Can you believe it is 25 years ago today that Terry Butcher had his ‘blood-bath’ game against Sweden?

Let’s set the scene. It was September 6th, 1989 in Stockholm, Sweden. England needed a single point to qualify for Italia ’90. Terry Butcher received a head injury but played on defiantly. The hasty stitch job and sloppy bandaging would lend themselves to the development of Butcher as a cultural icon in years to come. Ignoring the injury Butcher continued to head away every cross within his reach, which agitated the wound more, which led to the bloodbath pictures we all know and love.

Those were the days. Can you imagine that happening now? We all understand why it can’t and why blood on the pitch is bit of a no-no but that doesn’t mean we can’t look back and marvel at the primal beauty of it.

And after it all ended, England got the point they needed with 0-0 draw and were off to the World Cup.

Some notes on the below video footage of the game.

  • ”Wait a second, that keepers picking the ball up!” Do not adjust your set, younger readers. That was perfectly legal back in the old days!
  • Some super goalkeeping on view. Great save from Lineker by Swedish madman/goalkeeper Thomas Ravelli
  • Possibly even better save from Shilton, that old stalwart
  • Des Walker’s terrific tackle and subsequent horrific, almost costly mistake just about sum his entire career up
  • Chris Waddle looks just-about-in-control of his ability to stand up, as always. He looks like a drunken baby deer at times.

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