Thursday, October 17, 2019

Ireland/Nortrhern Ireland combined team World Cup1986

Northern Ireland 1986 World Cup
Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.

Ireland/Northern Ireland Combined Team
IrelandNorthern Ireland
Argentina World Cup 1946
Sweden World Cup1950
Hungary World Cup 1950
Austria-Hungary 1954
Angels with Dirty Faces with Di Stefano in the WC 1958
Scotland World Cup 1970
United Kingdom World Cup 1970
England World Cup 1974
United Kingdom World Cup1982
Spain without Catalan players World Cup 2010
USA World Cup 2010
If Ronaldo and Messi played for Australia in 2006
Brazil 1982 with Careca,etc

The idea of an imaginary combined or unified team for the Island of Ireland in the given tournament came while I was re-working on my Ireland/Northern Ireland combined All-Time Team.  It would be similar to what I did with what I did with United Kingdom 1970I do not know enough about Irish politics and its relations with the football world to see if it is possible to have a combined team for the Island of Ireland.  George Best famously called for an unified team throughout his career.  Meanwhile, Irish Rugby Football Union and Hockey Ireland has created combined national teams for their sports without any problem. So it is not a far fetched idea.

Ideally, I wanted to team up the best players from both sides.  However, the Republic did not have a good team until Jack Charlton took over the national team in 1986.  They did not produce result until the European Championship in 1988.  Meanwhile, Northern Ireland's best teams are in the 1980's and George Best's peak was in the early 1970's.  So the greatest players from each side did not overlap. In the 1970's, Johnny Giles, Billy Bingham, George Best, Pat Rice and Pat Jennings could have formed a strong squad, but I decided to go with the 1986 World Cup Finals when Northern Ireland qualified for the Finals while Jack Charlton took over the Republic that year. Pat Jennings, Norman Whiteside, Sammy McIlroy, Liam Brady, Paul McGrath, Mark Lawrenson, David O'Leary, Ronnie Whelan, Frank Stapleton, Kevin Sheedy and John Aldridge would make a strong All-Ireland team.  I might work on a combined team for the 1970 or 1974 World Cup Finals later.

Ireland Euro 1988

Team(Only 22 players taken in the 1986 WC Finals)
GK: Pat Jennings (N.Ireland/Everton)
Pat Jennings is considered among the greatest goalkeeper of all-time.  The prime of his career was spent with both Tottenham Hotspurs and Arsenal.  In 1973 the Football Writers' Association named him as its footballer of the year. Three years later he won PFA's version of the award – he was the first goalkeeper to receive this accolade, and to this date remains only one of two, along with Peter Shilton. He earned 119 caps for Northern Ireland and went to two World Cup Finals.

GK: Packie Bonner (Republic/Celtic)
Packie Bonner played 80 times for Ireland.  He played every tournaments from the European Championship of 1988 to the edition in 1996 as Ireland qualified for 5 straight tournaments. He was best remembered for winning the penalty shootout against Romania at 1990 World Cup Finals in Italy.  He spent 20 years playing for Celtics in Scotland. He signed for Celtic on 14 May 1978, becoming Jock Stein's last signing for the Parkhead club.

GK: Jim Platt (N.Ireland/Coleraine)
Platt played for the majority of his career at Middlesbrough between 1971 and 1983. He also played for Hartlepool United, Cardiff City and Ballymena United. Platt had 23 caps, largely because of playing at the same time as Pat Jennings.  He was also in the Irish team that won the Home Championship the last time it was played.

RB: Jimmy Nicholl (N.Ireland/West Bromwich Albion )
Born in Canada, Nicholl started with Manchester United in 1974, where he played until 1982. He helped the club win the 1977 FA Cup Final and collected a runners-up medal in 1979.  After that, he played with many cliubs, including stints Toronto Blizzard, Rangers, Sunderland, West Bromwich Albion, etc. He earned 74 caps for Northern Ireland.  He went to 1982 and 1986 World Cup Finals.
 Jimmy Nicholl 
CB: Mark Lawrenson (Republic/Liverpool)
Mark Lawrenson was a key defender for Liverpool in the 1980's.  He won one European Cup and 5 league titles. He played for Ireland between 1977 and 1987.  He helped Ireland to qualify for its first ever major tournament in 1988, but an injury prevented him from going to the Finals of the European Championship in 1988. Ireland went on to qualify for the next four tournaments, but he already retired by then.

