16/11/1983 Hamburg West Germany 1-0 Norman Whiteside
Pat Jennings, Jimmy Nicholl, Mal Donaghy, Gerry McElhinney, John McClelland, Ian Stewart, Norman Whiteside, Martin O’Neill, Billy Hamilton, Gerry Armstrong, Paul Ramsey
This was the West Germany’s first home defeat by a European country in nearly 10 years. Hamburg itself had a greater population than the whole of Northern Ireland! West Germany had never suffered a home defeat in either European Championship or World Cup Qualifers in their history. Not only did Northern Ireland win in Hamburg through a Norman Whiteside goal and erase the unbeaten at home stat of the West Germans, they are still the only side to have ever beaten (West) Germany both home and away in qualifying matches.
As expected the West Germans had the better of the play with playmaker Karl Heinz Rummenigge bringing out a fine save from Pat Jennings.
Gerry McElhinney a third division player, was making his debut for Northern Ireland for which manager Billy Bingham was severely criticised for prior to the game for playing such an inexperienced player in a match of such magnitude. He started slowly but managed to take a foothold of the game with a great tackle on Norbert Meier who was in on goal. Ian Stewart who scoffed the wining goal a year previously in Belfast was again torturing the German right-back.
More world class saves from Jennings came after shots from Meier and Rummenigge respectively and another great tackle from McElhinney on Rummenigge kept Northern Ireland in the game up to half-time.
Northern Ireland scored on 50 minutes from ‘man-boy’ Norman Whiteside after great work on the left from Ian Stewart who cut in shot at goal. Schumacher was only able to parry the powerful shot into the path of Paul Ramsey who passed to Whiteside who fired the ball into the net.
As you would expect the West German’s stepped through the gears with great urgency but great teamwork, defence and the luck of the Irish held firm as Jimmy Nicholl cleared the ball off the line from Lothar Matthaus. The resulting counter-attack allowed Billy Hamilton in on goal but instead of shooting he tried to take the ball round Schumacher who smothered it.
The final whistle went the and small pocket of Northern Ireland fans went wild as did manager Billy Bingham just as they had done at Windsor Park a year earlier!
Unfortunately for Northern Ireland however, it was so close yet so far as a 0-0 draw the previous year against Albania allowed West Germany to win the group on goal difference as they defeated Albania at home in their final group game. However, Albania had taken a 23rd-minute lead through Tomori, who then got himself sent off before half-time. Karl Rummenigge had equalised within a minute of Albania’s goal, but Germany would have to wait until the 79th minute to seal the win and top the group. Northern Ireland manager Billy Bingham was gardening during the match as he didn’t want to be put through the stress of it all.
Jupp Derwall (West Germany Coach) –
“We just didn’t have the necessary firepower to get the game and the opposition under control. But then, who could have done that against a Northern Ireland team in this type of form?”
Billy Bingham (Northern Ireland Manager) –
“I put it alongside our win against Spain in Valencia. That was more important because it was the finals of the World Cup. Admittedly, this German team was a far superior one than the Spanish. To be honest we soaked up so much pressure I have to admit that we were a wee bit lucky. My heart fluttered too often for comfort. It was a strange experience to hear the German crowd 15 minutes from the end of the game chanting ‘Northern Ireland, Northern Ireland’. The match in Hamburg will live with me for all time. What a magic moment when [Norman] Whiteside scored after a long run by [Gerry] Armstrong, a cross from little Ian Stewart whose shot rebounded for Whiteside to put it into the net.”
Martin O’Neill (Northern Ireland Captain) –
“We just have the knack of playing better against the better sides.”
Ian Stewart (Northern Ireland Player) –
“I failed to score and that is one of my biggest regrets. I ran half the length of the pitch with the ball, but the keeper saved my shot and big Norman follows up to score. It was another super performance from the side … few teams boast a double victory over West Germany in the space of a year.”
Norman Whiteside (Northern Ireland Goal Scorer) –
“The Spain game in 1982 was a real highlight, but nobody who played in Hamburg will ever forget beating the Germans in their own backyard. I actually went up to Rummenigge during the warm-up and asked him if he would swap his shirt with me after the game. I’d never done that before, but there were 70,000 people in the stadium and I was just so taken by the atmosphere.”
