Chasing Archie (Linfield)

Any football ground enthusiast worth their salt cannot have failed to have heard of stadium architect Archibald Leitch. A legendary name responsible for the design of thirty stadiums in the United Kingdom, Dalymount Park in Dublin and a plethora of small commissions and design accreditations. Working prolifically between 1899 and 1935 his architecture and design styles became as seminal as they were readily identifiable. Scaled according to budget available they would involve a sizeable main stand, usually with the trademark Leitch roof gable and finial, and substantial terracing with the patented crush barriers, a lesson gleaned growing up in Glasgow and witnessing huge crowds at the Victorian grounds of Rangers, Celtic and Queen’s Park.

Sadly such is the clamour for modernity that many of his grounds have either gone (Ayresome Park, Roker Park, The Den, and Leeds Road) or have been substantially altered. Thankfully some of his iconic work remains in service and looking as stunning as ever, notably at Rangers, Hearts, Everton and Fulham. Having finally chalked off Tynecastle a couple of years ago the last remaining Leitch ground eluding me was Windsor Park, Belfast home of “The Blues”, Linfield, 51 times champions of Northern Ireland. On hearing that the South Stand at Windsor, a 1930 Leitch attributation, was due for demolition and replacement in October of this year a long overdue visit became absolutely essential.

As luck would have it a long weekend in Belfast meant I could take in a game on Friday night and then attend the “Big Two” derby with Linfield’s arch rivals Glentoran on the Saturday. The Blues have played at Windsor Park, originally called Bog Meadows, since 1904 having previously played at a field behind the Ulster Spinning Company’s Linfield Mill close to where the club was formed in 1886 in Sandy Row. Three years after formation the Blues moved to a ground in Ulsterville Avenue before the move to South Belfast and a then modest field just off Lower Windsor Avenue. The club’s first opponents at the new Windsor Park ground in September 1905 were, ironically, current nemesis Glentoran. Linfield’s traditional major rival was Belfast Celtic who folded in 1949, so now it is the Glens from East Belfast that makes up the “Big Two” mantle.

Linfield’s contribution to Northern Irish football is unquestioned, easily the most trophies won of any club and some of their past players are a veritable who’s who of Irish football. Tommy Dickson, Elisha Scott and Joe Bambrick are just a few of Windsor’s glittering alumni. The ground and surrounding areas drips in history, wall murals are everywhere commemorating the achievements of both the club and country, the image of George Best on the railway bridge wall is stunning. The ground is at a crossroads, two relatively modern stands, the Leitch masterpiece, and the railway end which currently has temporary uncovered seating. The proposed redevelopment of Windsor Park has not been without controversy. The £29.2 million project would see new South and East stands and refurbishment of the more modern North and West stands. The controversy centred on the funding of the project, all but £4 million coming from the government. A rival club, later named as Crusaders, applied for a judicial review of the funding citing European Union competition laws and State aid laws as a valid reason. The men from Seaview claimed the funding represented a massive advantage being handed to Linfield. Fact of the matter is the national team need a more modern facility to progress and while the Leitch stand has the iconic trademark touches it is well and truly in its dotage years. The substantial terracing in front of the stand is cordoned off and some sections of it are in poor condition.

The match is eagerly awaited, Linfield are, unbelievably, bottom of the formative 2013/14 league table. Seemingly suffering from a malaise since last March, their run in to the end of last season was little short of wretched. The Glensmen on the other had have been beset by financial woes. They have been shorn of some key players due to budget cuts, notably Jamie Mulgrew, Andrew Waterworth and Sean Ward have swapped Green shirts for Blue in recent times. Ward in particular is singled out for a hard time from the massed ranks of Glens fans in the upper section of the North stand.

Tackles rain in and goalscoring chances are few and far between. The home crowd get restless, manager David Jeffrey is a man under pressure. His task is not helped half an hour in when Aaron Burns is shown a straight red card. He protests his innocence, while markedly his team mates do not harangue the referee. I am unsure what caused the dismissal, a voice behind me offers helpfully that “he gubbed him so he did”. The Blues have a mountain to climb but stick to their task manfully and arguably have the better of the chances. Yellow cards come thick and fast, all justified under the current interpretation of the tackling laws, and there is no real surprise when numerical parity is restored when the visitors’ Jason Hill makes a second injudicious tackle having been carded only ten minutes previously.

The sides pummel each other searching for a goal. Late on it looks like young left back Niall Quinn was going to be the local hero bursting clean through but his left footed drive produces a wonder save from Elliott Morris on his 501st appearance for the Glens. The match ends goalless which means Linfield remain rooted to the foot of the table but they can take solace from their tremendous performance with ten men for an hour of the match.

