Football: Bloodstained Butcher the memory man

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The Independent Online
The sight of Paul Ince, head swathed in a bandage, battling on in a blood-stained shirt for England's cause in Rome was reminiscent, of course, of Terry Butcher's courageous efforts in Stockholm 18 years ago, when - like Ince on Saturday night - the England skipper had to leave the field to have stitches inserted in a head wound but insisted on continuing.

England secured a 0-0 draw that night, too, virtually clinching a place in the 1990 finals, although qualification was not guaranteed until a month later.

Striking pictures of the Ipswich defender appeared in newspapers around the world the following day and many Italian correspondents made reference to the incident in their reports of Saturday's match.

Details needed to be checked first, however, and one Italian journalist randomly collaring an English counterpart was amazed at how much about the incident was so precisely recalled.

"There was another England player who finished a match with his head bandaged, wasn't there?" inquired the Italian.

"Yes. His name was Terry Butcher. The game was Sweden versus England in Stockholm, 6 September, 1989."

"You don't know what he does now, do you?" the Italian followed up, impressed with the Englishman's knowledge.

"Oh, he is in retirement, I think," came the reply.

And off the Italian reporter went, to convey this information to his readership, completely unaware that the Englishman he had been talking to was.... Radio Five Live summariser Terry Butcher.