1966 and All That

In case you had forgotten, I have rules about the countries that I support to beat England. In cricket, it’s Scotland. For rugby it’s Scotland, Wales, Ireland and South Africa. At football I will happily cheer on my Sassenach cousins except against Scotland, Northern Ireland or Wales (unless that diving bastard Bale is playing for the Taffs).

It follows that I enthusiastically supported England throughout their 1966 campaign. We had failed to qualify despite that magic day in 1965 when I was part of a crowd of 100,393 at Hampden Park to watch John Greig smack the ball past the Italian goalie and give us a chance of going to the party when we won the return leg. We didn’t.

Come the Finals, I was 16, 6′ tall and able to pass in pubs. Watched most of the games in the Station Hotel, Perth nursing a pint of Light. That’s where I was on 30 July 1966. I still remember cheering when England won, despite that non-goal.

Now, if Scotland had ever won the World Cup, we all know that we would have wandered up to pick up the trophy in a diffident and self-effacing manner, making absolutely no attempt to rub our opponent’s faces into the fact that we had gubbed them. We would have taken the cup home and put it on our national mantle piece, alongside our many Nobel prizes and other awards for inventing most important things and generally being better than everybody else at everything. We would never have mentioned it again unless somebody asked us about it. In which case we might, under repeated importuning, have primed our pipe, lit it and puffed reflectively as we told the tale of the day. Modesty is our middle name.

How very different from said Sassenach cousins. They have talked of little else since they became World Champions. We, of course, took the title off them by humiliating them 2-3 at Wembley in 1967 but they still bang about that 1966 game.

Whatever, it’s World Cup time in Brazil. We appear to have been robbed and to have failed to qualify again. So, it’s ‘c’mon England’ for yet another campaign.

My worry is that Alex Salmond will probably be at my shoulder as I cheer on the Southrons. In normal times, I am certain that he would have bought his Uruguayan, Italian and Costa Rican shirts for England’s qualification group by now. I am also certain that he will be hoping that England go all the way this time in the expectation that the media will go on and on and on and on about it and drive some of my fellow Jocks towards the Yes delusion.

Whatever. c’mon England. I still hope that my friends and fellow countrymen will win in Brazil. And that Sleekit will, in due course, lose in Scotland.

13 thoughts on “1966 and All That”

  1. How I laugh when I watch / hear / read news reports on stadia / airports / roads / hotels not being ‘ready.’ What they of course mean is Euro / US health and safety ready.

    I consider myself a bit of an expert on FIFA grandstanding and grandiose projects, most of it head in the clouds stuff, come June 13, the world cup will go on, ready or not and good luck to them, we had a blast here back in 2010.

    I’m afraid that I get bored to tears watching football, I tried to watch last nights effort from Wembley but it sent me to sleep. During the day we had watched 2 super rugby matches which aggregated over a hundred points between them and the IPL eliminator in which over 400 runs were scored in 40 overs!

    I’m afraid that football just doesn’t do it for me.

  2. I too witnessed our finest hour in 1966, with pint of bitter in a pub on Bootham, the unlikely-sounding name of a street in York where I had my flat. A sunny afternoon, I recall. Bu I have to agree about the boredom factor with football ‘events’ – it’s up there with watching grass grow and paint dry, or perhaps the Eurovision. But, but…..you gotta watch if you’re English. They’re flames to our moths – and we know we’ll get burnt, don’t we?

    I confidently predict that this time Rooney will disappoint, Hodgson will pick the wrong wing backs and a couple of the youngsters will amaze – but to little effect. The meeja will deplore and indulge their I-told-you-soes. And to cap it all Wee Eck will win. You call this a life?

  3. I do hope all this football stuff doesn’t interfere with Wimbledon, where Scotland will be represented and which starts on 23rd June. It’s bad enough that Bernie has got it wrong once again and organised the British Grand Prix for the day of the Wimbledon mens singles final.

    But why am I worrying? If the football thing starts on 13th June, I expect England will be safely back home by 23rd.

  4. Sheona, can’t you see that we’d rather watch Hamilton sticking it to Rosberg than two non-British Europeans contesting the Wimbledon final?

  5. Which two non-British European teams will contest the World Cup final, do you think?

  6. Who cares?
    I do hope they have some good riots at the waste of money, should relieve the tedium of it all!
    The thought of people actually paying to go to Manaus is totally beyond all rationality, I’m quite sure people have absolutely no idea of what they are getting themselves into!
    I know someone who was eaten in Manaus by piranha he was on that bus that fell into the river a few years back. The place must be a prime candidate for cloaca of the western hemisphere.
    How stupid can people be? If you made them go there to fight a war they’d all come back psycho pleading PTSD,
    Please could someone organise an extra-terrestrial match with no return tickets? Do us all a favour?

  7. Christina, yes, there’ll be tears before the final whistle.

    Sheona, my money’s on Germany and Italy. Any takers?

  8. Hi Janus.

    It’s probably just you and me for the World Cup then as it doesn’t seem to be over-enthusing the rest of the Chariot?

    I reckon the Final will be two out of the three of Spain having a final hurrah before the team ages out contention, Brazil with home advantage or Argentina who look pretty good to me on paper.

    I also think that England have a chance of qualifying from their group and that, if they do,they are more likely to be accompanied by Uruguay than by Italy.

  9. Morning JM

    I’ll have more than a passing interest, a lot of my friends are football fans and I like to ‘keep up’

    Perhaps we should add a fourth to your ‘Big 3’ above, Germany perhaps?

    More importantly the IRB JWC has kicked off, did you by chance watch the game just completed over in Aukland? A similar result at my game here on the 28th would make my day!

  10. I predict that Germany will take second or third place again. We’re really, really good at that. In fact, Germany has the record for taking second or third place.

  11. Yes, my pick was in answer to Sheona’ question ref the best two European sides. I doubt Spain will get there these days – the old legs won’t fancy the heat, Carruthers. And I never support Argentina….

  12. I see that Woy is getting tetchy with the meeja now. A good sign. He’s just realised how important it all is.

    As the great Bill Shankly said:

    Football is not a matter of life and death… it’s much more important than that.

  13. Hello all,

    My love for England only extends to their cricket team, Blackpool rock, pints of bitter and Holly Willoughby. The only good thing about their footy team is the National Anthem. Hope that before Costa Rica do a “Peru” on them they‘re already out.

    My head goes out the window and my heart takes over where football is concerned. I don’t gamble but if forced I would back the Netherlands as I always do. Something about the colour of their shirts appeals to me.

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