Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 12 July 2014

New Jersey's Giants Stadium, scene of Ray Houghton goal, to be flattened

The Giants Stadium is being flattened

The Giants Stadium in New Jersey, scene of one of Irish football’s finest hours - Ray Houghton's World Cup goal against Italy, is being demolished.

Wrecking crews arrived yesterday to start tearing down the huge arena, which housed the Republic of Ireland’s epic 1-0 win over eventual finalists Italy in the 1994 FIFA World Cup.

Midfielder Ray Houghton scored the goal which humbled the highly-fancied Italians and sent legendary manager Jack Charlton and nearly 60,000 Irish fans into raptures.

Many supporters had travelled to New York without tickets — but blagged them from over-confident Azzurri fans in Manhattan’s little Italy area.

The team’s celebrations were, however, cut short as news of the UVF massacre of pubgoers in Loughinisland, Co Down, started filtering through to players shortly after the match.

The imposing Giants Stadium, which has a capacity of just over 80,000, was home to both the New York Jets and Giants gridiron football teams.

Built just 33 years ago, it is situated across the Hudson River in East Rutherford, some 14 miles outside Manhattan.

On a clear day, tourists could see it from the top of the ill-fated Twin Towers.

The doomed stadium, home to three successful NY Giants Super Bowl championship runs, currently sits alongside its state-of-the-art replacement.

By the time the 82,500-capacity Meadowlands Stadium — the second largest NFL venue in the United States — opens on April 10, its predecessor will have been levelled into a huge car park.

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