Tag Archives: France

11th November – Today In Our Footballing History

11/11/1952 Paris France 1-3 Charlie Tully

Norman Uprichard, Len Graham, Alf McMichael, Danny Blanchflower, Billy Dickson, Frank McCourt, Billy Bingham, Jimmy D’Arcy, Eddie McMorran, Bertie Peacock, Charlie Tully

This was the first time a team actually billed as “Northern Ireland” played an international match. It would be two years before FIFA officially requested that the name of the team be changed from simply Ireland.

Northern Ireland may have lost this return friendly match in Paris but it will be remembered for France’s two first half goals. The first was scored with 12 French players on the pitch while the second came from a pass via a player who was yards offside!

Northern Ireland had the first chances to score when a McCourt free-kick narrowly missed Cesar Ruminiski’s left-hand post. Eddie McMorran also had a chance on goal following good work from Bertie Peacock and Charlie Tully on the left.

On 26 minutes French player Thadée Cisowski was injured following a collision with Frank McCourt and was replaced by Jean Baratte. However, the French trainer instructed the injured Cisowski to renter the field but Baratte did not leave his position! On 30 minutes Baratte the extra man on the pitch appeared to handle the ball before crossing for Joseph Ujlaki to score past Norman Uprichard. The Northern Irish players surrounded the referee in protest who should have disallowed the goal because he did not signal for Cisowski to return to the pitch.

France scored their second through Raymond Kopa however, André Strappe who made the assist was so far offside that the Northern Irish defence stood still and looked at him expecting the referee to blow his whistle.

Regardless Northern Ireland grabbed a goal back on 40 minutes. A Danny Blanchflower free-kick found its way to Charlie Tully who subsequently tucked it away.

Northern Ireland sought an equaliser with Tully, McCourt and Blanchflower coming close but on the break France remained dangerous and could have scored another themselves with two decent saves from Uprichard via Kopa and Strappe shots.

The game was sealed when Kopa raced down a gap within the middle of the Northern Irish defence and struck a low shot past Uprichard and into the net.

Source: Magheramesk

France Beat Ireland



1952_france_ireland_03 Source: Miroir Sprint from 17/11/52

Source: Miroir Sprint from 17/11/52

Source: Billy, A Biography of Billy Bingham by Robert Allen (1986)


Northern Ireland Footballing Greats



11/11/1987 Belfast Turkey 1-0 Jimmy Quinn

Allen McKnight, Gary Fleming, Nigel Worthington, Mal Donaghy, Alan McDonald, John McClelland, Norman Whiteside, Kevin Wilson (Dave Campbell), Colin Clarke, Jimmy Quinn, Danny Wilson (Lee Doherty)

Billy Bingham:

“Since then [1986 World Cup in Mexico] it had been a mere holding operation as personnel changed. For us it was a time for using tactics to prevent us from being turned over. That would have been disastrous for morale in the long process of rebuilding on limited playing resources.”




Northern Ireland Footballing Greats


04th July – Today In Our Footballing History

04/07/1982 Madrid France 1-4 Gerry Armstrong

Pat Jennings, Jimmy Nicholl, Mal Donaghy, Chris Nicholl, John McClelland, David McCreery (John O’Neill), Norman Whiteside, Martin O’Neill, Billy Hamilton, Gerry Armstrong, Sammy McIlroy

Northern Ireland had to win to go through to the Semi-finals and, mid-way through the 1st half, Martin O’Neill had a goal wrongly ruled out for offside after playing a one-two with Armstrong on the edge of the box. France – who only a required a draw – took the lead on 33 after brilliant work by Platini who made his way to the right byline before pulling the ball back for Alan Giresse to stab home. The 2nd French goal came just after half-time on 46 when an Irish attack broke down and the ball was played to Dominique Rocheteau who turned well and set off on a long run, finishing with an angled drive. Next, a surprise short free-kick wide on the left on 68 was laid off to Rocheteau who danced through two challenges in the box before sliding the ball into the back of the net for 3-0. Gerry Armstrong pulled one back on 75 after a nice build up which saw the ball sprayed out to Whiteside on the left who’s cross was parried into the path of Armstrong who finished from the far corner of the 6 yard box, but France had the last word on 80 – Tigana crossing first-time from the right for Giresse to head in for 4-1.

Billy Bingham summed up; “I think for a country of our size, it was a tremendous achievement to get within one match of the semi-finals, I am proud of every one of them.” Ironically it was France who had knocked out Northern Ireland in the QF’s when the Irish had last made an appearance in the World Cup finals in 1958.

Group D Final Table
1. France +4 4
2. Austria -1 1
3. N.Ireland -3 1

Source: homepage.ntlworld.com/carousel

Billy Bingham:

Obviously, those matches in Spain will always be remembered. These games produced what must have been the greatest team performances ever by a Northern Ireland squad considering the amount of pressure on it. The continuity of the team was stronger than in Sweden 1958, although that side has superior individual stars. Collectively in ’82 we were better and more organised.”

France Again End Ireland’s Hope Of World Cup Glory

Source: http://soccernostalgia.blogspot.co.uk/2012_01_01_archive.html

Photo From: L’Integrale de L’Equipe de France de Football, Authors: J.M. and Pierre Cazal, Michel Oreggia, 1998




Northern Ireland Footballing Greats


19th June – Today In Our Footballing History

19/06/1958 Norrköping France 0-4

Harry Gregg, Dick Keith, Alf McMichael, Danny Blanchflower, Willie Cunningham, Wilbur Cush, Billy Bingham, Tommy Casey, Jackie Scott, Jimmy McIlroy, Peter McParland


The Times – Friday 20th June

NORRKOEPING, JUNE 19 – Had Northern Ireland not been handicapped by injuries, the fatigue of an extra match, and travelling long distances, it must still be doubtful if they could have beaten France this evening. The French have improved vastly since they lost to England and had not been given a serious chance by early general opinion. Pluck kept the Irish in the hunt for 45 minutes, but in the second half France did much as they wished.

