25th October – Today In Our Footballing History

25/10/1978 Belfast Denmark 2-1 Derek Spence, Trevor Anderson

Pat Jennings, Pat Rice, Sammy Nelson, Allan Hunter, Jimmy Nicholl, David McCreery, Sammy Morgan (Derek Spence (Trevor Anderson)), Martin O’Neill, Gerry Armstrong, Sammy McIlroy, Terry Cochrane

The home side had two goals disallowed in the first half and Morgan also had a header cleared off the line. On 51 Henning Jensen of Real Madrid volleyed in a cross from the right to give Denmark (wearing change white shirts) the lead. Sub Derek Spence of 3rd division Blackpool equalised on 63 having time to control a free-kick dropped into the box before firing in – but he then had to hobble off after only being on the field for 12 minutes, he was replaced by another 3rd division player – Trevor Anderson of Peterborough – and it was he who headed in a late winner on 85.

Manager Danny Blanchflower said afterwards; “We’re now in with a shout to qualify, we’ve raised the hopes of everyone and we could be in it at the death. At one time I was prepared to settle for the draw but I’m delighted that the team fought back and gave us the win we deserved.”

Source: homepage.ntlworld.com/carousel

* Trivia –

Ex Northern Ireland international Jim Magill capped 26 times was living in Denmark at the time of this match managing local side Naestved.

“Obviously, I’m an Irishman first and foremost. My heart might tell me one thing but my head tells me a good result for Denmark is a good result for Danish football. And that can only help me and my club progress. So yes, I’ll be rooting for the Danes.”

Danes Sunk By Blanchflower’s Irish Subs

Photographer: Eddie Harvey

Photographer: Eddie Harvey

Photographer: Roy Smyth

1978_northernireland_denmark_03_roysmythPhotographer: Roy Smyth

Photographer: Fred Hoare

Photographer: Fred Hoare


Northern Ireland Footballing Greats



25/10/1919 Belfast England 1-1 Jimmy Ferris

William O’Hagan, Billy McCandless, Bill McCracken, Billy Emerson, Mickey Hamill, Billy Lacey, Jimmy Ferris, Alfie Snape, Joe Gowdy, Patsy Gallagher, Davy Lyner

This match was, of course, England’s first international for over five years. It was also the first time since 1872 that England’s international season had begun before Christmas. Having lost to Ireland twice in a row immediately prior to the war, England were looking for some belated revenge, but didn’t really get all that much.

Yet they did have a dream start; after just 30 seconds (give or take) Cock gave them the lead. It was possibly the fastest debut goal in England’s history (but see Match No 264). England had come into the match as fairly strong favourites, and that start should have spurred them on. However, Ireland hit back strongly, had much the better of the game, and were unfortunate not to win. Thanks largely to Hardy, a veteran of international football, and debutants Knight and Bowser, they held out until well into the second half. Ferris then got the goal the hosts deserved, and it was honours even in Belfast. England had not played well, and were relieved to get a point.

Turnbull’s England cap was the only one ever won by a Bradford Park Avenue player. Knight remains the only Portsmouth player ever to captain England. Confusingly, England fielded two Joe Smiths. Neither had a middle name to differentiate them. The right back (denoted by an asterisk in these tables) played one further game for England (in 1922), whilst the forward played a total of five matches for England. He (the forward) later managed Blackpool for 23 years, and managed them to their famous 1953 FA Cup win.

Source: sites.google.com/site/englandmatchreports

* Trivia –

William ‘Bill’ McCracken, the man who is acknowledged with being so good at playing the offside trap against opponents, that the rules of the game were changed from “3 defenders” to “2 defender” between the foremost attacker and the goal line”, made his first Ireland appearance in 12 years after falling out with both the Irish Football Association and the Ireland fans!

Admired for his ‘modesty both on and off the football field.’ McCracken was not yet suffering from “swelled head” ‘brought on usually by the attentions of admirers.’

Pre 1908 while at Distillery…

“Of backs we can offer a charming variety.
Able to play in class football society;
Still I’d advise you, without impropriety,
William McCracken’s the king of them all.”

In 1908 McCracken was demanding a £10 match fee to represent Ireland against England (the same as some of his English international Newcastle teammates). The IFA refused and McCracken spent the game in the dressing room. He was now seen as to prefer ‘his price to his country’s football honour’. McCracken was subsequently banned from playing for Ireland, while soon after the IFA passed a motion to cap payments to professionals to £4.

Post 1908 after move to Newcastle United…

“The exile once longed for the principal part,
To fight that his land may be free.
But now the thought of the patriot heart.
Is, what will the wages be?”

In December 1917 McCracken sent a letter of apology to the IFA which was ignored. Year after year motions were put to the IFA to remove the ban but they were defeated and it remained in place until 1920 when he finally earned his eleventh Ireland cap against England. The ‘grand old man of football’ had returned to represent his country at the age of 37, having served twelve years of exile.

Source: Association Football and Society in Pre-partition Ireland By Neal Garnham

England And Ireland Draw

International football resumed after the horrors of the Great War

T. Dougray (Referee), J. Harris, J. Gibson, V. Morgan, T. Chambers

D. Fitzsimmons, J. Gowdy, D. Lyner, W. O’Hagan, M. Hamill, W. McCracken, C. Watson (IFA Secretary)
W. McCandless, P. Gallagher, J. Ferris, W. Lacey (Captain), W. Emerson, A. Snape



Northern Ireland Footballing Greats



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