30 August 2006

Liam Coyle

Following in his father’s footsteps into the Northern Ireland side, Liam Coyle then recovered from serious injury to embark on a long and glittering career with Derry City…

Name: Liam Coyle
Born: 21 May 1968, Londonderry

Height:
Weight:
Position: Forward


Representative Honours: Northern Ireland: 1 Full Cap (1989); League of Ireland Caps.
Club Honours: (with Derry City) League of Ireland Champion 1988/89, 1996/97; FAI Cup Winner 1988/89, 1994/95, 2002, Runner-Up 1993/94, 1996/97; Football League of Ireland Cup Winner 1988/89, 1993/94, 1999/00 (with Glentoran) Irish Cup Winner 1995/96.
Awards: FAI National League Player of the Year 1995; PFAI Player of the Year 1994/95; PFAI Young Player of the Year 1988/89.


Club Career:
Teams
Seasons
Signed
Fee
League
FA Cup
FL Cup
Europe
Other
Brandywell Harps
-
Youth
-
-
-
-
-
Derry City
88/89-89/90
-
Youth
/ 17
*
?
2(0)/0
?
Coleraine
90/91
Sep-90
Free
0(0)/  0
-
-
-
1(0)/0
Omagh Town
92/93
Jul-92
Free
30(0)/ 16
2(0)/ 1
2(0)/1
-
8(0)/2
Derry City
93/94-95/96
-
-
68(0)/ 16
*
?
2(0)/0
?
Glentoran
95/96
Dec-95
£35k
9(3)/  4
4(0)/ 1
-
-
3(2)/1
Derry City
96/97- 2003
Aug-96
£42k
/ 50
* /15
?
2(0)/0
?
TOTALS
-
£77k
/103
/17
-
6(0)/0
-
 * Total FAI Cup goals in three spells

Biography:
Liam Coyle burst onto the League of Ireland scene during the 1988/89 season. He scored a hat-trick against Cobh Ramblers on his debut, was crowned Young Play
er of the Year, finished the season as “Treble” winner with Derry, and was capped by Northern Ireland in an end-of-season friendly with Chile (following in the footsteps of his father, Fay). He was unlucky not to mark his international debut with a goal, his header from a corner forcing a superb save from the goalkeeper.

The following season started brightly too, as Coyle starred in a European Cup first round tie with Benfica at the Brandywell. Benfica manager Sven Goran Eriksson immediately offered to sign Coyle on a six-month loan deal, and Manchester United were also set to make a bid. A serious knee injury however ruled Coyle out of the second leg in Lisbon. Further investigations revealed the extent of his condition – he had Osteo Necrosis, and doctors warned that if he played again he could be confined to a wheelchair.

Essentially Coyle’s career was over at 21 years-old. Derry played Newcastle United in a benefit match for the young striker, but he refused to believe that he would never play again. He travelled the world and was treated by the top consultants in their field. He made an abortive comeback with Coleraine in September 1990, but lasted just one match. Coyle then turned to a faith-healer, and in combination with heavy knee strapping, made an impressive impact on the Irish League with Omagh in the 1992/93 season. Coyle returned to Derry City in August 1993, and soon enough was showing the skills and trickery that had brought him such acclaim as a youngster. He added further FAI Cup and League Cup medals to his collection, and was Ireland’s double player of the year in 1995.

In December 1995 Coyle moved to Glentoran in a £35,000 deal, a record between Irish clubs. He was unhappy about leaving the Brandywell behind and would later describe it as the "low point" of his career. He lasted just six months at the Oval, picking up an Irish Cup medal, before being allowed to leave. Glens’ manager Tommy Cassidy put it like this, “(Coyle) is one of the most skilful Irish players in history, but he had to go - he was missing training and other players were taking note”. Coyle returned to Derry City for a combined fee of £42,000 (that also included Declan Devine), and immediately helped the Candystripes to another League of Ireland title.

As the years moved on Coyle continued to regularly find the net until the injuries began to take their toll. In 2002 he scored his only FAI Cup Final goal in his fifth appearance, as Derry defeated Shamrock Rovers 1-0. His last ever goal for the club proved to be even more important. In December 2003 Derry found themselves in a promotion-relegation play-off with near neighbours Finn Harps. With the game in extra-time it was the 35 year-old Coyle who came off the bench to score the winner, and maintain Derry’s Premier Division status.