CB/DM: Paul McGrath (Republic/Manchester United)
Paul McGrath is one of Ireland's greatest ever players.  He played 83 times for Ireland. He appeared at the 1990 and 1994 World Cup Finals, as well as the Euro 1988.  He played for St Patrick's Athletic and then, joined Manchester United in 1982.  He had a run-in with Sir Alex who was the new manager at Manchester United and moved to Aston Villa in 1989 where he won the PFA Player of the Year in 1993. He later played for Derby County and Sheffield United.
Paul McGrath 
CB: David O’Leary (Republic/Arsenal)
O'Leary made a record of 722 appearance for Arsenal.  For Arsenal, he won the English League, FA Cup and the League Cup, two of each.  He also played briefly with Leeds United at the end of his career. With 68 caps, he represented Ireland at the World Cup Finals in 1990, scoring the winning penalty against Romania in the penalty shootout.

CB: Kevin Moran (Republic/Manchester United)
From 1978 to 1988, Kevin Moran spent over a decade playing for Manchester United, winning two FA Cups.  He joined Sporting de Gijon in 1988. He moved to Blackburn Rovers in 1990 and helped to secure a promotion to the top division.  He was capped 71 times between 1980 and 1994, and he went to Euro 1988 , and the 1990 and 1994 World Cup Finals.  

CB: Alan McDonald (N.Ireland/QPR)
Alan McDonald was capped 52 times for Northern Ireland between 1986 and 1996. He was a part of the team that went to the 1986 World Cup Finals in Mexico. He spent most of his career with Queens Park Ranger, reaching the League Cup Final in 1986. He also had short spells with Charlton Athletic while on loan in 1983and Swindon Town at the end of his career in the 1990's.
Alan McDonald 
LB: Jim Beglin (Republic/Liverpool)
Beglin played for Shamrock Rovers before playimng for Liverpool between 1983 and 1989. He won the Double in 1986.  A serious injury forced him out of the club.  He later played for Leeds United with loan spells on loan with both Plymouth Argyle and Blackburn Rovers.  He only played 15 times for Ireland between 1984 and 1987.

LB: Chris Houghton (Republic/Tottenham Hotspurs)
After making his professional debut aged 20, Hughton spent most of his playing career with Tottenham Hotspur, leaving in 1990 after 13 years.  He later played with West Ham United and Brentford. Born in England, he represented Ireland.  He was the first mixed race player to represent the nation. He earned 53 caps and played in the Euro 1988. 

LM/CM: Ronnie Whelan (Republic/Liverpool)
Ronnie Whelan played for Liverpool during the 1980's, where he won the 1983-1984 European Cup and 6 league titles. He was ranked the 30th greatest player for Liverpool.  Whelan finished his career at Southend United, where he was also player-manager.  He was capped 53 times.  He played at Euro 1988 and the World Cup Finals in 1990 and 1994 for the Republic of Ireland.
Ronnie Whelan
DM/CM: David McCreery (N.Ireland/Newcastle United)
McCreery played in every position bar goalkeeper. He made 67 appearances for Northern Ireland, and played in boith 1982 and 1986 World Cup Finals.  He was named in the All Star team at the World Cup 1982.  He started his career with Manchester United.  His longest stint was with Newcastle United.

DM/CM: Nigel Worthington (N.Ireland/Sheffield Wednesday)
Worthington started his career with Ballymena United in 1979, where he was Ulster Football Writers Young Player of the Year in 1981. He moved into English football with Notts County in 1981. 
He had a long career with Sheffield Wednesday.  He had 66 caps and went to the 1986 World Cup Finals. 

CM: Sammy McIlroy (N.Ireland/Manchester City)
Sammy McIlroy joined Manchester United in 1969, becoming Matt Busby's last signing at the club.  He stayed there until 1982.  At one point, Manchester United dropped to the 2nd division, where he helped them to grain promotion. He joined Stoke as their record signing.  He also played for Manchester City, Bury, etc. He played in the 1982 and 1986 World Cup Finals. He was the captain of the 1986 World Cup side in Mexico.
Sammy McIlroy 
RW/CM: Ray Houghton  (Republic/Oxford United)
Born in Scotland, Ray Houghton was capped 73 times for the Republic.  He was best remembered for scoring the winning goal against England at Euro 1988 and against Italy at the World Cup Finals in 1994.  He was also remembered for his career at Liverpool between 1987 and 1992, where he played with John Aldridge, Peter Beardsley and John Barnes.

LW/AM: Liam Brady (Republic/Inter Milan)
Liam Brady played over 200 times for Arsenal in the 1980's.  He was the PWA Player of the Year in 1979.  He was one of the few successful Irish players playing outside the UK.  In 1980, he moved to Juventus, where he won two Series A titles in two seasons.  He was replaced by Michel Platini, but he went on to play for Inter Milan and Ascoli in Italy. He made 72 caps for Ireland, but he never went to a major tournament.

