Windsor Park is set to play host to one of the biggest annual events, the UEFA Super Cup, this week between Chelsea and Villarreal with around 13,000 fans allowed into the National Stadium for the match.
The UEFA Super Cup is a match between the winners of the UEFA Champions League and the winners of the UEFA Europa League and Windsor Park will be hoping to put on a show to prove to UEFA and the world that just like the National football team, they can out-perform themselves on the main stage.
It isn’t the first time Windsor Park was meant to host a UEFA event with the 2020 UEFA Under-19 European Championships being played in Northern Ireland before it was cancelled due to the global pandemic.
Northern Ireland will get another opportunity to host the U-19 event in 2024, with Windsor Park being joined by the Ballymena Showgrounds (Ballymena), Shamrock Park (Portadown) and Mourneview Park (Lurgan) in hosting matches.
There have been many incredible nights at Windsor Park and with members of the Green and White Army having access to tickets, they will surely bring the atmosphere. They can also take back Sweet Caroline from the England fans who used the song as “their anthem” on the way to being beat by Italy on penalties in the final of the 2020 UEFA European Championships.
For Belfast to host the event is a huge honour and there will be so many people hoping to show UEFA that despite being a small stadium it can host huge events like this.
There is also the possibility that Romelu Lukaku will make his second debut for Chelsea after a deal with Inter Milan is expected to be completed fairly soon.
The Chelsea squad for the match has been revealed and all the household names are included; Mason Mount, Timo Werner, N’Golo Kante and Euro 2020 Jorginho will all make the trip to the capital of Northern Ireland from the capital of England.
There will be a Russian referee in charge in Belfast with Sergei Karasev overseeing proceedings. He has been a UEFA Referee since 2009 and took charge of the Euro 2020 Round of 16 tie between the Netherlands and the Czech Republic.
He has previously taken charge of a Northern Ireland Senior Men’s fixture back in 2015 when Northern Ireland drew 1-1 away to Finland. Craig Cathcart put the Green and White Army ahead that night and they had already secured qualification to the 2016 UEFA European Championships in France.
It should be a fantastic event this Wednesday (11th August) and everyone involved in the match will hope that it is a great success. If it goes prove to be a success I can definitely see Windsor Park being used for further events in the future. It is difficult for it to be involved in any World Cup or European Championship finals due to its size but it could prove to be a solid stadium for one-off events that UEFA or FIFA want to host.