6th February 1991
England 2 – 0 Cameroon
It was a bitterly cold evening, light years away from the balmy Naples evening when Cameroon had come within seven minutes of dumping England out of Italia ’90. There was little surprise at the Football Association’s announcement that Cameroon were to visit Wembley for a friendly.
And you wonder why the English media questions whether foreign players will handle a cold Tuesday in Stoke? This was a cold February night in London.
It wasn’t the only problem the Cameroon FA faced.
FA spokesman Glenn Kirton let everybody know there was no way that England were paying anything to individual players. It was the Cameroon FA’s problem. Admirably, Kirton refused to use any of Milla’s namesake’s discography. The forward didn’t play at Wembley: he was King of the Road indeed.
Graham Taylor had taken over from Bobby Robson following the World Cup and it hadn’t started badly, even if the football was typically English. Wins over Hungary and Poland were followed by a draw in Dublin.
Indeed, Taylor’s first dozen matches saw England undefeated although the opposition was fairly unimpressive aside from Argentina and USSR in the England Challenge Cup.
His biggest decision for this match was who to choose in goal. David Seaman surprisingly enough was not considered first choice even though Arsenal were en route to one of the best defensive records in the history of English top flight football.
Chris Woods had spent five successful years in Scotland with Rangers but was now back at Sheffield Wednesday, coinciding with Peter Shilton’s retirement from international football. Taylor observed that five years of turning up for training whilst understudy gave Woods the right to first bite at the cherry at being England’s first-choice goalkeeper.
In fact they didn’t. There was precious little of the joie de vivre which had been been the hallmark of their World Cup. It was a sullen affair with little to keep the crowd warm with George Graham pretty much summing up David Seaman’s evening.
England won comfortably for a match more noticeable for the appearance of Ian Wright as Gary Lineker’s strike partner. Wright was eight months away from arriving at Arsenal – was George carrying out a bit of early scouting…?