Believe it or not, today was actually the fifth anniversary of Northern Ireland’s 1-0 win over England in a World Cup Qualifier.

Even though it didn’t really mean much in the grand scheme of things (England still qualified with a game to spare, and Northern Ireland lost their last two games to finish 4th), it’s still always nice to beat England.

This match actually marked the start of a period when I had a severe disinterest in international football. There were two things which caused this.

The first was that the next day, the IFA announced that Stephen Nolan would be a special guest for the next month’s game with Wales, having been humiliated into making a charity donation after ridiculing the team and their chances the previous day.

It wasn’t that show which riled me, it was a show the previous year, on BBC1, where he “Debated” the need for a Northern Ireland football team.

Where else in the world would you get a load of self-loathing apologetic bollocks about a country’s football team?

When I say “Debated”, I mean it in the Nolan way, where he is right and nobody else’s opinion matters. Quick to accuse and slow to prove.

Basically, in conclusion, all Northern Ireland fans are bigots, and we’re crap at football and don’t deserve our own national football team.

Since then (The ‘My Old Man‘ case and the night of the Poland game in 2009 where he demanded Northern Ireland be thrown out of the 2010 World Cup after touble on the streets that day), he has proved that he is one leopard that doesn’t change it’s spots.

Yet, the IFA rolled out the red carpet for him, whilst many other fans are unable to get a ticket. A slap in the face and insult for all football fans in Northern Ireland.

Around that time, the IFA were happy to leak e-mails and memos to their chums at the BBC to wage a propaganda war on Linfield FC regarding the state of Windsor Park, in an attempt to get The Maze stadium built.

Bullshit press release followed smear after sensationalist headline. Quite simply, I felt I was having to choose between club and country, and it was a choice that country was never going to win.

Eventually, once The Maze died once and for all, I decided to take an interest again.

I wasn’t actually at the England game, despite being at the earlier fixture at Old Trafford. I was however, at the Spain game in 2006 when Northern Ireland came from behind to win 3-2.

In 366 days time, it will be the 5th anniversary of that game. Incidentally, that game hasn’t been immortalised in mural.

The original mural, in East Belfast, is of David Healy’s winning goal. This photo was taken during the afternoon of March 24th 2007.

Linfield were away to Loughgall but I didn’t go, so I walked over, camera in one hand, listening to Radio Ulster with the other, to get a photo.

It was an international Saturday, and Northern Ireland beat Leichtenstein with a hat-trick from ……… David Healy. Who else did you expect?

In order to clarify, the man in the photo isn’t a fan or tourist, he’s a guy waiting for his car to get fixed at a garage next door.

In 2008, the mural was painted over, and replace by one of David Ervine.

A new mural was painted across the road. In my own opinion, it’s not as good as the original.

For many people my age, they will always remember England 2005, but what i’d really want, is an Israel 1981.


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