2017 was another busy year for extratime.ie but which were the stories that interested our readers the most. We've run some data analysis and HAL 9000 - our super ET computer - has given us back our Top 20 most read stories of the year.
We will present them across two articles - starting with our reverse countdown from 20 to 11.
Everyone loves a good League of Ireland #greatestleagueintheworld story but here was a tale of the Irish League muscling in on the territory of it ‘that can only happen in our league’.
In late June both Linfield and Crusaders claimed to have signed the former York City player Josh Robinson. The Irish FA eventually ruled that as they’d received Robinson’s form from Linfield first – at 7.56pm compared with Crusader’s form at 10.56pm – that the player was “successfully registered with Linfield FC.”
Robinson would go on to make his Linfield debut as a sub in a 2-0 home win against Carrick Rangers in mid-August.
With plenty of headlines generated by Athlone Town this year, who would have bet on an Athlone story in our Top 20 list being about floodlights? This article from February told the tale of their delayed game with Waterford due to a temporary floodlight failure.
What could make a last minute equaliser from a goalkeeper up for a corner any better? Well how about if it is bicycle kick. Step forward UCD under 19 goalkeeper Conor Kearns. The celebrations with the goal that earned his team a draw against Cork City are worthy of such a spectacular late strike!
John Caulfied delivered a double on Leeside in 2017 but this article on Caulfield’s comments on the lack of young players coming through the ranks into his Cork City first team made our top 20 list.
For the second year running, we’ve got an article about an academic paper written about attendances in the League of Ireland in our most read list.
This article summarised the paper which posed the question ‘Is the League of Ireland under supported from a European perspective?’ The answer was no based on some mathematical modeling which was calculated using the wonderfully named Herfindahl-Hirschman index.
Starved of news in the off-season, any transfer tale can be a lightning rod for hits but a move from a First Division club to a Leinster Senior League outfit making out list is a bit of a surprise.
Maybe it is the case of one that got away that piqued people's interest with an up-and-coming player choosing to leave Shels, turning down Bohs and stepping down to the ‘amateur’ game.
it didn’t last long anyway as Robinson soon signed on at the Seaside with Bray – making Wanderers match day squad on a handful of occasions in the first half of the season.
Unsurprisingly a story involving both Linfield and Celtic and bottle of Buckfast made it into the Top 20 and it wouldn’t be the only article about this fixture to make our list of most read articles.
Throughout the season Dan Lucey’s interviews have provided some great insight into the League of Ireland. In this interview extratime.ie caught up with Brian Shelley in New Zealand where he is currently coaching.
Having won every domestic honour and sampled football life cross channel, Shelley subsequently became disheartened with League of Ireland clubs’ financial mismanagement and moved to the southern hemisphere to play and coach.
We got the reaction from Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp’s after his Liverpool’s side friendly win over Athletic Bilbao in front of 51,122 fans.
It was a full house in the Aviva compared with the time the stadium saw "42,000 morons going to watch Liverpool's reserve team" to quote Dermot Keely from 2014!
Everyone loves a Club v Country row and a manager giving out about the FAI although it is not really the kind of double they want around Tallaght.
Stephen Bradley was unhappy with the fact that his Hoops team had to fulfill a league fixture, when two of his players were called for Ireladnd under 21 duty.
We have also done our top 10 minute-by-minute match update list: