1966 and All That
If it’s not the War, its the 1966 World Cup. As the Brexit moles in the BBC crank up their game we can expect more documentaries being shown on how we took ‘em on and won. The very standard Alfies Boys(Sunday 8pm BBC2) the other night is the case in point. We won the World Cup because of the virtues and character gained in the War. And joy of joy it was Germans we beat both times. Ho Hum we beat the Hun.
But even the blackest heart cannot be moved by Nobby’s false teeth, Moore’s elegance and Bobby’s beautiful innocence, the Greaves’ drama and Sir Alf. And of course, the result. And two days after winning the Cup the press go round. Sorry lads no interviews today, says Sir Alf, its my day off. When Callaghan and Hunt report back to Liverpool with their medals, the legendary Shankly says,Get training, we’ve got a real job to do.
July 1966, so where was I? With fellow undergrads Syd Roberts and Huw Shepherd sleeping on the dunes at Cap Breton deep in the French Basque country. They all loved Syd and Huw had a bit of French, for me ,it was the summer I read, Gibbons Decline and Fall. When the money ran out we had to phone home( reverse charges) and wait at the poste restante.
Every three days we would go into town and have the set 10 Franc (£1) menu. Bliss. That day they told us the Final was on. Black and white and just to make it perfect ,the other party watching were German. Afterwards we suppressed our grins, and shook hands as we had been taught at school. The Germans left and the owner of the bar gave us a round of drinks on the house. What a result.
I will never forget those sunsets over the Atlantic. They made the cheapest plonk Premier Cru. Three years later Syd died tragically saving me in the sea off Rabat, Morocco and Huw who played in the Keele XV with me, I Iast saw in 1985. Hazy, lazy days of summer. We were all Alfies Boys.