In January 2004, following years of playing through the pain barrier, Coyle announced his retirement from playing. He had scored a modern-day club record 113 goals in almost 400 games for Derry, and was acclaimed from all-quarters as the greatest player in their history. He stayed at the Brandywell as Chief Scout, and has since made clear his ambitions to one day manage the club.


Northern Ireland Cap Details:
26-05-1989 Chile... (h) L 0-1 FR sub

Summary: 0(1)/0. Won 0, Drew 0, Lost 1.

Coyle is pictured above wearing League of Ireland shirt for an inter-league match against the Irish League.

Northern Ireland’s One Cap Wonders


From State of the Game.
August 30th, 2006 by Robin Peake
Sven-Goran Eriksson's reign has ended in tatters. He will be remembered not for his almost impeccable record in qualifying (England only ever lost one competitive qualifying match under the Swede - a fact not lost on the 14,000 Green and White army who were at Windsor Park little over a year ago.) He will not even be remembered for a 5-1 demolition of Germany in their own back yard - The fact that England fans still gloat over this and the German team has since reached a World Cup final and Semi-final is testament to the under achieving and over hyped nature of the English team and it's surrounding media circus.

Eriksson will be remembered for his love of the female species, his appalling lack of sense in dining with Peter Kenyon and discussing all about Becks and co to a chap dressed in a few tea towels. He will be remembered for his fondness of overhauling the team at half time, which was so great that FIFA introduced a cap on substitutions in friendlies. Erickson was not shy to dish out call ups. Caps were handed out willy-nilly to players who were never fit to wear the shirt. Michael Ricketts, Alan Thompson, Andy Johnson and Francis Jeffers were all given a go and none lasted as long as a sweaty Sven under the sheets.Nevertheless, England is not the only country to be associated with short lived international careers. Northern Ireland has had its fair share too. Consider the Irish team which played it's very first international against England in 1882. Two members of the team (Buckle and McGaw) failed to add to their tally of one cap after the game and only 4 of the team went on to win more than 3 caps; although taking into consideration the team lost 13-0 maybe this wasn't such a bad thing!

One cap wonders aren't just a thing of the past though. John Cowan (1970), Liam Coyle (1989), Paul Williams (1991) and Trevor Wood (1995) all failed to impress on their international debuts. Rory Hamill who came on against Canada in 1999 found his international career but similarly short. Another debutant that night, Glenn Ferguson, went on to win 5 caps.

Against Spain in 2002 Northern Ireland fielded two substitutes who are unlikely to be seen in the green shirt again - Lee McEvilly and Pat McCourt got 27 and 16 minutes of action respectively. McCourt may never grace the shirt again but should McEvilly continue to impress with Wrexham (who turned down an offer from Bradford for him in June) then he may re-enter the fold.

One player who looks as likely to adding to his international tally as you or I is Brian McClean. A glitch (IFA terminology for disastrous mistake) means that the Motherwell man is not and never was eligible to play for Northern Ireland.

As a Northern Ireland team full of withdrawals headed out to America for a confidence boosting, money spinning tour, Lawrie Sanchez took with him a bunch of raw uncapped youngsters to give them a chance to impress. Six players made their international debuts either in New York or Chicago. Sammy Clingan and Jeff Hughes impressed and deservedly played against both Uruguay and Romania.

Of the other four who only featured in one game, who will be confined to the history books as a one cap wonder? Will it be Kyle Lafferty, seen as many as James Quinn's long term successor? Alan Blayney who joins Michael Ingram and Alan Mannus in the queue behind long standing duo Taylor and Carroll? Or either of the Dungannon born pair of Mark Hughes and Sean Webb?

One thing is for certain, whether you win one cap or 119, pulling on the green shirt of your country is unparalleled in terms of achievement and pride. Let's hope to see some of this pride shine through in the Euro 2008 qualifiers.

