Attwood announces a new Windsor Park…

At £25m, it’s one of the more modest projects, but no doubt none the less welcome for that.. Perhaps the weekend’s evidence of some rapprochement between rival supporters under unreasonable and external sectarian pressure, may herald a better future for NI soccer generally [no sniggering at the back!].

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  • Blue Hammer

    Probably a good thing for the NI team and its supporters, but a disaster for Linfield.

    They should have let the IFA buy us out of “the deal” and built a more compact (8-10k capacity), modern ground fit for our purposes.

    The thought of watching the Blues 25 times or more a season in a big empty modern stadium is no more appealing than watching them in a big empty dilapidated stadium.

    The atmosphere at Solitude, Seaview, Mourneview, even the Hoval is so much better than at Windsor, and this development will only exacerbate that.

  • FDM

    If anyone could show me the business case as why the “national” football team has to be at Windsor Park?

    Since I am funding it do I not have the right to see the decision making about the allocation of what is after all my money?

  • Paulk

    I’d agree Blue Hammer i wouldn’t really follow local football but everytime the local football highlights are on the TV i shake my head when it cuts to Windsor being 3/4s empty – terrible sight! so it will resemble when Queens Park play their home games at Hampden Park 500-1000 in attendance in a 50,000 seater stadium. Far better for Linfield and the IFA to go their separate ways.
    Although i still think even for NI matches an 18,000 capacity is probably 5000 too high.

  • Mick Fealty


    Now, go on. Where would you put it?

  • tacapall

    Where it should have been Mick in Lisburn at the former prison site.

  • Chris Donnelly

    Blue Hammer

    Is your glass always half-empty?

    Linfield get a spanking new stadium, continuance of a revenue stream keeping them financially on a different level to every other club in their league…and you complain?

    GAA grounds are rarely one-quarter filled for club or non-Senior County Championship fixtures, but I don’t think they’ll be complaining over Casement direction about their new stadium!

    Certainly a better future as far as stadia, Mick….

  • Blue Hammer


    It has to be at Windsor Park because in 1984 the IFA signed a deal with Linfield Football Club, agreeing to play all home NI matches there for 100 years. In return, LFC get 15% of the gate receipts. To move away from Windsor would have cost too much for the IFA to buy us out of that deal. Also, the only show in town, apart from Windsor, was the proposed multi-sport stadium at the Maze.

    The Maze project collapsed for a number of reasons, including the differing pitch sizes for GAA/Football/Rugby, its poor location for bars/hotels/etc and other “political” reasons which we all know of.

    So IFA renegotiated with Linfield FC, who gave up ownership of the stadium in exchange for a complete rebuild of two sides and corners, with a refurb of the other two sides.

    Not my ideal, but there you go.

  • Otto

    Are they going to do the seats in NI colours Wembley style?

    Might not suit the bluemen.

    It’d go lovely with a nice new green and white NI (civic) flag though.

  • Blue Hammer


    Not my glass, my football stadium.

    Does a club side, the biggest and most successful in, say, Ulster, play at Casement each week? If so would their fans not prefer the atmosphere in a packed, smaller ground rather than echoing around in 40k capacity super-stadium? IIRC, Dublin GAA dont always play at Croke do they? Run of the mill games are played at a more compact ground.

    As a Linfield, not NI, fan, I do not enjoy watching my team at a quarter full stadium. The atmoshere is funereal and the game suffers. I hear the Glens are allegedly to get a 5-7k capacity ground in Titanic Quarter which will give them the best ground in the league “for Irish League football”. I want that title for Linfield.

    Also, I am sick to the ballix of fans of other IPL clubs whinging about the income we get from the IFA. They should gripe at their own clubs about the fact that in 1984 Windsor was IFA’s only option.

    My view is that we should have negotiated an escape with IFA, walked away from Windsor, built something 8-10k capacity on the north foreshore and thus had a stadium and atmosphere to back up our claim to be the biggest club in Ireland.

  • IJP

    A disaster for Linfield?! It just gets better!

    Seriously, it’s a welcome project which I hope has positive ramifications well beyond football.

  • IJP


    Have always thought NI civic flag would be green and blue. That would work, as it happens!

  • Reader

    IJP: Have always thought NI civic flag would be green and blue.
    That’s not a heraldic combination, though a lot of new flags aren’t.

