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Applause for late football manager Billy Bingham at Northern Ireland v Cyprus game at Windsor Park

Fans and players paid an emotional tribute to legendary Northern Ireland manager Billy Bingham with a minute’s applause ahead of Sunday’s game against Cyprus.

supporters also sang his name at the end of the 2-2 draw at Windsor Park.

The former manager – who took the national team to two World Cup tournaments – died on Thursday evening at the age of 90.

He also played for Northern Ireland at the 1958 World Cup finals.

Ian Baraclough’s men lined up and applauded before the game kicked off – with fans also giving a standing ovation and applauding.

The giant screen at Windsor Park displayed a montage capturing some of the great days of the Bingham era, including images from the 1982 and 1986 World Cups.

Stadium MC Pete Snodden recalled Bingham’s achievements ahead of kick-off.

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Players applaud during a tribute to former manager Billy Bingham prior to the UEFA Nations League match at Windsor Park, Belfast. Niall Carson/PA

Snodden said: “Billy was adored, and looked up to, and will never be forgotten.

“Today we send our condolences to his family and say thank you Billy for everything you gave us.”

As the final whistle neared, fans came together to sing ‘There’s only one Billy Bingham”.

Some of the 16,454 crowd who attended the 2-2 draw wore retro strips in tribute to Bingham at the suggestion of the Amalgamation of Official Northern Ireland Supporters’ Clubs.

The group had also urged everyone to join in a minute’s applause in the 58th minute as a mark of respect, recognizing Bingham’s contribution as a player at the 1958 World Cup.

The emotional scenes came on a day when fans turned on the current manager, Ian Baraclough, after a dismal home draw.

With Northern Ireland 2-0 down at one stage, a section of the crowd sang: “We want Bara out!” There were also boos at the final whistle, even after goals from Paddy McNair and Jonny Evans rescued a draw.

Bingham’s death, which was announced on Friday, drew tributes from across the football world and beyond.

His son David Bingham 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.”

Billy is also survived by loving daughter Sharon.

Former NI goalkeeper Pat Jennings, who made 119 appearances for Northern Ireland, said he leaves behind “an amazing legacy”.

“We aren’t the biggest country in the world but we achieved great things,” Pat told the Belfast Telegraph.

“I think he will be fondly remembered both as a player and manager.”

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Fans applaud during a tribute to former manager Billy Bingham prior to the UEFA Nations League match at Windsor Park, Belfast. Niall Carson/PA

Jennings added: “He played in the 1958 finals and in my early days with Watford I actually played against him, he was a great player.

“As the goalkeeper in his teams I prided myself on the clean sheets we got. He knew we could nick a goal and remain strong at the back.

“People talk about the games at the World Cup finals and they were great but the performances in the qualifying matches were so important and we managed to get six clean sheets on the bounce in the run up to the 1986 finals.

“There were two games against Turkey, Romania away and the famous scoreless draw against England at Wembley. We also played Spain and a France team including Michel Platini, in friendlies and they couldn’t score against us.

“We are also the holders of the British Championship as well as the World Cup exploits. Tactically he was astute and good at identifying players’ strengths. Billy will remain a Northern Ireland legend and it was a real privilege to be part of his story about him.”

The Irish FA sent their condolences to the family and said Bingham had a “unique place” in the hearts of local football fans.

“Billy was a tricky winger in the days when such a position was revered, but there was more to him than wing play. Billy was not afraid to mix it when needed, had an eye for goal and had a wonderful tactical and positional brain – attributes which would come to the fore in his managerial career.”

As a manager, he had a rich and varied career, they added. “He was everything that a Northern Ireland manager needs to be – tactically astute, innovative and inspirational.”

Ex-NI international and Tottenham Hotspur player Gerry Armstrong said: “The tributes have been pouring in for Billy, and he deserves every one. He was a top man. We’ll never find anyone as good as Billy again.”

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