See Also:

29 August 2006

Harry Chatton

Name: James Harold A. Chatton
Born: 23 April 1899, Enniskillen
Height:
Weight:

Position: Right-Half / Centre-Half

Representative Honours: Ireland: 3 Full Caps (1924-1925). Irish Free State: 3 Full Caps (1931-1934).
Club Honours: (with NY Nationals) ASL Champion 1928/29; Lewis Cup Winner 1928/29; (with Shelbourne) League of Ireland Champion 1930/31; (with Cork) Irish Free State Cup Winner 1933/34.

Club Career:

Teams
Seasons
Signed
Fee
League
FA Cup
Other
Kirkintilloch Rob Roy
-
-
-
-
(Scottish Junior)
Dumbarton
20/21-22/23
-
-
*40/0
-
-
Partick Thistle
23/24-25/26
-
-
86/2
-
-
Indiana Flooring
26/27
-
-
34/1
(American Soccer League)
Heart of Midlothian
26/27
-
-
0/0
-
-
New York Nationals
27/28-29/30
-
-
127/2
(American Soccer League)
Shelbourne
30/31-31/32
-
-
23/0
/0
-
Dumbarton
31/32-32/33
c/s-31
-
-
-
-
Cork
33/34
-
-
-
/0
-
TOTALS
-
£-
-
-
-
* Scottish League Division One Appearances only (20/21-21/22)

Biography:
Born in Enniskillen, Harry Chatton moved to Scotland with his family as a child. A commanding centre-half, he was playing in the Scottish League with Partick Thistle when the IFA selectors first called him up in October 1924 for a Home Nations game with England. He won two further caps for the IFA, against Scotland the following February, and again against England in October 1925.

After returning to play in Ireland with Shelbourne, Chatton was selected by the FAI for a game against Spain on 26th April 1931. That summer he returned to Scotland to play for Dumbarton and on 13th December he captained the FAI’s team in the return game against Spain. Chatton’s third and final FAI cap was won in 1934, whilst playing for Cork, in a 5-2 defeat by Holland. His first two caps had been as left-half, and the last at right-back.

Wikipedia

Ireland Cap Details:
22-10-1924 England. A L 1-3 BC
28-02-1925 Scotland H L 0-3 BC
24-10-1925 England. H D 0-0 BC

Summary: 3/0. Won 0, Drew 1, Lost 2.


Thanks to stuthejag and Roy Cathcart for the pictures.

Jimmy Chambers

Name: Robert James Chambers
Born: 26 July 1908 (tbc), Mullaghglass, Co. Armagh
Died: 1977
Height:
Weight:Position: Winger

Representative Honours: Ireland: 12 Full Caps / 3 Goals (1921-1931), 1 Amateur Cap / 1 Goal (1921); Irish League: Caps.
Club Honours: (with Belfast Celtic) Irish League Champion 1919/20; (with Distillery) Belfast Charities Cup Winner 1920/21; County Antrim Shield Runner-Up 1920/21.

Club Career:
Teams
Seasons
Signed
Fee
League
FA Cup
Other
Bessbrook Athletic
-
-
-
-
-
Belfast Celtic
-
-
-
-
-
-
Distillery
-
1920
Amateur
-
-
-
Newry Town
23/24-24/25
-
-
-
-
-
Bury
25/26-29/30
1925
£625
28/7
3/0
-
Nott'm Forest
31/32
-
-
9/1
-
-
TOTALS
-
£625
37/8
3/0
-

Biography:
A native of Bessbrook, Jimmy Chambers was spotted by Belfast Cetic playing in the Newry & District League. A "nippy winger, able to perform equally well on both flanks", he aided Celtic to the Gibson Cup in 1920 before they withdrew from the Irish League. Chambers then joined Distillery. It was as a centre-forward that Chambers made his international bow in 1921, finding the net in Ireland's 2-1 defeat by Wales. That same season he played for the Whites in both the Co. Antrim Shield and Belfast Charities Cup finals, finishing with a winners' medal in the latter.

Chambers moved closer to home with Newry Town and won Inter-League honours in the 1923/34 season, the club’s first season in the Irish League. He finally took his chances across the Irish Sea when signed by Bury in 1925. Although he added a further eight caps during his time with Bury, Chambers struggled to make an impact in the Football League, playing just 28 games in six seasons. A move to Nottingham Forest in August 1931 brought a brief resurgence in Chambers' international career, and he added three caps during his time at the City Ground. Injuries began to affect his game, and Chambers left Forest after just one season.