The modern Windsor Park promises to be substantially different to the way the ground looks today. I loved my visit to Windsor Park, a real football ground, a living, breathing monument to social and sporting history. It is also with no little sadness that my days of “Chasing Archie” are at an end.

Danske Bank Premiership – Saturday August 31st 2013 (15.00 pm)

Linfield (0)0 Glentoran (0)0

Attendance: 4,000 (approx, yet to be confirmed)

Linfield:

33. Jonathan Tuffey; 12. Billy Joe Burns; 31. Niall Quinn; 3. Kyle McVey; 15. Sean Ward; 4. Michael Gault (c); 22. Jamie Mulgrew; 10. Michael Carvill; 14. Aaron Burns; 18. Matthew Tipton; 25. Mark McAllister.

Subs:

9. Peter Thompson (for 18, 70 mins); 16. Matthew Clarke; 17. James Knowles; 21. Jim Ervin (for 12, 78 mins); 24. Brian McCaul.

Glentoran:

1. Elliott Morris (c); 2. Ryan O’Neill; 15. Jason Hill; 17. Jimmy Callacher; 22. Calum Birney; 14. Niall Henderson; 12, Mark Clarke; 16. Stpehen McAlorum; 3. Marcus Kane; 19. Jonathan Addis; 20. Jim O’Hanlon.

Subs:

4. Richard Clark (for 12, 46 mins); 6. Jay Magee; 8. David Howland (for 14, 59 mins); 11. Jordan Hughes; 29. Jordan Stewart (for 20, 66 mins)

Red Cards: A.Burns (Linfield – violent conduct), Hill (Glentoran – 2nd yellow)

Yellow Cards: Ward, Gault, McAllister (Linfield); Morris, O’Neill, Hill, Henderson, M.Clarke, McAlorum (Glentoran)

Gallery

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Southend United – Penalty Shoot Out Dramas

Southend United’s dramatic penalty shoot out win against Oxford United in the semi-final of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy was the club’s eighth shoot out in cup competitions over the years. The 5-3 win on spot kicks at the Kassam Stadium means the club has now won four and lost four in the dreaded shoot outs.

January 8th 2013

Johnstone’s Paint Trophy – Area Semi-Final

Oxford United 3 Southend United 3 (Corr 2, Clohessy)

Att: 2,882

Oxford 08-01-2013

Team: Paul Smith, Sean Clohessy, Chris Barker, Mark Phillips, Ryan Cresswell, Kevan Hurst, Alex Woodyard, Michael Timlin, Anthony Straker, Barry Corr and Gavin Tomlin.

Subs: Daniel Bentley (for Smith); Elliot Benyon (for Corr), Luke Prosser (for Woodyard), David Martin and Ryan Leonard.

WON 5-3 on penalties.

Sturrock dramatically substituted Paul Smith in injury time for Daniel Bentley following the youngster heroics in the shoot out with Bury in the FA Cup.

Tomlin, Clohessy, Hurst and Timlin all scored for Southend as did Rigg, Craddock and Davis for Oxford. Bentley then saved Oxford’s fourth penalty from Alfie Potter, allowing Elliot Benyon to score the decisive spot kick.

December 11th 2012

FA Cup 2nd Round Replay

Southend United 1 (Tomlin) Bury 1

Attendance: 3,034

Bury 11-12-13

Team: Daniel Bentley, Sean Clohessy, Chris Barker, Luke Prosser, Ryan Cresswell, Kevan Hurst, Marc Laird, Michael Timlin, David Martin, Barry Corr and Gavin Tomlin.

Subs: Freddy Eastwood (for Martin), Elliot Benyon (for Corr), Alex Woodyard, Graham Coughlan, John Spicer, Alex Woodyard and Ted Smith.

WON 3-2 on penalties

Schumacher and Doherty scored Bury’s first two before Worrall, Hewitt and Hughes all missed for the visitors, Hewitt blazing wide while Bentley saved from Worrall and Hughes.

Eastwood, Clohessy and Hurst all scored for Southend while Gavin Tomlin’s chipped penalty, saved by Trevor Carson proved to be academic.

August 8th 2011

Carling League Cup 1st Round

Southend United 1 (Phillips) Leyton Orient 1

Att: 4,847

Orient 09-08-2011

Team: Glenn Morris, Sean Clohessy, Luke Prosser, Mark Phillips, Graham Coughlan, Ryan Hall, JP Kalala, Kane Ferdinand, Jemal Johnson, Liam Dickinson and Neil Harris.

Subs: Anthony Grant (for Ferdinand); Lee Sawyer (for Johnson); Bilel Mohsni (for Phillips); Harry Crawford; Peter Gilbert; Allasane N’Diaye and Daniel Bentley.

