Red carpet rolled out in Belfast for Mexico 86 World Cup heroes

Scene from 'Shooting for Socrates' where NI player David Campbell lines out in the tunnel alongside the mighty Brazil at the 1986 World Cup.
Scene from 'Shooting for Socrates' where NI player David Campbell lines out in the tunnel alongside the mighty Brazil at the 1986 World Cup.

Stars of stage, screen and pitch will be in Belfast on Friday night for a film premiere touching on a piece of Northern Ireland football history.

Shooting For Socrates tells the story of the national side’s eventful World Cup journey to Mexico 86 and ultimately the David v Goliath showdown with the mighty Brazil.

Pat Jennings, Gerry Armstrong and Billy Bingham are among the local heroes due to make their way along the red carpet at the Waterfront for the Belfast Film Festival screening.

However, the star attraction is undoubtedly the actual FIFA World Cup trophy itself which has been brought to the Province for the UK’s first screening of the feel-good comedy.

The film follows the fortunes of nine-year-old Tommy as he learns to make sense of his world through his passion for football – and his father’s love of Greek philosophy.

In the lead up to Tommy’s 10th birthday, his beloved Northern Ireland are preparing for one of the biggest games of their lives, against a Brazil team led by philosopher and supreme footballer Socrates de Souza.

It also captures the dream international debut of Northern Ireland midfielder David Campbell as he lines out against the ‘Samba Kings’.

The project came about as a result of a chance meeting with a director at the Cannes Film Festival, when James Erskine casually asked Campbell what the highlight of his career was. The former Nottingham Forest midfielder has been involved in the project throughout – ensuring the football scenes mirror how the fixture list played out both at Windsor Park and the searing heat of Guadalajara.

“The actors worked extremely hard for eight hours a day, for weeks on end, to get it exactly right,” he said.

Commenting on his own memories of an almost surreal footballing moment, he said: “It was amazing. You’re standing in the tunnel with a huge crowd outside and the Brazilian legend Socrates is standing next to you. It doesn’t get any better than that.”