THERE WE WERE, NOW HERE WE ARE : THE RACE FOR ROMANIA

By the end of March 2015, the redevelopment was progressing well and Northern Ireland were four points clear in a qualifying position for Euro 2016. Everything was going brilliantly. Too brilliantly. Something surely had to go wrong.

Two days after the Northern Ireland v Finland game, subsidence was discovered in The Kop. As a result, the internet was swamped with fully qualified Structural Engineers.

It was all over the news that week.

It was then announced that Linfield v Crusaders on the following Saturday was postponed due to it.

In the short-term, Linfield’s final two home matches of the 2014-2015 season were moved to Ballymena Showgrounds and The Oval.

There were rumours that the 2015 Irish Cup Final and Northern Ireland’s match against Romania in June would be played at Ravenhill.

Instead of taking the advice of people on the internet, the IFA decided to get professionals and experts in their field to do a report. The report would recommend the demolition of The Kop.

The 2015 Irish Cup Final was switched to The Oval, but Northern Ireland’s match against Romania would be played at Windsor Park, with builders working around the clock to get the Railway Stand and part of the South Stand ready for the game.

April 2015 – Railway Stand/South Stand junction progressing.

April 2015 – Railway Stand progressing.

April 2015 – The Kop, still standing.

May 2015 – Railway Stand/South Stand junction making further progress.

May 2015 – The Kop, now gone.

May 2015 – Railway Stand/South Stand almost ready for Romania.

The IFA were true to their word, and Northern Ireland hosted Romania at Windsor Park on 13th June 2015. Northern Ireland fans were in the Railway Stand, with Romania fans being hosted in part of the South Stand that was ready.

The newly opened Railway Stand didn’t get to see a goal, as the match finished 0-0.

June 2015 – Seats in the Railway Stand.

June 2015 – View from the corner of the Railway Stand.

June 2015 – South Stand, as seen from the Railway Stand.

June 2015 – Inside the Railway Stand.

June 2015 – Seats in the Railway Stand.

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