Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 17 April 2014

No support for Nigel Worthington as Northern Ireland fans vote with their feet

©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland - 7th Octobner 2011 Mandatory Credit - Photo-Jonathan Porter/Presseye. Euro 2012 qualifying Group C - Northern Ireland v Estonia at Windsor Park in Belfast. Northern Ireland fans pictured during the match.

Trudging out of Windsor last night Northern Ireland fans reflected on a final home game which reflected the overall campaign - a bright start but ultimately disappointing.

There was a strangely subdued atmosphere inside the old ground ahead of the encounter last night and with many fans looking to sell on their tickets in the build-up it was no surprise to see dozens of empty seats in all four stands.

A low-key encounter did little to change the mood once the game had kicked off and the normally raucous Kop was unusually muted.

Chants of 'Nigel, Nigel time to go' greeted the full-time whistle, which were alongside banners in the old Railway stand, one of which read: 'Taxi For Nigel'.

Steven Massey, though reflected on the decision by the referee to allow the winning goal to stand despite the linesman putting up his flag for offside. He said: "I can't believe we had a referee who was as bad as that, for an international ref he was shocking. The linesman had his flag up and he just ignored it and the players stopped.

"Maybe it's time to give Irish League players their chance, players from Linfield, Glentoran and Cliftonville who could do a job. The time has probably come for a change in management when the campaign comes to an end."

Jamie McGuinness, from Belfast, was disappointed in Worthington's players as much as the manager.

"The first half I thought we did ok, but the referee ruined the game with that second goal for Estonia,"Jamie said.

"In the second half we sat back too much and we just can't afford to do that we need to be going at teams if we're going to get any job.

"I was a bit disappointed in our attacking players like Kyle Lafferty. Paddy McCourt didn't do too much, but you can't expect him to do it every match.

"I feel sorry for Nigel but it's probably time for him to go now and let someone else have their chance."

Coleraine man Andy Gillan agrees: "From looking to be in control at the break we are now left looking back at another embarrassing defeat. We sat back and constantly invited pressure on to ourselves and in the end we got what we deserved.

"No doubt Nigel will look at the positives but for me a change of manager is needed if we are going to halt this slump."

Should Worthington be given a new deal? Not according to Belfast fan Gary Davidson.

"£35 to watch that? No thanks! People are starting to vote with their feet and if those sort of prices are there for the next campaign they'll never sell out," he said.

"It may have been the last home game and nothing really to play for but we had a very strong side out there and didn't deliver. I feel Nigel Worthington is an honest guy doing his best but for the sake of everyone surely he has to call it a day.

"He has had more than four years and he's made good changes at grassroots but if the senior side aren't getting results then what's the point? It's just not good enough and it's time for someone else to have a go."

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