Belfast Telegraph

Friday 9 October 2015

Northern Ireland fancy Wembley date in Home Internationals

By Stuart McKinley

Published 12/01/2011

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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