Monday, 7 June 2010

The World Cup, a near miss!

2010 FIFA World Cup logoImage via Wikipedia

Most English football fans remember the year that England won the World Cup even if  they had not been born when it took place. The tournament's  final stages were from 11th to 30th July. And the year was, of course, 1966.
In that year I was in Kaduna, Northern Nigeria, with my wife and three young children. I had a 3 year contract with the government there which had started on 31st Dec, 1963. I didn't realise when I signed the contract that the World Cup would become relevant. 

Our three years would not be completed until the very end of 1966. There was no chance of watching any of the matches in Kaduna even on television. And in any case it might never happen again in my lifetime that this competition could take place in my own country!  We might actually win the thing! How could I get back to England to see the matches?

I talked to people in the Ministry and it turned out that it was in the public interest that leave could be taken in early July, 1966!  It is marvellous how accommodating people can be. But it was a near miss! No sooner off the plane and the tournament started; the next three weeks were spent in a darkened  room where my father-in-law and myself watched England win through round after round to the final and a national victory.

My wife would have liked us to take a stopover holiday in the Canary Islands on the way home from Kaduna.  She has not quite forgiven me for not doing it and of course the current atmosphere of interest in the World Cup 2010 reminds her. But for me there was only ever one choice.

What did the 1966 England players do the day after winning the World Cup?

No comments:

Post a Comment