Tag Archives: sheepskin

England v san Marino: A history of the Three Lions versus the world"s minnows

There are no easy games at international level… (unless you're playing this lot!)



21:58 GMT, 11 October 2012

It may look routine enough on paper, but it hasn’t always been plain sailing for England against some of the world’s lesser lights.

Two of their most emphatic scorelines were accompanied by controversy, with Malcolm Macdonald livid at the way Don Revie treated him against Cyprus and Luther Blissett suffering an unwarranted slur after his hat-trick against Luxembourg. Even opponents San Marino caused embarrassment before succumbing.

And who could forget the way David Healy fired in a dramatic late winner in Belfast seven years ago Here, Sportsmail talks to key figures from some of England’s past encounters with international minnows.

Mac the knife: Malcolm Macdonald thunders in one of his five

Mac the knife: Malcolm Macdonald thunders in one of his five

England 5 Cyprus 0

Wembley, April 16, 1975: Macdonald 5

Malcolm Macdonald: ‘Don Revie made it clear, in the previous game against West Germany, that I was in his squad under sufferance. It was down to pressure from the media, nothing to do with being the in-form finisher in the League and if I didn’t score against the newly-crowned world champions, I’d be out. I did manage a goal, but the message was the same against Cyprus — score, or you’ll never play for me again. The only reason I can think of is that I played for Newcastle and we used to batter his Leeds team and I’d often be on the scoresheet. That shouldn’t have mattered for England, but he was a complex character and it seemed to rankle. It was unprofessional on his part, but scoring five goals was the perfect answer. I was shaking hands with the Cypriots at the end when the scoreboard went blank. Then it lit up with ‘Supermac 5, Cyprus 0’. That was a special moment. I noticed Revie shuffling off down the touchline, shoulders hunched, hands in his sheepskin coat pocket, and I just bellowed: ‘Read that and weep, you b******.’ I knew he wouldn’t hear, but that was just how I felt. In the dressing room, he went round each player, from one to 11, shaking hands and saying thanks. After number eight, Mick Channon, he blanked me and went to 10 and 11, then walked out. Incredible, but what mattered was we’d been brutal with lesser opposition, which England must be tonight.’

Hat-trick: Luther Blissett celebrates his third

Hat-trick: Luther Blissett celebrates his third

England 9 Luxembourg 0

Wembley, December 15, 1982: Blissett 3, Coppell, Woodcock, Chamberlain, Hoddle, Neal, Jeanott Moes (og)

Luther Blissett: ‘I had a hand in the first goal and that was as important as my hat-trick. I drilled the ball across the six-yard box and it went in off a defender. The opening goal is crucial. A couple of headers from Steve Coppell and Tony Woodcock, then it was my turn. I did not get a clean contact on the first but there was nothing wrong with the headers that followed and it was great to have a hat-trick. There was never any chance of us letting up. I always remember my old Watford boss Graham Taylor saying: “If you get the chance to beat someone 10, then beat them 10”. The Sun carried a headline “Luther Missit” the next morning (the paper focused on his missed chances), but I’ve never been one for keeping negative thoughts. There was no chance of it spoiling a great memory.’

San Marino 1 England 7

Stadio Renato Dall’Ara, Bologna, November 17, 1993: Gualtieri; I Wright 4, Ince 2, Ferdinand

David Gualtieri: ‘I instinctively decided to chase Stuart Pearce’s backpass and when he mishit it, I was in on goal. There was no time to think. Just hit it hard and low and hope it goes in. It did and we were in front after eight seconds. It was the fastest goal in World Cup history and it changed my life. England got on top eventually, but while it was 1-0, the air turned blue with some of the language they were using. Fair play to Pearce, though. When I went up to him at the end, he swapped shirts and shook hands. I’ll get round to finding a frame for it one of these days. Eighteen months later, Scotland played us here and I remember seeing their fans wearing T-shirts that said “GUALTIERI EIGHT SECONDS”. It was really funny.’

Infamous: Davide Gualtieri pips Stuart Pearce to his under-hit backpass before firing past David Seaman

Infamous: Davide Gualtieri pips Stuart Pearce to his under-hit backpass before firing past David Seaman

On target: Martin Keown scores for England

On target: Martin Keown scores for England

Malta 1 England 2

Valletta, June 3, 2000: R Wright (og); Keown, Heskey

Martin Keown: ‘I should have had a hat-trick. It was a warm-up for Euro 2000 and we were all playing for places. I scored one, had another disallowed and should have had more. I was disappointed that the game was too easy. I didn’t have a chance to show what I could do and Sol Campbell and Tony Adams ended up starting at the Euros. When we played smaller teams, there was that uneasy feeling of having to get a good start, otherwise the match would become awkward.’

