17/11/1982 Belfast West Germany 1-0 Ian Stewart
Jim Platt, Jimmy Nicholl, Mal Donaghy, John O’Neill, John McClelland, Ian Stewart, Norman Whiteside, Martin O’Neill, Billy Hamilton, Sammy McIlroy, Noel Brotherston
Coming off the back of a Quarter-Final place at the World Cup that Summer defeating the hosts Spain in the process, you could be forgiven to believe that things couldn’t get any better for the Northern Ireland football side. However, the great form carried on into the 1984 European Nations Cup qualifiers and the best example came on a rain swept Windsor Park against West Germany the current European Nations Cup champions and previous victors against England the previous month at Wembley. Northern Ireland themselves had lost away to Austria in their first qualifying match.
Prior to kick-off Billy Bingham had followed the West German star Karl-Heinz Rummenigge out onto the soaking Windsor Park pitch: “There he was … this Rummenigge, with his lovely suede shoes and his lovely suit, his hair slicked back, squelching onto Windsor Park. His shoes went slosh, slosh, the water was coming over his heel, and I followed him all the way out. His face was a picture of misery, and I came back into the dressing room with the rest of the players and said, ‘They don’t want to know. Put them down on their arses in the wet. They see this as the worst place they could possibly come to.’”
From the onset Northern Ireland took Bingham’s words onboard and went on the offensive. Northern Ireland nearly scored as a Noel Brotherston took a short corner to Martin O’Neill and crossed to John O’Neill, whose shot hit the upright of Harald Schumacher’s goal.
Norman Whiteside nearly scored as he cut inside from the left and hit a 35 yard left-foot drive that Schumacher could only push out as he was unable to collect the ball due to the ferocity of the shot. It wasn’t long however, until Northern Ireland scored. A Jimmy Nicholl long cross ball to Billy Hamilton who subsequently flicked the ball into the path of Ian Stewart on the edge of the box. Stewart took the ball round Manny Kaltz before rolling the ball into the net.
Northern Ireland still dominated for most of the remaining first half but the West Germands did have their moments. The German winger Pierre Littbarski was the source of West Germany’s attack. In one play he beat four Northern Irish players on the left wing and took a shot on goal but goalkeeper Jim Platt was able to tip his shot over the crossbar. Lothar Mattaus and Hans-Peter Briegel also brought saves out of Platt but Northern Ireland were able to finish the half still a goal in front.
The West Germans started the second half with some urgency. Littbarski had a goal ruled out correctly for being offside, but Northern Ireland also had more opportunities of their own, none more so than through Billy Hamilton who missed a great chance to double Northern Ireland’s advantage.
The home side were never outplayed even with intense pressure from the Germans especially in the final 10 minutes of the match as they sought an equaliser. The heavy rain and subsequent soaked pitch didn’t help the Germans and their slick passing game, but they couldn’t use this as an excuse at the end of the game. Northern Ireland held on for a famous victory and those fans who were soaked to the skin didn’t care as they celebrated with their flags and songs.
It is interesting to note the Northern Ireland bench for this match and that Billy Bingham did not feel the need to use any of the players sitting beside him during the game. Pat Jennings, Chris Nicholl, David McCreery, Tom Finney and Nigel Worthington who were all great players in their own right were not required in defeating the mighty West Germans that night.
Jupp Derwall (West Germany Coach) – “My congratulations tone Northern Ireland team. They played fighting football and maintained it throughout he match, and by dedicating themselves to a total fight they made it very hard for us. Perhaps we couldn’t quite cope with the the extreme, Irish fighting spirit while conditions [heavy rain] were possibly against our style of play. We had too many stray passes. [Ian] Stewart’s goal was a beautiful one. I have no excuses. This was the team that I would field against any opposition.”
Ian Stewart (Northern Ireland Goal Scorer) – “It gave me a lot of satisfaction, but it was a great team performance … there were no failures on the night. West Germany were the European champions and were beaten in the final of the World Cup … they were quite a side.”
