Wow…The Long Wait Is Over!
Counting Down To The Arrival Of Southgate & Co
Today’s thrilling news that two senior England matches are heading this way in the summer has had us scouring the record books to check Molineux’s international history.
You wait over 65 years to host a game played by the home country and then you hear that two are coming at once – well, in the space of four days of June anyway.
The down-side is that the one against Italy on the 11th of the month will be behind closed doors as a result of the sickening crowd trouble at last summer’s European Championship final between the two countries.
But the stadium is sure to be packed for Hungary’s visit three nights later, both games being part of the Nations League programme.
Not since December 5, 1956 and the visit of Denmark (the country Conor Coady faced on his debut at this level) has Molineux staged a senior men’s international.
And that occasion was heavily loaded with a sense of history and West Midlands interest as the first ever World Cup qualifier in this country against foreign opponents turned into a glorious night for Billy Wright, Duncan Edwards and others.
Billy’s performance in a 5-2 win was described as ‘rock-solid’ and he was said by one reporter to be ‘playing as if he owned Molineux’, his tally of caps already having climbed into the 80s.
Black Country boy Duncan scored two goals and his Manchester United team-mate, Tommy Taylor, the other three in the side’s third consecutive victory.
The game, watched by just over 54,000, was the last of the four full internationals Molineux has staged to date and was itself the first such occasion for 20 years.
On February 5, 1936, an England side with Birmingham keeper Harry Hibbs as the only West Midlands representative lost 2-1 at home to Wales on a cold Wednesday afternoon in front of only 22,613.
The other two senior international fixtures at Molineux were both crushing home wins, though, with Ireland thrashed 4-0 in February, 1903 and 6-1 in early March, 1891.
Wolves provided the keeper in both of these victories, with Billy Rose having his Wanderers club-mate, Jack Brodie, for company in the 19th century clash and Tom Baddeley between the posts on Valentine’s Day afternoon 12 years later.
We trust there will be home interest this time, too, in the shape of Coady, whose photo was understandably used this morning in the announcement of the games.