But beware, don't get too cocky!
Northern Ireland 1 England 0

Windsor Park, Belfast, September 7, 2005: Healy

David Healy: ‘I sensed something was going to happen before kick-off. The corridor from the changing rooms at Windsor Park is narrow and when the England boys emerged, there was barbed wire by the pitch, police everywhere. Our manager Lawrie Sanchez told us to make it like a Championship fixture. James Quinn smashed into Ashley Cole after six seconds and that set the tone. The England players became rattled, none more so than Wayne Rooney. He was only a young boy but he lost it. He was shouting at Sven Goran Eriksson and was lucky not to be sent off after elbowing Keith Gillespie. David Beckham did his best to calm him down but the body language among England’s lads was a giveaway. When I shot past Paul Robinson 15 minutes from time, it was a great feeling. There are murals of that goal on walls in Belfast and one has Lawrie’s words on it. “These boys have achieved immortality in Northern Ireland sport.” That’s what it meant.’

Flying start: David Healy fires in the winner as Ashley Cole looks aghast

Flying start: David Healy fires in the winner as Ashley Cole looks aghast

The no-hoper files: England’s record against the international whipping boys…


September 1, 1996: Moldova 0 England 3, World Cup qualifier

September 10, 1997: England 4 Moldova 0, World Cup qualifier

September 4, 1999: England 6 Luxembourg 0, Euro qualifier
Five goals in the first half.

June 6, 2009: Kazakhstan 0 England 4, World Cup qualifier
Took the lead after 20 minutes and eased to victory.

September 7, 2012: Moldova 0 England 5, World Cup qualifier


October 14, 1998: Luxembourg 0 England 3, Euros qualifier
Home side missed early penalty and late goals added gloss.

October 13, 2004: Azerbaijan 0 England 1, World Cup qualifier

March 30, 2005: England 2 Azerbaijan 0, World Cup qualifier
Two tight, scrappy games.

October 11, 2008: England 5 Kazakhstan 1, World Cup qualifier
Made sure with three goals in the last 13 minutes.


March 28, 2007: Andorra 0 England 3, Euros qualifier
Awful first 45 minutes.

September 6, 2008: Andorra 0 England 2, World Cup qualifier
A dreadful, goalless first half.

June 18, 2010: England 0 Algeria 0, World Cup group stage
Wayne Rooney ranted at England fans who booed the team.

Manchester City 4 West Brom 0 – Match Zone

Etihad Stadium match zone – Aguero takes sting out of Tevez buzz



22:13 GMT, 11 April 2012

Aguero takes sting out of Tevez buzz

Carlos Tevez's return to the City starting line-up sent a buzz round the ground, but the attention was soon back on their other stocky little Argentinian frontrunner.

Spotting a gap in West Brom’s defence, Sergio Aguero exploited it with a darting run and low shot that flew past Ben Foster’s right hand. Tevez was making his first start since September 21 and received a mixed reception when his name was read out before the start.

Start again: Carlos Tevez returned to the line-up for the first time since September

Start again: Carlos Tevez returned to the line-up for the first time since September

Long 90 minutes for Shane

Shane Long had the thankless task of taking on City’s defence unaided, as West Brom concentrated on containment. The futility of it dawned on him when he controlled a long ball, looked up and saw nothing but blue shirts.

The striker tumbled over a challenge in the hope of some respite from Kevin Friend, but the referee wasn’t buying it.

Precious Silva mettle

Silva was back in action, after knee and ankle problems, and almost
marked his return in style, after playing a one-two on the left of the
area and unleashing a fierce drive that brought the best out of keeper
Ben Foster. There was venom in the shot, and Foster reacted well.

Silva service: David Silva notched

Silva service: David Silva notched

Waving the white flag

City followers appear to have accepted their fate in the title race. The ground was virtually deserted when Joe Hart went through his pre-match warm-up, while, when the teams came out 45 minutes later, there were still empty seats dotted round a ground that has been used to ‘house full’ signs this season.


Mario Balotelli

Banned and possibly about to be binned, but fair play to City’s errant striker. Wearing a sheepskin coat to stay warm, he was all smiles as he took his place in an executive box to cheer on his team-mates.

Kevin Friend

Due to be fourth official, he was mysteriously promoted to the middle in place of Lee Mason, the ref who sent off QPR’s Shaun Derry at Manchester United. The FA wouldn’t tell City the reason.

Mike Summerbee

On fixture congestion, the former City great wrote in the match programme: ‘I don’t want to hear any club complaining about tiredness. Today’s stars are not playing in six inches of mud and trying to hoof a leather ball.’

David "Bumble" Lloyd: Talking passionately about Accrington Stanley

'Bumble' is passionate about cricket, but listen to him talk about Accrington!



00:48 GMT, 9 March 2012

The Football League's newest director is preparing for his first board meeting. 'Young boys in the park, isn't it Jumpers for goalposts. Marvellous.'

David Lloyd would not look or sound more like The Fast Show's Ron Manager if he was wearing a sheepskin coat and smoking a huge cigar.

The man known throughout the cricketing world as Bumble may love to crack a joke and a smile but he could not be more serious about his first official foray into professional football. Meet David Lloyd, non-executive director of Accrington Stanley FC.

