15th April – Today In Our Footballing History

15/04/1964 Swansea Wales 3-2 Jimmy McLaughlin, Sammy Wilson, Martin Harvey

Pat Jennings, Jimmy Magill, Alex Elder, Martin Harvey, Terry Neill, Billy McCullough, Johnny Crossan, Sammy Wilson, Jimmy McLaughlin, Bobby Braithwaite, George Best

With this away victory over Wales in Swansea, Northern Ireland shared the British Home International Championship with both England and Scotland with 4 points each, as goal difference was not used until the 80’s. Scotland finished the series with a 1-0 win over England. Wales finished bottom of the group with the wooden spoon having lost all their three matches.

Just over 10,000 were at the match which was being hosted in Swansea for the first time in 12 years. The game was played in continuous rain which would have affected the turnout.

Two young players in their teens made their debuts for Northern Ireland in this game. Their names were Pat Jennings [18] (Watford) and George Best [17] (Manchester United). When looking back over their future international careers Jennings went onto win a then world record of 119 caps yet Best only won 37. Both men were room mates when away on international duty.

According to The Glasgow Herald newspaper the match was a “splendidly entertaining game of fast, attacking footballing by both sides.” The same newspaper stated that, “Ireland just about deserved to win, but Wales could take heart from a good fighting display which augured better things for the future.”

All three Northern Ireland goals were scored in the first half from Jimmy McLaughlin (Swansea), Sammy Wilson (Falkirk) and Martin Harvey (Sunderland). Wales scored one goal in each half from Brian Godfrey (Preston North End) and Ron Davies (Norwich City).

Author: Magheramesk

Pat Jennings –

“As soon as I saw him [George Best], I knew that this was a special talent. It was a real wet night on a boggy pitch and he was just skating over the top of the ground. You knew that this was somebody special, even at that age.”

Bertie Peacock (Northern Ireland Manager) –

“Harry Gregg was really responsible [for George Best’s debut], for he kept telling me what a wonderful player Best was. After his first game against Wales at Swansea it was easy to see that he was going to be one of the world’s greatest players.”

Pat Jennings – The Gentle Giant [author & date unknown]

From the humble beginnings
His football life was bound,
As a lad of sixteen
He played for Newry Town.

From far across the Irish Sea
His potential was soon accessed,
He agreed to sign with Watford
The English League would be the test.

At home his progress was being viewed
And it was in sixty-four,
Against the Welsh at Swansea
An Irish jersey he wore.

His talents grew with confidence
This young man from County Down,
Was transferred to Tottenham Hotspur
And moved to London town.

At White Hart Lane he soon became
A household name to many,
His quick reflex and one-hand saves
Were supernatural and uncanny.

At Liverpool who could forget
Not once but twice he made,
A penalty save in one game
And this at famous Anfield.

Around the world he was acclaimed
The best ‘keeper in the land,
The gentle giant from County Down
And little Northern Ireland.

When Spurs put him to pasture
To Arsenal they let him pass,
But at Highbury he still continued
To show he was World Class.

Chapter 10 – Bestie By Joe Lovejoy, George Best

Ireland’s Fine Win Over Wales


Northern Ireland Footballing Greats



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