May 27th 1989 was a memorable day for British football. Not only did mass hooliganism following the Rous Cup game between Scotland and England at Hampden Park signal the end to an annual fixture that had begun in 1872, it also marked the international debut of a living legend – Steve Bull.
It wasn’t so much the goal itself, albeit a cracker, it was more the emotional rush that I knew I shared with many thousands of fellow Wolves fans. It was the culmination of a dream and just reward for singing ourselves hoarse for the previous two seasons with the refrain, “Bully for England.”
I’d rehearsed the jumping off the sofa and the mad screaming already during the game when, for the first and only time, I celebrated the injury of an England player. When John Fashanu went down I couldn’t contain myself. I knew that if he went off then the stage was set for Stephen George Bull.
Of course there was a point to prove as, with the exception of the Gold and Black Army, pundits everywhere had scoffed at Bobby Robson’s decision to pick a player who had just completed a season in the old Third Division. This despite the fact that his goal tally was 50 in that spell, adding to the 52 he had scored in the previous campaign in the old Fourth tier. However, as we all know, Bobby knew a thing or two about football.
As do the Molineux faithful. I don’t care who your football idol is, I’m confident that no player has ever been worshipped as much as The Tatter. The only comfort that could be gained from sitting in a ground with two condemned stands on a cold, wet Tuesday night was the sight of Bully reeling off his aeroplane impression after completing another hat-trick (18 in all, since you ask.)
During my time watching Wolves we've had some pretty good front men - Knowles, Dougan and Richards were all class acts but not one of them comes close to the goal-scoring prowess of The Tipton Terrier.
Back to the goal then. I can’t remember who punted the ball up from just inside the Scotland half but I swear I knew what was coming next, and so did Steve. He cushioned it, deliberately (believe me, I’d seen him score plenty,) off the back of his head, turned and pounced.Cue screaming fans and silenced critics.
He scored three more for England, all good goals and his performances earned him a trip to Italia 90.He only came on as sub a few times and, after the disappointment of that tournament, Bobby went and Graham Taylor came in – say no more. He may not have got another full international cap but he kept rattling them in for the Wolves, invariably accompanied by the full-throated roar of “Bully for England.”