Brought over from Northern Ireland into the First Division, Gerry Armstrong made a good fist of performing as a striker before moving back into defence later in his career, but his most famous moment will always be his goal against Spain for his country in the 1982 World Cup.
played football as a 13 year old at St. Paul's Swifts –
a local club – and then moved to Cromac Athletic.
Here he was spotted by Bangor even though he had signed
for Glentoran, but never played for them.
Ironically, Armstrong scored against Glentoran at the
end of 1974-75 to win the County Antrim Shield for
Bangor and in May 1975, the forward signed as a part
time professional at Bangor, working as a Senior
Clerical Officer with the Northern Ireland Housing
Having only taken up football when he was banned from playing Gaelic football, Gerry Armstrong excelled at the game and was spotted by Tottenham and brought to London in November 1975 for £25,000.
Coming to the top flight of English football, Gerry made a quick leap into the first team, where his no-nonsense, direct approach saw him terrorise some defences. Strong in build and good in the air, his energy saw him through games and he was able to bag goals, finding himself in scoring positions at a time when Spurs were in need of goals.
He was part of the squad that saw Spurs relegated to Division Two in 1977, but helped the club return to the First Division within a season. However, with the club changing personnel to keep them in the top flight, Gerry was a victim of new players coming in, leaving to join Watford in 1980. There he was once more a member of the side that got promoted in 1982 and he was the player to score their first goal in the First Division, becoming a cult hero with the Hornets fans.
His fame stretched as far as Spain and RCD Mallorca were impressed enough to sign him in 1983 for £250,000. Some opposition fans remembered his World Cup goal in 1982 against Spain in Valencia and gave him heaps of abuse, but Armstrong remained in Spain and worked hard at his game, becoming a popular figure at Mallorca and gaining a knowledge of the game in the country, which stood him in good stead in the future.
When he moved to Brighton and Hove Albion on a free deal, Gerry took on coaching duties as well as playing after a loan spell at Millwall, but he left the club following an argument with a fan at a game. Then Armstrong took on a player-coach role at non-league Crawley Town, where he experienced the same situation with a supporter, leading him to leave the Surrey club and start playing again for Glenavon back in Ireland, followed by a spell with non-league clubs Bromley and Worthing.
Knowledge of the game across the continent brought him into the coaching set-up with Northern Ireland from 1994 as assistant manager under Bryan Hamilton and again, under Lawrie Sanchez in 2004 until 2006.
When Gerry ended his association with football in a playing or coaching role, he took to adding expert opinion to the coverage of Spanish football on Sky Sports TV and presenting a European football radio show on TalkSport.