Gerry Armstrong (footballer)

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Gerry Armstrong
Personal information
Full nameGerard Joseph Armstrong [1]
Date of birth (1954-05-23) 23 May 1954 (age 66) [1]
Place of birth Belfast, Northern Ireland [2]
Height 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m) [3]
Playing position(s) Striker
Senior career*
1970–1971 St Paul's Swifts
1971–1972 Cromac Albion
1972–1975 Bangor
1975–1980 Tottenham Hotspur 84 (10)
1980–1983 Watford 76 (12)
1983–1985 Real Mallorca 55 (13)
1985–1986 West Bromwich Albion 8 (0)
1986 Chesterfield 12 (1)
1986–1989 Brighton & Hove Albion 47 (6)
1987Millwall (loan) 7 (0)
1989–1990 Crawley Town 25 (6)
1990 Glenavon [4] 7 (2)
1990–1991 Bromley
1991–1995 Worthing
1997–1998 Whitehawk 2 (0)
National team
1977–1986 Northern Ireland 63 (12)
Teams managed
1991–1995 Worthing
1994–1996 Northern Ireland (assistant)
2004–2006 Northern Ireland (assistant)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Gerard Joseph Armstrong (born 23 May 1954) is a former Northern Ireland international footballer who played for Tottenham Hotspur.


He spent the majority of his career in England, as well as having a spell in Spain. He represented the Northern Ireland national football team and won acclaim at the 1982 FIFA World Cup, where he was the highest scoring player from the UK; this included a shock winner against hosts Spain. He currently works as a football analyst.

Playing career

Domestic career

Armstrong, who supported English club Leeds United as a boy, [5] began his career in Northern Ireland with St Paul's Swifts. [6] He only started to play football as a teenager when serving a ban from Gaelic football, and feels that his late start in the game was a significant disadvantage. [7]

He subsequently moved on to play for Cromac Albion and Bangor. [6]

In November 1975, Armstrong moved to England, signing with Tottenham Hotspur for a fee of £25,000. [6] He made his Spurs debut in a 3–1 defeat at Ipswich Town on 21 August 1976, aged 22. [8] He made a total of 84 league appearances for Spurs, scoring 10 goals. [8]

In November 1980 he was signed by Second Division side Watford for £250,000. [6] Watford were promoted to the First Division in the 1981–82 season, and Armstrong scored the club's first ever goal in the top flight. [6]

I did get stick, particularly when we went to play Valencia, obviously the home fans remembered only too well what I had done to them the year previous, but I was pleased to say we drew 2–2 with Valencia and I scored a goal into the very same net that I'd scored for Northern Ireland.

BBC Sport Northern Ireland [9]

In August 1983, he moved to Spain with RCD Mallorca for £200,000. [6] Following the goal he scored against Spain in the 1982 World Cup, he was the subject of abuse from opposition fans.

Armstrong returned to England in August 1985, signing for West Bromwich Albion on a free transfer. [6] In January 1986 he was loaned to Chesterfield, whom he joined permanently in March 1986 until the end of the season. On his debut, Armstrong scored for the Spireites in a 3-1 home defeat to Brentford. [6] He signed for Brighton & Hove Albion on a free transfer in August 1986. [6] In January 1987, he was loaned to Millwall. [6]

By 1988, Armstrong had become a player-coach at Brighton, but left the club after an altercation with a fan. [6] [10] In February 1989, he took up the same position at Crawley Town, before leaving in March 1990 after another confrontation with a fan. [6] He joined Glenavon as a player the same month, and by April 1990 he was also playing midweek games for Bromley. [6]

Armstrong last played competitive football for Brighton based non-league side Whitehawk in 1997-98, making a scoring debut on 9 December 1997 in 3-1 Sussex County League Cup defeat at Burgess Hill Town. [11] He played twice more in the league for Whitehawk that season. [12] [13]

International career

In April 1976, during his first season in English football, Armstrong made his debut for the Northern Ireland national team. He played alongside George Best in a 5–0 friendly defeat to West Germany.

Six years later, Armstrong was selected for the Northern Ireland squad for the 1982 FIFA World Cup in Spain. After a 0–0 draw in their opening match against Yugoslavia, Armstrong scored the opening goal in the 1–1 draw against Honduras. With Northern Ireland requiring a win to progress to the next stage, Armstrong scored a 47th-minute goal against hosts Spain in Valencia. Northern Ireland even had Mal Donaghy sent off, but held on to win 1–0.

In the next stage, also a group round, Northern Ireland drew 2-2 with Austria, with Armstrong scoring in the subsequent 4–1 loss to France.

