'A complete oversight' - FAI issues apology to Windsor Park hero Alan McLoughlin over friendly match snub
The FAI has apologised to ’93 Windsor Park hero, Alan McLoughlin, for what they’ve called a 'complete oversight' in not inviting him to Thursday night’s friendly against Northern Ireland.
The game falls almost exactly on the 25th anniversary of the tense World Cup qualifier in which McLoughlin’s goal famously put the Republic of Ireland through to USA ’94.
Tonight, McLoughlin issued the following statement
"Unfortunately, I won’t be able to attend Thursday’s match at Aviva Stadium due to work commitments with Swindon Town FC, where the newly appointed manager is keen to utilize my knowledge of the current squad between now and Saturday’s game against Carlisle United.
"I would love to have attended but, as outlined in an interview with Vincent Hogan of the Irish Independent last week, I had not been invited.
"This was something I revealed on being asked if I would be in attendance at the friendly against Northern Ireland, coming as it does almost exactly on the 25th anniversary of the game in Windsor Park that secured our qualification for USA ’94.
"The assumption in the question, clearly, was that the Football Association of Ireland would have something in place for Thursday evening in recognition of that anniversary.
"The FAI made numerous attempts to contact me after publication of the interview and I did eventually speak with their representatives as well as CEO, John Delaney, on Monday.
"They have apologized profusely to me over what they described as "a complete oversight" on their behalf. They also apologized for the absence of any communication from the Association when I was diagnosed with cancer six years ago.
"The 25th anniversary of our qualification for those World Cup finals should, I believe, have been recognized this week but I/we – the players from that ’93 squad – accept that it won’t be and move on. Hopefully, lessons will be learned from this and an "oversight" such as this won’t be repeated.
"I have accepted an invitation from the FAI to attend a future game at Aviva Stadium, which I look forward to greatly. I also appreciate that the Association took the time to contact me personally over the last couple of days.
"Hopefully I will, thus, be able to show the Republic of Ireland supporters my appreciation for the incredible support I/we always received while playing for our country and, in my case specifically, during the time of my illness.
"One thing I have learned from that time is to always live for today.
"Thanks, Alan McLoughlin."