  • Leviticus

    As a Blueman I am happy enough with this.. though my original position was to let the IFA buy us out, and let us get on with making a fit for purpose stadia for us… that didn’t happen, and now we get a brand new stadium, no upkeep etc, and index linked annual payments for the pleasure.

    And after the term of the contract is up, it belongs to us again!

  • Red Lion

    Looks really great and I think will serve Northern Ireland well.

    The current creaking Windsor served us some brilliant memories over the years not least beating Spain 3-2 in 2006 , a Spain side that has gone on to near unbeaten world domination since.

    So long as we keep the pitch close to the stands, especially the Kop end so the swanky opposition can feel the fans breathing down their necks.

    Oh, and use the extra capacity to keep ticket prices reasonable, and cheap for friendlies with lots of family and children’s discounts.

  • Otto

    “IJP: Have always thought NI civic flag would be green and blue. That’s not a heraldic combination, though a lot of new flags aren’t.”

    You sound a bit like this guy 😉

  • Well done to the IFA on this occasion. They’ve managed to slash their annual subvention to Linfield FC from almost £800k to £200k. In addition they will be in full day to day control of the stadium for the next 51years. I’ll enjoy getting comfortable on those nice green seats.

  • Red Lion

    Seats are supposed to be multicoloured, if it really matters to anyone

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    I’d build a new stadium in the Titanic Quarter and I’m not sure why that wasn’t looked into more – there was a proposal for it at one stage. That way you could build something compact, modern and without any associations with one club. It also might be a nice nod to some of the people who rightly or wrongly see Windsor Park as having too Protestant associations. Ultimately it is what you make it and Windsor can work too but a new location would be a positive signal for the one truly cross-community sport in Northern Ireland – and a sport for which we have a great tradition of playing together harmoniously in the NI team already in place.

  • FDM

    It really is a very simple question. Where is the business plan that demonstrates that Windsor is the best bang for my taxpayers buck?

    If you can’t answer that question then you are talking misappropriation of taxpayers money.

    Don’t care what deal the Linfield-IFA have. How does this concern me and spending my money?

    Where is the business plan that can stand scrutiny?

  • FDM

    Still waiting on that business case proving that Windsor Park was the best deal in town, wholly funded by my tax pounds sterling?

    We seek it here, we seek it there…

    Not like it is a big issue. It’s only 27 million pounds and change.

    Answers on a postcard?

  • FDM

    Drums fingers on table…

    Come on boys and girls at the IFA and Windsor Park!

    Where is that business plan???

    We had some nice words up there but like the man said “SHOW ME THE MONEY!”.

  • FDM

    And still no sign of the financial case for Windsor Park from anyone on slugger, at the IFA or local government. The emperor really isn’t wearing any clothes at all.

    The reason they have not released the financial decision plumping for Windsor Park is because it doesn’t make ANY financial sense, present or future.

    First and foremost this is taxpayers money. If the decision making does not deliver present and future the best value for money for the people paying, then it is a non-starter.

    A new stadium could have been built in any number of locations, more cost effectively providing for a better financial future for the so-called “national” stadium, whatever nation that may be. The site at the Danny Blanchflower site or alternatively one in the Titanic Quarter would have offered more viable alternatives.

    Viable modern stadia usually contain a mixture of public, local council and private finance and a package of in-door (or all-weather) sports areas, bars, restaurants, clubs, fitness centres, shopping and hotel facilities in order to support the revenue stream both present and FUTURE. For this reasoning new-development stadia are usually sited in areas that are vibrant, accessible and ‘hip’ which will attract people to the ground and its surrounds. Windsor Park is located in the Village area of Belfast. The area bedecked in red, white and blue bunting 365. The same area that delivered fleg protest chaos to the Broadway motorway junction recently. It is a loyalist stronghold, an extremely run-down area and as such is accessible only to one half of the community here. Hardly ‘hip’, hardly sexy to anyone going there and its facilities in terms of bars, shops and restaurants is a joke, unless of course your preference is to get “canned-up” in a local bandhall prior to the game. How would this be a viable attractive opportunity to private investors? I understand that the local council input has been toned-down as much as possible so that the Linfield-IFA love-in will not be disturbed by pesky local politician interference.

