It meant the world to Alan McLoughlin but it meant the World Cup to Ireland. David Hennessy was at the Crown with the Republic of Ireland Supporters to relive that Windsor Park goal and USA ‘94
Alan McLoughlin was special guest of the Republic of Ireland Supporters Club London for their St Patrick’s gathering at the Crown on March 20. The former Portsmouth man played for Republic of Ireland from 1990 to 1999 but is best remembered for scoring the famous goal against Northern Ireland in November 1993. It was Alan’s first goal for his country and it was very special as it secured the result Jack Charlton’s team needed to travel to the World Cup in America in 1994.
Remembering his 1993 strike, Alan told The Irish World on the night: “For people here, it meant something. Many people tell me exactly where they were the night I scored the goal. That’s a proud thing for me, that I’ve somehow impacted on their lives. At the time, I didn’t think 20 odd years later, I would be here having a chat and talking about it.
“Although I got the goal to ultimately take us there, I played a very small part in that qualifying campaign but it was significant. Let’s be honest, if I hadn’t scored that goal, I wouldn’t be sitting here tonight chatting.
“That goal allowed a little bit of kudos which is really nice and I’m proud of that. My daughter is in Dublin tonight, she’s taking a break to Dublin and no doubt she’ll be telling people of a certain age, ‘by the way, that’s my dad’ hoping to get a beer out of it.
“I enjoy talking about the experiences, I enjoy talking about the book which hopefully people will take away tonight and enjoy because it’s not just about football, there’s other elements in there so it’s great and it’s nice to come back and share some memories.“
An excited crowd listened to Alan, who was joined by Bryce Evans the co-author of Alan’s recently published autobiography A Different Shade of Green, talk about his strong feelings on his Irish identity, playing under Jack Charlton, his childhood friendship with Noel Gallagher as they were both growing up in Manchester and his shock late addition to the Italia ‘90 squad among other things. He also spoke about his battle with cancer of the kidney.
Alan McLoughlin adds: “It’s a pleasure to be asked. I’ve been retired from professional now twelve years. Obviously I have some kudos because I played for Republic of Ireland for nine and a half years but also probably more significantly, I scored an important goal, a goal that people remember to this day.
“It was a pleasure to come down, they’ve looked after us really well, we had great craic with the audience, hopefully they were engaged with what we spoke about. I really enjoy giving a little bit of an insight into what it was like to be involved in the squad.
“I think the guys involved here have a genuine love of following the team and supporting their country through thick and thin and it’s nice to come in and share my memories along the way with them.”
Alan played 42 times with Republic of Ireland and scored two goals.
After starting his career as a youth player with Manchester United, he played with Swindon Town from 1986 to 1990. After a stint at Southampton, Alan joined Portsmouth in 1992 and remained there until 1999.
Alan is currently Academy Coach with Swindon Town.
The evening also saw a raffle with a signed Republic of Ireland shirt being given away and proceeds going to a good cause.