In a ten year international career, Jimmy Chambers won 12 caps, and scoring three goals. The highlight of his career was undoubtedly his role in the 7-0 crushing of Wales in February 1930, the match in which Joe Bambrick scored six times.


Ireland Cap Details:
09-04-1921 Wales... A L 1-2 BC 1 goal
22-10-1927 England. H W 2-0 BC
04-02-1928 Wales... H L 1-2 BC 1 goal
25-02-1928 Scotland A W 1-0 BC 1 goal*
22-10-1928 England. A L 1-2 BC
02-02-1929 Wales... A D 2-2 BC
23-02-1929 Scotland H L 3-7 BC 

01-02-1930 Wales... H W 7-0 BC 
22-02-1930 Scotland A L 1-3 BC 
19-09-1931 Scotland A L 1-3 BC 
17-10-1931 England. H L 2-6 BC 
05-12-1931 Wales... H W 4-0 BC 

Summary: 12/3. Won: 4, Drew: 1, Lost: 7. 

Ireland Amateur Cap Details:
08-02-1921 France.. A W 2-1 1 goal 

Summary: 1/1. Won 1, Drew 0, Lost 0.

* Some sources credit Chambers with this goal while others credit Sammy Curran.
With thanks to Red Warrior from the ILS Forum.

28 August 2006

Billy Caskey

A legend in Irish League circles as well as in the brief history of the NASL, Billy Caskey had a long and often controversial footballing career...

Name: William T. Caskey
Born: 12 October 1953, Belfast
Height: 5.10 ft
Weight: 12.02 st
Position: Forward

Representative Honours: Northern Ireland: 7 Full Caps / 1 Goal (1978-1982); Irish League: 11 Caps / 1 Goal (1987-1990).
Club Honours: (with Glentoran) Irish League Champion 1976/77, 1987/88; Irish Cup Winner 1984/85, 1986/87, 1987/88, 1989/90; Gold Cup Winner 1976/77, 1977/78, 1986/87; Ulster Cup Winner 1976/77, 1988/89, 1989/90; Irish League Cup Winner 1988/89; Floodlit Cup Winner 1987/88, 1989/90; City Cup Winner 1974/75; Co. Antrim Shield Winner 1989/90; Co. Antrim Centenary Chalice Winner 1987/88; (with Tulsa Roughnecks) NASL Soccer Bowl Winner 1983.
Awards: NI Football Writers’ Association Player of the Year 1977; NI PFA Player of the Year 1988; NI PFA Most Promising Newcomer 1975.

Club Career:
Clubs
Seasons
Signed
Fee
League*
FA Cup
FL Cup
Europe
Others#
East Belfast
-
-
Amateur
(Northern Amateur League)
Glentoran
74/75-78/79
-
-
136 (4)/ 58
-
-
10(0)/0
-
Tulsa.Roughnecks
1978
Apr-78
Loan
27 (-)/ 11
(NASL)
1(-)/1
Derby County
78/79-79-80
Sep-78
£45,000
26 (2)/  3
1(0)/0
1(0)/0
-
-
Tulsa Roughnecks
1980-1984
Mar-80
-
128 (-)/ 22
(NASL)
6(-)/3
Glentoran
84/85
Nov-84
-
33 (-)/  5
-
-
-
-
Tulsa.Roughnecks
1985
-
-
(exhibition matches)
Dallas.Sidekicks
85/86
Aug-85
-
46 (-)/ 27
(MISL)
4(-)/1
Glentoran
86/87-92/93
Aug-86
Free
236(16)/ 51
-
-
7(0)/1
-
Dundela
94/95-95/96
Jul-94
Free
? (?)/ 10
?(?)/0
?(?)/1
-
?(?)/1
Abbey Villa
-
-
Free
(Northern Amateur League)
Meadowbank
-
-
Free
(Down Area League)
TOTALS
£45,000
632(22)/187
1(0)/0
1(0)/1
17(0)/1
11(0)/6
* All domestic games for Glentoran, all regular season games in NASL/MISL; # Play-Off games in NASL/MISL.