LW: Kevin Sheedy (Republic/Everton)
Sheedy spent the largest portion of his playing career with Everton – with whom he won the FA Cup, European Cup Winners' Cup and two Football League titles – and also played for Hereford United, Liverpool, Newcastle United and Blackpool. Born in Wales, he played 46 times for the Republic of Ireland and scored the country's first ever goal in a World Cup finals during Italian 1990.  He also played in Euro 1988. 
Kevin Sheedy 
FW/CM Norman Whiteside (N.Ireland/Manchester United)
In 1982, Norman Whiteside  became the youngest player ever played in a World Cup Finals.  He also played in the 1986 World Cup Finals.  For his club career, he made his debut with Manchester United as a 16 years old in 1982.  He became a starter in the 1982-1983 season as a teenager.  However, his career was marked with injury problems. He moved to Everton in 1989, which was then a more successful club than Manchester United at the time.  He retired in 1991.

ST: Billy Hamilton (N.Ireland/Oxford United)
Hamilton is best remembered as the man who crossed the ball for Gerry Armstrong to score for Northern Ireland in their win against the hosts Spain at the 1982 World Cup. He also played in the 1986 World Cup Finals. At club level, Hamilton played for Linfield, QPR, Burnley, Oxford United, Limerick, Sligo Rovers, Coleraine and Distillery. 

ST:  John Aldridge (Republic/Oxford United)
John Aldridge is still the 6th highest goal scorer in the history of English football.  He was best remembered with his career at Liverpool from 1987 to 1989. He joined the club as a replacement for Ian Rush.  He linked up with Peter Beardsley and John Barnes to form one of the most exciting attacking lines in the club's history. He had 69 caps for the Republic of Ireland.  He played in Euro 1988, and with 1990 and 1994 World Cup Finals.

ST: Frank Stapleton (Republic/Manchester United)
Frank Stapleton was Ireland's all-time leading scorer for a decade.  He had 71 caps. He captained Ireland at the European Championship in 1988.  It was Ireland's first major tournament. At the club level, he is best remembered for his time at Arsenal and Manchester United, where he won a single FA Cup for both clubs. He also played in Holland, Belgium and France after he left Manchester United.
Frank Stapleton 
Honorable Mention
Mick McCarthy (Republic), Tony Cascarino (Republic), Niall Quinn (Republic), Dave Langan (Republic), Gerry Peyton (Republic), Gerry Armstrong (N.Ireland), Steve Penney (N.Ireland), John Byrne (Republic), Mal Donaghy (N.Ireland).

