Fields of Wonder

The incredible story of Northern Ireland's journey to the 1982 World Cup

Be transported pitch-side in this story of the fluctuating fortunes and football heroics that marked Northern Ireland’s 1982 campaign. Based on new interviews with many of the players, including Norman Whiteside and Martin O’Neill, as well as with manager Billy Bingham, this book is a vivid account of the team’s glory days.

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By the end of the 1970s, the Northern Ireland football team was languishing in the doldrums. Against a troubled background of civil unrest, the team had endured long periods of playing all their games away from home and had just finished bottom of the British Championship for the fourth successive year without winning a single game. Two years later they walked onto the pitch against France to play for a place in the World Cup semi-finals.

The astonishing turnaround in results saw tiny Northern Ireland stand up to the global football giants, including the World Cup hosts Spain in an unforgettable sequence of triumphs. The inspiring story of the squad, which matched legendary experience with extraordinary youthful talent, is one of battling spirit and good humour against the odds.

Fields of Wonder tells the full story of how Northern Irish football flourished again for the first time since the glory days recounted in Spirit of '58, and after a period when not even the mercurial presence of George Best could lift the team beyond the occasional flash of brilliance in the midst of defeat. Tracing the story of the development and evolution of the squad through the 1960s and 1970s, the book reveals how the team often had to rise above the inadequacies of their own governing body and a surprisingly hostile local press on the road to forging their destiny.

Including interviews with nine players and their manager, the book will transport football and sports fans pitch-side to revel in the drama of Northern Ireland's fluctuating fortunes and footballing heroics on their way to a night of pulsating drama in Valencia.



  • Format: Paperback / Softback
  • Published On: 10 March 2022
  • Publisher: Blackstaff Press
  • ISBN / EAN: 9781780732404
  • Page Count: 224

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