Ray Houghton in the Boot Room to look back on Euro 88
It’s almost 30 years since the Republic of Ireland beat England at Euro 88 so Ray Houghton will join us in the Boot Room this week on Premier League Live with Sky Sports. Houghton scored the only goal of the game to give the Boys in Green the perfect start to their first major championship. There wasn't too much expected from Ireland going into the tournament because we were in unknown territory. That played into the hands of Jack Charlton and the players as most people turned up in Stuttgart expecting an England win.
It was an absolute scorcher that day at the Neckarstadion which would take its toll on the Irish players as the game wore on. I can remember watching the game as a young lad but I was too young to take in the pre-match build up. The so-called experts didn’t give us much of a chance but when you look through that Irish team, it was full of quality players who were plying their trade with some of the best English clubs.
When the game kicked off, it only took Ireland six minutes to go in front. It’s a goal that never gets old and I often think how amazing it would have been to be in the stadium that day to witness one of the great Irish sporting moments. Kevin Moran plays a long free kick towards the England penalty area, they failed to deal with it and Tony Galvin directed the ball into the box. Kenny Sansom made a mess of the clearance which allowed John Aldridge to flick it on and there was Ray Houghton to head the ball past Peter Shilton:
We often joke about scoring too early but the next 84 minutes were not for the feint hearted. I can remember the tension in my house that day. As my father watched on and chewed his nails, his seven year old son(me) only added to the tension with continuous innocent questions that only a kid would ask. The players were feeling the heat in Stuttgart too and England were getting closer to finding an equaliser. However Gary Lineker, usually so potent in front of goal, couldn’t find a way past Packie Bonner in the Irish goal. By the time the full time whistle sounded, the Irish players were shattered and completely dehydrated but the Boys in Green had made their mark on the elite European stage.
Republic of Ireland team: Packie Bonner, Chris Morris, Mick McCarthy, Kevin Moran, Chris Hughton, Ray Houghton, Paul McGrath, Ronnie Whelan, Tony Galvin, Frank Stapleton, John Aldridge.
England team: Peter Shilton; Gary Stevens; Kenny Sansom; Neil Webb; Mark Wright; Tony Adams; Bryan Robson; Chris Waddle; Peter Beardsley; Gary Lineker; John Barnes.
This Saturday, Ray will look back on that famous day on June 12th, 1988. He’ll tell us what it was like to be part of Jack Charlton’s squad and how the players prepared for their first major international tournament. Ray has so many stories from the Irish camp and he talks about the great relationship the players had with the Irish fans who made the trip to Germany that summer.