Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland v Greece: Legend Billy Bingham would be 'elated' by Euro success

By Steven Beacom

Northern Ireland's greatest manager Billy Bingham has sent his best wishes to current boss Michael O'Neill and his players ahead of tonight's crunch Euro 2016 qualifier at home to Greece.

O'Neill is on the verge of following in the footsteps of the legendary Bingham and Peter Doherty by taking Northern Ireland to a major championships.

Doherty was the first Northern Ireland boss to guide the nation to the big time, inspiring a team that included Bingham, to qualify for the 1958 World Cup finals.

Later Bingham would go on to become his country's most successful boss, taking Northern Ireland to the 1982 and 1986 World Cup finals. Players from the Bingham era like Pat Jennings, Gerry Armstrong, Norman Whiteside and Jimmy Nicholl, the present day assistant boss, still talk about their old manager with much affection.

So too does O'Neill, who in 1988 was given his first cap by Bingham.

O'Neill was touched when told by the Belfast Telegraph that the Bingham family wanted to pass on a good luck message to him and the team.

David Bingham, Billy's son, said: "Northern Ireland are in a good position to qualify for the Euro 2016 finals and we all hope they do it.

"The whole Bingham family, especially my dad, would like to wish Michael O'Neill and his team the very best for the game against Greece.

"I know dad would be elated to see Northern Ireland qualify for a major finals again."

Billy, who is 84, lives in Southport and having suffered some memory loss is cared for by his family.

David added: "If Northern Ireland qualified dad would see it as a handing down of the baton which went from the great Peter Doherty to him and now hopefully on to Michael."

Belfast Telegraph