MAGAZINE ARCHIVE : SHOOT MEXICO 86 SPECIAL

At this moment 30 years ago, Italy and Bulgaria players were walking onto the pitch at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City for the opening game of Mexico 86.

The game was broadcast live on the BBC. As people sat in front of their TVs awaiting the month of football to come, it’s possible they may have been reading Shoot’s 1986 World Cup Preview guide, costing 75p.

With three UK teams in the finals (something that wouldn’t happen again until Euro 2016), Shoot capitalised on this by having a player from Scotland (Gordon Strachan), England (Bryan Robson) and Northern Ireland (Norman Whiteside) all holding the World Cup trophy.

All three were playing for the same club in 1986, so it was obviously convenient for them to arrange the photoshoot.

As you open the magazine, there is a double page editorial saying “Go get em lads”, wishing the three UK teams good luck.

There is then a double page TV guide, but it only covers the opening match, and the home nations group games. For the record, Northern Ireland and Scotland had two live games on ITV and one on the BBC, while England had two games on the BBC and one on ITV.

Trevor Francis gets four pages to write about who he thinks will be the stars in Mexico, predicting big things from Hugo Sanchez, Rudi Voeller, Preben Elkjaer, Diego Maradona, Michel Platini, Rinat Dasaev, Zico and Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, Enzo Scifo, Daniel Passarella, Antonio Cabrini, Zibi Boniek and Michael Laudrup.

Quite a lot of those players were based in Serie A, where Francis was playing his club football.

Mick Channon gets two pages to assess the three home nations, predicting Bryan Robson to lead England to the Quarter-Finals (They would reach that stage, but Robson would be at home injured), Scotland to reach the Second Round (Group stage exit) and Northern Ireland to reach the knockout stages (group stage exit)

Channon also commented that he was recently in Belfast to play in a testimonial game for George Dunlop.

Mal Donaghy gets a lot of praise from Channon, stating he would walk into England and Scotland’s teams, comparing him to Bobby Moore.

For the whole tournament, he expected Argentina to beat Brazil in the final.

Tony Roche gets a double page spread to assess the rest of the European teams, stating that Denmark could take the competition by storm, comparing them to Holland’s team of the 70s.

There is a full page round up of the results and tables from the European groups.

Peter Reid gets interviewed with the headline “ON YER BIKE JOAN COLLINS”. In case you’re wondering why, England will be warming up in America, staying in a hotel in Denver which is used to film scenes for the TV show Dynasty.

Reid comments on the progress in his career between World Cups, having just avoided relegation to the Third Division with Bolton in 1982, he was now challenging for trophies with Everton.

Shoot canvassed journalists from around the world for their opinion, and the consensus was that Brazil would repeat their success in Mexico they had in 1970.

Bobby Moore writes about his experiences at the 1970 World Cup, advising the players that playing Snooker will be a good way to relieve the boredom in the hotel room.

Charlie Nicholas gets four pages to write about his Scotland team-mates, where he reveals he shares a room with Steve Nicol. They are good mates, but Nicholas doesn’t share Nicol’s love of Status Quo.

There is a double page interview with the three UK managers, Bobby Robson (England), Alex Ferguson (Scotland) and Billy Bingham (Northern Ireland)

Ferguson and Robson predict Brazil will win the trophy, while Bingham shies away from predicting a winner.

Bryan Robson writes a two page article where he predicts England will reach the Semi-Finals, and that Gary Lineker will be England’s biggest star in Mexico, comparing him to Jimmy Greaves.

There are two pages then dedicated to the South American challenge, written by Tony Roche.

Shoot has bagged an interview with Diego Maradona, who says England look good, Northern Ireland have a chance of reaching the knock-out stage, while Scotland are in the toughest group. He didn’t predict Morocco to upset anyone.

The main question asked in Northern Ireland’s preview is where the goals will come from. Billy Bingham has a lot of praise for Norman Whiteside, predicting him to be a regular Northern Ireland player for the next decade.

Jimmy Greaves has two pages of letters, where a Notts County fan predicts Algeria to win because of Rachid Harkouk, to which Greaves sarcastically responds.

There is a full page dedicate to free-kick experts, listing the best players with this skill, including Platini, Hoddle, Cooper and Molby.

As well as looking forward, Shoot also looks back at England, Scotland and Northern Ireland’s World Cup history.

There are two pages dedicated to Jock Stein, who was Scotland manager during the qualifying campaign until his death after the game against Wales in September 1985, with tributes from Alex Ferguson and Billy McNeill.

There is a competition where you can win a Sinclair ZX Spectrum and Ray Clemence World Cup video game.

The preview ends with an infographic of all the team’s kits.

ESPANA 82 – THE PLAYER’S SOUVENIR

A curious thing came into my possession this week, ironically, on 25th June (You should know why that date is important) of a booklet previewing the 1982 World Cup for Northern Ireland.

The front cover features match action from the 1-0 win over Israel in November 1981 that secured Northern Ireland’s qualification.

The brochure is edited by Billy Kennedy and Ivan Little, then Co-Editors of Linfield’s matchday programme, and also co-edited Northern Ireland’s programmes during that period. Billy Kennedy is still currently writing for the News Letter, while Ivan Little now has a weekly column for Sunday Life after a long career with UTV.

The editorial congratulates Northern Ireland on qualifying for the finals, pointing out that the groundwork to a successful campaign began in winning the 1980 Home Championship.

There is an editorial from Dr Michael Scott, Consultant Cardiologist at Belfast City Hospital, congratulating the team on it’s success, and pointing out the benefits of not smoking. There are various anti smoking adverts in the publication from NI Chest Heart Stroke Association.

Despite the title, the publication was available to the public at a cost of £1.20.

