Belfast Telegraph

Home Internationals to make comeback

By Stuart McKinley

Another Northern Ireland v England battle at Windsor Park is on the horizon.

Representatives of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales are set to be invited to discuss a plan to revive the Home International Championships, which was last played 27 years ago, in just two years time.

David Healy struck the famous winning goal against England in September 2005 in the only competitive meeting between the teams at Windsor Park since 1983.

Under new plans, however, the English could return to Belfast every other year.

Car manufacturers Vauxhall are pushing the idea as part of a sponsorship package involving the four British associations.

A deal with the English FA will be announced today and Vauxhall will then be confirmed as the new official sponsors of the Irish FA on Thursday at Windsor Park.

At present, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales are committed to the Carling Nations Cup, along with the Republic of Ireland, which is due to start in Dublin next month.

That competition was put together when England declined the opportunity to become involved in a revival of the British Championship.

The financial benefits of facing their near neighbours would be a boost to all four associations and there is the possibility that the Republic could be involved in a five-team tournament, with sides enjoying home advantage in alternate years.

e MACCLESFIELD Town fans are in shock after the sudden death of midfielder Richard Butcher.

The 29-year-old died at his home in Manchester on Sunday night. As yet the cause is unclear.

It is the second time in 10 months that the club has been plunged into mourning.

Last March their manager Keith Alexander, once a player with Cliftonville, died aged 53.

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