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)
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.
The summer of 2012 saw Planning Consultants be appointed.
…… and some architects.
The tenders for the redevelopment came in. However, they were over budget.
In late Summer 2012, a Community Consultation was launched.
……… and Supporters Clubs were given a chance to view the plans.
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.
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.
Remember that court case Crusaders were threatening? That soon disappeared.
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.
An early Christmas present came in late in 2013, as the project was given the green (and white army) light.