On tour: Bumble has joined Stanley's board after covering England in Abu Dhabi last month

On tour: Bumble has joined Stanley's board after covering England in Abu Dhabi last month

'It's been a long process,' says Lloyd, explaining his new appointment. 'The club changed hands and Ilyas Khan is now chairman. He's put the finances and structure in place and the club are solvent. He wants me to have an involvement mainly for profile and I will help in any way I can. I'm a bit of a face of Accrington Stanley and that's great because I've been a fan all my life.'

If you thought Bumble was passionate about cricket you should hear him talking about his beloved Stanley.

To the Scouse schoolboy who uttered the words 'Accrington Stanley, who are they' in that famous old TV advert for milk – 'I think we made 10 grand out of that,' Lloyd remembers – he would answer: 'A proud football club steeped in tradition and vital for the community. I love being a part of it.'

Bumble has just returned from England's cricket tour of the United Arab Emirates, but in his mind's eye Lloyd is at Peel Park, former home of Stanley.

'There's a load of history there,' says the most distinctive voice in cricket. 'I went to school at Peel Park, right next to where the old ground was, and it's a family tradition for us to go there. My dad went to school there, as did I and my kids and grandchildren, too. The old pitch, now just a field, is used by the school now.

'It's a very nostalgic place with a famous old slope. We're overlooked by a hill called the Coppice but you can't move for trees now.

Rising star: Footballer Lloyd in Accrington Stanley Under 18s (bottom row, centre)

Rising star: Footballer Lloyd in Accrington Stanley Under 18s (bottom row, centre)

Junior Bumble: The young David Lloyd, with his father, also David

Junior Bumble: The young David Lloyd, with his father, also David

'It's like a forest! I used to come down it when I was a kid, down Avenue Parade, which is one of the posh streets in Accrington and past the picture house to get to the ground.

'I used to go in to watch Stanley with my dad and the wall was too high for me to look over, so we had to take a house brick in and I'd stand on it and see the match. 'Nobody used to bat an eyelid. In fact, the man on the turnstile used to shout to us, “Have you got your brick” as we went in.

'There were no advertising boards so my dad would drop me over the wall and put me right next to the goal. This big old football, with a lace, and dubbined to stop water getting in it, was like a cannonball. Goalies couldn't kick it to the halfway line but I would sit there and get peppered by this damn thing. It came at me like a missile!'

Those school days may have served as practice for avoiding bouncers from Jeff Thomson and Dennis Lillee when Bumble progressed to the England cricket team but he never lost his love for his football club.

He played for Accrington as a youngster in the Lancashire Combination and said: 'I wanted to model myself on Duncan Edwards but I was always going to be a cricketer because I was better at that.

'But Stanley have always remained in my heart. Wherever I am in the world when Saturday comes I open my laptop, get on to Stanley's website for team news and get ready for the game.

'I can watch TV from home on my computer and I always try to tune into Jeff Stelling on Sky when the game is on. I don't pay much attention to the fancy-dan teams they are always talking about. I look down the bottom of the screen for the goal flashes from League Two.'

Now that involvement will be extended. A few years ago Bumble came out of cricketing retirement to play in the Lancashire League for Accrington to raise their profile, and he is proud to be president of the club which gave him his first cricketing chance. Now he wants to do the same for Stanley.

Apart, that is, from playing, but with Bumble you never know. He is approaching his 65th birthday but is as youthful and energetic as ever.

'No, I've hung my boots up but there's lots more I can do for the club,' said Bumble. 'It's a big belief of mine that every community need their sporting outlets. However well the club are playing they need to be supported.

'We are a community club. It's so easy to support Man United or Liverpool and there are so many great clubs around us but Accrington are our club. We get 1,400 people at games and we'd love 2,500. I'd urge everybody in the town to support us. You'll get ups and downs. There will be thick and a lot of thin but these are good lads.

Ball boy: Lloyd (front with ball) with a local team his dad ran

Ball boy: Lloyd (front with ball) with a local team his dad ran

'I've watched them train and I've watched them turn up in their Fiat Puntos with their boots under their arms. These are honest boys. No Bentleys here. This is real life.' And now he is awaiting that first board meeting.

'Yes, I'll be at the board meetings but I won't be too deeply involved in the decision making process,' said Lloyd.

'I once had it explained to me by Lord MacLaurin when he was ECB chairman that he didn't bother the non-executive directors too much over decisions. I'm just hoping I can help along the way.'

'My Dad and me went to school next to the old ground … and my kids and grandchildren, too'

But he is not short of ambition for a team nestling in mid-table in League Two. 'The one thing we want now is a stadium sponsor. That would help us a lot. Last year we were in the play-offs and were stuffed by Stevenage but the aim would be to get there again.

'We need to put a run together now. After that, who knows League One. The Championship. Europe!

'Sir Alex Ferguson's got a share in Stanley now but I don't see him that often. I think United should play us and perhaps me and him could play!'

Now that would be worth seeing.

Bowled over: Lloyd is most famous for his cricket commentary with Sly Sports

Bowled over: Lloyd is most famous for his cricket commentary with Sly Sports