England met foreign opposition at home for the first time on this day.
England played their first football international in 1872 but it would be 36 years before they met opposition from outside Britain. A European tour made by the England team in 1908 included two matches in Austria and one each in Hungary and Bohemia.
It would be another 15 years before England hosted a country from the European continent. They took on Belgium at Arsenal’s ground 87 years ago today, a ‘return fixture’ after England had won 2-0 in Brussels two years earlier.
On 19 March 1923 England lined up like this before a 25,000 crowd at Highbury Stadium:
Teddy Taylor (Huddersfield Town), Eph Longworth (Liverpool), Sam Wadsworth (Huddersfield Town), Fred Kean and George Wilson (Sheffield Wednesday), Tom Bromilow (Liverpool), David Mercer (Sheffield United), Jimmy Seed (Tottenham Hotspur), Norman Bullock (Bury), Harry Chambers (Liverpool) and Kenneth Hegan (Corinthians).
The Belgians held a rampant England to 2-1 at half-time, Lieutenant ‘Jackie’ Hegan notching both, but there were four more goals for home fans to enjoy in the second period. In fact there were three in one five-minute spell – from Mercer, Chambers and Seed (pictured).
Then Bullock wrapped things up on his England debut to make it 6-1. He made more than 500 League appearances for Bury at centre-forward, inside-right, right-half and centre-half, and later managed the club. He was an analytical chemist too!