Belfast Telegraph

No more cheers on Windsor's South Stand as a Northern Ireland football landmark is torn down

By Staff Reporter

A century after the first cheers went up from Windsor Park's South Stand, excavators have moved in to start demolition work.

Senior Irish Football Association and Linfield FC officials looked on as a section of cladding was pulled away to prepare the next stage of the £35m stadium redevelopment.

Contracts manager Cathal O'Hare, of Co Down construction company O'Hare & McGovern, said it was one of the most famous stands in Belfast but it would make way for "a world class facility."

"The old stand will undoubtedly hold many, many great memories, especially for those fans who were in their seats in 1982 and 1986 when Northern Ireland qualified for the World Cup," he said.

"And of course, who will ever forget the night David Healy's goal defeated England when the place shook to its foundations.

"I suppose it's sad to witness a piece of soccer history vanish from the city skyline. However this stand has clearly had its day. It was built and developed in the 1900s, but the new state-of-the-art stadium will meet the needs of the 21st century. It is going to look amazing and will be a key factor in the regeneration of this particular part of south Belfast.

The first part of the stand was erected in 1909 – four years after Linfield played their first match at Windsor Park. Further sections were added including a stand purchased from the then Royal Ulster Agriculture grounds at Balmoral.

It is expected to take eight weeks to complete the demolition of the South Stand.

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