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William Laurence "Billy" Bingham, MBE (born 5 August 1931, Belfastmarker) is a former footballer and football manager. He managed Northern Ireland during two separate periods as well as Greece. He is currently a scout for English Premier League side Burnley

Playing career

Club career

In his playing career, Bingham was a small elusive right winger who provided fine deliveries from the flank. He joined Sunderland in 1950 for £8,000 making 227 appearances and scoring 47 goals, before his departure in 1958 for Luton Town where he played in the 1959 FA Cup Final. At the start of the 1960–61 season after Luton's relegation, he joined Everton for a fee of £15,000. During his time at Everton, he made 98 appearances and scored 26 goals. Bingham left Everton after being in the 1963 First Division winning team and joined Port Vale for a then joint-club record of £15,000 in August 1963. He retired from playing after breaking his leg in a 4–0 defeat at Brentford on 5 September 1964. He left for Southportmarker on a free transfer in April 1965 to become their trainer-coach.

International career

He was a Northern Ireland international and played for his country in the World Cup finals 1958. He was awarded 56 full caps, a record at the time, and also scored 10 goals.

Management career

While manager of Southportmarker the team won promotion in 1967 from the Fourth Division to the Third Division of the Football League (as it was at that time). He guided the team to second place in the Fourth Division winning promotion to the Third Division.

Bingham took over as manager in May 1973 at Everton and finished seventh in his first season. He brought in players such as Martin Dobson and Bob Latchford. Everton seemed likely to win the title again in 1975, but only won once in the last five games finishing fourth. In 1975–76 Everton finished eleventh but a run of eight league games without a win resulted in Bingham being sacked in January 1977.

Bingham managed Northern Ireland in two spells and it would be during the second that he would be best remembered as a manager. He led Northern Ireland to the World Cup finals 1982 and despite a limited squad with only one or two genuine world class players at his disposal Bingham's team stunned the host nation, Spain with a 1–0 victory.

Bingham's trademark as Northern Ireland manager harked back to his days as a player at the 1958 World cup when team captain Danny Blanchflower famously quoted that the idea was to equalise before the other team scored. Northern Ireland regularly punched above their weight under Bingham with a string of single goal victories over top European opponents, including home and away against West Germany. They qualified again for the World Cup finals 1986 but Bingham's team was an ageing one and after failing to reach the 1990 and 1994 finals he stepped down.

Awards and honours

Amongst the numerous awards and honours granted to Bingham, he was made an MBE for services to football in 1981 and the Professional Footballers Association made him the recipient of their annual Merit Award in 1994 for "outstanding contribution" to the game. This latter makes him one of just 34 individuals so honoured since the award was inaugurated in 1974, putting him in the company of such managerial luminaries as Bill Shankly, Bob Paisley, Brian Clough, Sir Alex Ferguson and Sir Bobby Robson, as well as playing greats like Pelé, Sir Stanley Matthews, Sir Tom Finney, Sir Bobby Charlton and fellow Ulsterman George Best.

Bingham also received FIFA's "Centennial Order of Merit" in 2004, to mark 100 years since the founding of the world governing body of football.


  1. Biography of Northern Ireland players
  2. Information on former Luton players
  3. Appearances and goals from Toffeweb

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