Football Came Home
In 1980, the then West Germans were crowned European Champions in Italy, with a highly accomplished team, that 2 years later were to become runners up in the World Cup. Many of the stars of this German team were world renowned, and included such famous names as Rummenigge, Allofs, Littbarski, a young Voller and an even younger Matthaeus, and of course the infamous Schumacher. Norn Iron were due to meet this German side in their first Euro home fixture in late 1982.
Norn Iron also had a famous side in this year, with their performances in the World Cup becoming legendary. However, a defeat in their first match of the Euro campaign (Austria 0-2), had both the critics and some fans doubting their ability to continue the form shown in Spain. Some even believed that the World Cup exploits were a one off. However, all the doubters were to be silenced yet again, at a rainswept Windsor Park in November 1982.
The build up to the game was quite intense, as a few weeks before the Germans beat England 2-1 in a friendly match at Wembley, with their striker Rummenigge getting both goals. This result only furthered the writing off of Norn Iron’s chances. In terms of attractiveness, this game was one of the biggest for years in Belfast, with the Germans boasting a tremendous track record. But more importantly it was Norn Iron’s homecoming, their first game home since the heroics of Spain, and it was sure to be a momentous occasion.
Like many a youth at that time, I had an interest in this game and was going to make sure I was at it. I was planning it 3 weeks before, foremost was the arrangements with the mates, because everyone appeared to be going and speculating about this match. Then there was the question of parents consent, as a 12 year old this was necessary. The tactic employed was playing one parent against the other. “But dad… mum says it’s alright,… well, if she says so, then I suppose it’s ok!” and vice versa.In the few days prior to the match, public interest in the game increased, but for me personally, on match day things really got cooking. All day at school, it was on my mind, with class mates talking about it. After getting home from school, I called on the mates to see who all was allowed to go.
There were 3 of us going and we arranged to meet up later. Once I had finished my paper round, I threw my ‘Tele-Sack’ into the house, grabbed a quick bite to eat, and then tried to leg it. However, my dad had just returned from work in the shipyard, and read me the riot act, warning me that if I saw any trouble, to steer clear. (These words were repeated on match night for many a year!) Likewise I was reminded that Northern Ireland wore green & white – and not to take any Linfield scarves.
I eventually got away, met up with the friends and hastily boarded a Citybus, in this era of public transport, fraudulent practises were common place, with double stamping one’s bus ticket the most common, but tonight we weren’t taking any risks as getting to the match on time was essential. After arriving at the city hall, the wait for the Donegal Road bus seemed forever, but there was a good crowd going to Windsor on this bus, and it was no time before it reached Donegal Avenue. Kick off was fast approaching and there was an urgency to get off the bus. Like many other younger fans, me and the mates bombed up Donegal Ave. once we seen the glare of the floodlights and heard the Windsor roar.
Donegal Ave was crowded with match goers, and at the Windsor Park end, the traders were cleaning up. A new scarf and the biggest flag I could buy, were bought with the money I had saved for this match. Once purchased, the running began once more, only this time to the Spion Kop via Olympia Drive. After a long queue at the turnstiles we got into the ground just after kick off. The ground was packed and there were still more outside. The attendance was 30000, but with kids doubling up, more likely 35000 a realistic figure. (A far cry from the big gates of 10000 nowadays!)
Windsor was rainswept, but the atmosphere was terrific with a party feel to it in view of the Spain World Cup heroics. After a few early scares, the home team settled, and the crowd cheered on the World Cup heroes. In particular Whiteside who was making his home debut. An unknown Ian Stewart was also making a home debut.
We decided to move from the Kop end, onto the Olympia Terracing where some of our friend were. For all you youngsters reading this, the Olympia Terracing was where the North Stand is now. The name of the game was to get yourself seen at the match, and hopefully on T.V. Once through the gates of Olympia Terracing, we found a good view at the Kop end, and stated to watch the game in detail. This was well timed, because almost immediately, about 20 minutes into the game Ian Stewart intercepted a ball on the left hand edge of the box, attacking the railway end. His back was facing us, and I clearly remember seeing him strike the ball from over 20 yards. I recall thinking to myself, He’s not going to try and score from that distance, but I followed the ball, as it bobbled under Schumacher. The crowd had been cheering him on up until he took his shot, but once it hit the back of the net, Windsor erupted and all hell broke loose!
