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Gareth McAuley: 'It used to be 'we'll support you evermore' but it doesn't seem to be that way any more.'

Gareth McAuley: 'It used to be 'we'll support you evermore' but it doesn't seem to be that way any more.'

William Cherry/Presseye

Northern Ireland restart after Israel score their second goal on Tuesday

Northern Ireland restart after Israel score their second goal on Tuesday

Martin Patterson goes down under a challenge from with Israel's Tal Ben Haim but doesn't get a penalty

Martin Patterson goes down under a challenge from with Israel's Tal Ben Haim but doesn't get a penalty

Mandatory Credit Darren Kidd/Presseye.com

Northern Ireland goalkeeper Roy Carroll shows his dejection after conceding the first goal against Israel at Windsor Park

Northern Ireland goalkeeper Roy Carroll shows his dejection after conceding the first goal against Israel at Windsor Park

Brian Little

Daniel Lafferty believes it's not all doom and gloom in the Northern Ireland camp after Tuesday's defeat

Daniel Lafferty believes it's not all doom and gloom in the Northern Ireland camp after Tuesday's defeat

Mandatory Credit Darren Kidd/Presseye.com

 Michael O'Neill shows his frustration during Tuesday's 2014 World Cup qualifier match between Northern Ireland and Israel at Windsor Park, Belfast

Michael O'Neill shows his frustration during Tuesday's 2014 World Cup qualifier match between Northern Ireland and Israel at Windsor Park, Belfast

Northern Ireland v Israel World Cup qualifier at Windsor Park in Belfast. Northern Ireland fans pictured during the match.

Northern Ireland v Israel World Cup qualifier at Windsor Park in Belfast. Northern Ireland fans pictured during the match.

Northern Ireland v Israel World Cup qualifier at Windsor Park in Belfast.  Israel celebrate after scoring to make it 0-2

Northern Ireland v Israel World Cup qualifier at Windsor Park in Belfast. Israel celebrate after scoring to make it 0-2

Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill is dejected after being defeated by Israel in Tuesday's World Cup qualifier at Windsor Park, Belfast

Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill is dejected after being defeated by Israel in Tuesday's World Cup qualifier at Windsor Park, Belfast

?William Cherry/Presseye

Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill

Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill

?William Cherry/Presseye

Martin Patterson screams in disbelief at another wasted chance  during Tuesday's 2014 World Cup qualifier match between Northern Ireland and Israel at Windsor Park, Belfast

Martin Patterson screams in disbelief at another wasted chance during Tuesday's 2014 World Cup qualifier match between Northern Ireland and Israel at Windsor Park, Belfast

Northern Ireland v Israel World Cup qualifier at Windsor Park in Belfast.   Northern Ireland fans pictured during the match

Northern Ireland v Israel World Cup qualifier at Windsor Park in Belfast. Northern Ireland fans pictured during the match

Northern Ireland v Israel World Cup qualifier at Windsor Park in Belfast.  Northern Ireland's Martin Patterson with Israel's Eitan Tibi (left) and Tal Ben Haim

Northern Ireland v Israel World Cup qualifier at Windsor Park in Belfast. Northern Ireland's Martin Patterson with Israel's Eitan Tibi (left) and Tal Ben Haim

Northern Ireland v Israel World Cup Qualifier at Windsor Park in Belfast.  Israel's Lior Refaelov (left) and Rami Gershan celebrate after they score to make it 0-1

Northern Ireland v Israel World Cup Qualifier at Windsor Park in Belfast. Israel's Lior Refaelov (left) and Rami Gershan celebrate after they score to make it 0-1

Northern Ireland v Israel World Cup Qualifier at Windsor Park in Belfast.  Israel celebrate after they score to make it 0-1

Northern Ireland v Israel World Cup Qualifier at Windsor Park in Belfast. Israel celebrate after they score to make it 0-1

World Cup Qualifier Northern Ireland v  Israel at Windsor Park, Belfast

World Cup Qualifier Northern Ireland v Israel at Windsor Park, Belfast

Mandatory Credit Darren Kidd/Presseye.com

Northern Ireland's Martin Patterson with Israel's Tal Ben Haim during Tuesday night's World Cup qualifier at Windsor Park, Belfast

Northern Ireland's Martin Patterson with Israel's Tal Ben Haim during Tuesday night's World Cup qualifier at Windsor Park, Belfast

Mandatory Credit Darren Kidd/Presseye.com

Northern Ireland's Roy Carroll is dejected after the team's defeat to Israel in Tuesday's World Cup Qualifier at Windsor Park, Belfast

Northern Ireland's Roy Carroll is dejected after the team's defeat to Israel in Tuesday's World Cup Qualifier at Windsor Park, Belfast