    Windsor Park is currently a wreck. Previous NI manager Lawrie Sanchez described Windsor Park live on air as, and I quote, “a terrible stadium”. Every international match day I understand that a fire service tender has to be physically located AT the stadium, the risk of fire is so great. As if we learned nothing from Bradford, where the fire took 4 minutes for one entire stand to become an inferno. It was Linfields responsiblity to maintain the stadium in a fit state for international football. Depending on whose figures you believe they cream in between £400-800k per annum for the fairy-tale 99 year deal they arranged with the IFA. A deal which they negotiated from both sides of the table. Even with this money coming in the opinion of many they have failed to meet a contractual stipulation to maintain the stadium to an international standard. Even beyond that I understand the IFA actually own one of the stands already and funded with a zero interest loan the building of another stand. I also understand that the IFA paid for [non-exhaustively] a new pitch to be laid [approx 500k], the floodlights, the changing rooms, the public address system, the press boxes and the CCTV. This begs the question is what do Linfield actually own versus what they have paid for in the current stadium at Windsor Park? Actualy they own it all, courtesy of the IFA, via your and my buck of course.

    The subsequent effect on the Irish league has been the destruction of all competition in the local top division. Linfield have won the league and cup double in 6 out of the last 7 years. Only Glentoran financially ruining their club secured the league title that spoiled a clean sweep in the last 7 years. The Irish League has become a sham fight. Only the emergence of probably the best Cliftonville team of all time will upset the applecart this year. Expect normal service to be resumed next season.

    Linfield have waved their fairy-tale duration contract over the head of the IFA and the taxpayer as a threat. They threatened breach of contract litigation if the IFA tried to walk away from Windsor Park. They asked for a buyout of the contract instead with figures in the £20-£30million pounds being floated about.

    The Linfield fans realising how closely their bought success is related to their cash-cow marriage to their sugar-daddy the IFA had the audacity to declare this by holding up banners and signs with 15% written on it at football games. 15% being generously donated to Linfield from activities related to the international games returns at Windsor Park. They really have no shame.

    The facts of the matter is that Linfield have held the IFA to ransom. A new deal or litigation. However I think that the IFA have demonstrated with their lack of transparency and ‘smoke and mirrors’ approach to public consultation that they had NO INTENTION whatsover of ever moving from their nepotistic relationship with Linfield.

    Looking at the new deal this is what we are going to get. The taxpayer will pay for the stadium. It will run by a management group steered by the IFA and Linfield. Linfield will have free run at ALL the facilities the stadium has to offer at zero cost. The IFA [and the taxpayer by inference] will fund all the upkeep, renovations and upgrades to the stadium. In short Linfields costs of running the stadium end of a football club will be ZERO. They will be given an index linked £200k per annum for a stadium that they have put no money into building. This £200k will be part of the wage cap monies and enable Linfield to continue to fund a larger and deeper squad than the rest of the Irish League. The hegemony will continue unabated. At the end of the deal period, Linfield will be handed the stadium entire without a penny of cost to them.

    The above situation exists in no other country in any other part of the world. It would be seen as disgraceful nepotism in a sport that is supposed to be at its core about FAIR PLAY.

    Where is the ‘shared future’ here? Do Catholics go to Windsor Park to follow NI? Well from the horses mouth lets repeat what former NI international player and Derry man Liam Coyle stated, “because of where Windsor Park is, who plays at Windsor Park… unless you change things quickly you are going to lose an entire generation of very, very good players [sic. to the Republic of Ireland]. If Northern Ireland really want to push on…they have got to move to a new stadium, build a new stadium, move on, change the whole perception, because no matter what you say they are playing at… a mainly Unionist football club [and stadium].” {Taken from “Does_the_Cap_Fit”, Michael McNamee}

    The bottom line is Northern Ireland will continue to play in front of one side of the community on what is seen as a partisan pitch. The deal will continue with the partisan relationship between Linfield and the IFA which will further destroy competition in the Irish League for another 30 years.

    I don’t support the Northern Ireland team. Should the Northern Ireland team have a public stadium funded for them by the taxpayer? Should the protestant community have representation? Absolutely is the answer. I am 100% behind them having the funding for a stadium for their team. They pay their taxes as I do. Fair is fair. However WHY do they have to destroy the whole concept of FAIR PLAY and COMPETITION in the Irish League in the process?

