Incognito Packie takes Irish fans for a ride
Published 24/05/2016 | 10:20
With just a few weeks to go until Ireland kicks off their Euro 2016 campaign, Ford have drafted in one of Ireland’s Euro ‘88 legends Packie Bonner to take a few fans for a ride, incognito.
Packie was instrumental in writing one of the greatest chapters in Ireland’s footballing history when the team travelled to West Germany to take on England, the Soviet Union and the Netherlands in the Euro ‘88 European Championship finals. We might not have managed to get out of our group, but the boys did their country proud with a stunning victory over England in Stuttgart and a creditable draw against the Soviet Union with THAT Ronnie Whelan volley. It took a late Wim Kieft header for the eventual tournament winners, the Netherlands, to finally dispel Ireland’s hope of a semi-final berth.
Some of the best memories of that campaign for Irish fans will be the sight of Packie Bonner almost single-handedly thwarting the English team, and Gary Lineker in particular, en route to one of the most famous Irish victories of all time. When the big man from Donegal somehow tipped a Lineker effort on to the post in the dying moments of the game, Irish fans knew that victory was assured.
It was just one highlight in a stellar career for Bonner, whose penalty save from Romania’s Daniel Timofte in 1990 will live forever in the lore of Irish football. Packie's footballing career would see him win 80 international caps for the Boys in Green and play over 640 games for Glasgow Celtic.
Now there’s a new generation of loyal Irish supporters about to make the pilgrimage to Euro 2016 in France. With Ireland's games taking place in Saint-Denis, Bordeaux and Lille there is no doubt that the Irish fans, famed the world over for their friendliness and humour, will again be doing their country proud.
Ford recognises that footballing memories are made all the sweeter by the journey to get there. And what could be better than enjoying the banter with an all-time Irish great? Packie Bonner, posing as a taxi driver complete with shades and cap, nabs some unsuspecting Irish fans for a lift and a bit of banter about who they’re supporting and what they remember from 1988.