England Out Of The Capital…..A Brief History
Neither Geoff Hurst nor England’s other World Cup final goalscorer Martin Peters knew what it was like to play a senior international home game in the provinces.
And coming more up to date, Steve Bull’s car was always pointed down the M1 if he was selected to pull on the three lions in this country.
To them – and many others – it was always Wembley, Wembley, Wembley.
The concept of the FA taking England home matches to the different regions of the country, though, as they are with the eagerly awaited Molineux double-header against Italy and Hungary, is nothing new.
One of the largely forgotten fixtures that was played on the road, in fact, was at the start of our big World Cup year – a 1-1 friendly draw against Poland at Everton in the first few days of January, 1966.
We have written before on here about Wolves duo Alan Hinton and Chris Crowe joining their vastly experienced club colleague Ron Flowers in a European Nations Cup draw with France at Sheffield Wednesday in 1962 but who remembers a 4-1 thumping of Luxemburg at Arsenal that featured Flowers the previous year?
And, before that, there was an England game here in the West Midlands that contained no fewer than three players from Molineux, Flowers, Billy Wright and Peter Broadbent all figuring in a 2-2 draw with Wales at Aston Villa in 1958.
Which takes us back nicely to the subject of the full internationals so far played in Wolverhampton.
The last of those was the 5-2 win over Denmark in a World Cup qualifier on December 5, 1956, when Billy led out a side who had the Manchester United duo of Tommy Taylor (3) and Duncan Edwards (2) to thank for all of their goals.
The first international played in these parts was way back in 1891 when Ireland were beaten 6-1, then the same country were trounced 4-0 on a return visit to the town in February, 1903.
Only one of the four senior matches played by England at Molineux has been lost – the one against Wales on February 5, 1936.
The Welsh repeated that 2-1 win when a wartime international between the same two countries was then staged at the ground in October, 1942.