    Their was an opportunity, there still is, for a stadium to built in an environment that may indeed attract people from both communities to support the Northern Ireland team. The sitting of the stadium build at Windsor Park is a massive ‘own goal’ [pardon the pun] in building any kind of shared future.

    It is truly shocking to me that commentators on slugger and beyond are not highlighting both here and elsewhere the disgraceful financial carve-up and short-termest myopia which this decision is.

    This decision will have four direct effects.

    1. The Northern Ireland team will continue to be supported by one side of the community only.

    2. The IFA funded Linfield dominance of the Irish League will continue unabated, strengthened even.

    3. The lack of competition in the Irish League will see a further decline in numbers attending the grounds, which is already at low numbers.

    4. The cyclical effect of declining numbers interested in local football, will lead to a decline in the number of people participating and indeed climbing to the upper levels of the game to representative standards. This will in turn lead to the further decline of Northern Ireland team.

    The IFA with this ‘true to form’ carve-up have effectively ensured that top level football will die here within 30 years. This will be the last stadium built for the Northern Ireland team. I doubt the team itself can survive. The prognosis is bleak.

  • FDM

    Anyone managed to find the financial/business plan for the Windsor development in the public domain yet?

    Keep looking for those emperors clothes!

  • Otto

    Maybe you should give one of the people at the foot of this a ring.

    Or you could try the City Council.

    “creating a new boulevard-style entrance to the stadium at Windsor Park which would be more welcoming and attractive to visitors”

    That’s from the Olympia end. I’m pretty sure Fulton’s wasn’t a no go area for Catholics. Happy?

  • FDM



    I had a look but it is all the same gumpf.

    They have railroaded this as a defacto decision “its Windsor Park”.

    There has to be a document that details WHY it has to be Windsor Park that is redeveloped.

    That is what they are definitely NOT telling us.

    The consultation exercise is a sham because all you are asked to do is “Share your views about how best to maximise the impact of plans for Windsor Park “.

    It is as Churchill put it “agreement with my orders after a reasonable amount of discussion”.

    The document you pointed to mentions a DCAL OBC(outline business plan) for regional stadia development. Why is it not in the public domain? Where is the IFA one? Why is it not in the public domain?

    Its public tin they want in their begging bowl. How can these plans be commerically/financially sensitive since there is no element of competition? It is not as if some private consortia is going to build a rival stadium and offer it to NI.

    The wool is being pulled over our collective eyes. To me it looks like a cert for a judicial review due to the complete fallacy of public consultation on the decision to focus the funding on Windsor. The consultation they are embarking upon is movig deck chairs on the boat deck of the Titanic.

    Are you fooled?

  • Morpheus

    Where in the world would a tenant pay for their landlord’s house to get a total rebuild? How are the other clubs supposed to compete year after year if the IFA are subsiding Linfield’s wage bill from the public purse?

    Yet again, the Northern Ireland ‘Old Boys’ network in action.

  • Otto

    That’ll be a challenge for a lot of people though FDM.

    I think if you run through most lottery grants to sports clubs they didn’t involve the relocation of the club. I will accept that there is often competition from another similar club. Were any other teams bidding to build a ground that would also host Northern Ireland?

    As far as value for money (rather than competition) goes IF the entrance is relocated to Boucher and we can agree that that makes the ground at least as cross community as Ravenhill or Casement then I’m not sure what the continuing objection is. You have 18,000 seats for £23M. 60,000 seats at Emirates cost £490M. What’s a fair rate?

  • FDM


    I think there was [still is] an opportunity to start on a new direction.

    There is some value in what you say but you ignore what people like Liam Coyle said “because of where Windsor Park is, who plays at Windsor Park… unless you change things quickly you are going to lose an entire generation of very, very good players [sic. to the Republic of Ireland]. If Northern Ireland really want to push on…they have got to move to a new stadium, build a new stadium, move on, change the whole perception, because no matter what you say they are playing at… a mainly Unionist football club [and stadium].”

    No matter where you build the door to it, its still going into a Orange band hall as far as I am concerned.

    I refuse to go to Windsor even to watch Cliftonville play. I wouldn’t give them the money.

    In terms of value for money I used public domain documents that was current on stadium development costs from a company that does this and costed out an 18,000 seater in the same ball park and it was a NEW BUILD, which has significant advantages to redeveloping an existing site.