Biography:
Having grown up as a Linfield supporter, when Billy Caskey signed for Glentoran from East Belfast few could have imagined the impact he would have at the Oval. A hard-working and courageous centre-forward, Caskey’s first season brought a return of 12 goals in 26 appearances, a City Cup Winner’s medal and the title of the Irish League’s Most Promising Newcomer. The next three seasons brought plenty more goals and a host of medals and the attentions of the wider footballing world. At the end of March 1978 Caskey took up the offer of playing in the NASL with Tulsa Roughnecks (were he was later joined by Glens teammate Vic Moreland), and he helped them to the Play-Offs in their first season as an NASL franchise.

Early in the 1978/79 season Caskey returned to Belfast, but it was to be a fleeting visit only as Derby County boss Tommy Doherty tabled a £90,000 joint bid for him and Moreland. The pair made their Football League debuts in a 2-1 home win over Southampton on the 23rd September 1978. Caskey hit a purple patch in front of goal in November, finding the net three times in a five game spell, and earning a call-up to the Northern Ireland team. He marked his international debut with a goal in a 2-0 win over Bulgaria on the 29th November, when once again he was joined on the field by another debutant, Vic Moreland.

Although his Derby and Northern Ireland careers never saw another goal, Caskey maintained his place in both sides through 1979. In the closing months of the 1979/80 season he returned to Tulsa, once again joined by Moreland. His remarkable consistency in the NASL brought 162 appearances (only Moreland appeared more times for Tulsa) and 37 goals (only two behind the franchise record). In 1983 he helped Tulsa to the Soccer Bowl, only to miss the final with a knee injury. Billy Bingham must have been keeping an eye on the NASL as he included Caskey, Moreland, Dave McCreery (also at Tulsa) and Jimmy Nicholl (then with Toronto Blizzard) in his initial squad for the 1982 World Cup, and Caskey won, what turned out to be, his final cap in a warm-up friendly defeat by France and didn’t make the final squad of 22.

With the NASL’s collapse, Caskey returned to Glentoran in 1984, this time to be joined by Terry Moore. By now a tough-tackling midfielder, he added the Irish Cup Winner’s medal which had previously eluded him to his collection following a replayed Final win over Linfield. In the summer of 1985 he was once again moved back to Tulsa Roughnecks, playing in a farewell series of exhibition matches. Signed by Dallas Sidekicks, where he once again featured alongside Moreland, in August 1985, he spent an impressive season in indoor soccer playing as the teams “enforcer”, helping them to the Play-Offs. His MISL career was brought to an ignominious end when he assaulted a referee during a game with Minnesota in August 1986 and he was banned for three seasons.


The prodigal son returned to Glentoran once again for the 1986/87 season, and he did not look a bit of his 32 years. In his first season back he helped the Glens to Irish Cup and Gold Cup successes, and followed that up with the League and Cup double the following season as well as the Northern Ireland PFA’s Player of the Year Award. Caskey also added Irish League representative honours to his collection, scoring in a 2-2 draw with the Football League in 1987. In 1990 he put in a Man of the Match performance in the Irish Cup Final defeat of Portadown, and played his eleventh and final game for the Irish League in the Centenary match against Manchester United. Finally in 1993, at the age of 38, Caskey ended his senior playing career. He had helped Glentoran to eighteen major honours whilst playing 442 games and scoring 110 goals over a nineteen year period.

Caskey remained at the Oval as assistant-manager to Robert Strain, but was regarded as surplus to requirements when Strain was replaced by Tommy Cassidy in the summer of 1994. He returned to playing for a couple of seasons with Dundela then spells with Abbey Villa and Meadowbank took him past his fiftieth birthday!

Northern Ireland Cap Details:
29/11/78 Bulgaria A W 2-0 ECQ 1 goal
07/02/79 England. A L 0-4 ECQ
02/05/79 Bulgaria H W 2-0 ECQ
19/05/79 England. H L 0-2 BIC
06/06/79 Denmark. A L 0-4 ECQ sub
17/10/79 England. H L 1-5 ECQ sub

24/03/82 France.. A L 0-4 FR. sub

Summary:
4(3)/1. Won 2, Drew 0, Lost 5.

Who was Northern Ireland's Greatest World Cup Player & Team? (select up to eleven players)

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