Like everyone else, I jumped like a lunatic, but being small, I was smothered by the crowd, and carried about 6 terraces down towards the pitch. As usual when a goal is scored against the Germans, the cheering and celebrations seemed to last forever. Ian Stewart ran towards the Olympia end and this added more fuel to the celebrations. Amazingly, we were beating the clear favourites, Germany, and the Spain 82 celebrations were continuing yet again, only this time at a rainswept and deafening Windsor Park. The party was now, literally in full swing! To be honest, I can never recall an atmosphere like it at Windsor, and perhaps I never will.
This was the acid test to see how far Norn Iron had come in world football, and we were winning. Both this, and the crowds celebrations further inspired the team, and they responded by playing some great football. The first half came to a close with Norn Iron in the lead. At the interval the celebrations were continuing, even at the burger stands. Everyone seemed to be singing.
The 2nd half just got better, as we were giving the Germans a hell of a game, and as usual the fans couldn’t get enough. Every move was cheered. “Norn Iron were beating the mighty Germans in every department, where the home fans were able to pour scorn on the champions of Europe, particularly Rummenigge.” Ronnie Hanna in Six Glorious Years. The polite way to say they were chanting “Rummenigge’s wife’s a whore”!
The last 10 minutes or so were very tense as the Germans attacked. However, yet again Binghams boys held out, and victory was achieved. The roar at the final whistle was immense, and the atmosphere reflected the whole game, one big celebration! Jimmy McIlroy reminded everyone that we had just beaten the second best team in the world and the Champions of Europe. Jurp Durwall, the German manager, said his strongest team was beaten by a superb Norn Iron performance and a fine goal.
After the match, we set off on our traditional route (via Donegall Ave. and Donegall Road) into the centre of town. We sang every Norn Iron football song over and over again, everyone seemed to be singing and celebrating. Perhaps the most satisfaction was gained when people stopped us to ask the score of the match. ‘We beat them 1-0’, we proudly replied, the look on their faces.
When we reached the city centre it was a mass of fans. Every bus stop was occupied by bus loads and queues of fans waiting to go home (how times have changed!). Our Cliftonville Road bus was packed, with the match being the topic of conversation. We had a safe journey home, no bricks though the windows, and the highlights of the game were watched by me and my family on Sportsnight.
Going to school the next morning was difficult. My throat ached, my voice was hoarse, a slight cold was gained and no homework had been done. As expected the first class of the day was spent talking about the match, who was at it, the goal etc. As the morning went by, it was forgot about to a slight degree, as everyday school goings on took over. During the lunch break, a commotion took place in the playground. Like most other pupils, me and the mates ran over to witness what we thought was a fair dig! But to our surprise it was Norn Iron’s new hero, Ian Stewart, trying to make his way to the staff common room in the French block.
This was quite a surprise, and it was soon discovered that Ian was a past pupil at Belfast Inst. and had left at 16 to pursue a successful football career. Like many other pupils, I queued beside Ian outside the staff room, hoping to get an autograph, but there was a mass of bigger pupils pushing to the front, and I was a little lost. At school we had record cards which teachers signed for misbehaviour etc. and mine was already well autographed 2 ½ months into term. Every pupil was trying to get theirs signed, and this signature would have been one on mine I would have welcomed.
One of the teachers realised the situation and came out of the staff room and called time and Ian was brought into the staff room. Like many others I hung around, but to no avail. When Ian was brought out again he was ushered away and I never did get his autograph. Although a little disappointed, I knew that unlike some who did get an autograph, I was at the game, and the memories were worth more than any autograph.
Later that evening when I was doing my paper round, the front page of the Telegraph had a picture of Ian in a pose in Top Man, Belfast, with his tracksuit on, and described his goal and new hero status. Like many a soccer star, Ian’s goal made him, but more importantly it helped change Norn Iron’s status in world soccer. After Spain and the success achieved, the German game was the acid test to see how far we had come in world football. Norn Iron unexpectedly delivered the goods and would continue to do so until 1986, with a further defeat of the Germans, another British Championship to retain forever and another World Cup. They continued to prove the critics wrong and gave the supporters of the team, in this era great memories.