    Thats even before you got the significant private investment opportunities and naming rights.

    The IFA just want to continue the love-in with Linfield and your average NI fan would have detectors installed at Windsor to keep Catholics out if they could get away with it. They don’t care what damage they do to shared future or indeed the collapse of competition in the Irish League.

    For goodness sake they are refusing to put in green seats in the stadium even though thats the team colours because the bigots can’t have the colour anywhere near their protestant nationalist Windsor Park.

    Not fooled, won’t be fooled.

    Would be surprised if this WAS NOT torpedoed with a judicial review. The consultation process has been non-existent.

  • Otto

    “build a new stadium, move on, change the whole perception”

    A lot of Linfield fans seem as reticent as you FDM. I’m not really an IFA follower tbh but perhaps Linfield should be looking at building a neighbouring “Arms Park” to complement the Windor Park “Millenium Stadium”.

    Looks like 3000 would have covered all but the Christmas Glentoran game in this list.

    The BBC reported this proposal for Worcester at £2M. Seems cheap. Maybe that should have been part of the plan. More appropriate for schools cup finals and other events?

    As far as a new start for senior football goes Ulster Rugby (as a professional side) and even the Belfast Giants have been pretty much built from scratch in recent years. Ravenhill and Ulster Rugby are IRFU property. How’s it work in football? Could an IFA owned “Swansea” be sent to represent us in the English leagues?

    Actually that seems like a brilliant idea to me. There must be something wrong with it.

  • Otto

    This is worth a listen

    A discussion about, whether, if Rangers was having to start at the bottom of a league pyramid, it might as well start at the bottom of the English League. 80% support from the studio audience – but most saying that would be conditional on Celtic also joining (see – they are friends really).

    Swansea, who never joined the Welsh League have just won an English league title.

    There are 52 Million people in England. They sustain a commercially successful premiership of 20 teams – that’s 1 team for 2.6 million people. On a pro-rata basis we have enough people on this island for two such teams. We also have, potentially, two decent stadia at Landsdowne and Windsor Park – each in the two of our cities with tourist potential and international transport links. We’ve also got two potential owners – the IFA and the FAI or supporter trusts they set up. They each already have a coaching set up and as we’re seeing in Irish Rugby international coaching is a more fraught business that week-in week-out coaching of a professional side (eg Pro12 in Rugby) so international coaching/management would be improved if we used the same coaching teams.

    Now that we have the grounds we should be setting up two, new, potentially premiership or Championship teams, Belfast FC and Dublin FC – the Ulster and Leinster of Irish association football – each with a brutal anti-sectarianism policy and rigorously controlled family enclosures – even family stands.

  • boondock

    Belfast FC and Dublin FC nice idea but its never going to happen the only chance is if clubs in the future break away from UEFA so that leagues can be created covering many countries, eg a celtic league or that much talked of Atlantic league but thats years away if it ever does happen. Wimbledon tried to move to Dublin and become the Dublin Dons before ending up in Milton Keynes and as a business venture it would have worked ie premier league football in Ireland but it got shot down by pretty much everyone UEFA, FA and FAI. The biggest obstacle to your idea are the local clubs because premiership football in Ireland would be the final nail in the coffin for a number of local teams who struggle as it is to get any spectators. No chance of Distillery against Ballinamallard attracting anyone if Man U are playing Belfast on the same day!! By the way any out of the box thinking is a complete no no for the blazers at IFA who like the cushy life just the way it is.

  • Otto

    “its never going to happen”

    It’s as likely as half the other shite we talk about round here!

    We have the precedent of boot-strapped professional teams in Pro-Rugby.

    Build it and they will come!

    Belfast can even borrow my flag if they want.

  • Otto

    You know with all the potential benefits I’ve listed – tourism, international performance, income for the ground, “export” income (ie TV rights), let alone the shared future loveliness of the idea it really shouldn’t be the IFA’s decision alone.

    Maybe Trevor Ringland should start a campaign.

  • boondock

    Dont get me wrong I would love it to happen I wouldnt shed many tears for a number of the local clubs just as long as the new club took over the role of developing local talent.

