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Former Northern Ireland boss Billy Bingham dies aged 90 

Former Northern Ireland boss Billy Bingham, who led his country to TWO World Cups and also led Everton and Greece, dies aged 90

Former Northern Ireland international and manager Billy Bingham has died at the age of 90, his family announced Friday.

Bingham led Northern Ireland to the World Cup final twice, first in 1982 when they famously beat host country Spain, and again in 1986.

Born in East Belfast, Bingham, a right winger, was capped 56 times. He came through the ranks of Glentoran before joining Sunderland in 1950 and going on to have spells with Luton, Everton, which he later also led, and Port Vale.

In a statement, Bingham’s son David said: “Dad was diagnosed with dementia in 2006 and I think it’s a tribute to his will that he managed another 16 years from that diagnosis to the time he died.

He passed away peacefully at 10.30pm last night at a care home in Southport.

“We are very proud of everything our father has achieved.”

Former Northern Ireland international and manager Billy Bingham has died aged 90 - he famously led his team to two World Cups, in 1982 and 1986

Former Northern Ireland international and manager Billy Bingham has died aged 90 – he famously led his team to two World Cups, in 1982 and 1986

In 1982 Northern Ireland defeated host nation Spain 1-0 - here Bingham celebrates with goalscorer Gerry Armstrong in the immediate aftermath of the match

In 1982 Northern Ireland defeated host nation Spain 1-0 – here Bingham celebrates with goalscorer Gerry Armstrong in the immediate aftermath of the match

Bingham celebrates and acknowledges the crowd in Valencia after his match won against Spain

Bingham celebrates and acknowledges the crowd in Valencia after his match won against Spain

Bingham was part of the Northern Ireland side that reached the quarter-finals of the 1958 World Cup, but lost to France.

It was Bingham’s goal for Luton to win the 1959 FA Cup semi-final over then Third Division Norwich to reach Wembley, where they lost to Nottingham Forest.

He won the 1962-63 First Division title with Everton before moving into management, which included roles when he was also in charge of the Northern Ireland national team and a stint with Greece.

Bingham’s second stint as manager of his country began in 1980.

He went on to appoint the future boss of the Republic of Ireland, Martin O’Neill, as its captain, the first Catholic to receive the honor bestowed upon him during the Troubles, and as a result received threatening letters.

The success of the 1980 British Championship was Northern Ireland’s first in 66 years and was followed by a memorable World Cup campaign and a 1-0 win over Spain at Mestalla in Valencia.

Bingham, receiving an MBE for services to football in 1981, left the job in Northern Ireland in 1993 and later worked as director of football at Blackpool.

The Irish Football Association paid tribute to Bingham.

Billy holds a unique place in Northern Ireland’s football hearts as he has both played at and succeeded in World Cup finals with Northern Ireland, was part of Peter Doherty’s historic 1958 Sweden team and then led Northern Ireland in the 1982 and 1986 final,” a statement on the Irish FA’s website read.

Although best known as a manager, Bingham played for Sunderland (pictured), Everton and Luton

Although best known as a manager, Bingham played for Sunderland (pictured), Everton and Luton

Bingham coached Greece and Everton in his career in the dug-out

Bingham coached Greece and Everton in his career in the dug-out

Billy was a tricky winger at the time when such a position was honoured, but there was more to him than just winging. Billy wasn’t afraid to mix it up if needed, had an eye for the target and had a great tactical and positional brain – traits that would show in his managerial career.

He was everything a manager in Northern Ireland should be: tactically astute, innovative and inspiring.

He led the team to victory in the British Championship in 1980 and 1984, qualified for two World Cups in 1982 and 1986 and recorded their first home and away wins over West Germany in qualifying for the European Championship in ’84.

His greatest achievement was probably the team’s qualification for the second phase of the World Cup in 1982 with the historic and unexpected victory over Spain in Valencia.

“The Society wishes to extend its condolences to Billy’s wider family.”

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