Northern Ireland superfan, Gregory Campbell, says he can’t make it to Windsor for the biggest football match in a generation tonight but insists he’ll be cheering along with the Green and White Army via the internet.
The Stute and Rangers fanatic says he’s hopeful the boys can do the business.
“Unfortunately, I can’t make it, I had been hoping to get a ticket but due to prior engagements, I can’t attend. I will be watching via the internet, of course,” he said.
The Riverside regular says it seems as if the national side - always brave and loyal to the cause but disadvantaged in terms of resources and personnel - have come from nowhere to the brink of qualification for the Euro finals in France.
“If you look back 30 years at the ‘82 team, the ‘86 team, there was quite a lot of expectation back then and that was all to do with Billy Bingham who had built that over the years,” said Mr Campbell.
“But over the last number of campaigns there has been very little expectation. We’ve had to rely, really, on a handful of players from the Premier League, along with players from the Championship. But this campaign we’ve really come a lot further than anyone would have expected of us,” he added.
Mr Campbell acknowledges the current squad owes a strong debt to the North West with Shane Ferguson, Paddy McCourt, Gareth McAuley and Niall McGinn all key personnel.
But in spite of Mr Campbell’s optimism the long-suffering Stute fan knows Michael O’Neill’s men can’t underestimate the Greeks.
“Well, we are going to be missing our top goalscorer Kyle Lafferty and a few other players as well, I think, Johnny Evans and Chris Baird, and we cannot regard this as a foregone conclusion, Greece are going to be no pushovers but lets hopes we can get what we need over the next two games.”
A long-standing Northern Ireland, Institute and Rangers supporter, Mr Campbell has regularly weighed on soccer-related issues in the House of Commons.
In 2010 he attacked obscene players’ wages during a debate on football governance rguing six-figure weekly pay slips were threatening the game with destruction.
Last year he pressed for the re-introduction of terracing at English Premier League grounds.
And just this year he raised a five million euro loan made to the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) in the wake of the Thierry Henry handball incident during a debate on the ‘murky waters’ currently inundating FIFA.
He also suggested Republic of Ireland (ROI) and West Bromwich Albion (WBA) winger James McClean should get out of England after he turned at right angles to the English flag with head bowed as the national anthem of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland was played prior to a friendly football match in the United States of America this summer.