Armstrong made a total of six appearances for Northern Ireland in the World Cup. [14]

International goals

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

116 November 1977 Belfast, Northern IrelandFlag of Belgium (civil).svg  Belgium 1-03-0 1978 FIFA World Cup qualification
216 November 1977Belfast, Northern IrelandFlag of Belgium (civil).svg  Belgium 3-03-01978 FIFA World Cup qualification
329 November 1978 Sofia, BulgariaFlag of Bulgaria (1971 - 1990).svg  Bulgaria 1-02-0 UEFA Euro 1980 qualifying
42 May 1979Belfast, Northern IrelandFlag of Bulgaria (1971 - 1990).svg  Bulgaria 2-02-0UEFA Euro 1980 qualifying
521 November 1979Belfast, Northern IrelandFlag of Ireland.svg  Republic of Ireland 1-01-0UEFA Euro 1980 qualifying
629 April 1981Belfast, Northern IrelandFlag of Portugal.svg  Portugal 1-01-0 1982 FIFA World Cup qualification
718 November 1981Belfast, Northern IrelandFlag of Israel.svg  Israel 1-01-01982 FIFA World Cup qualification
821 June 1982 Zaragoza, SpainFlag of Honduras.svg  Honduras 1-01-1 1982 FIFA World Cup
925 June 1982 Valencia, SpainFlag of Spain.svg  Spain 1-01-01982 FIFA World Cup
104 July 1982 Madrid, SpainFlag of France.svg  France 1-31-41982 FIFA World Cup
1122 May 1984 Swansea, WalesFlag of Wales (1959-present).svg  Wales 1-11-1 1984 British Home Championship
1214 November 1984Belfast, Northern IrelandFlag of Finland.svg  Finland 2-12-1 1986 FIFA World Cup qualification


In November 1991, Armstrong was appointed manager of non-league club Worthing, [6] leading them to promotion in 1993. In 1994, he became assistant manager of the Northern Ireland national team, under his former national teammate Bryan Hamilton. [6] In 1995, he left Worthing, and in March 1996 he has been appointed a Surrey FA youth coach. [6]

In 2004, he reprised his role as Northern Ireland assistant manager under Lawrie Sanchez. He left the position in August 2006 to concentrate on other commitments, as it was revealed that he and his wife Debby were expecting a child. [15]

Football media

Armstrong had combined his coaching positions with employment in football journalism - in television, in radio and in print. He works as a co-commentator for Sky Sports' coverage of La Liga and also works as an analyst for the Premier League coverage of ESPN Star Sports. [16]

He used to work on talkSPORT radio presenting their show that looked at European Football on Monday night with Gab Marcotti but Armstrong has since left the station. He is an outspoken critic of the amount of diving in the modern game. [17]

Armstrong has appeared on Singaporean media as an analyst on SingTel mio TV's 2014 World Cup coverage which was mirrored on The Straits Times. [18]

Playing honours

Northern Ireland

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  1. 1 2 "Gerry Armstrong". Barry Hugman's Footballers. Retrieved 17 April 2020.
  2. Luney, Graham (14 November 2019). "Footballers' Lives with Gerry Armstrong". Belfast Telegraph. Retrieved 24 May 2020.
  3. Dunk, Peter, ed. (1987). Rothmans Football Yearbook 1987–88. London: Queen Anne Press. p.  86. ISBN   978-0-356-14354-5.
  4. "Gerry Armstrong". Neil Brown. Retrieved 19 February 2007.
  5. "82 World Cup Live Chat". BBC NI interview. Retrieved 2 July 2006.
  6. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 Jones, Trefor (1996). The Watford Football Club Illustrated Who's Who. Surrey: T.G Jones. p. 25. ISBN   0-9527458-0-1.
  7. "World Cup hero highlights importance of youth coaching" . Retrieved 1 December 2007.[ dead link ]
  8. 1 2 "Gerry Armstrong: Tottenham Hotspur FC". Sporting Heroes. Retrieved 6 August 2012.
  9. "You asked... Gerry Armstrong". BBC NI Sport interview. Archived from the original on 16 January 2005. Retrieved 2 July 2006.
  10. "Which players have attacked fans?". 23 September 2009. Retrieved 26 September 2010.
  11. Whitehawk Official Matchday Programme v Portfield, 13 December 1997
  12. Official Matchday Programme Mile Oak v Whitehawk 27 December 1997
  13. Official Matchday Programme Whitehawk v Hailsham Town 27 January 1998
  14. "Gerry ARMSTRONG". World Football: Statistics. FIFA. Retrieved 21 November 2011.
  15. "Armstrong steps down from NI role". 9 August 2006. Retrieved 12 August 2006.
  16. Top-flight Football Shows for Every Fan, Every Day on ESPN STAR Sports .
  17. "Exclusive Interview: Gerry Armstrong - "Spurs are not good enough to finish in the top eight"". Square Football interview. Archived from the original on 3 September 2005. Retrieved 2 July 2006.
  18. Catch World Cup highlights on The Straits Times' microsite