LOST 3-4 on penalties

Southend: Dickinson (saved), Harris, Clohessy (both scored), Kalala saved
Hall scored.

Leyton Orient: Omozusi, Daniels, Chorley (all scored), Richardson saved
Cureton scored.

November 16th 2010

FA Cup 1st Round Replay

Southend United 2 (Simpson, Orr) MacclesfieldTown 2

Att: 2,194

Macclesfield 16-11-2010

Team: Glenn Morris, Sean Clohessy, Peter Gilbert, Bilel Mohsni, Luke Prosser, Josh Simpson, Anthony Grant, Craig Easton, Sofiene Zaaboub, Jack Midson and Barry Corr.

Subs: Antonio German (for Prosser); Blair Sturrock (for Midson); Ryan Hall (for Zaaboub); Louis Soares; Graham Coughlan; Lyle Della Verde and Rhys Evans.

LOST 3-5 on penalties

Chalmers, Barnett, Bencheriff, Reid, Brown all scored their penalties for Macclesfield. German netted our first, Corr blazed over, then Clohessy and Hall both scored their spot kicks.

August 31st 2010

Johnstone’s Paint Trophy 1st Round

Southend 0 Gillingham 0

Att:3,073

Gillingham 31-08-2010

Team: Rhys Evans, Josh Simpson, Peter Gilbert, Chris Barker, Bilel Mohsni, Adam Bouzid, Anthony Grant, Craig Easton, Ryan Hall, Blair Sturrock and Barry Corr.

Subs: Louis Soares (for Bouzid); Sofiene Zaaboub (for Hall); Matt Paterson (for Corr), Graham Coughlin and Glenn Morris.

WON 4-3 on penalties

Gillingham: S. Payne (saved); McCammon, Nutter, Maher (all scored), Spiller (over), J.Payne (saved).

Southend: Soares (scored), Easton (saved), Barker, Paterson (both scored), Grant (saved), Sturrock (scored)

September 4th 2007

LDV Trophy 1st Round

Southend United 2 (Foran, McCormack) Dagenham & Redbridge 2

Att:5,215

Dagenham 04-09-2007

Team: Steve Collis, Lewis Hunt, Adam Barrett, Peter Clarke, Garry Richards, Ritchie Foran, Nicky Bailey, Alan McCormack, Tommy Black, Matt Harrold and Eric Odiahambo.

Subs: Gary Hooper (for Odiahambo); Charlie McDonald (f0r Harrold); Franck Moussa; Simon Francis and Daryl Flahavan.

LOST 6-7 on penalties

Southend: Foran, Bailey, Hooper, MacDonald, McCormack (missed), Clarke, Black & Hunt (saved).

D&R: Rainford, Southam(both scored), Sloma (saved), Saunders, Moore, Okuonghae, Smith, Huke (all scored)

September 29th 2004

LDV Trophy 1st Round

Colchester United 1 Southend United 1 (Bramble)

Sent off: Bentley (Southend)

Att:3,469

Colchester 29-09-2004

Team: Daryl Flahavan, Duncan Jupp, Che Wilson, Andy Edwards, Adam Barrett, Mark Gower, Mark Bentley, Kevin Maher, Carl Pettefer, Tes Bramble and Wayne Gray.

Subs: Drewe Broughton (for Bramble); Lewis Hunt (for Jupp); Jim Corbett (for Gower); Michael Kightly and Nicky Nicolau.

WON 5-3 on penalties.

Gray, Hunt, Maher, Broughton and Corbett scored all five penalties for Southend.

For Colchester Keith, Watson, Danns (all scored), Brown (missed)

February 15th 1994

Anglo-Italian Cup semi-final

Notts County 1 Southend United 0 (1-1 on aggregate)

Att:5,485

Notts Co 15-02-94

Team: Paul Sansome, Garry Poole, Chris Powell, Phil Gridelet, Andy Edwards, Graham Bressington, Jonathan Hunt, Derek Payne, Gary Jones, Ricky Otto and Jason Lee.

Subs: Tommy Mooney (for Jones), Andy Sussex (for Payne) and Simon Royce.

LOST 3-4 on penalties

NottsCounty:
Phil Turner, Gary Lund, Andy Legg , Mark Draper (all scored), Meindert Dijkstra (saved)

Southend:
Gary Poole (saved), Andy Sussex, Tommy Mooney, Jonathan Hunt (all scored) Graham Bressington (missed)
 
Graham Bressington missing the vital spot kick for Southend. NottsCounty progressed to the Wembley final which they lost to Brescia.