mike england


A solitary goal from substitute Jeremy Charles was enough to earn Cymru a 1-0 win over Bulgaria when the two nations met for the very first time at Wrexham in April 1983.

Ian Rush, Neville Southall, Kevin Ratcliffe, Joey Jones and Brian Flynn were all included in the starting line-up at the Racecourse of the EURO 1984 qualifier, but it was Charles who separated the teams with his 78th minute goal after replacing Rush midway through the second half.

Mike England was the manager who guided Cymru to the win during his tenure that lasted from 1980 to 1988. However, his most memorable victory came in his very first match, as Cymru famously defeated England 4-1 in May 1980. “It was a an incredible day,” England explained in a recent interview with Sgorio. “It was a great game and everyone enjoyed it so much. It was a day we'll never forget. It was just so wonderful.”

Surprisingly, his time as Cymru manager was the only management position that England ever held. Making his name as a towering defender with Tottenham Hotspur in the 1960's and 70's, the man from Holywell also made 44 appearances for Cymru between 1962 and 1974. Awarded the MBE for his services to football, England also made a significant contribution as a player in America with the Seattle Sounders. “Coming to Seattle was one of the best decisions I ever made,” said England in 2015.

His career began at Blackburn Rovers, and he quickly gained a reputation as an uncompromising central defender. Lifting the FA Youth Cup as he emerged through the ranks at Ewood Park, England eventually made the move to Spurs for £95,000 in the summer of 1966. Although qualifying for the finals of a major tournament with Cymru eluded him as a player and a manager, England claimed four major honours with Tottenham Hotspur, lifting the FA Cup in 1967, the League Cup up in 1971 and 1973, and the UEFA Cup in 1972.

“When people ask me about my career, I always say that I've done something that I've really enjoyed all my life,” he added. “Really, I haven't worked. That sounds silly, but I never thought that I was going to work when I was playing soccer, because that's what I enjoyed. It was great.”

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