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Mike Nesbitt

I owe Billy Bingham, big time… not just for the World Cups

Mike Nesbitt


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Northern Ireland's legend Billy Bingham at Windsor park in Belfast during the Euro 2012 Qualifier

Northern Ireland's legend Billy Bingham at Windsor park in Belfast during the Euro 2012 Qualifier

Manager Billy Bingham celebrates with NI keeper Pat Jennings at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico

Manager Billy Bingham celebrates with NI keeper Pat Jennings at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico

Billy Bingham diving through the legs of Peter McParland

Billy Bingham diving through the legs of Peter McParland

Manager Billy Bingham celebrates at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico

Manager Billy Bingham celebrates at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico

Billy Bingham

Billy Bingham

Billy Bingham in 1982 during an open top bus tour of Belfast after the team returned from the World Cup in Spain

Billy Bingham in 1982 during an open top bus tour of Belfast after the team returned from the World Cup in Spain

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Northern Ireland's legend Billy Bingham at Windsor park in Belfast during the Euro 2012 Qualifier

I am going to start with a big claim. Billy Bingham was arguably the most important single figure in the history of Northern Ireland international football. Why? Because he was central to all three FIFA World Cup finals, we have been involved in.

He was a player in Sweden in 1958, when we made the quarter finals. He was manager in Spain ’82 when we beat the hosts at their own World Cup, probably our finest achievement ever. And he made it back-to-back successes when we qualified for Mexico 86.


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