London (AFP) – Former Northern Ireland and Everton manager Billy Bingham, who twice took his country to the World Cup, died on Friday at the age of 90.
Bingham guided Northern Ireland to the World Cup in 1982, when the minnows enjoyed a shock win over hosts Spain thanks to Gerry Armstrong’s goal in the searing Valencia heat.
Northern Ireland reached a second successive World Cup under Bingham four years later as they qualified for the tournament in Mexico.
Northern Ireland have not appeared at the World Cup since then.
Belfast-born Bingham, who also managed Northern Ireland from 1967 to 1971, led his country to victory in the British Championship in 1980 and 1984.
He played for Northern Ireland during their run to the 1958 World Cup quarter-finals in Sweden and represented Glentoran, Sunderland, Luton, Everton and Port Vale at club level.
Bingham won the 1962-63 First Division title with Everton prior to his managerial career, which peaked with his second stint as Northern Ireland boss from 1980 to 1993.
He managed Everton from 1973 to 1977, but was unable to win a trophy with the Goodison Park club before his sacking.
“Billy holds a unique place in the football hearts of Northern Ireland,” a statement on the Irish FA website said.
“He was everything that a Northern Ireland manager needs to be: tactically astute, innovative and inspirational.
“His greatest achievement was probably the qualification of the team for the second phase of the World Cup in 1982 with the historic and unexpected victory over Spain in Valencia.”
Bingham’s son David added: “Dad was diagnosed with dementia back in 2006 and I think it is a tribute to his will that he managed another 16 years from that diagnosis to the time he passed away.
“We are very proud of all our dad achieved.”
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