Football: Ballymoney fan plays part in Windsor Park’s history

A Northern Ireland fan from Ballymoney won the chance of a lifetime to run out at Windsor Park for the last time before the historic stadium is renovated.

Wednesday, 14th May 2014, 8:34 am
Liam Black from Ballymoney poses for a picture with forner NI internationals Keith Gillespie and Gerry Taggart at Windsor Park.

Liam Black, 38, won the opportunity to fulfil his childhood dream and run out at Windsor as part of Vauxhall’s Big Pitch competition.

The 109-year-old ground is scheduled to under go extensive work this year with Mr. Black one of Vauxhall’s competition winners who were the last players to run out at the stadium in its current form.

As a surprise on the day the two teams, found out that they would be managed by Irish legends Gerry Taggart and Keith Gillespie. And it was Team Taggart who edged the game 4-3 on the day.

The Big Pitch experience was organised by Vauxhall who wanted to offer fans an insight into life inside the Northern Ireland camp as part of their sponsorship of the national team.

Liam said; “We all know the history of this ground and for me to be part of the last group of players to set foot on it is something I will remember for the rest of my life.

“We were given behind the scenes and to run out of the tunnel was an unbelievable experience. And then when the managers were revealed it was just the cherry on the cake of a completely surreal day.

“It’s been dream come true, I honestly couldn’t have wished for anything better!”

Former N. Ireland star turned manager for the day, Keith Gillespie, commented; “The players have been fantastic and we’ve all had a magnificent day thanks to Vauxhall.

“I am sure they will all remember this day for a very long time – they’re all now part of the history of this iconic stadium.”

The players, who were from across the country, had taken part in a national competition run by Vauxhall across a number of platforms including their dedicated football website.

Vauxhall Head of Sponsorship, Chris Hornbuckle, commented; “This is our fourth year of running the Big Pitch competition and we have been completely overwhelmed by the sheer number of entries.

“To fulfil the childhood dreams of N. Ireland fans is something we are very proud of and the perfect start to what is set to be a fantastic year of football.”