Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 25 October 2014

David Healy, Gerry Armstrong, Jurgen Klinsmann, Johan Cruyff... Windsor Park's 50 most memorable moments

When Northern Ireland play Portugal in tonight's World Cup qualifier, it is likely it will be the last competitive fixture at Windsor Park before construction work begins to upgrade, improve and modernise the stadium.

50 the Raff's big moment (v England 17/10/1979)
Linfield favourite Peter Rafferty (right) was one of the great characters of the local game so when he made his international debut there was a great deal of interest. It did not exactly go according to plan in this European Championship qualifier. Rafferty came on as substitute with Northern Ireland trailing 2-0 to England. Marking Britain's first £1m player Trevor Francis, Rafferty tried to be fancy with the ball only for Francis, who had scored the winner in the European Cup final months earlier, to rob him and set up strike partner Tony Woodcock to score in England's 5-1 victory. Rafferty never played for Northern Ireland again.
50 the Raff's big moment (v England 17/10/1979) Linfield favourite Peter Rafferty was one of the great characters of the local game so when he made his international debut there was a great deal of interest. It did not exactly go according to plan in this European Championship qualifier. Rafferty came on as substitute with Northern Ireland trailing 2-0 to England. Marking Britain's first £1m player Trevor Francis, Rafferty tried to be fancy with the ball only for Francis, who had scored the winner in the European Cup final months earlier, to rob him and set up strike partner Tony Woodcock to score in England's 5-1 victory. Rafferty never played for Northern Ireland again.
49 ...The Kop's last stand(v Germany 29/05/1996)
The star studded German team had been using Northern Ireland as a training base for Euro 96 in England and the game at Windsor was supposed to provide them with a comfortable friendly win en route to their march to glory at Wembley. The Germans didn't reckon on the Windsor experience however as they missed not one, but two first half penalties. Jurgan Klinsmann (pictured above) dragged his wide and then Andreas Moller smashed his over the bar much to the delight of those in the Spion Kop who were standing there for the last time before the famous end behind the goal was to be filled with seats. George O'Boyle broke the deadlock and while the Germans levelled late on, it didn't take away from what proved to be an incredible evening.
49 ........ The Kop's last stand(v Germany 29/05/1996) The star studded German team had been using Northern Ireland as a training base for Euro 96 in England and the game at Windsor was supposed to provide them with a comfortable friendly win en route to their march to glory at Wembley. The Germans didn't reckon on the Windsor experience however as they missed not one, but two first half penalties. Jurgan Klinsmann (pictured above) dragged his wide and then Andreas Moller smashed his over the bar much to the delight of those in the Spion Kop who were standing there for the last time before the famous end behind the goal was to be filled with seats. George O'Boyle broke the deadlock and while the Germans levelled late on, it didn't take away from what proved to be an incredible evening.
David Healy scores against England
1 ...... Healy's winner against England (v England 07/09/2005) So, here it is...Windsor Park's most memorable moment... David Healy's never to be forgotten winning goal against England. What a night, what an occasion, what a win and what an atmosphere! England arrived for this World Cup qualifier with their ‘golden generation' of players including David Beckham, Wayne Rooney, Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, Michael Owen, Ashley Cole and Rio Ferdinand. They left ashen-faced wondering what had hit them on the pitch and off it. The Northern Ireland fans were on top form and so were the players. James Quinn smashed into Cole after just seven seconds and the tone was set. With every Northern Ireland tackle came the most almighty roar and as the game wore on with England, in particular Rooney, growing frustrated, Lawrie Sanchez's side became more confident. Then came the moment we had all dreamt about. With 74 minutes played, Steven Davis played a lovely pass into the path of David Healy who had broken clear. Racing towards goal he drilled a rocket right foot shot past Paul Robinson and into the net. Windsor erupted. King David had done it. After that Northern Ireland stood firm to clinch their first victory over England since 1972. Such were the celebrations after the game you would have thought Northern Ireland had won the World Cup! It was a truly glorious night. Simply the best: David Healy fires in the goal that beat England on Windsor Park’s most famous night

To mark this momentous occasion, the Belfast Telegraph has come up with the top 50 most memorable moments involving the Northern Ireland team at the famous south Belfast venue.

The list was debated and decided upon by an expert panel who have watched hundreds of games at Windsor Park.

They were asked to note how memorable the moment or match was, the historical significance of the moment/ match, the importance of the moment/match, the emotion of the moment/match and how the moment or match made them and the rest of Northern Ireland feel.

Words are supplied by Steven Beacom and James Tait.

Enjoy the list.

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