The Fifth (and ultimately the last) Rous Cup took place in May 1989.
For the third straight time a South American opposition was invited to join England and Scotland.
Chile came on board after Argentina had declined due to its ongoing League matches.
This Tournament would be overshadowed with the Liverpool-Arsenal match that was to decide that season’s League title in dramatic fashion.
As a result, England would be weakened with the absences of the two clubs’ contingent. Liverpool stars John Barnes and Peter Beardsley and Arsenal’s David Rocastle would be absent.
England Manager Bobby Robson had his eye on a World Cup qualifier on June 3rd vs. Poland and would field experimental squads, as star striker Gary Lineker (Barcelona) would also be unavailable.
Chile were an unknown quantity and had been absent from International Competitions since the 1982 World Cup.
They were preparing for the 1989 Copa America as well as the World Cup qualifiers afterwards,
They had last faced England in 1984 on home soil, in a scoreless match, where the Chile goalkeeper and captain Rojas had stood out for his many saves.
Scotland did not have any upcoming matches in the coming month and were therefore waiting for the season to end for much needed rest.
The Rous Cup kicked off on May 23rd at Wembley with England hosting Chile.
Unfortunately, there was a Tube Train strike that day, and this reduced the attendance to a record low of 15,628. This was the lowest attendance ever at Wembley for an International match.
Photo From: Official Match Programme, England v Chile, 1989
The fans did not miss much as the match would be forgettable.
In the absence of his regulars, Bobby Robson would give International debuts to the strike force of Nigel Clough (son of Brian) and John Fashanu.
Fashanu became the first ever Wimbledon player to be capped by England.
Clough’s selection made it the first father-son combination since George Eastham Senior and Junior.
In this weakened England side, QPR defender Paul Parker was also earning only his second cap (playing in regular right-back Gary Stevens’ position).
Robson also gave a start in midfield to England’s new sensation Paul Gascoigne.
The new-look England side failed to gel, most notably the front line of Fashanu and Clough.
Nevertheless, the English had most of the play but found Chile goalkeeper Rojas in impressive force (just like the 1984 match).
Shilton was rarely troubled and only managed a couple of saves.
Perhaps frustrated by a difficult debut, Fashanu would be booked after an off the field incident where he elbowed Astengo.
England nearly scored right before the end when Contreras cleared Cottee’s effort off the line.
The English later complained of Chile’s time wasting and un-sportsmanlike behavior as the players repeatedly fell at the slightest challenge.
For their part the Chileans underlined their inexperience to the European style of play.
Afterwards Bobby Robson stated, “Chile got away with certain things. But you punish them by beating them and we didn’t manage that although we had most of the play, most of the chances.”
Photo From: Magazine Source Unknown
(May 23, 1989, Rous Cup, England 0-Chile 0)
Photo From: partidosdelaroja.blogspot.com
(England squad, May 23, 1989, Rous Cup, England 0-Chile 0)
Four days later at Glasgow, the annual Scotland-England match took place. It was hard to envision that this would be the last encounter between the two for years to come.
As had been the hallmark of the matches between the sides for the last many years, the police were kept busy. Ninety-six arrests were made inside the stadium while 150 more were arrested outside.
Bobby Robson made a few changes to the English side. Gary Stevens took his usual spot at right-back (replacing Parker), while Trevor Steven started in midfield (in place of Gascoigne).
Photo From: Official Match Programme, Scotland v England, 1989
Shilton’s selection earned him his 106th cap, thus overtaking Bobby Charlton and remaining just one cap behind Bobby Moore.
Upfront, Tony Cottee started in place of Clough, partnering Fashanu.
Scotland Manager Roxburgh awarded new caps to Stewart McKimmie and Peter Grant.
The match itself was livelier than the first match and both sides attacked in the early going.
England gradually took control of midfield with Steven and Robson exerting their authority.
England took the lead in the 20th minute, with Waddle heading in Stevens’ cross.
After this Scotland pressured for an equalizer before the break but Shilton was in good form.
Fashanu would be subbed off in the 31st minute due to injury. This would turn out to be his last cap as well.
He was replaced with Wolves’ Steve Bull, who was remarkably a Third Division player.