Mandatory Credit Darren Kidd/Presseye.com

Northern Ireland's Steven Davis pictured after the final whistle in Tuesday's World Cup qualifier against Israel at Windsor Park, Belfast

Northern Ireland's Steven Davis pictured after the final whistle in Tuesday's World Cup qualifier against Israel at Windsor Park, Belfast

Mandatory Credit Darren Kidd/Presseye.com

Northern Ireland's Gareth McAuley is dejected after defeat by Israel in Tuesday's World Cup Qualifier at Windsor Park, Belfast

Northern Ireland's Gareth McAuley is dejected after defeat by Israel in Tuesday's World Cup Qualifier at Windsor Park, Belfast

?William Cherry/Presseye

Northern Ireland's Martin Patterson challenges Israel's ETal Ben Haim during Tuesday night's World Cup Qualifier at Windsor Park, Belfast

Northern Ireland's Martin Patterson challenges Israel's ETal Ben Haim during Tuesday night's World Cup Qualifier at Windsor Park, Belfast

?William Cherry/Presseye

Northern Ireland's Chris Brunt with Israel's Maor Melikson during Tuesday night's World Cup Qualifier at Windsor Park, Belfast

Northern Ireland's Chris Brunt with Israel's Maor Melikson during Tuesday night's World Cup Qualifier at Windsor Park, Belfast

?William Cherry/Presseye

Northern Ireland's Martin Patterson with Israel's Dudu Aouate during Tuesday night's World Cup qualifier at Windsor Park, Belfast

Northern Ireland's Martin Patterson with Israel's Dudu Aouate during Tuesday night's World Cup qualifier at Windsor Park, Belfast

?William Cherry/Presseye

Northern Ireland fans during Tuesday's World Cup qualifier against Israel at Windsor Park, Belfast

Northern Ireland fans during Tuesday's World Cup qualifier against Israel at Windsor Park, Belfast

?William Cherry/Presseye

Northern Ireland's Steven Davis with Israel's Dudu Aouate during Tuesday night's World Cup qualifier at Windsor Park, Belfast.

Northern Ireland's Steven Davis with Israel's Dudu Aouate during Tuesday night's World Cup qualifier at Windsor Park, Belfast.

?William Cherry/Presseye

Northern Ireland's David Healy as Israel celebrate scoring during Tuesday night's World Cup qualifier at Windsor Park, Belfast

Northern Ireland's David Healy as Israel celebrate scoring during Tuesday night's World Cup qualifier at Windsor Park, Belfast

William Cherry/Presseye

Northern Ireland's Martin Patterson during Tuesday night's World Cup qualifier at Windsor Park, Belfast

Northern Ireland's Martin Patterson during Tuesday night's World Cup qualifier at Windsor Park, Belfast

?William Cherry/Presseye

Northern Ireland's Martin Patterson during Tuesday night's World Cup Qualifier at Windsor Park, Belfast

Northern Ireland's Martin Patterson during Tuesday night's World Cup Qualifier at Windsor Park, Belfast

William Cherry/Presseye

Israel Lior Refaelov is mobbed by team mates after opening the scoring against Northern Ireland during Tuesday night's World Cup  Group F qualifier match at Windsor Park

Israel Lior Refaelov is mobbed by team mates after opening the scoring against Northern Ireland during Tuesday night's World Cup Group F qualifier match at Windsor Park

Brian Little

Northern Ireland  Chris Brunt and Israel's Lior Refaelov during Tuesday night's World Cup  Group F qualifier match at Windsor Park

Northern Ireland Chris Brunt and Israel's Lior Refaelov during Tuesday night's World Cup Group F qualifier match at Windsor Park

Brian Little

Israel's Eden Ben Basat (centre) celebrates scoring his side's second goal against Northern Ireland during Tuesday night's World Cup Group F qualifier match at Windsor Park

Israel's Eden Ben Basat (centre) celebrates scoring his side's second goal against Northern Ireland during Tuesday night's World Cup Group F qualifier match at Windsor Park

Brian Little

Northern Ireland Gareth McAuley and Israel's Itay Shechter during Tuesday night's World Cup  Group F qualifier match at Windsor Park

Northern Ireland Gareth McAuley and Israel's Itay Shechter during Tuesday night's World Cup Group F qualifier match at Windsor Park

Brian Little

Northern Ireland's Steven Davis with Israel's Sheran Yeini during Tuesday night's World Cup qualifier at Windsor Park, Belfast

Northern Ireland's Steven Davis with Israel's Sheran Yeini during Tuesday night's World Cup qualifier at Windsor Park, Belfast

