Tag: Northern Ireland

Video of the Day: Northern Ireland at the 1982 World Cup

Northern Ireland make their debut in the finals of the European Championships this summer and, while expectations of their prospects may well be low, history would seem to suggest that the team shouldn’t be written off automatically. When the World Cup finals were expanded from sixteen to twenty-four nations for the 1982 World Cup finals in Spain, the province was one of its biggest beneficiaries. Qualifying from a group that also contained England, the team managed by Billy Bingham – who’d played in their only previous tournament finals at the time, the 1958 World Cup finals in Sweden –...

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Autonomy, Misrepresentation & That Most Peculiar Beast: Team GB

Rumbling along quietly along in the background, the ongoing argument over whether a Great Britain team should take part in the 2012 London Olympics has been one of the slow-burning debates within British football over the last half-decade or so, but this debate ignited this afternoon after a series of statements, made in turn by the British Olympic Association, the Football Association, the Scottish Football Association and the Football Association of Wales, which already seems likely to turn into a full-blown argument. Andy Hunt, the BOA’s chief executive, was reported at the weekend feeling “very positive” that an agreement could be reached between the four constituent national associations and the BOA in order to allow a single team to represent Britain at the games. Today, though, such “positivity” couldn’t feel further away. The reservations of the FAW and the SFA are well-known and understandable. They are concerned that this could be used as leverage to force a merger of the four associations by FIFA. Whilst such a scenario playing out would be highly unlikely (and why, critics of this idea would argue, would FIFA wait for an excuse to do this if they wanted to that much anyway?), critics have hardly been appeased by soothing (and, at times, somewhat contradictory – after all, this is FIFA that we’re talking about, here) statements from FIFA on the subject. Perhaps the...

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They’re Not Brazil, They’re Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland have had a mixed start to their Euro 2012 qualifying campaign and remain one of Europe’s more enigmatic teams. Kevin Leonard has been keeping up to date with their progess. In the act of expressing joy for one’s team, many a song sang from the stands can be an exaggeration. Liverpool fans, for example, have taken to re-writing Depeche Mode’s “I Just Can’t Get Enough” by replacing the lyrics with “You Just Can’t Stop Suarez”. As good as Luis Suarez is, it’s not yet quite an actual physical impossibility to stop him. Similarly, Barcelona occasionally remind people that they are “Més que un club”, a statement that the more literal amongst us may call into question. After all, team of players kicking a ball, following the directions of a manager, who are collectively viewed on a weekly basis by a crowd that enjoys watching the kicking of said ball sounds an awful lot like a football club to me. On the other hand, however, “We’re not Brazil we’re Northern Ireland” is possibly the most truthful melody to be heard around in world football today. Brazilian supporters may consider their current FIFA ranking of fifth place to be a cause of some unhappiness. Northern Ireland, on the other hand comfortably in the in fortieth place in FIFA’s (some might say flawed) ranking system. It’s a defiant song of...

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Remains of Rous: FIFA And The Team GB Question

The forthcoming Olympic Games and whether a united “British” team should be allowed to play in the competition has reopened one off British football’s oldest debates. Jason LeBlanc takes a look at the history of this fractious state of affairs. The subject of a unified British team partaking in next summer’s London Olympics has been broached on this site before, but with the Euro 2012 qualifier between Wales and England featuring some players that would compete together if their associations—along with those of Scotland and Northern Ireland—agreed to the matter, it feels prescient to gloss over the matter again.  Further, with former IFA president Robert Boyce recently calling upon FIFA to set out concrete assurances an Olympic Team Great Britain would not threaten the independence of the Home Nations going forward, it is a topic that is being revived.  Before plowing forward, though, let’s go back to some of the historical origins of this sticky wicket. Try not to snore too loudly when you fall asleep midway. When English FA Secretary Sir Stanley Rous handed over the till from the 1947 “Match of the Century” to FIFA, he purchased a unique position for the Home Nations that still exists today.  Donating the £35,000 to the cash-strapped international organization—which when adjusted using RPI amounts to over £1 million today—Rous bought the preservation of the 4 independent football associations along with...

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Is the award of a 3-0 win a suitable punishment?

On Friday, UEFA announced the punishments for the abandonment of the Italy-Serbia European Championship Qualifier. As expected, Serbia did not get off lightly. The Football Association of Serbia (FSS) were fined €120,000, ordered to play a home qualifier behind closed doors, with a second game behind closed doors suspended for two years, as well as having their supporters banned from travelling to the rest of their qualifiers. The Italian Football Federation (FIGC) were also fined the smaller amount of €100,000, and also ordered to play a game behind closed doors, suspended for two years. While the FSS were punished because their supporters were the cause of the trouble in Genoa on the night of the game, the FIGC were punished for failing to stop the Serbian fans entering the Luigi Ferraris stadium with flares and fireworks, and for the security operation failing to stop the pitch invasion that gave Scottish referee Craig Thomson no option but to initially delay the kick-off, and ultimately abandon the match. On the face of it, both punishments seem appropriate. While it is difficult for a Football Association to prevent tickets ending up in the wrong hands, they are responsible for their fans behaviour, and the fine, and the loss of revenue from a game being played behind closed doors will certainly provide the FSS with the motivation to do all they can to...

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