  • Otto

    I didn’t get you wrong. I can see the challenge. Or rather, I keep hearing about the IFA’s conservatism so I guess it must be true. I’m not sure that a fully professional pinnacle would downgrade the rest of the senior game here. The experience in rugby is that having a regional champion (with a lot of international players) has increased attendance across the sport, from mini-rugby to parents turning up for schools cup quarter finals. It’s just a classier game now.

    You’ve only to compare Scots premiership stadia to FAI or IFA grounds – not just old firm but right through, to see that we’re not up to an integrated league across associations. Better to accept that NI and ROI each have a decent mostly amateur regional senior league playing with attandance up to c.3000 (bigger derbies at Windsor or Landsdowne) and each has a champion English League side.

    I’m not sure this would have been seen as practical without Swansea and the Rugby experience but I think it’s almost negligent not to take it seriously now.

    And remember that no European games would be lost to the local leagues – Belfast and Dublin would have to access any European competitions through the English League.

  • Otto

    How come we can do 260+ comments on flags and no-one wants to talk about how we spend £110M of taxpayers money on sports stuff?

  • sicnarf

    Check out today’s for a potential judicial review to the Windsor decision.
    Expect more challenges on the East Belfast (First Minister) and Derry City (Deputy First) attempted stitch up on secondary, sub regional, soccer stadia money – due in 2015

  • Morpheus

    Is anyone surprised that the Windsor Park stitch-up is going to the courts?

    Well done Crusaders FC director Mark Langhamme

  • FDM

    @sicnarf (profile)

    20 March 2013 at 8:53 pm

    Check out today’s for a potential judicial review to the Windsor decision.
    Expect more challenges on the East Belfast (First Minister) and Derry City (Deputy First) attempted stitch up on secondary, sub regional, soccer stadia money – due in 2015


    Fantastic news! Delighted.

    Hopefully the this legal challenge is upheld and this very questionable arrangement between the IFA and Linfield is finally put to its rest.

    A great day for the Irish League in creating an even playing field for the first time in some decades, if successful.

    Ultimately if they can torpedo this nefarious deal then it will be a great victory for FAIR PLAY. Far from being a mere slogan on UEFA/FIFA banners it is what the sport was designed orginally to nurture and foster.

    Ultimately very well done to Crusaders FC and their Crusading Chairman Mark Langhammer for bringing this righteous action!

  • Alan N/Ards


    I would agree witb you that Windsor is not a very neutral venue for football. If unionists were to start taking a serious interest in gaelic football, is Casement a neutral venue for them to attend considering were it is and the history of that ground?

  • Morpheus

    Why are you bringing religion into this Alan?

    This has more to do with the fact that the tenants are paying for the landlord’s house to completely gutted and renovated and then paying them rent for their troubles.

    How are Crusaders or any other team in NI supposed to compete year year year out when Linfield’s wage bill is being effectively paid by the IFA?

    Build a 6k-seater stadium for Linfield – fill it to the rafters each week rather than a 30k-seater and having only a fraction of the stands filled.


  • FDM

    Alan N/Ards

    I would agree witb you that Windsor is not a very neutral venue for football. If unionists were to start taking a serious interest in gaelic football, is Casement a neutral venue for them to attend considering were it is and the history of that ground?


    I have to agree with Morpheus. If you see the points I posted above, they are very much to do with the continued financial imbalancing of the league and the destruction of competition in such by the nefarious deal between Linfield and the IFA.

    Does you deserve an international standard football stadium for your representative team to play out of? Absolutely you do. You pay your taxes as do I. The point is that it doesn’t have to cripple the Irish League to the benefit of one side! Build the stadium anywhere you like but do not in doing continue to make the Irish League a sham fight. Six league and cup doubles in seven years forsooth. Fairlytale stuff and we all know who the fairy godmother is.

    Again fair play to Mark Langhammer and the Crues for taking this action.

  • Alan N/Ards


    Where did I mention religion in my post???????


    “If you see the points I posted above, they are very much to do with the continued financial imbalance of the league” It’s a shame that you didn’t stick to the financial argument. You made some very good points.

    Your other points ” The IFA justwant a love in with Linfield, and your average NI fan would have detectors installed at Windsor to keep Catholics out if they could get away with it”

    “It is a loyalist stronghold, an extremely run down area and as such is accessible to one side of the community here”

    “No matter where you build the door to it, it’s still going into an Orange
    band hall as far as I’m concerned” What has finance got to do with tbese comments?

