THERE WE WERE, NOW HERE WE ARE : PRE REDEVELOPMENT (2012-2014)

It’s now 2012, and there’s a new Northern Ireland manager in the shape of Michael O’Neill.

Unfortunately, the only movement off the pitch at Windsor Park was a temporary Railway Stand going up, then down, then up, then down.

Off the pitch, though, an agreement was reached to release funds for the redevelopment.

Linfield confirmed this in a letter to fans.

In March 2013, Windsor Park had it’s first ever weather related postponed international, when Northern Ireland’s match against Russia was postponed after a freak snowstorm. Yes, a snowstorm in March.

Eventually, in late 2013, it was confirmed that a redevelopment plan was approved, and that work would begin in the summer of 2014.

Linfield commemorated this at their last home game of the 2013-2014 season, against Glentoran on 22nd April 2014 by inviting former players to the game.

The last game that spectators would be in the stand was the 2014 Irish Cup Final between Glenavon and Ballymena United on 3rd May 2014, with Ballymena United fans being in that stand (as well as The Kop)

February 2012 – The Kop

February 2012 – The Kop, Lower Deck

March 2012 – North Stand turnstile at Donegall Avenue

In April 2012, Windsor Park got a LOO. Not a toilet, this LOO is Civil Service speak for Letter Of Offer, as the IFA received a Letter Of Offer for work to begin in 2013 with the redevelopment to be completed in the summer of 2015.

Within days, a Programme Director was appointed.

April 2012 – View from the South Stand.

April 2012 – Temporary seating in the Railway Stand now gone again.

May 2012 – Temporary seating removed from the South Stand.

May 2012 – Cameraman based in the South Stand.

May 2012 – The Kop

May 2012 – North Stand, as seen at Harry Gregg’s Testimonial.

May 2012 – South Stand, on the night of Harry Gregg’s Testimonial.

May 2012 – Temporary stand returns on the site of the Railway Stand for Harry Gregg’s Testimonial.

The summer of 2012 saw Planning Consultants be appointed.

…… and some architects.

July 2012 – Temporary Railway Stand gone again

July 2012 – B36 fans in the South Stand.

The tenders for the redevelopment came in. However, they were over budget.

August 2012 – Temporary Railway Stand returns.

August 2012 – View from the South Stand.

In late Summer 2012, a Community Consultation was launched.

……… and Supporters Clubs were given a chance to view the plans.

November 2012 – Floodlights at junction of Viewing Lounge and Railway Stand

November 2012 – Entering temporary Railway Stand.

November 2012 – Aisle at temporary Railway Stand.

November 2012 – Vehicle Entrance at South Stand turnsiltes.

As Christmas 2012 approaches, the IFA submits a planning application for work to begin in September 2013.

……. and there were even rumours it could be hosting the European Super Cup Final when completed.

December 2012 – Temporary Railway Stand once again gone.

January 2013 – View from the South Stand.

March 2013 – Junction of Railway Stand and North Stand

April 2013 – View from the South Stand

April 2013 – Entering the South Stand.

April 2013 – Best view in the ground, such was the quality of football on offer.

The temporary Railway Stand was used for a domestic game in May 2013, the Irish Cup Final between Glentoran and Cliftonville.

Meanwhile, Crusaders lived up to their name by going on a crusade, claiming that EU rules were broken.

July 2013 – Temporary seating at Railway Stand once again removed.

July 2013 – South Stand

July 2013 – Linfield supporters walk from the South Stand to The Kop.

July 2013 – A packed South Stand for a European tie.

July 2013 – View from the South Stand.

Remember that court case Crusaders were threatening? That soon disappeared.

August 2013 – View from the Railway Stand.

August 2013 – Cameraman based at forecourt, filming over Railway Stand.

A blog worth reading from August 2013, as one football ground enthusiast mourns the impending demise of another Archibald Leitch stadium.

Reassuringly, Caral Ni Chuilin, Sport Minister, declared she was committed to the redevelopment.

September 2013 – Temporary seating in Railway Stand gone again, never to be seen again.

An early Christmas present came in late in 2013, as the project was given the green (and white army) light.

January 2014 – A bit wet today.

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