Belfast Telegraph

Flaking and faded David Healy murals need a fresh lick of paint as football hero retires

by AMANDA FERGUSON

A fresh lick of paint is badly needed on a series of murals of Northern Ireland international legend David Healy.

The flaking tributes were under the spotlight as the football star announced the end of his playing career.

Now the Irish Football Association has revealed it is set to honour him at the next Uefa Euro 2016 qualifying match at Windsor Park in Belfast.

The IFA says it will be making a more "permanent" tribute to the star – raising speculation of a stand being named after him or the erection of a statue.

But the artwork tributes of him at Windsor Park and Carnforth Street in east Belfast could do with an overhaul to reflect this latest milestone in his sporting life and to pay tribute to the man.

The mural depicting his famous 2005 goal against England is looking more than a little worse for wear, with paint flaking off it, obscuring his face.

Healy scored 36 goals in 95 appearances for Northern Ireland in a career spanning 11 clubs, including Manchester United, Preston, Leeds United, Fulham, Sunderland and Glasgow Rangers, but it is for his impact when playing for Northern Ireland that he will be best remembered.

During the Uefa Euro 2008 qualifying campaign Healy scored 13 goals, becoming the top goal scorer in the history of the qualifying tournament.

A spokesman for the IFA said it is fitting that his Northern Ireland career will be marked at a Uefa Euro 2016 qualifying match in Belfast.

Chair of the Assembly's Culture Arts and Leisure committee Michelle McIlveen also paid tribute to the footballer.

The DUP MLA said: "David Healy has undoubtedly secured his position amongst the greats of Northern Ireland football.

"Since his scoring debut against Luxembourg in 2000 and during each one of his 95 senior caps, David always demonstrated the kind of pride and passion that fans want to see from those representing their country.

"It is fitting that the Irish FA have announced their plans to honour David and his fantastic record at the next Euro 2016 competitive home match at Windsor Park.

"I know that he can expect a fantastic reception from all the fans at that game. Everyone will remember the goals David scored during the Euro 2008 qualifying campaign, including the famous matches against England and Spain," she said.

"Every Northern Ireland fan will thank David for the great memories of his time representing our country and will wish him well for his future career."

Belfast Telegraph

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