?William Cherry/Presseye

Northern Ireland's Martin Patterson appeals for a penalty against Israel during Tuesday night's World Cup qualifier at Windsor Park, Belfast

Northern Ireland's Martin Patterson appeals for a penalty against Israel during Tuesday night's World Cup qualifier at Windsor Park, Belfast

?William Cherry/Presseye

Northern Ireland's Roy Carroll is dejected after the team's defeat to Israel in Tuesday's World Cup Qualifier at Windsor Park, Belfast

Northern Ireland's Roy Carroll is dejected after the team's defeat to Israel in Tuesday's World Cup Qualifier at Windsor Park, Belfast

Mandatory Credit Darren Kidd/Presseye.com

Israel's Lior Refaelov scores past Northern Irelands Roy Carroll during Tuesday night's World Cup Group F qualifier match at Windsor Park

Israel's Lior Refaelov scores past Northern Irelands Roy Carroll during Tuesday night's World Cup Group F qualifier match at Windsor Park

Brian Little

Martin Patterson and Tal Ben Haim during Tuesday's 2014 World Cup qualifier match between Northern Ireland and Israel at Windsor Park, Belfast

Martin Patterson and Tal Ben Haim during Tuesday's 2014 World Cup qualifier match between Northern Ireland and Israel at Windsor Park, Belfast

Northern Ireland v Israel World Cup qualifier at Windsor Park in Belfast. Northern Ireland fans pictured during the match

Northern Ireland v Israel World Cup qualifier at Windsor Park in Belfast. Northern Ireland fans pictured during the match

Northern Ireland v Israel World Cup qualifier at Windsor Park in Belfast. Northern Ireland fans pictured during the match

Northern Ireland v Israel World Cup qualifier at Windsor Park in Belfast. Northern Ireland fans pictured during the match

Gareth McAuley: 'It used to be 'we'll support you evermore' but it doesn't seem to be that way any more.'

Gareth McAuley has hit out at what he sees as a lack of atmosphere at Windsor Park, claiming that fans no longer inspire the Northern Ireland team the way they once did.

McAuley's controversial comments are sure to infuriate some supporters who paid hard-earned cash to see their team lose 2-0 at home to Israel on Tuesday night, ending any hopes of World Cup qualification in the process.

There were 10,400 fans inside Windsor on Tuesday and although the noise levels were not as high as they have been on great nights in the past, the crowd tried to roar the team on to victory.

It wasn't to be with Israel scoring two late goals to defeat Northern Ireland who have now gone 13 games without a win – nine of those with Michael O'Neill in charge.

There were some boos after the match but not to the same degree as Nigel Worthington's final few games as boss.

The West Brom defender acknowledged that the team must start picking up results but McAuley feels more vocal backing would help the players achieve that.

"Things have changed here over the years, it's different," said former Crusaders and Coleraine star McAuley.

"The crowd used to drive us through games. The crowd used to get us results and for some reason that's changed now.

"It used to be 'we'll support you evermore' but it doesn't seem to be that way any more."

"We've lost the crowd slightly. Obviously we've got to get results and get them back with us but if we can do that together we'll be better," he said.

McAuley's view will certainly stir up debate among the Green and White Army who pride themselves on supporting the national side and have actually won awards for it.

Spokesman for the Amalgamation of Northern Ireland Supporters Clubs Gary McAllister said he respected McAuley's view, adding that he wants to see togetherness between the team and fans, rather than any sort of split in the ranks.

"Gareth has always been a tremendous servant for his country, he's a very passionate player," McAllister said.

"I wouldn't want to see any divide between the players and the fans and I certainly don't think that is the case – we've always enjoyed a tight-knit relationship.

"Fans can become frustrated and sometimes when results don't come things are a bit flat.

"However, it only takes one thing to spark the crowd in a match and there's certainly no evidence that the fans are ready to turn on the players or manager."

The famous atmospheres McAuley refers to in recent years came off the back of epic victories against England in 2005 and Spain in 2006.

The Larne man points out, though, that those were isolated encounters and Michael O'Neill's men must be much more consistent if they are to move anywhere near the qualification reckoning.

"We've had good nights and one-off games but we haven't managed to qualify for a major competition, since I've been involved anyway," he said.

"We have been there or thereabouts and had a chance in groups but we haven't quite done that. It's frustrating and disappointing."

Reflecting on the 2-0 Israel defeat, which leaves Northern Ireland fourth in Group F, the towering defender believed the performance merited a result, however he accepted that key moments at both ends of the pitch sealed their fate.

"We restricted them to very little," McAuley added.

"It was the same story again because it was a game we should have had something out of it.

"Although we had a lot of entries into the final third we didn't have chances like they had for their goals."

Belfast Telegraph


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