07 Oct 2022

WATCH: FAI to mark Jack Charlton's birthday with 'day of tributes'

Today, May 8, the Football Association of Ireland will mark the 85th birthday of Jack Charlton with an entire day of tributes online dedicated to the former Republic of Ireland manager.

Throughout the day, there will be exclusive content released that celebrates Big Jack and the impact that he had on Irish football - 34 years on from when he was first appointed.

There will be reflections on Jack's greatest results, insights from players who featured under him during his 10-year reign, and a call for supporters to reveal their favourite memories of his time in charge of Ireland, using the hashtag #HappyBirthdayJack.

Former international Ray Houghton was involved in three major tournaments under Jack - scoring winning goals against England at EURO 88 and Italy at USA 94 - and he has plenty of highlights to recall.

Speaking to FAI TV, Houghton looked back on that famous day in 1994 at Giants Stadium where his goal against Italy added a significant chapter to the history of Irish football.

Houghton on his goal versus Italy
"I remember thinking to myself, 'just hit it, why not? If it goes over the bar, who cares? If it goes wide of the goal, it's not a problem?'. 

"As I hit it my first emotion was 'it's going over'. The second emotion was 'the keeper is going to save it', then when it hit the back of the net I was off and running."

Houghton on Paul McGrath's performance
"Paul McGrath had one of his best games ever in an Ireland shirt and Paul shouldn't have played. He had a problem with his shoulder and I would say 99.9 per cent of people wouldn't have played but Paul was one of the very few who went out there and played with it.

"He was magnificent. Even Franco Baresi, one of the best centre-backs ever, turned around and said that was one the best centre-back performances he'd ever seen. When you get someone like that say how well you've played you know you've done well."

Houghton on the impact of his goal
"Wayne Rooney was asked about his first memories of a World Cup and he said Ireland in 1994. England, Scotland, Wales nor Northern Ireland were there so we were the only country representing this part of the world.

"When you score at a World Cup you're forever remembered. When you look back there's not been that many who have scored at a World Cup, it's a precious thing to do, it's a great memory to have. You're in an elite club when it comes to professional footballers."

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