It could be argued that if 1982 was the year when Norn Iron football came home, then the German match was the actual game in which it did so. We had witnessed the heroics in Spain and again we displayed them against one of the finest teams of this era and champions of Europe, West Germany.
Author: The Ballysillan Diehard
17/11/2007 Belfast Denmark 2-1 Warren Feeney, David Healy
Maik Taylor, Gareth McAuley, Aaron Hughes, Stephen Craigan, Jonathan Evans, Keith Gillespie (Ivan Sproule), Sammy Clingan, Steven Davis, Chris Brunt, Warren Feeney (Chris Baird), David Healy
David Healy: “The game against Denmark, when I broke the record for the number of goals scored in a European qualifying campaign, should never have taken place.”
“The conditions were atrocious with the rain pouring down on the pitch, but it was declared playable and we got down to business. I got our winner, chipping the ball over the goalkeeper into the net.”
“Some people asked me afterwards if I’d meant it, thinking it might be a cross. I definitely meant it. It was my 13th goal of the campaign, beating Davor Suker’s record, and it won the game for us.”
“What pleased me most was it kept our hopes of qualification for the Euro 2008 finals alive. A lot of our fans had booked to go over to Spain for the final qualifier and even though we didn’t make it in the end it was good that they travelled with a glimmer of hope.”
17/11/1993 Belfast Republic of Ireland 1-1 Jimmy Quinn
Tommy Wright, Gary Fleming, Nigel Worthington, Gerry Taggart, Alan McDonald, Mal Donaghy, Jim Magilton, Kevin Wilson (Kingsley Black), Jimmy Quinn, Phil Gray (Iain Dowie), Michael Hughes
On 17 November 1993, Denmark started the day on top of their World Cup qualification group and ended it with elimination from the tournament.
Denmark, who were hoping to reach the World Cup for only the second time ever, were in Group 3 along with Spain, the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, Lithuania, Latvia, and Albania. With the top two spots securing passage to the World Cup, the Danes went into the final day of qualification at the top of the group, two points clear of their opponents Spain and one point ahead of Ireland, who were away to Northern Ireland.
The games kicked off at the same time. Playing in Seville, Denmark looked certain to reach the World Cup when Spain lost Andoni Zubizarreta to a red card in the tenth minute. But despite the advantage, they could not score and instead went down 1-0 in the 63rd minute with a goal from Fernando Hierro. The game in Belfast remained scoreless; in a live table, that combination dropped Denmark into the group’s third spot.
They got a reprieve, however, when Northern Ireland’s Jimmy Quinn scored in the 74th minute, pushing Denmark back ahead of the Republic for the second qualifying place. But Ireland’s Alan McLoughlin equalized four minutes later and the game ended 1-1.
Denmark’s 1-0 loss and Ireland’s draw put the two teams level on points and goal differential, but Ireland got the nod by having scored nineteen goals to Denmark’s fifteen. The Irish team reached the Round of 16 before losing to the Netherlands. Denmark, meanwhile, qualified for the 1998 tournament, where they made it all the way to the quarterfinals.
Jimmy Quinn –
“It was a massive game for both teams – the Republic needed a result to get to the World Cup finals and we didn’t want to lose to them. It was Billy Bingham’s last game as manager of Northern Ireland and he’d brought all of the players in that squad through to the senior team. We’d done quite well at that time and got a few good results, but the last thing that we wanted to do was lose at Windsor Park in his last game as manager – particularly as he had done so much for us as players and for the country. We were nervous – people think that as professionals you don’t feel the pressure – but there was a bit of tension in the dressing room. I think Alan McDonald smoked a full packet of 20 cigarettes before the game because he kept disappearing into the toilets.”
“Stopping them going to the World Cup was part of the motivation too. If roles had been reversed they wouldn’t have been doing us any favours – I have no doubt about that. You play the game to win and we wanted to win the game. When you’re playing for your country that’s all you are focused on. We went into Belfast after the game and we didn’t have to buy a drink – there was champagne flowing everywhere.”
