Belfast Telegraph

Don’t bring England back to Windsor Park, I don’t want them getting revenge, says Davis

By Graham Luney

Six of the men who helped Northern Ireland achieve that historic win over England at Windsor Park five years ago are still proudly representing their country.

While they have enjoyed other fantastic victories, most notably against current world champions Spain a year later, it is the 1-0 triumph over Sven-Goran Eriksson's men that stands out as the most memorable of them all.

This is what those Northern Ireland heroes remember most about the glorious night of September 7, 2005.

MAIK TAYLOR

“It was an extra special night for me because my two eldest sons were mascots — one held my hand and the other held David Beckham’s hand. I think by the end of the game the fans made sure they had the green wigs on.

“It was wonderful to have my family there to share the moment with them.

“I can recall making one save from Frank Lampard, but I didn’t have a huge amount to do.

“I made one catch from a corner late in the game and that obviously got a big cheer.

“It was the clear highlight of my career and I cannot see it being topped. It’s difficult to believe it’s five years, but the memory of it is not fading.”

STEVEN DAVIS

“Luckily, I played the ball through for David Healy who took the goal very well. In fact, I’m still waiting to play another ball like that, it’s been too long.

“I’m certainly due another assist like that. I thought the atmosphere was fantastic that night and that’s why I’m happy for Windsor Park to stay as it is without too much changes made to it. I stayed with my family when perhaps I should have been out with the boys celebrating. There has been talk of England returning to Windsor, but I would rather keep an unbeaten record against them and deny them revenge.”

CHRIS BAIRD

“I don’t think at the time it really sunk in what we had achieved, but when we reflect on it you realise how special a result it was.

“They had their big guns out that night — the Lampards and Beckhams — but we frustrated them and didn’t let them play.

“The crowd were fantastic and a huge help to us. I can remember the players going onto the pitch at the end and why not — you have to milk a moment like that.

“The celebrations continued for a long time and I think for a lot of us it will be a career highlight.”

AARON HUGHES

“The thing I remember most about that game was the noise at the final whistle. I have never heard anything like that before.

“It was obvious how much it meant to the fans and we were so relieved and elated to have held on for the win.

“When you win a football match the fans cheer because they are happy, but this was something completely different. I would hesitate though to say it was a career highlight as I’ve enjoyed many great occasions and matches. Hopefully, there’s more to come.

“It’s fair to say that beating England at Windsor is right up there, though.”

STEPHEN CRAIGAN

“I can remember at half-time James Quinn was frustrated and complaining because he had hardly touched the ball, but Lawrie Sanchez simply told him ‘hard work makes a winner’ and he had to accept that he wouldn’t see much of the ball.

“Those words stuck with me. England had good players out, but they never really tested Maik Taylor that much.

“I’m hoping there’ll be a few more career highlights for me and then when I’ve stopped playing I’ll sit down and say, ‘that was special’. David scored a great goal, but it was a real battle and we frustrated England as the game went on. The celebrations were incredible.”

DAVID HEALY

“When I think back to that game, I think back to watching the replay of it the next night, while lying on my bed and having a drink.

“I wanted to see again what the players achieved.

“Steven Davis played a great ball through to me. I’m still waiting on another one from him and it’s been five years.

“It’s about time he did it again. It was a great night for me personally, always bringing a smile to my face, but for all the lads as well.”

RAYMOND KENNEDY

“I remember with about half an hour to go I turned to someone and said ‘we’re going to win this game.’

“The goal then came and England never really recovered from that.

“I could see Wayne Rooney and David Beckham getting frustrated and at that point I had the feeling we would be on top.

“I know David, he’s a true gentleman and he was just that on the night, congratulating our players on what was a great victory.

“We have opened talks with the FA and hopefully, England will come back to play us at Windsor Park and I’m confident that will happen.

“They will be back playing in our back yard.”

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