The Football Association, and everyone connected with the England team of the time, will have to forgive me for noting it is the 20th anniversary of that night in Rotterdam when Phil Neal's "yes, boss" appears to be stuck on a loop and Graham Taylor can be seen stomping to the touchline to tell the linesman the referee has just got him the sack.
"Thank him ever so much for that, won't you?" is a lovely way of putting it, bearing in mind England's place at the World Cup is disappearing down the drain. Taylor is straying dangerously close to the point of spontaneous combustion and, watching it back over the past few days, the Channel 4 documentary, An Impossible Job, is still a piece of television gold, not least because it reminds us of some of the headlines before and after that 2-0 defeat to Holland.
"Lose tonight and you get fired" will give you a flavour. "You're a loser, Taylor" and "Get out" are equally brutal reminders, even before we consider he had already had the turnip treatment and, the previous day, that infamous press conference tête-à-tête when he took umbrage with a journalist for not looking particularly enamoured with what he was hearing.
Rob Shepherd, then of Today newspaper, still has strangers coming up to him and reciting, verbatim, the whole exchange. "It is football's version of This is Spinal Tap," he says. Except not even Ian Faith could have thought up real-life gems such as: "Rob, I cannot have faces like yours around here." Or the immortal: "Rise yourself, man, if you were one of my players I'd effing kick you out." Shepherd's reply is short and to the point. Considering what is about to happen, it is also pretty much spot on. "I'm worried," he says quietly.
At least the current England team, needing a solitary victory to ensure their place at the next tournament, have managed to stare down some of the anxieties that have clung to the latest qualifying programme.
Group H has been a long old slog at times, via Chisinau, Warsaw, Serravalle, Podgorica and Kiev, and it is not particularly easy to feel fully satisfied when England have waited until their penultimate game before delivering their first performance of any real distinction. Never mind that there are more people living in Enfield and Brent than in Montenegro. Or that San Marino and Moldova, the only other sides England have beaten, are to international football what Les Dawson once was to piano playing.
Yet England played with so much authority on Friday it does not feel overly presumptuous to think Hodgson's team should be able to stop themselves from making a pig's ear out of their final assignment against Poland on Tuesday.
Jan Tomaszewski, going under the moniker of "The man who stopped England", is already booked in for a press conference in London on Monday, and no doubt you will be hearing a lot more in the next couple of days about his goalkeeping when Poland played at Wembley in 1973.
But it is fluff really. The only point of real relevance is that the modern-day Bialo-czerwoni are fourth in a group that has been moderate at best. However it is dressed up, they are unexceptional opponents.
England finally looked a fully cohesive team against Montenegro and maybe this is a good time to remind ourselves that the ability to play fluent, attacking football, with the emphasis on penetrative wingers, overlapping full-backs and elusive, quick-thinking forwards, should not actually come as a surprise when these players tend to do precisely that, as a matter of routine, for their club sides.
In Rio in June, the Maracana stopped its partying and broke into spontaneous applause when Wayne Rooney's face was shown on the giant screen. In Stockholm the previous November, Sweden's crowd did likewise to acclaim Steven Gerrard on the night of his 100th cap. These are category A footballers in the eyes of the sport and it is that knowledge that sometimes exacerbates the frustrations that come with following this team; when the performance we saw on Friday should be the norm, rather than the exception it has become.
There has to be a balance and if everything goes to plan on Tuesday nobody should fall into the trap of getting too carried away. England have imperfections in defence, where they no longer have the impenetrable centre-backs of old. A relatively trouble-free evening does not change the fact Joe Hart needs to restore some calm to his professional life and, whether you liked what he said or not, it is firmly the case that the FA chairman, Greg Dyke, was being a lot more realistic than his predecessor, David Bernstein, when it came to the same question of whether England could actually win the damn thing. Of course they could, Bernstein said. No, Dyke said, nobody should think that way.
Fabio Capello evidently agrees, judging by his comments about what happens when a league has no winter break. "It's like when you're driving a car. If you stop halfway to add fuel, you will definitely get where you want to go. If you don't, there's always the chance you'll be running on empty before you reach your goal."
England might be on their knees by the time Brazil comes around.
First things first, and England have still to join Italy, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland and Holland among the European teams who have already confirmed their place in the tournament. But Hodgson cannot be doing too badly for players when there are midfielders with the refinement of Jack Wilshere and Michael Carrick currently out of the team.
Daniel Sturridge's prolific burst of form has come at a good time, coinciding with Rooney's own improvement, after a spell when England have looked considerably short in attack.
Andros Townsend represents a new generation – fearless, young, running out at Wembley as if he were immune to nerves – and Ross Barkley's turn cannot be too far away. Hodgson has been to three out of Everton's past five games to make a personal check on Barkley. His assistant, Ray Lewington, went to one of the others. Gary Neville watched the fifth. Don't make the mistake of thinking Barkley is here purely to get experience of being around the seniors. Hodgson went out of his way to make the point that he would have felt comfortable starting with the teenager.
As it is, Hodgson appears to have found a way to re-establish a central midfield axis of Gerrard and Frank Lampard, just without the old issues. The abandonment of 4-4-2 suits them both. It is overdue, undoubtedly. But it is still reassuring to see England with a much more modern look, even if it does make you wonder what took them so long.
Neither Baines nor Cole should miss out, so let's play both
Leighton Baines's performance against Montenegro will no doubt add more weight to the argument that England's left-back position should be made his permanently even when Ashley Cole is available. Yet it was interesting to put the Baines-Cole debate to Phil Jagielka, another member of Everton's back four, earlier in the week and listen to him putting forward a case for the player from Chelsea ahead of his own colleague.
Jagielka is an eloquent guy and what he said cannot have been particularly easy – "Bainesy's one of my closest friends," he explained – but it all made sense. Would it be fair, he asked, for Cole, or any other footballer for that matter, to lose his place when he had done nothing but play with distinction? Jagielka's conclusion was that it would not and, as for the statistics that show Baines is more productive than Cole in attacking positions, England's centre-half talked at length about those qualities but also made the point that Chelsea had so many creative players elsewhere in their team there was not such an onus on their left-back to get forward, too.
"It is hard to say that directly to Bainesy. He has been fantastic for us at Everton, player of the year for the last few seasons, but unfortunately for him the person he has tried to nudge out of the way has also performed very well, particularly in an England shirt. Ash has performed to such a level he does not deserve to lose his place."
So here's an idea. Is it completely out of the question that the two of them could play in the same team? A little unorthodox, perhaps, but the idea of them overlapping on the left, with Baines in the more advanced role, should not be something England are afraid of experimenting with once this qualifying programme is over. It would happen in Spain without any major fuss while, at Bayern Munich, Philipp Lahm has just converted from a full-back to a central midfielder. "If I decided to play him as a striker, he would be the best striker in Europe," says Pep Guardiola, the Bayern coach.
Baines, in many people's eyes, is the best left-back England have. Perhaps, in time, he could also be the best left-sided midfielder.