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Back Then: World Cup heroes not in harmony

TV show brings back memories of an out-of-tune Mexico 1986 squad

By Ivan Little

The clock's ticking to the kick-off of World Cup 2014. But who could ever forget our Northern Ireland heroes of 1986 singing their little hearts out on a record for their finals in Mexico?

Well I could, for one. And I was there, at the recording session, 'singing' along with the likes of Pat Jennings, Jim Platt, Gerry Armstrong and Jimmy Nicholl.

Yet I only remembered about it after a TV report which I compiled for ITN about the record popped up on the telly last weekend.

Then it all came back to me about the time that the footballers went along to Mudd Wallace's Homestead Recording Studios in Randalstown on Sunday, February 16 to make their World Cup song.

The TV show 'World Cup Epic Fails' contained a selection of weird and not so wonderful moments from Finals gone by and there were laughs galore as players missed easy chances, kicked lumps out of each other and said daft things in interviews.

But the worst sounds of all were the players belting out their World Cup songs.

And Northern Ireland were among the top of the flops with their ditty which was imaginatively called 'Come on Northern Ireland (We'll Support you Evermore)'. But the players weren't entirely to blame. Their little band of vocal helpers included Jackie Fullerton, cabaret singer Trevor Kelly, Mark Robson, Gerry Kelly and me.

No-one was in the finest fettle, it has to be said. Because the night before, everyone had been cheering themselves hoarse as Barry McGuigan defended his world title by beating Danilo Cabrero in Dublin which had also been the venue for an Irish rugby defeat to Wales earlier in the day.

So anyone who had a voice left was recruited to sing on three songs in Randalstown. The A-side was written by brothers Maurice and Vincent Soye from Hillsborough, who were at the recording session to hear their tune mercilessly mutilated.

There were two songs on the B side – folk singer Charlie McGettigan wrote 'Bingham's Boys' and Dublin jazz musician Jim Doherty penned 'Here We go'.

Incidentally, the Epic Fails show also used a snatch of a report from a youthful-looking Eamonn Holmes during the 1982 World Cup Finals in Spain.

In the background of Eamonn's piece-to-camera in the long since demolished Outram Street beside Havelock House was ... my beloved old blue Vauxhall Chevette. Ah, the memories ...


Why the names of Belfast’s thoroughfares are right up my street

I think it was the geese which caught my eye. I must have walked past them a hundred times but I'd never noticed them or the bronze plaque in Belfast’s North Street.

But the other day I stopped for a gander at the geese. And from reading the brief inscription, I discovered that the carved geese were there because real-life geese used to be there.

For in the days of yore when farming land was close to the centre of olde Belfast, geese used to graze along what is now North Street but which was once called Goose Lane, spelt Goos on old maps.

The plaque is one of a series which cast a little light on the fascinating history of Belfast and its street names, like Skipper Street, which was so called because the skippers of sailing ships who used to tie up in Belfast had lodgings nearby. Across the way Victoria Street was known as Cow's Lane because cattle grazed in the area. And that I am pleased to say is no bull.

If you know any more of the backgrounds to interesting street names drop me an email at

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