Posted by: twobigyellowcranes | 7 February 08

Hugely disappointing


Last night I was at Windsor Park to watch Norn Iron play Bulgaria. I’m trying to remember the last home international game I missed and I can’t – I think my unbroken run has certainly gone on for over 10 years now. I can’t say I’d miss the birth of any future children for a game, but I certainly missed a parenting class when H was pregnant with K to see one friendly match.

Generally speaking, I’ll become ridiculously excited (almost giddy) in the run up to an international game. I’ll be checking BBC Sport and the IFA websites regularly (which suggests I don’t check them everyday regardless whether there is a game coming up or not, which I do). I’ll make occasional posts on the Our Wee Country fans’ forum and certainly see what the feelings of some of the other grassroots’ support are. I’ll get my flag (or ‘fleg’ in a Norn Iron accent) ready, check I have tape to stick it to the front of the South Stand (you can see it in the picture below) and wash my lucky pants (I’m making the last bit up). I try to finish work by certainly 3pm, head up for something to eat and try to get down to the ground earlier than most (my brother missed the anthems last night). It is as taxing a period as it is enjoyable and that is before kick-off.


However, friendly matches are generally a bit of a damp squib and last night was no exception. Unless it is a glamour friendly (and the IFA can’t afford any of those), there is no real build-up to the game. After the excitement of the best qualifying campaign we’ve had since the Euro 1996 campaign, a game on a cold February night against Bulgaria on a rubbish pitch where players were primarily trying not to get injured was not the best night I’ve ever had. Norn Iron started brightly (we are certainly trying to pass the ball more under Nigel), but we dropped further and further back as the game went on. Bulgaria were well organised, but far from spectacular. They created more chances, but it is typical of our run of games at the moment that the only goal was scored by us… in our own net. We only created about 3 proper chances in the whole 90 minutes.

The crowd was very flat last night as well, probably for many of the reasons I have said above. Don’t worry – the Windor roar will be back when the next qualifying campaign starts in September. Until then, we have the mighty Georgia to welcome in March – who-oah!



  1. I liked that hat game – definitely a highlight of the evening!

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