Scotland pressured furthermore in the second half and appeared close to tie the match.
There was less than ten minutes left, when debutant Bull scored a superb goal to seal the win for the English.
Photo From: Panini England 1990/91
(May 27, 1989, Rous Cup, Scotland 0-England 2)
Bull took much of the plaudits given his status as a lower League player, but many credited Shilton’s superb performance in goal as the key factor.
In addition to Fashanu, Cottee also earned his last ever cap for England.
Fashanu and Clough failed to grab their opportunity and their International prospects faded. On the other hand, Bull fully took advantage of the chance afforded to him with the absences. It is unlikely that he would have been selected had the likes of Lineker, Alan Smith, Barnes and Beardsley been available. He put himself in frame and eventually made the 1990 World Cup squad (still as a Lower League player).
Photo From: Match, June 3, 1989
(May 27, 1989, Rous Cup, Scotland 0-England 2)
Photo From: Onze-Mondial, Issue 16, May 1990
(May 27, 1989, Rous Cup, Scotland 0-England 2)
Three days later (May 30th), Scotland hosted Chile for the last match of this Rous Cup and ultimately Rous Cup in general. Just like their first match vs. England, there was general disinterest from the locals and once again a low turnout.
The attendance of just over 9,000 was the record lowest crowd at Hampden vs. a foreign opposition.
Between their match vs. England and this match vs. Scotland, Chile had kept themselves fit by playing a friendly at Belfast vs. Northern Ireland (May 26th, 1-0 Chile win).
Scotland quickly took the lead in the 4th minute through Alan McInally (soon to be on his way to Bayern Munich).
Murdo McLeod, creator of the first goal, scored the second from a long distance shot early in the second half.
After this goal, both teams generally lost interest. The minutes ticked away and at the end the curtain fell for the Rous Cup.
Scotland’s win handed England the title as the last winners of this Cup.
Photo From: Official Match Programme, Scotland v Chile, 1989
Photo From: deporte total, from partidosdelaroja.blogspot.com
(May 30, 1989, Rous Cup, Scotland 2-Chile 0)
A Tournament created out of the ashes of the British Home Championship to maintain the England-Scotland annual fixture had become a nuisance in an overcrowded fixture and viewed with general indifference.
Although, the most concerning aspect were the security concerns due to crowd behavior.
That year’s matches took place just a month after the Hillsborough Disaster and a few short years after Heysel and Bradford.
In the end the Rous Cup died with whimper not a bang. The competition itself was not disbanded with immediate effect. There were some faint hopes that it could be organized in 1990, but the Scottish Federation decided in December 1989, that they would skip the Cup for at least one season.
England attempted to invite Argentina and/or Uruguay, but Argentina’s refusal for the 1990 Edition, scrapped that year’s Cup.
In September 1990, the English FA also announced that they would skip their annual fixtures with Scotland. They were more pre-occupied to getting all their clubs back in European Competitions and did not want to have further incidents of crowd trouble.
Rous Cup was finished and with it their traditional clash with Scotland.
The two sides that had faced one another annually since 1872 (War years excluded) would not face one another for seven years, until their match-up in the 1996 Euros.
1-In another source, it was reported that in addition to the original choice of Argentina, other nations such as Spain, France, Sweden and Mexico had also been invited as replacements.
2- During this Tournament, on May 26th, 1989, former England manager Don Revie passed away due to motor neurone disease.
3- On September 3rd that year, Chile would be involved in the controversial World Cup qualifier in Rio vs. Brazil where goalkeeper Roberto Rojas would feign an injury and the entire squad would walk off.
On October 25, 1989, Rojas was banned for life for his trickery attempt by feigning injury in the Brazil-Chile match.
On December 8, 1989, FIFA excluded from the 1994 World Cup.
International bans were handed out against Coach Orlando Aravena and Fernando Astengo for leading the team out of the pitch.
Match, June 3, 1989
England, The Complete Post-War Record, Author Mike Payne
Official Match Programme, England v Chile, 1989
Official Match Programme, Scotland v England, 1989
Official Match Programme, Scotland v Chile, 1989
Scotland, the complete international Football Record, Author Richard Keir
World Soccer, July 1989