Wednesday 3 August 2016

Raising a glass to 1966

A tasteful souvenir
of a sporting triumph
It seems to me that there is something desperate about being an England football fan. For half a century, 1966 has been held up as a great moment in England's sporting history, even though with the passage of time it increasingly serves to highlight how much the national team has declined since. I do recall the competition, but I didn't watch any of the matches. The shops were full of tacky memorabilia featuring World Cup Willie, the England mascot: you could even get World Cup Willie rolykins, which, as I recall, didn't roll as well as the Dalek ones that I owned.

A year or so ago in a discussion programme on TV, a Scot in the audience said that 1966 was 50 years ago, so get over it. Frank Skinner, who was on the panel, replied that Bannockburn was 700 years ago, so get over it. I agree with both statements: if your access to national pride is solely through history, it strongly suggests that as a nation you are living on past glories. A few days ago, both Radio 2 and Radio 5 Live devoted an afternoon to celebrating that far off sporting achievement. I fail to see why both stations had to be taken over by this because there was nothing to stop people changing the station if they wanted to hear the programme. I suppose it was a good excuse to save a few bob in production costs.

Greene King's tribute
Greene King, manufacturers of the the most boring IPA in the universe, have decided to mark the anniversary of the event by producing a beer called Bobby in tribute to the 1966 England captain, the late Bobby Moore. It will be a blonde beer brewed to a strength of 4.2% to represent the final 4-2 score. Apparently the design for the pump clips and beer mats was inspired by the logo of this year's film Bobby about the sporting legend. I have nothing against Bobby Moore, who seemed to be a genuinely popular public figure both during and after his football career. I just hope the beer isn't just a cheap cash-in and is instead a product worthy the high regard that many football fans still hold him in. The problem is that it's brewed by Greene King.

At least it's appropriate in one way - Bobby Moore was known to enjoy a drink.


  1. I'm not sure England really has declined as a footballing nation. If you invent a game, you're automatically the best at it. If you then export it round the world, other countries will became as good, if not better than you, at it and catch up.

    England still regularly qualify for the World Cup and European Championship and usually get to knock-out stages of them; other countries, albeit with smaller populations, which have been the world's top team in the past - Austria, Hungary, Uruguay - do not. That is decline. Like the so-called decline of West Indian cricket since the 70's and 80's, it's a mistake to see a one-off high as the standard and measure future performance against it.

    1. To be fair, Bobby Moore was a rampant pisshead who used to spend his Sunday mornings doing solitary laps of the Boleyn Ground to sweat out his hangover. So a beer named after him is appropriate enough.

  2. I can no longer take the Champion Beer of Britain award seriously following Green King IPA being awarded a Silver in 2004.


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