Bryan Hamilton

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Bryan Hamilton
Personal information
Date of birth (1946-12-31) 31 December 1946 (age 74)
Place of birth Belfast, Northern Ireland
Position(s) Midfielder
Senior career*
1964–1966 Distillery
1966–1971 Linfield
1971–1976 Ipswich Town 153 (43)
1976–1977 Everton 41 (5)
1977–1978 Millwall 49 (6)
1978–1980 Swindon Town 24 (1)
1980–1985 Tranmere Rovers 109 (6)
National team
1968–1980 Northern Ireland 50 (4)
Teams managed
1980–1985 Tranmere Rovers
1985–1986 Wigan Athletic
1986–1987 Leicester City
1989–1993 Wigan Athletic
1994–1998 Northern Ireland
2000 Norwich City
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Bryan Hamilton (born 21 December 1946) [1] is a Northern Irish former professional football player and manager. He gained 50 caps for Northern Ireland between 1969 and 1980, and later managed the national team for four years. He later became Technical Director at Antigua Barracuda F.C., which no longer exists, having been dissolved in 2014.



Playing career

Born in Belfast, Hamilton began his career at Distillery, before moving on to Linfield. He was named Ulster Footballer of the Year and Northern Ireland Football Writers' Association Player of the Year for the 1970/71 season, also finishing as Irish League top goalscorer. [2] In 1971, he signed for Ipswich Town, [3] where he spent five years and made over 150 appearances for the club. In 1976, he signed for Everton, before moving onto short spells at Millwall and Swindon Town.

In the FA Cup semi-final of 1977, full-time was looming in the clash between Everton and local rivals Liverpool at Maine Road, with the score at 2–2, when Hamilton put the ball into the back of the net. However, infamously, his goal which should have stood was disallowed by referee Clive Thomas and the match went to a replay, which Everton lost 3–0. [4] This echoed an incident in the 1975 FA Cup semi-final replay, when Thomas had similarly disallowed a potentially match winning goal by Hamilton.

Everton supporters felt legitimately aggrieved to have victory snatched away

The FA Cup was shown on BBC and ITV in 1977 and the first game of the semi-final which was drawn 2–2 is also memorable for the fact that in a highlights programme the referee was asked to explain the disallowed 'goal' but he failed to explain and all he would say was.....There was an offence

Hamilton's time at Everton will always be remembered for that controversial disallowed goal in the FA Cup semi-final, however, when Hamilton signed for Everton the manager was another Northern Irishman Billy Bingham but when Bingham lost his job as manager Hamilton's first team opportunities became more and more limited

International goals

Scores and results list Northern Ireland's goal tally first.

122 May 1971 Belfast, Northern IrelandFlag of Wales (1959-present).svg  Wales 1–01–0 1971 British Home Championship
219 May 1973 Liverpool, EnglandFlag of Wales (1959-present).svg  Wales 1–01–0 1973 British Home Championship
316 March 1975 Belfast, Northern IrelandFlag of Yugoslavia (1946-1992).svg  Yugoslavia 1–01–0 UEFA Euro 1976 qualifying
429 October 1975 Belfast, Northern IrelandFlag of Norway.svg  Norway 3–03–0 UEFA Euro 1976 qualifying

Managerial career

Hamilton became player/manager of Tranmere Rovers in 1980. The club remained in the Fourth Division throughout this period, with three top half finishes during his five-year period in charge, culminating in a finish of 6th in 1984–85.

He was appointed manager of Wigan Athletic in March 1985. [5] Shortly after joining he led them to victory in the 1985 Associate Members' Cup Final. [6] The 1985–86 season saw Wigan emerge as contenders for promotion to the Second Division, a feat which looked likely for virtually the entire campaign. However, when Wigan had completed their fixtures Derby County had three games in hand, two of which would be won to pip the Latics by a single point. His achievements with Wigan did not go unnoticed, and he would move to Leicester City soon afterwards. However, he was unable to keep Leicester in the First Division and soon left the club, and returned to Wigan as manager from 1989–1993.

Hamilton was appointed manager of Northern Ireland in 1994, succeeding Billy Bingham. In the Euro 96 qualifiers, Northern Ireland were in contention for qualification and were only narrowly pipped to second place by the Republic of Ireland. The 1998 World Cup qualifiers provided a far worse return despite a promising early draw with Germany – who would later beat Northern Ireland for the first time in two decades – and Hamilton left the job at the end of the qualifiers.

In April 2000 he was appointed manager of Norwich City, but resigned on 4 December. He returned to Ipswich as coach in 2001, but left the club in 2002. [7] In November 2006, he was appointed Technical Director of the Antigua and Barbuda Football Association.

Hamilton is now a media pundit working mainly with Eurosport, BBC Radio 5 Live, Setanta Sports, Today FM, Sky Sports and Anglia Television.


As a player

Ipswich Town

As a manager

Wigan Athletic


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  1. Barry Hugman's Footballers
  2. M. Brodie (ed.), Northern Ireland Soccer Yearbook 2009–2010, p. 102. Belfast:Ulster Tatler Publications
  3. Bryan Hamilton Post War English & Scottish Football League A – Z Player's Database
  4. Brodie, Malcolm (21 January 2009). "Down Memory Lane: How Bryan Hamilton's Wembley dream died". Belfast Telegraph. Retrieved 29 September 2020.
  5. "LATICS IN THE THIRD TIER: 1984-85". 1 June 2015. Retrieved 5 June 2019.
  6. "FREIGHT ROVER 85 WHERE ARE THEY NOW?". 1 June 2013. Retrieved 5 June 2019.
  7. Bryan Hamilton Flown From The Nest
  8. "FREIGHT ROVER 85 WHERE ARE THEY NOW?". 1 June 2013. Retrieved 5 June 2019.
  9. Pearce, Steve (30 March 2014). "Hall of Fame 2014". Ipswich Town F.C. Archived from the original on 20 August 2016. Retrieved 8 August 2016.