Squad Explanation
-- To reduce confusion, all players from the Republic of Ireland are listed as "Republic".  Ireland meant this combined team.
-- I was deciding whether to do a combined Irish team for the 1982 or 1986 World Cup Finals.  Northern Ireland had better results in 1982 than in 1986.  Pat Jennings and Liam Brady were in their prime.  George Best was still an active player in 1982, but was no longer playing for Northern Ireland. In 1982, I could have fielded the three of the greatest ever Irish player.  However, the Republic had not figure much internationally in 1982.  I decided the 1986 team might be more interesting because the Republic was already under Jack Charlton's revolution in 1986. Northern Ireland qualified for the 1986 World Cup. Basically, I am combining Jack Charlton's Euro 1988 team with Northern Ireland's 1986 World Cup team.
-- The FAI approached Jack Charlton to be their manager in December, 1985. The list of candidates narrowed down to Bob Paisley, Jack Charlton, John Giles or Liam Tuohy.  Paisley who turned down the same job previously was the favorite for the job. However, Charlton was appointed the manager of Republic's team in February, 1986. He was the first non-Irishman to be appointed to the position. Moreover, he was an Englishman. His first game in charge was on 26 March 1986 against Wales at Lansdowne Road which ended in a 1–0 defeat.
-- Northern Ireland was managed by Billy Bingham, his second spell as their manager.  His second spell made him the most successful ever manager for Northern Ireland. He led the nation to victory in the British Home Championship in 1980, only the nation's second outright victory in 96 years.  Northern Ireland also qualified twice for the World Cup Finals. B
-- In 1986, both team was coached by their greatest ever manager, but I was not building a team managed by either of them.  I was only using their selections and teams as part of my resource for my research.
-- Adidas sponsored both national teams in 1986.
-- Northern Ireland qualified for the World Cup Finals, but the combined team is stocked with players from the Republic.  I selected 13 players from the Republic and only 9 from Northern Ireland. I did drop eligible Republic's players for Northern Irish players to balance the team.
-- Pat Jennings and Paddy Bonner easily made the first two goalkeeper spots.  I took Jim Platt who was Northern Ireland's goalkeeper in Mexico for the third keeper. Gerry Peyton (Republic), Jim McDonagh (Republic) and Phil Hughes (N.Ireland) were in the pool.
-- Mark Lawrenson and Paul McGarth were on the PFA Team of the Season in the 1985-1986 season.  
-- David O'Leary (Republic) was dropped by manager Jack Charlton in May, 1986 for a tournament in Iceland because of a feud over O'Leary's family vacation.  He would not play for Ireland until 1988.  In this imaginary team, Jack Charlton was not the manager.  I do not place a real manager on the team.  Furthermore, in this alternative world, the Republic would not be playing in the tournament before the World Cup Finals. I doubt O'Leary would be complaining about his family vacation if it was the World Cup Finals. The feud would not have happened.  O'Leary would have gone to Mexico.
-- I was choosing between Kevin Moran, Alan McDonald and John O'Neil for the last and 4th central defender.  Kevin Moran had an injury filled year in the 1985/86 season.  Alan McDonald led the QPR to the League Cup Final while John O'Neil was playing for Leicester Town. In the end, I decided to bring five centerbacks.  Moran was too famous to be dropped.  I added McDonald because of the League Cup.
-- Jim Beglin (Republic) took over the leftback position from the departing Alan Kennedy at Liverpool that season.  Chris Houghton was an established leftback with Tottenham Hotspur. So Mal Donaghy (N.Ireland) lost his spot to them even through he was a top leftback at the time.
-- In 1986, Denis Irwin transferred from Leeds United to Oldham.  He had not made his senior debut with the Republic until 1990.  He was playing in the Under-21 level.
-- In 1985-1986 season, Liam Brady was still playing regularly for Inter Milan.  He would transfer out of the club that summer.  In real life, he never played in a major tournament.  He received a suspension and then, an injury that kept him out the 1988 European Championship.  He also had some issues with Jack Charlton. Again, this team was not managed by Charlton.  The feud issue did not exist in this imaginary setting.
--  Ronnie Whelan won the Double for Liverpool that season. Across the Mersey, Kevin Speedy's team Everton finished second in both FA Cup and the League.  In the 1985-1986, Speedy seemed to be injury-riddled, but he did play at the end of the season, including 90 minutes at the 1986 FA Cup Final.
-- Ray Houghton had a great season that year.  He was eligible for Scotland, but Scotland did not select him for the actual 1986 World Cup Finals.  Then, he made his debut for Ireland in January of 1986, which making him officially a player for Ireland by the time of the World Cup Finals. 
-- In 1986, Ray Houghton, Billy Hamilton and John Aldridge were playing together at Oxford United.  They won the League Cup that year (Hamilton missed the Final through an injury).  Billy Hamilton and John Aldridge were known for their partnership.  So I am bringing both. Northern Ireland never lost a game when Billy Hamilton scored. He played all three games in Mexico.
-- Frank Stapleton struggled in the 1985-1986 season, but he was the captain of the Republic before and after the appointment of Jack Charlton.  John Aldridge scored 23 goals in the English league that season.  He was tied for third top scorer with Ian Rush. Norman Whiteside played all three matches in Mexico.
-- At the time of the World Cup Finals, John Byrne only played three times for the Republic. He scored a stunning solo goal against Chelsea in March, 1986. But i did not want to gamble a newer player.  I went with the bigger names.
-- Frank Stapleton, Norman Whiteside, Paul McGrath and Kevin Moran played for Manchester United.  Mark Lawrenson, Ronnie Whelan and Jim Beglin played for Liverpool FC. 
-- Gerry Armstrong was the hero of Spain 1982.  In real life, he went to Mexico, but he only played a handful of games that season for West Bromwich Albion and Chesterfield.  His form was in question. The addition of players from the Republic kept him out of this team.
-- Niall Quinn was 19 years at the time of the World Cup Finals.  He made his senior debut on May, 1985.  He still played on the Under-21 team that year.
-- The addition of David McCreery, Nigel Worthington, Jimmy Nicholl and Jim Platt was to balance the team with players from both sides of the Island. 

I am not certain if I have the best lineup for the year 1986.

1 comment:

  1. Jennings
    Nicholl Mcgrath O’Leary Beglin
    R.Houghton Brady John-Sheridan Sheedy
    Hamilton Stapleton

    Second division box-to-box player John Sheridan was about to hit his peak here (86-89). The Irishman should fit nicely in the middle with Brady.