“That [goal] certainly silenced the crowd. Karlheinz Forster hadn’t given me a kick up to that point – he had me in his pocket – but when Ian [Stewart] went on a mazy run down the left the ball fell for me and I managed to force the ball past Harold Schumacher.”
“I was lying in the bath after the game and Rummenigge arrived at the changing room. We were surprised to see him, but he asked if he could have my shirt. I couldn’t believe it. That was a great German side, but we managed to beat them twice in two years which was a fantastic feat. Ian Stewart scored the winner at Windsor and I remember he absolutely tortured Kaltz that night. We had a really good side back then and were unlucky not to pip the Germans for qualification to the Euro finals.”
Gerry McElhinney (Northern Ireland debutant) –
“It was easier than I had imagined. I had something to spare. I didn’t know until a couple of hours before the game that I was actually playing so I hadn’t time to fret. I never imagined for a moment that Billy Bingham intended to play me. I thought I was being brought along for the experience. It was only when I walked onto the pitch and saw the vast crowd that it eventually got to me. I had a few butterflies but settled as soon as the game got underway.”
With Northern Ireland now thought to be out of contention, UTV only showed the Luxembourg v England match and it was left to BBC1 NI to screen highlights at some point. Bolton’s Gerry McElhinney made his international debut in this game, Norman Whiteside scored the shock winner on 50 after a fine run and shot by Stewart was parried by Schumacher and Ramsey’s follow up re-bounded off a defender to Whiteside who drove low into the net from 8 yards out. It was West Germany’s first home defeat to a European side for nine years, it was also the first time they had been beaten twice by the same opponents in Euro’s or World Cup qualifying group. The Irish now had to hope that the Germans would fail to beat Albania at home in the final group match four days later, Albania did take a surprise lead in that match on 22, the Germans equalised within a minute and Albania then had a man sent off just before half-time, but Northern Ireland were 11 minutes from qualifying until Gerhard Strack gave West Germany the points on 79 to qualify on goal difference.
… We took our excellent seats at the halfway line. For anyone who watched Norn Iron away in those days the plan was simple – flood the midfield, if that was breached, then the defence would hoof the ball as far as possible into the crowd. If the defence was breached, then we had Big Pat and if by some miracle they got past him we had Jimmy Nic, who could normally be relied on to be stood on the line where he could make one of his customary goal line clearances.
That part of the theory was simple, the hard part was crossing the half way line and putting the ball in their net. If we scored first it was goodnight Vienna, eh Hamburg. All we had to do was stare at the enormous clock, shitting yourself for the next 43 minutes. We always seemed to score in the 47th minute.
And so it came to pass. Not wanting to sicken the Krauts twice, Ian Stewart played a one-two off Schumacher and Big Norm was on hand to park off one of the greatest goal celebrations ever witnessed. Jimmy Quinn v. the UN, Armstrong ’82 and Dowie in Dublin, that type of celebration. If Glendinning hadn’t scored that goal in the ’93 cup final then Harry McCourt’s would be up in there, but I digress.
The 250 or so of us, plus the Irish rangers shouted themselves hoarse. 43 minuets later and 2 stone lighter Mr Palstai of Hungary blew the whistle and much to the relief of everyone around, particularly Karl Heinz Rummeniger’s wife, it was all over.
Pandemonium gave way to the sense of achievement. Germany’s first defeat by Ulstermen since Blair Mayne kicked their arses all those years ago. Shame on you if you don’t know who Blair Mayne is. Is suggest you get yourself a copy of “Colonel Paddy”, read it and pass it on. If enough people read it, he may still yet get that long overdue posthumous VC.
Author: Stephen Rowley
16/11/1977 Belfast Belgium 3-0 Gerry Armstrong (2), Chris McGrath
Pat Jennings, Pat Rice, Sammy Nelson, Allan Hunter (Chris Nicholl), Jimmy Nicholl, David McCreery, David Stewart, Chris McGrath, Gerry Armstrong, Sammy McIlroy, Trevor Anderson