Corey's little piece of Evan
It was a huge coup for then Irish FA President Jim Boyce. In the late summer of 1999, Boyce, a powerful, influential and highly respected figure in FIFA, persuaded World champions France to play Northern Ireland in a friendly at Windsor Park.
Most of the Les Bleus stars were on show — Laurent Blanc, Patrick Vieira, Lilian Thuram and Marcel Desailly. Unfortunately though, it wasn’t a spectacle that attracted the attention of the football public here. Only around 11,000 turned up and the ground was well short of capacity.
But for an eight year-old kid from Newtownabbey, it was the night he became immersed in Northern Ireland international football.
Forget the world class superstars from France, young Corry Evans, who was taken to the game by his dad Jackie along with older brother Jonny, watched with pride and enthusiasm as inexperienced Aaron Hughes and keeper Maik Taylor, along with the likes of Iain Dowie, Keith Gillespie, Michael Hughes and Steve Lomas, battled against the world and future Euro 2000 champions.
For the full story, see this week's Sunday Life.