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How Billy Bingham's Northern Ireland earned a shock win at 1980 Home Internationals to begin road to World Cup heroics

Forty years ago today, Northern Ireland's shock British Championship win in 1980 set scene for Spain '82 and Mexico '86

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History boys: Northern Ireland’s 1980 British champions, back, from left, Tommy Cassidy, Billy Hamilton, Noel Brotherston, Mal Donaghy, Chris Nicholl, John McClelland. Front, from left, Jim Platt, Jimmy Nicholl, Sammy McIlroy, Martin O’Neill and Gerry Armstrong

History boys: Northern Ireland’s 1980 British champions, back, from left, Tommy Cassidy, Billy Hamilton, Noel Brotherston, Mal Donaghy, Chris Nicholl, John McClelland. Front, from left, Jim Platt, Jimmy Nicholl, Sammy McIlroy, Martin O’Neill and Gerry Armstrong

Goal hero: the late Noel Brotherston is congratulated by boss Billy Bingham

Goal hero: the late Noel Brotherston is congratulated by boss Billy Bingham

Billy Bingham

Billy Bingham

History boys: Northern Ireland’s 1980 British champions, back, from left, Tommy Cassidy, Billy Hamilton, Noel Brotherston, Mal Donaghy, Chris Nicholl, John McClelland. Front, from left, Jim Platt, Jimmy Nicholl, Sammy McIlroy, Martin O’Neill and Gerry Armstrong

When moments of sporting glory come along, in the midst of the excitement, euphoria and celebrations those telling the story of the success begin the search for the starting point. The catalyst for what was to come. The precise instant when the key turned in the ignition and the journey to greatness began.

Manchester United fans may look to the appointment of Sir Alex Ferguson or perhaps the Mark Robins goal against Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup a few years later that supposedly saved the manager's job.

Closer to home it might be the arrival of Roy Coyle and later David Jeffrey at Linfield, with both building glorious dynasties at Windsor Park, or Ronnie McFall returning to his hometown club as manager and leading Portadown to unprecedented league and Irish Cup success.