With three men injured, and Dougan and Coyle not having shown form, Ireland were left with 12 to choose from. Gregg played with a heavily strapped ankle, and seldom attempted to punt. With the last goal he was at fault, but otherwise showed all the skill and courage he had against Germany. However, it did not take long to see that Ireland had not had time to throw off their weariness, and although at first they were not daunted by the freshness and speed of the French, and more particularly the brilliance of Kopa and Fontaine, they were perceptibly being outplayed. It was dictation, emphatically French and given uncomfortably fast, and Ireland could never keep pace.

Kopa, running at a dozen different speeds, completely lost Cunningham. Short prods of the ball, and tiny flipped passes between him and Fontaine, evading by inches the lunging Irish boots, sapped already waning energy, and Ireland, at times, were made to lose their self-respect. Keith alone in defence could keep a clear brain against the weaving patterns of Wisnieski and Fontaine, Piantoni and Vincent, with Kopa all the while lurking, aiding, prompting and dovetailing. Poor Cush, now at left half-back, whose unflagging determination had made proud those British present at the last two matches, was now often striking thin air as he and Blanchflower tried to stem the tide.

Ireland had four shots in the first half. France gave a taste of things to come a minute from the interval when Fontaine’s centre, cleared, came straight back from Penverne, and Wisnieski shot in from a narrow angle. Afterwards France got three goals in a period of 12 minutes, and all was over. Fontaine headed home Penverne’s cross from near the corner flag, then dribbled round Keith and shot low past Gregg, and finally Piantoni sped down the right past McMichael, cut in and lashed the ball imperiously into the roof of the net.

Source: freewebs.com/glenish

Danny Blanchflower:

“They [France] were not the best team we met in the finals – not by a long way. Indeed, in many respects, they hadn’t the qualities of of West Germany or Argentina, but we were so decimated by those injuries we had nothing to offer.”

“If you needed an example of football people at their best this was it. We were a small contingent but developed a family atmosphere. We all played for each other. We had many problems, too, shortage of players, injuries and a long journey from Malmo to Norrkoping for our final match against France. The team spirit, however, was magnificent, quite unbelievable.”

Ian Woolridge (Journalist News Chronicle / Daily Mail):

“Northern Ireland have been shot out of the World Cup by four French goals, but from the emotional ovation they received as they trooped off the turf, I can tell you these men will never be forgotten. The team that Doherty drilled -the rugged average club players inspired by a few top stars – have left their brand of courage behind them.”

* Trivia –

The Northern Ireland team and staff had to travel 10 hours by coach from Malmo to Norkopping to face France only 48 hours after facing Czechoslovakia in the group stage playoff.

It wasn’t only the players and staff making the 400 mile trip. Northern Ireland fans Micky McColgan and Leslie Nicholl who had travelled to Sweden by scooter added a few more miles onto it. On the journey through the forests the front wheel of the scooter jammed in one of the ruts in the road and they both fell off. Leslie had fractured his scapula and Micky twisted his ankle. When they eventually arrived at the Northern Ireland team hotel in Norkopping they were treated by the Irish team doctor.

The plane carrying the Northern Ireland team (minus Harry Gregg the hero of the Munich air crash earlier that year who departed 24 hours earlier by plane (his first flight since the Munich disaster, having travelled to Sweden by boat) with IFA selector Sammy Walker) home had just taken off from Stockholm when the undercarriage failed to retract. The plane had to circle for more than an hour dropping fuel. Emergency services were called into the tarmac but were not required as the plane made a safe landing. With the fault repaired the team set off again a couple of hours later.

Jimmy McIlroy: Inside Soccer [1960] –

“We had been airborne only a few minutes when Billy Cush, sitting by my side, looked at me with a very worried expression and whispered: ‘There’s something wrong with this plane. We’re not climbing.'”

“He was right. As we flew only a few hundred feet above the Swedish countryside, the pilot’s voice warned us, ‘I am afraid I cannot retract the undercarriage. We must return to Stockholm, but as we cannot land with full fuel tanks, we shall have to circle for some time.'”

“Let me say right away that there were no brave men on that plane. The memory of Munich … was still fresh in our minds… I shall always consider it an act of providence that Harry Gregg, a Munich survivor, had left Sweden on the previous day on a sudden impulse.”

“… as we landed there was an immediate rush for the bar to sample the medicinal properties of the airport brandy, and after two and a half hours of ‘medicine’, we again boarded our plane for home.”

Source: Magheramesk

France Easily Defeat Tired Irish Side



Northern Ireland Footballing Greats


26th February – Today In Our Footballing History

26/02/1986 Paris France 0-0

Pat Jennings, Jimmy Nicholl, Mal Donaghy, John O’Neill, Alan McDonald, David McCreery (John McClelland), Norman Whiteside, Steve Penney (Mark Caughey), Jimmy Quinn (Gerry Armstrong), Colin Clarke, Sammy McIlroy

The Parc de Princes pitch resembled a skating rink after a heavy snowfall and temperatures below freezing. However, a superb defensive display from Northern Ireland produced a solid draw.

Author: Magheramesk

380 FrancevNI1986


This 'away' kit seems to have been worn only once (tbc), in a World Cup 1986 warm-up match with France along with white shorts and socks.

This ‘away’ kit seems to have been worn only once (tbc), in a World Cup ’86 warm-up match with France along with white shorts and socks.

Source: http://nifootball.blogspot.co.uk/2006/10/kits-out.html

Northern Ireland Footballing Greats