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Snow Patrol star Gary Lightbody gets backing from Northern Ireland legend to write team song

By Ali Gordon

Published 13/10/2015

Gary Lightbody is a huge fan of the Northern Ireland team.
Gary Lightbody is a huge fan of the Northern Ireland team.
Norn Iron legend Gerry Armstrong in his playing days. Pic: INPHO.

Northern Ireland legend Gerry Armstrong is hoping Snow Patrol frontman Gary Lightbody pens a song for the Euro 2016 finals — and he has even volunteered his voice.

Sunday Life can reveal that the 61-year-old, who famously scored the winner for Northern Ireland against Spain at the 1982 World Cup, has already spoken with members of the hit band.

“Debby [Gerry’s wife] is cousins with Snow Patrol drummer Jonny Quinn so we always enjoy a wee drink with him and the lads,” said Armstrong.

“He was delighted with the result on Thursday and I got messages from Gary after the game too because Snow Patrol are currently in Los Angeles recording their new album, so he couldn’t be at Windsor Park.

“Snow Patrol would definitely do something for the Northern Ireland team if they were asked because they all love it and are only too glad to get behind the team in anyway they can.

“Over the next couple of months, I’m sure somebody will come up with a song for France — there’s no danger of that. But I’d be surprised if Gary doesn’t do something.”

He added: “He’s a big fan and always follows the team, no matter where he is in the world.

“Obviously he was gutted that he couldn’t be there, but I told him I was drinking enough for all of Snow Patrol!”

After both Northern Ireland and the Republic won their matches on Thursday night Chasing Cars hitmaker Lightbody posted a series of congratulatory messages on Twitter.

He tweeted: “What an amazing way to qualify. Such an incredible performance from the lads. France 2016 here we come! I’ll be there. GAWA!”

In another post he added: “Great day to be Irish! Northern Ireland beating Greece and ROI beating Germany! What a day to be from the island of Ireland!”

Gerry Armstrong, who has been capped 63 times for Northern Ireland, now lives in Majorca with his wife Debby and 10-year-old daughter Marianna, an aspiring singer and actress.

Refusing to “miss the biggest game of the year” and an opportunity to spend time with his eldest daughter Caitlin, who is at boarding school in Dungannon, he returned to his homeland to commentate from Windsor Park.

He said: “I’ll never turn down a trip home and I’m always up for having a laugh so if Gary or whoever is writing a song for France, they can count me in for the vocals, not a problem.

“Gary got a video of all the fans out celebrating on the street in Shaftsbury Square and he was absolutely loving it.

“When he was home for his birthday in June, he went to the Culloden and hung out with the team and played a few songs and they both really enjoyed it.”

 While back in Belfast, the Armstrongs also enjoyed a night in the plush five-star hotel.

“After the match, Debby and I went back to the Culloden, where the players were staying, for a few drinks to celebrate Northern Ireland qualifying for France.

“We had two hours sleep but it was so worth it. We had an early flight booked back to Palma on Friday morning so the car came to pick us up at 5am and we were still having a drink at 2.45am.

“We hadn’t even packed but it was like the good old days — it was brilliant. What a night.

“I was delighted to see Carl Frampton and Rory McIlroy sitting together at Windsor Park to watch the match too.

“I’ve been saying it for years, but we always punch above our weight.

“People are so proud to be from Northern Ireland and so they should be.

“That’s how we get success.

“We’ve such a small population but we’ve got world class golfers, boxers, snooker players, footballers, rugby players and rowers just to name a few.

“We are a country that just keeps producing world class talent and we should be very proud of that.

“I don’t know what it is but we have something special and if we can bottle that, we can achieve anything, including a hit record.”

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