Former Northern Ireland manager Billy Bingham dies aged 90

Bingham guided Northern Ireland to the World Cup finals on two occasions in 1982 and again in 1986

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Former Northern Ireland international and manager Billy Bingham has died aged 90, his family announced on Friday.

Bingham twice guided Northern Ireland to the World Cup finals, first in 1982, when they famously beat hosts Spain, and again in 1986.

In a statement, Bingham’s son David said: “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.

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

“We are very proud of all our dad achieved.”

Born in East Belfast, Bingham, an outside right, 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, whom he later also managed, and Port Vale.

Billy Bingham has died aged 90
Billy Bingham has died aged 90
Bingham's family confirmed his death earlier today
Bingham's family confirmed his death earlier today

Bingham had been part of the Northern Ireland side which reached the quarter-finals of the 1958 World Cup only to lose to France.

It was Bingham’s goal which secured Luton victory in 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 prior to moving into management, which included roles when he was also in charge of the Northern Ireland national team as well as a spell with Greece.

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

He went on to appoint future Republic of Ireland boss Martin O’Neill as his captain, the first Catholic to have the honour bestowed on him during the Troubles; he received threatening letters as a result.

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

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