Nacho Novo Glentoran deal spices up Irish League... now Novo and other big signings must shine
Nacho Novo's stunning move to Glentoran has got people talking.
Nacho Novo's stunning move to Glentoran has got people talking.
Belfast Telegraph Sports Editor Steven Beacom reports from Northern Ireland's Lyon training camp base. Click through the images to read each diary entry.
Steven Davis was the shining light for Northern Ireland. Words in my match report from an international at Windsor Park.
Exactly one month ago, captain Steven Davis and his international team-mates flew out of Northern Ireland for their final Euro 2016 qualifier in Finland as national heroes.
Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill is on the X-Factor this weekend. It is Simon Cowell's latest attempt to stop the slide in the show's ratings. This one might actually work as everything else O'Neill touches turns to gold at the moment.
Caolan Lavery is hoping to be Michael O'Neill's wildcard choice for the Euro 2016 finals.
Kyle Lafferty will be getting used to it by now, but that won't decrease his frustration.
Michael O'Neill is poised to join Northern Ireland managerial greats Peter Doherty and Billy Bingham by becoming only the third boss to lead the nation to the finals of a major tournament.
The joy of it all. The best kind. Unexpected. Pure. Glorious. And not just for the heroic Japanese players who sank to their knees in celebration after pulling off one of the biggest shocks in sporting history.
There was some good news about one of Northern Ireland's sporting greats this week. Planning permission was granted for a statue to be erected to commemorate Manchester United's legendary goalkeeper Harry Gregg in his home town of Coleraine.
Just when you thought you could put your big ball away for the summer and concentrate more on tennis and golf, the Premier League fixtures come out.
At Windsor Park on Saturday night, you didn't need a knife to cut the tension. A plastic spoon would have done the job.
First the bouquets... well done to the Irish FA and the construction firm O'Hare and McGovern. They were up against the clock and sprinted home to win the race.
Fast forward to one year from now. It will be June 11, 2016 and we will all be talking about having watched the opening night of the European Championship finals. Who knows, Northern Ireland may have played in the first game against hosts France. What I am certain about is that Northern Ireland will be there. Still think they won't make it? Here's 10 reasons that may change your mind.
Rafael Benitez was all emotional yesterday as he was confirmed as Real Madrid's new boss.
Xavier Hernandez Creus, or Xavi to you and me, will play his final game for his beloved Barcelona on Saturday.
So, who now? Sepp Blatter was the Fifa President for 17 long years and has finally decided to walk away. Not before time.
Rackateering, fraud and money laundering involving tens of millions of dollars.
Don't you just love Louis van Gaal? Come on, admit it, even if you aren't a Manchester United fan, there is something about him that draws you in.
Chris Brunt was brilliant against Chelsea the other night.
I received a lengthy text from Mike Nesbitt at the weekend. Interesting character... once upon a time he was the best interviewer on the box grilling politicians. Now he's the politician facing the tough questions.
Back in the 1980s they used to say that when a player left Liverpool the only way was down. They were right.
Sometimes in life you just get lucky. Ever wanted to watch a movie with Al Pacino sitting beside you?
The phone just wouldn't stop ringing. Every time I picked up a call, a football fan, wrought with emotion, was on the line. They wanted to express their feelings of disgust, disappointment and despair.
The service was as respectful, emotional and heartfelt as ever at Anfield yesterday. Thousands of fans, Liverpool players and officials gathered to join the bereaved families to remember The 96.
By now I reckon just about everyone on the planet knows that Rory McIlroy will complete golf's Major Grand Slam if he wins the Masters tournament.
Louis van Gaal's Manchester United misery goes on. In a season in which they have been booed by their own fans for negative football and humiliated in the Capital One Cup by a League One outfit, the Red Devils are now out of the FA Cup and the Dutchman is increasingly looking out of his depth.
It may be the greatest show on earth, but the Irish Football Association are right to want nothing to do with the Olympics. Be that in Rio 2016, Tokyo 2020 or wherever the Games go after that.
Warren Feeney is an up and at 'em type of character.
Neil Lennon was on a roll. It was Boxing Day and his Bolton Wanderers side had just beaten Blackburn Rovers 2-1 in the Championship.
Back in the bad old days when they were tumbling down English football's pyramid Manchester City fans clutched at a lot of straws.
Manchester City and the Champions League. It's a relationship that has failed miserably so far.
Harry Gregg. Football icon. Superhero. No nonsense tough guy.
It was May 2012 on the eve of the Heineken Cup final and, in the bowels of Twickenham, Joe Schmidt was holding court.
Shane Ferguson signed for Rangers on transfer deadline day. Just in case you didn't know, Shane is a Northern Ireland international. Good player. Good bloke too.
Brendan Rodgers hugged Neil Lennon when the final whistle blew. Respect between the managers.
What's the toughest thing to find in sport? Pace? Power? Drive? Inspiration? Nerve? Character under pressure? None of the above. The correct answer is Perspective and that's because where sport is concerned we all tend to get carried away with our teams, our dreams, our heroes and the moment.
Gary Lineker - Excellent goalscorer and accomplished presenter on Match of the Day, but just a bit too smarmy for my liking.
Neil Lennon vowed to bring the 'thunder' back to Parkhead after being named the Celtic boss in June 2010.
Ulster Head Coach Neil Doak fronted up. His team may have suffered their heaviest European Cup defeat ever at the weekend, but come Monday, instead of hiding away, he faced the music.
Grant McCann once left me a telephone message that was so full of fury and expletives that I thought he was auditioning for a part in The Sopranos!
There's a lot wrong with the FA Cup. For starters numerous managers not playing their strongest teams and the third round of the competition crazily taking place over FIVE days to placate television.
Main man: Ronald Koeman (Southampton): The Saints were superb at Manchester United and regardless of the one eyed rubbish spouted by Wayne Rooney post match, the visitors merited their 1-0 win. Ronald Koeman's excellent tactics outwitted old adversary Louis van Gaal.
It was one month ago that Manchester United great Gary Neville likened his old side to a pub team.
David Moyes somehow kept his emotions in check. After all the criticism and the cruel jokes at his expense following his early Manchester United exit, the Scot probably wanted to run on to the pitch, jump up and down in the centre circle and roar into a camera lens... "See... I'm NOT useless, I AM a good manager and I CAN beat big teams..."
Olympic medal winning cyclist and three-time world champion Wendy Houvenaghel has hailed the depth of talent in all aspects of Northern Ireland sport.
Danny Wilson. Remember him? Useful Northern Ireland midfielder in the late '80s and early '90s. Ended up with 24 caps. Probably should have won a few more.
Right then... final column of 2014. You know the drill. Time to look forward to the New Year and consider what sporting delights await us.
You will have your own favourite memories of the last 12 months. Here's my top 10... in chronological order.
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