Late Goal Puts Ireland in Finals
By JAMES F. CLARITY
Published: November 18, 1993
With British soldiers patrolling outside Windsor Park and a tense crowd watching inside, the Irish Republic qualified for the World Cup finals tonight by scoring in the last 12 minutes for a 1-1 tie against Northern Ireland. But not before the Republic’s desperate players had been knocked to the seats of their bright green gaskins by a Northern Ireland goal five minutes earlier that had threatened to knock the Republic out of the finals.
As they came off the field, neither the players nor the 10,000 fans and 2,000 security police were sure whether the Republic’s tie was good enough to qualify for the World Cup.
“I was panicking,” said Tony Cascarino, a Republic striker. But within minutes, the results arrived from Seville, where Spain had just defeated Denmark, 1-0. That meant that the Republic and Denmark had finished the qualifying round with the same number of points, 18, and the same goal differential, 13. But the Republic qualified because it had scored 19 goals to 15 by Denmark, the European champion. The Irish Republic and Spain qualify in Group 3 for the finals in the United States next year. A Peaceful Night
There was no violence, but the Royal Ulster Constabulary, or police, and British soldiers in combat fatigues, armed with automatic rifles and riding in armored Land Rovers, patroled the area around Windsor Park, which is in a Protestant neighborhood where British flags hang proudly from windows. Police and Army barricades in the neighborhood caused large traffic jams. Fans entering the stadium were frisked politely.
Northern soccer authorities sought to prevent what is known here as “intersectarian violence” by not allocating any tickets to fans from the predominantly Roman Catholic Republic, so they wouldn’t be tempted to fight with northern fans of this British province of Ulster, which has a Protestant majority.
But fans from the Republic, who obtained several hundred tickets from friends and relatives in the North, mixed in and watched peacefully. The crowd numbered about 10,000 on this cold night and was necessarily tense and sober as both teams failed to score for the first 72 minutes and no alcohol was on sale. 2d Straight Trip to Finals
It was the second consecutive World Cup qualification for Ireland, which made the finals for the first time in the country’s history in 1990, when the Republic was eliminated in the quarterfinal round by Italy, 1-0. Tonight’s game was played after several psycho-battles by team officials and coaches — Jack Charlton, the Englishman who heads the Republic, and Billy Bingham, who was ending his 17-year career as Northern coach.
Bingham had claimed that the Republic was a team of “mercenaries” because most of the players were not born in Ireland, but England, and qualified for the Irish team on the basis of parents’ and grandparents’ citizenship.
The Republic’s soccer organization had tried to remove the Northern Ireland home-field advantage by getting the game moved to Manchester, England, where many of the Republic players work for English teams. The Republic officials argued that the ongoing guerrilla war in the North was a threat to the safety of its players.
The first half was dominated by the North, which attacked frequently down the flanks. The Republic goalkeeper, Packie Bonner, made several leaping saves of shots by Jimmy Quinn.
In the second half, the Republic swept in repeatedly, but failed to get the ball in position for its two strikers, Niall Quinn and John Aldridge. Then Quinn, the leading scorer in the English leagues, where he plays for Reading, made it 1-0. A Bingham substitute, Iain Dowie, looped a pass to Kevin Wilson, who kicked it back to Quinn some 15 feet in front of Bonner’s goal. The shot was high above the outstretched gloves of the goalkeeper.
But in the 78th minute, one of the Republic substitutes, Alan McLoughlin, took a long cross from the right after it bounced off a defender’s back and kicked it in low, from 20 yards out in front of the Northern Ireland goalkeeper, Tommy Wright.
Minutes after the game, McLoughlin, who plays for Portsmouth in England, was still panting when he said how he did it: “Chest, foot, in.” It was the shortest comment of the night, and the pithiest, from a Republic point of view.
The forgotten story of … 17 November 1993 The final night of the old World Cup qualifying system was a sensory overload of drama that included death, ‘murder’, illegal aliens – and Jack Charlton almost chinning Tony Cascarino