Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 December 2014

Northern Ireland fancy Wembley date in Home Internationals

Nigel Worthington
Nigel Worthington

Northern Ireland’s Green and White Army could be heading to Wembley in two years time.

It is a quarter of a century since Northern Ireland last played at the home of English football, but there are plans to bridge that 25-year gap.

The English FA are planning to mark their 150th anniversary in 2013 with a series of matches against their fellow home nations, but have denied they hope to revive the old Home International tournament and make it a a regular part of the football calendar once more.

FA general secretary Alex Horne said that he has opened talks with his counterparts from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland about arranging a series of matches in two years time.

It had been thought that the negotiations were over the resurrection of the Home International tournament, which was a regular fixture in the calendar until 1984, but Horne denied those suggestions, claiming the FA were considering marking their anniversary either by playing their neighbours in a series of friendlies or lining up a host of glamour friendlies against the biggest sides in the world at Wembley.

“We intend to celebrate the anniversary and have been talking to other British associations about a possible one-off series of games,” said Horne.

“I passionately believe that there is an empathy for this and I think the public would welcome the matches, but whether they would welcome on a regular basis is something we need to be careful with.

“There are a number of practical reasons why it might not necessarily be a regular event.

“There is lots of different football played across Europe and if you give a number of your friendlies away to similar opposition, you could potentially limit the ability of the team to prepare, so we just need to be careful.”

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