/the-archive/968-More-than-a-match/3737-northern-ireland-1-yugoslavia-0 https://www.11v11.com/matches/northern-ireland-v-yugoslavia-16-april-1975-233174/ * - I don't know, but I suspect that anyone born in one of the new states after the break-up of Yugoslavia will not automatically be entitled to represent Serbia, but should still be able to do so via a parent or grandparent who was born in Yugoslavia? Which if true, would mean that that "loophole" will effectively be closed in another generation, meaning if you are then born eg in BiH post-breakup, that's who you will represent, unless you have a parent or grandparent who was born in Serbia or Croatia etc. In that respect, it will be different from ROI, who will go on being able to pick NI-born players until there are further constitutional changes, such as Jimmy Carr suggests: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kKwZM8TDEa0
  11. Austrian National Team

    Austria beat a handy enough-looking German side 2-1 tonight, having been 1-0 down at H-T: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/44034290 "It ensured Austria their first win over Germany in 32 years and maintained Franco Foda's 100% record since becoming their coach last November."
  12. Bosnia. And Herzegovina too. What are they like?

    Well, Bosnia-Herzetc seem to have found their shooting boots at last (or Edin Visca at least). They've just beaten South Korea 3-1 in Korea, with a Visca hattrick: Match Stats Video of goals here: And dunno if I/anyone has mentioned it before, but the Bosnia manager is Robert Prosinecki, whose last job was managing Azerbaijan in their WC campaign, when we beat them home and away. Meanwhile, it's a while since we've had a pic of Eva Bosnia-Herzigova, so here goes: (She's now eligible for the "Good Life" thread, btw)
  13. Austrian National Team

    Handy for a rainy day:
  14. Austrian National Team

    Austria, who are one place above NI in the FIFA Rankings, beat Russia 1-0 yesterday in a home friendly: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/44301809 Russia, who are shaping up to be the worst World Cup hosts ever, didn't have a single shot on target. Next up for Austria is the visit of their German neighbours on Saturday. Let's hope they remember this time to go back home after the game.
  15. Bosnia. And Herzegovina too. What are they like?

    Bosnia and Herzegovina have just drawn 0-0 with Montenegro in a friendly, held in the 17.5k capacity Stadion Bilino Polje (Zenica): http://www.espn.com/soccer/match?gameId=508566 By the look of things, it may not have been the most exciting game the crowd of 5,215 have ever seen. Meanwhile, their previous four games this year (all friendlies) were: 27 Mar Senegal 0 v 0 BIH 23 Mar Bulgaria 0 v 1 BIH 01 Feb Mexico 1 v 0 BIH 29 Jan USA 0 v 0 BIH