‘I received a letter from an organisation, and it was a credible threat at the time’

Alan McLoughlin scored the goal against Northern Ireland that guaranteed Republic of Ireland's place at the 1994 World Cup

BY Cian Roche 11:32 Wednesday 14 November 2018, 11:32 14 Nov 2018

Quarter of a century after scoring a goal that qualified the Republic of Ireland for the 1994 World Cup, the significance of who Alan McLoughlin had scored against was both immediate and terrifying.

In the 25 years that separate a hostile qualifier against Northern Ireland in Windsor Park from Thursday’s presumably placid friendly, the Manchester-born McLoughlin has had ample time to reflect on the unexpected consequences that befell him and his young family.

Through whatever prism it is that shapes the actions of a would-be assailant, McLoughlin’s goal was ample cause for grievance – among certain 'fans'. Faced with a credible threat to not only his life, but that of his young family, Alan McLoughlin, like some character in some gritty TV drama, found himself having to check the underside of his car for a potentially explosive device.

"I received a letter from an organisation, quite a threatening letter, and it was taken seriously," Ireland’s famous goal-scorer discussed on OTB AM this morning.

"So, it was handed on to the relevant authorities at the time, and precautions were taken.

"Again, I don’t know it might have been someone who just decided to try and scarce me, but it was a tense time."

Alan McLoughlin celebrates at Windsor Park. Image: ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

Only 26-years-old at the time and with a young family in tow, McLoughlin’s overwhelming concern was for their well-being; "I was keen to make sure they were OK."

The outrage surrounding McLoughlin’s goal against Northern Ireland eventually dissipated, and, as he looks back now at the foolishness of it all, he is thankful that such a scenario is no longer prevalent within sport and society in general.

"It was there, it was a credible threat at the time, and thankfully the world has moved on since then."

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