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Euro 2016: Green and White Army record new anthem for Northern Ireland invasion of France

By Allan Preston

A new football anthem for Northern Ireland's Green and White Army to belt out from the terraces of French stadiums harks back to the team's glory days.

The as-yet untitled tune for the Euro 2016 finals was written by Vincent Soye - who also penned the 1986 Mexico World Cup fans favourite 'Come on Northern Ireland' with his late brother Maurice.

Now three decades later, Vincent has been recording the new track in a recording studio near Ballynahinch with a choir of dedicated Northern Ireland fans.

"Back in 1986 when my brother and I wrote the song for the Northern Ireland World Cup team, it was very successful," he said.

"All the big names were there at the time; Billy Bingham, Jackie Fullerton, Gerry Kelly and Pat Jennings.

"With the TV crews and everything involved in '86 I was more nervous than I am now, but it still gives you a buzz."

Vincent said that when Northern Ireland qualified for Euro 2016, he couldn't resist creating a new anthem.

"It was unbelievable," he said. "I know what the atmosphere is like at Windsor Park and it's great just to see the fans so happy and have diehard fans going away to matches and to get a bit of reward."

He added that there were still some finishing touches to add to the song and that he hoped to have a few well-known players past and present adding their vocals in the next week.

Joking about the quality of the singing so far, he remarked that "none of the guys here tonight said they can sing - but in fact they're very tuneful."

Fellow Northern Ireland fan Warren Currie was one of those taking part.

"It's a real pleasure knowing that Vincey was there in 1986 with the original song," he said.

"It's great having the guys I normally go to football matches with singing along, and to release it for the boys going to France is great."

Sharing his tips on writing a football anthem classic, Vincent said: "You can't make it too complicated, you need that hook line for the chorus.

"It's hard to write a football song.

"You can't really put players in the lyrics as some of them may not be there in a couple of years.

"It's unusual, you can't really envisage what it's going to sound like."

With the excitement in full swing in the recording studio, Vincent said he was also thinking of his brother.

"Maurice would have been thrilled to have been involved," he said.

"It's been great fun.

"If Man United were playing better at the minute I'd be happy - but you can't have everything."

Although fans will have to wait to hear the final product, the lyrics were revealed exclusively to the Belfast Telegraph - and we've reproduced your song sheet in the panel.

Song lyrics

Northern Ireland are the greatest, what a football team,

We’ll sing it out loud for the boys in green.

We’ll cheer them on wherever they play,

We’re the Green and White Army we’re on our way.

Northern Ireland, Northern Ireland.

They said we couldn’t make it, we didn’t have a chance,

Now they’re gonna believe us, we’re on our way to France.

The lads will give it everything,

We’ll follow them and we will sing.

Michael O’Neill and his squad of men have led

Northern Ireland to glory once again,

In Europe they will be the Kings.

When they play in France they will hear us sing...

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