Malcolm Brodie writes about how the World Cup has changed during his time covering the event, especially since Northern Ireland’s last appearance, 24 years previously, in 1958.

He notes that the tournament is now more commercialised, in his words, “It is big business, now on a global scale”, and about how there will be increased security surrounding all the teams in Spain.

Brodie signs off with “Reaching the Quarter-Finals would be an unbelievable boost, and in the opinion of many, a miracle. Knowing Billy Bingham’s luck, that may be achieved. You never know, stranger things have happened”

There were no Quarter-Finals in Spain 82, after the groups, there were 4 groups of 3. Northern Ireland were 1 win away from the Semi-Finals, so technically, it was a Quarter-Final of sorts.

There was also a fixture list for the competition, with dates/venues/kick-off times.

What struck me as odd was the volume of group games being played at the same time. For example, Hungary v El Salvador in Group 3 was played at the same time as Scotland v New Zealand in Group 5.

Ironically, the final group games weren’t played simultaneously in Spain 82, though that would change as a result of the Austria v West Germany game.

Honduras and Yugoslavia, two of Northern Ireland’s group opponents get a double page spread. Not knowing much about the Hondurans, Northern Ireland are being helped by Terry Moore, a Canadian international who grew up in Northern Ireland, played for Glentoran, but in 1982, was playing for Tampa Bay Rowdies.

Honduras had beaten Canada for a place in the finals, with Moore bemoaning the fact that Honduras winner wasn’t disallowed for offside. Moore would get the chance to play for Canada in the 1986 World Cup.

Moore would point out that it would feel like an away game due to the Honduran population in Spain, and that they would get support from locals for their games against Yugoslavia and Northern Ireland.

Apart from Nikki Jovanovic, formerly of Manchester United, not much was known of Yugoslavia, though there was an admiration for their manager Milijan Milijanic, in his second spell as manager, after winning two La Liga titles with Real Madrid inbetween.

Bill Clark of Sunday Mirror pays tribute to the role played by two members of Billy Bingham’s backroom team, Martin Harvey and Bertie Peacock.

Some players are lucky enough to get full page profiles with the usual Q and A with footballers.

Sammy McIlroy was chosen by the UK government to front a “Behave yourselves” campaign (England and Scotland also qualified for Spain 82) but stated that Northern Ireland fans will behave, but that such a campaign was worthwhile. He also spoke about his transfer from Manchester United to Stoke City.

A former pupil of Mersey Street Primary School, his favourite football team growing up wasn’t in BT4, but across the city, as he supported Linfield, and Rangers. His favourite singer is Al Green and his favourite comedian is Tommy Cooper.

Chris Nicholl’s favourite singer is Mick Jagger and his favourite comedian is Benny Hill. David McCreery is also a fan of Benny Hill, but his favourite singer is Rod Stewart.

Despite fronting an anti-smoking campaign, Sammy Nelson admitted to having the odd cigar to celebrate Arsenal winning a trophy. Interestingly, he was the first ever ex pupil of Inst, a school with a long Rugby association, to play international football. As of 1982, he was yet to be invited back to his old school. His favourite singer is Bob Seeger.

Mal Donaghy’s brother would be in Spain for the World Cup, but to cheer on Brazil, having formed the West Belfast Brazil Supporters Club.

There is also a mention of his 2 month old baby Ciaran “Mal’s hoping the latest member of the Donaghy clan, baby Ciaran will also be putting his best foot forward onto the soccer pitch”

Ciaran Donaghy has played in the Irish League, most notably with Cliftonville.

Billy Hamilton’s wedding anniversary fell during the 2nd Round of Spain 82, which he hoped he would still be in Spain for. Like Sammy Nelson, who he lists as his favourite comedian, he is a Rolling Stones fan. He states for his post football career, he hoped to own a business, which he did, setting up a Trophy and Engraving shop in Bangor, before selling it to Alan McDonald in 2009.

There is a double page poster of the qualifying campaign, while Billy Bingham gets a page to write about how his team shouldn’t be written off in Spain, despite a tough group, including this prophetic line, in relation to the 1958 team, and his 1982 team

“Who knows, maybe 24 years from now, in the year 2006, Northern Irish people will be talking about the feats of the 1982 team, with the same nostalgia and folklore attached to the 1958 team”

I think in 24 years on from 2006, they will still be talking about the achievements of 1982.

Ivan Little interviews sporting celebrities cheering on Northern Ireland such as Mike Gibson, Sean O’Neill, John Watson and Dermot Monteith. Alex Higgins is hoping that his Snooker schedule allows him to travel to Spain as a guest of ex Linfield player Sammy Pavis.

Martin O’Neill speaks of his pride at being captain, can speak a little French (unlike fellow Derry native Nadine Coyle) and his favourite bands are The Undertones (unsurprisingly), The Horselips and Jethro Tull.

There is a team poster in the middle, while some players have their baby photos featured.

Pat Jennings spoke of his regret that physiotherapist Bobby McGregor, who died the previous November, wouldn’t be in Spain.

There is a full page feature on players on the fringe of the squad, battling for a place such as Pat Rice, George Dunlop and Tom Sloan.

Interestingly, there is no mention in that article, or anywhere in the publication of Norman Whiteside, which would give an idea as to how late and unexpected his arrival in contention for a place in the squad was.

There is also a Smash Hits style lyric poster of the official team song, Yer Man, by Dana.

Sam Butler of News Letter writes a guide on what to do and not to do in Spain, warning fans that there will be a heavy police presence on the streets, and to beware of muggers.

On the back page, there is an advert simply saying “VIVA NORTHERN IRELAND ………… from the winning team at Downtown Radio”