    My question still stands. Is Casement a nuetral venue? Is it accessible to both communities?

  • FDM

    @Alan N/Ards

    If funding Casement destroyed the competitive nature of the GAA championships to the benefit of only one team then I would, as any sportsfan would be, 100% against it. Let me be clear on that. If funding Casement was BAD for the championships I would be against them getting a penny.

    Funding Windsor Park destroys competition in the Irish League to the benefit of Linfield solely.

    I would say Casement has many of the same problems in terms of neutrality as Windsor has. However funding the former doesn’t ruin the sport. Hence the reason why Crusaders feel the need to take this one to the courts. The basis of their complaint is about nepotism, in the form of direct government funding for what are private companies in a non-competitive way, in direct contravention of EU rules. Nothing to do with religion, or I would say the Crues would not be taking this action in the first place, given their make-up.

    Seemingly the opposition to the Windsor development is one of those few instances that has cross community support!

    My other comments stand since whilst unrelated and made prior to this latest twist in this tale, they are still nonetheless accurate. If you like I can readily post the video evidence? Its not pretty viewing though.

  • Alan N/Ards


    Your other comments were pathetic! Carl Marks rightly pulled me up for stereotyping people who attend St. Paddy day events. As an average NI fan I find them appalling. I attend with my 11 year old son. He like me is mot in the OO or loyalist bands. We are not paramilitary members. I have cheered on every NI player since 1970 regardless of their background. Pat Jennings, Mal Donaghy, Gerry Armstrong, Neil Lennon, Goerge Best, Pat Rice, Norman Whiteside, Niall McGinn etc. Your comments say a lot about you but they say nothing about me.

  • FDM

    @Alan N/Ards

    “stereotyping people”

    I think you can hear them in stereo there and not one or two but hundreds.

    “As an average NI fan I find them appalling…He like me is not in the OO or loyalist bands…We are not paramilitary ”

    Interesting loyalist ditty at 1:20s. They really are appalling and supporters not only of Northern Ireland but also loyalilst terrorists me thinks?

    The fans supported “Neil Lennon” so well that they booed him everytime he went near the ball after joining Celtic. The rest of his team mates loved him so dearly that when their CAPTAIN had to withdraw from playing because of death threat, they took the field anyway on that night. Having been involved with football for 30 years I find it incredible that they could not bring themselves to support their teammate. Niall McGinn got the obligatory bullet in the post after the last Ireland v Northern Ireland game because he made the mistake of admitting to being a Republic supporter. So before you indulge in the “we are not like that anymore” nonsense, save it for someone who is listening.

    “Your comments say a lot about you but they say nothing about me.”

    Your comments underline everything I have said on this site about the collective cognitive dissonance that exists in the PUL community and their abject failure to see reality for what it is.

    Start facing up to that reality. No-one believes the “Oh Windosr Park isn’t like that anymore” crap, except for maybe chief IFA propagandist Michael Boyd. I am strapped in for the “few bad apples , sea of green, football for all, community outreach speech”. So new, so believable.

  • Alan N/Ards


    Am I and my son supporters of loyalist paramilitaries? There is evidence of supporters of many clubs being sectarian. Just look at the republican thugs of Shamrock Rovers recently at Windsor. Did you enjoy that. Here is a wee secret for you. My granda was a big Cliftonville fan. In fact he played for them many, many years ago. He used to take me to watch them occasionally as a boy. He was a Shankill Road man who hated the blues with a passion. He died 40 years ago and would have loved to have been here to see them lift the league this season. You would have hated him though as he also loved watching NI. A lifelong socialist who loved to sing the Red Flag after a few drinks. I never once heard him sing the Sash.


    I’m still waiting for your answer regarding me bringing religion into the debate!

  • Morpheus

    My apologies Alan, when you said…

    “If unionists were to start taking a serious interest in gaelic football, is Casement a neutral venue for them to attend considering were it is and the history of that ground?”

    …it appeared that you were steering the conversation down a religious/political route rather than looking at it from a strictly footballing point of view. Why unionism was brought into the conversation is still beyond me however but I accept that at you didn’t mention religion and I apologise.

