02/06/2005

NI World Cup heroes to help IFA celebrate anniversary

Nine members of the Northern Ireland 1958 World squad are to attend this Saturday’s international fixture at Windsor Park as part of the Irish Football Associations (IFA) 125th anniversary.

The players, who took part in the historic 2-2 draw against Germany during the World Cup held in Sweden, are to be special guests at this weekend’s friendly fixture against Germany and will parade in front of fans before kick-off.

Amongst them will be Billy Bingham who, as former Northern Ireland manager from 1980 – 1993, took the country to World Cup Finals in Spain and Mexico in 1982 and 1986. He also brought home two British Championships and is the only manager to have defeated Germany in a Home and Away qualification round, in 1983.

IFA Head of International Affairs David Currie, said: “The 1958 squad was the first squad to play in the World Cup Finals for Northern Ireland, so it seemed very appropriate to have them at our anniversary celebrations.

“They got to the quarter final stage and in one of the earlier group games, on the night of 15th June 1958, they drew 2-2 with West Germany. Peter McParland, who scored both goals, is one of the squad members who is able to join us.

“Billy Bingham was a member of the 1958 squad, as well as being our most successful manager and, of course, managed a team who beat Germany.

“We have also invited former goalkeeper Pat Jennings, who is Northern Ireland’s most capped player. He appeared 119 times for our country between 1964 – 1986.”

Other members of the 1958 team who will make the trip to Windsor Park are former goalkeeper Harry Gregg, Sam McCrory and Alfie McMichael who live in Northern Ireland; Derek Dougan and Jimmy McIlroy, who live in England; and Billy Simpson and Willie Cunningham who live in Scotland.

(MB/SP)

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