The Greatest Ever?


It’s a question that will raise all sorts of debates and arguments but Lionel Messi has become Barcelona’s all-time leading goal scorer with 234 goals … at the age of 24 … but is he the best player of all time?

There’s an argument that it’s impossible to compare him to the likes of Pelé, Cruyff, Maradona and Best because football has changed so much with the professional era, but regardless of era, his tally of goals is still staggering, averaging 2.8 goals per game.

He has won every domestic honour possible with Barcelona, who are close to being the greatest club side of all time, but he is still missing a World Cup winners medal with his beloved Argentina.

Can he really be classed as the greatest when he hasn’t achieved the greatest honour in the game?


So Long Rafa


After six years at the helm of what can truly be described as a roller coaster ride … Rafa Benitez and Liverpool have parted company by “mutual consent” which roughly equates to a £6 million settlement if you believe the Sky Sports reports.

I’ve supported Liverpool all my life and have gone through the epic highs of Istanbul in 2005 and the lows of the last season especially, always backing the manager … but even at that I think this was the right choice to let Rafa go.  He had done all he could with the team and wasn’t receiving any backing from the club’s owners so they decided to pay him off and let him go …

“I have no words to thank you enough for all these years and I am very proud to say that I was your manager.  Thank you so much once more and always remember: You’ll never walk alone.

– Rafa Benitez –

Now one question is who do we replace him with … Martin O’Neill? Roy Hodgson? Kenny Dalglish?  I think a more important question on a lot of supporters minds is are we going to have a team with Torres, Gerrard and Mascherano by the start of the 2011 season?


2009 – The Best Bits (Pt. i)

The Christmas music has officially started playing in work so it must mean it’s almost December and therefore almost another year over. Looking back on 2009 I thought I’d pick out some of the moments, times, places and people that have stood out for me this year … enjoy …

Liverpool vs. Everton

Having not had the chance to get over to Anfield for a couple of seasons, I jumped at the chance when a friend got two tickets for the FA Cup 4th Round game against Everton. I’d never been to a derby game but the atmosphere was unreal … the seats were as close to the pitch as you could get and the result … well it ended 1-1 which we lost in the replay but … I did see my first goal scored at Anfield and by none other than captain fantastic himself, Steven Gerrard.


I didn’t get to many gigs as I usually would during the year but the ones I got to were immense! It kicked off in March with Snow Patrol in the Odyssey having just launched their “One Hundred Million Suns” album and they rattled through a huge set-list to a pulsating hometown crowd.

A few weeks later I had planned to join a mate in seeing Foy Vance in concert but he (my mate Andy, not Foy) got stuck in Dublin and didn’t make the gig so this was a strange one where I was on my own but completely overwhelmed by Foy’s talent and especially his voice! The highlight of the night was his rendition of “Never Let the Spirit Die” … awesome!

FUEL 2009 was a new experience for me this year and although I didn’t make the whole festival I did manage to get up for the Saturday evening’s programme which included Kevin Max, Robbie Seay Band and Downhere. It was amazing to see such an event be put on in Ballymena and broadcast to the world literally! Already looking forward to Fuel 2010!


Edinburgh is without doubt my favourite city and one I never get tired visiting. There’s something about it that’s different but I don’t quite know what … a certain je ne sais quoi I guess. We headed over for a long-weekend in May and I loved the time off work and getting to spend some quality time with Jen. I think I’m also correct in saying that this is where the proposal rumours began to circulate!

Next Football Tournament

In June I headed over to Birmingham for a football tournament held by Next in aid of Cancer Research. The event organiser, Kenny, arranged for him and his team from Cambridge to meet up wth us the evening before the tournament and we had a bit of banter around a few of the local city centre pubs and clubs … the getting to bed in the very early hours probably didn’t help our performance the next day!

The six of us thought we had a pretty good chance of winning this tournament but after the first match and a 6-1 drubbing we realised it was more about the taking part! We also managed to end up in the same group as a team from Cork so local and national rivalry was stirred up during the group stages. Overall the tournament raised just over £9000 for Cancer Research which I think you’ll agree was a fantastic achievement.


Me & Jen like a good road-trip … actually that’s an understatement .. we love them! I now have a small library of leaflets from all corners of the province in my glove-box just in case we feel like doing something in the spur of the moment.

Places covered this year have included Belfast Zoo, Portmuck, Scrabo Tower, Portstewart, Crawfordsburn, Whitehead, Brown’s Bay, Stormont, Ulster Folk Museum, Castle Espie, Giant’s Causeway, Carnfunock, Castleward and the newly opened Ulster Museum. There’s probably more that I’ve forgotten but you get the picture!

Stay tuned, part (ii) will follow …

Finally A Goal …

I was lucky enough to get across to Liverpool at the weekend for the FA Cup match between the Reds and Everton.  The match ended 1-1 so finally I got to see a goal at Anfield!  It was a perfect day for football and the atmosphere was buzzing from before kickoff and all the way to (and even after) the final whistle, as you would expect in such a big derby game … not a perfect result but hopefully we’ll do them over in the replay!


I Belong To Jesus …

With all the transfer talk currently surrounding the collapsed move of Brazilian play-maker Kaka to Man City, I was surprised to read an article in one of today’s national newspapers, not concerning the insane amount of money involved or the war of words between the club’s owners … but about religion.

Kaka is world-reknowned for his Christian faith and the fact that he donates 10% of his AC Milan wage to his home church in Sao Paulo, but despite the vast wealth his career has afforded him, Kaka has always been wary of the power of money. He once said

“Money can change everything. If you put your money before everything else, you ruin it.”

A humbling thought in times of a credit crunch and recession …


Graduation, Christmas, New Year & A Really Long Post …

So Christmas has been and gone and we’re fresh into a New Year … and I’m finally back online after a fortnight without Internet access! It’s amazing how useless your laptop becomes without Internet access but I managed …… just about!

So just before Christmas, Jena graduated from her Masters course in Animal Welfare and Behaviour (I think that’s the right title!) … so the suit got dusted off for another outing which turned out to be a really good day and one that made me very proud of her!

Christmas was the usual drill in the Kelly household … I was working until seven on Christmas Eve so by the time I got home the turkey was half cooked and the kitchen looked like a branch of Tesco had exploded over it with so many different types of food in so many different types of kitchenware … pans, dishes, bowls etc etc etc!

Christmas Day again had a familiar itinerary to it … up late;  church;  back home;   open presents;  Christmas dinner;  vegetate!

Christmas Day drew to a close with the usual tea at granny’s house and then a visit to Jena’s house … where I had to collect my presents since we’d been working up until Christmas Eve.  I arrived home eager to open and play with my new Nikon digital camera and ripped open the wrapping and box to find … no camera … they had sold us the box for the display camera!  Luckily we managed to get the money back so hopefully I’ll be getting my Christmas present soon! :p

Boxing Day means one thing … BB Officers vs. Senior Boys football match … the one every boy wants to play in so they can kick lumps out of the officers!  Unfortunately this year’s result went the way of the boys by five goals to two so a rethink is needed for the officers before next Boxing Day!

The New Year was welcomed in between several hours of Mario Kart on the Wii at a friend’s house … so here we are a fortnight into 2009 already … a New Year and hopefully a successful one whatever your hopes are.  I tried to write down my goals for 2009 and the things I’m looking forward to this year …

  1. Find a job doing something I love
  2. Buy my own car
  3. Look forward to a summer break with Jen somewhere sunny!
  4. BB Camp in London
  5. PCI Team… hopefully back to Woodvale!