  • FDM

    @Alan N/Ards

    “Just look at the republican thugs of Shamrock Rovers recently at Windsor”

    To be fair I don’t think the Shamrock Rovers fans appreciated the sectarian thugs at the Tallaght stadium and that regrettably had outworkings in the scenes at Windsor. Again about the cognitive dissonance and seeing ALL that is going on and not just your perpsective of it.

    Cliftonville have always been a wide church. Jim Boyce is our president, who is obviously a big lifelong supporter of NI. Some Reds fans support NI. Its not a long list but it happens. In terms of players we have always drawn from every colour and creed. We played the first player of colour in the Irish League. Big Davy McAlinden, from the same Shankill Road, an ex-player is a big Reds fan. On his early retirement there last month the ballclub immediately gave him a position in the football developement centre coaching our players coming through.

    Cliftonville is about football. Yes many of us are proud of us being an Irish club also. The oldest Irish club and in fact the home of Irish football. It is however nothing to do with religion at Solitude. Never has been, never will be. If you can play, you can play. The supporters will be behind you.

    You may indeed be an enlightened exception to the rule amongst the NI support base. Have a word then with the rest.

  • Alan N/Ards


    Apology accepted. I was simply asking a genuine question. As you are aware FDM is not really coming from tbe financial angle alone. His personal hatred of Linfield and indeed NI is pretty evident.

    “You may indeed be an enlightened exception to the rule amongst the NI support base. Have a word then with the rest”

  • Alan N/Ards


    I meant to add there are more than me who do not indulge in sectarian chanting. You need to get real.

    Is there ever any sectarian chanting from Cliftonville fans? Are your fans squeaky clean?

    Are you really saying that tbe Shamrock fans only got on like sectarian morons because of tbe behaviour of the Lifield fans in Dublin? When tbe morons from Linfield behsved in a sectarian way in Dublin SF wanted the IFA to take action against the club. Why no call for the FAI to take action against Shamrock Rovers?

  • FDM

    @Alan N/Ards .

    “Is there ever any sectarian chanting from Cliftonville fans? Are your fans squeaky clean?”

    I would put the behaviour of Cliftonville fans above every other club in the league. They have been held to that higher standard because of the disparaging attitude of the IFA toward us.

    The fans have behaved impeccably under immense provocation. Name any other club in Ireland that have had live grenades [Windsor], molotov cocktails [Ards], an entire football stand [Portadown] thrown at us whilst attending games in the Irish League? Not to mention being bricked and bottled at practically every other club in the league.

    So you are on to a loser there matey.

    “Why no call for the FAI to take action against Shamrock Rovers?” Surely thats a question for SF? Perhaps the TD for Louth can help?

    “Dear Gerry…”

    Anywho what has all this got with Mark Langhammer trying to fight the good fight against Linfield-IFA?

    Additionally shouldn’t you be helping shovel the snow off Linfield’s pitch at the minute? Looks very likely the game will be cancelled.

    This is what happens when you have an expensive deal for the hire of a ramshackle stadium, with no undersoil heating, which is a massive fire hazard and only two stands [one of which is falling apart].

    Probably should have built a new ground at a different site when the time was right? Looks like you will playing out of cowshed for the long-term.

    “Fortress Windsor” indeed. Its got a tin roof, you could break in with a tinopener.

  • Alan N/Ards

    And there’s me thinking that Jim Boyce was a decent man. Shame on him for not treating his club in a more respectful way.

  • You may indeed be an enlightened exception to the rule amongst the NI support base. Have a word then with the rest?

    Once you read that kind of comment Alan, you know you’re wasting your time.

  • Alan N/Ards


  • FDM

    @Alan and oneill


    Just to show the relevancy of your currency of the problem in the Northern Ireland support of sectarian hatred of anything Catholic/Nationalist/Republican.

    Taken from TODAYS BBC report into the Northern Ireland defeat by Israel at the home of seething, Windsor Park.

    19 Minutes ago
    How different it was when we beat them 3-0 to qualify for Espana 82. That win was topped of with singing about B Sands and a chicken supper!”

    Comment 19 as available here…

    This is reason why 99.9% of Catholics don’t go near Windsor Park. This is why 99.9% of Catholics don’t support Northern Ireland and never will.

    I hear the Israeli supporters were shouting “Bring on England!” when they saw all the Union flags at Windsor last night.

    Sea of green? Backside.

    Micahel Boyd at the propaganda ministry in Windsor Avenue still has a job to do it seems.