Goal! The World Cup 1966 – Longjohn Reviews

Goal! The World Cup 1966 was a documentary about the eighth World Cup and the first ever held in England.  This BAFTA winning documentary has become something of a rarity in recent years with no DVD release, and even in the age of the ubiquitous Internet searches for the film have only turned up a few snippets of footage on YouTube.  However, Cherry Red Records subsidiary El Records have transferred this documentary to CD and released this aural spectacular to celebrate the 50th anniversary of England’s (as if you didn’t know) one and only World Cup win.

This album documentary is a timely reminder that England once did have a team that could complete with the best in the world, and it might just provide some respite to long-suffering fans who had to endure England’s latest embarrassing performance as they were humiliated by Iceland in Euro 2016. This aural documentary is a nostalgic trip down Wembley Way, which begins with the competing teams arriving at London Airport (Heathrow) through to the dramatic World Cup Final and that controversial goal scored by Geoff Hurst.

If you haven’t seen this rarity of a film before then the soundtrack of this momentous occasion is the next best thing, and a special mention must be given to the script writer, sports journalist and fanatical Arsenal fan the late Brian Glanville and multi-instrumentalist John Hawksworth who composed and conducted the Jazz flavoured and atmospheric score for this film.  It is these two characters and the narrator Nigel Patrick, which make this album documentary so much more than a nostalgic curiosity.

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Nigel Patrick was an actor and star of at least forty feature films and he provides the listener with a witty and wry synopsis of all the competing nations as they arrive at London Airport.  Patrick’s plummy monotone voice does not lend itself well to football commentary; however, his wry observations and gentle and measured delivery still somehow manages to convey the excitement of the World Cup in an authoritative and stylish manner.

It will come as no great surprise that Queen Elizabeth, (not ‘Er Indoors’) Britain’s longest self-serving monarch is at the opening ceremony of the World Cup and she has probably never sounded so bored and listless as she delivers her speech, but this brief interlude does not detract from the compelling excitement and for the next 50 nostalgia laden minutes the listener is taken on a football journey by narrator Nigel Patrick, whose droll delivery conveys absolutely no emotion as he handles Brian Glanville’s expertly written script with compelling ease.

The documentary covers some pivotal and controversial moments in the tournament as the World’s greatest footballer Pele was kicked and fouled off the pitch against Bulgaria and Portugal.  England’s Quarter Final against Argentina is featured and it is famous not just for Geoff Hurst’s controversial offside goal but the Argentines dirty tactics, which included spitting and kicking. Bobby Moore’s response to this provocation was to go ahead and ‘beat the bastards’.

England’s World Cup win is almost over shadowed by the appearance of the North Koreans who turned up at Middlesborough’s Ayresome Park to play against the overwhelming match favourites Italy.  The North Koreans caused one of football’s biggest ever upsets as they turned Italy over one nil thanks to Pak Do-ik. Nigel Patrick’s hilarious quip ‘so Italy go home to their tomatoes’ brought proceedings to an end in hilarious and understated fashion, and underdogs North Korea nearly repeat the trick again against Portugal when they stormed into a three goal lead before Eusebio sprang into life in spectacular fashion by scoring four and sending the North Koreans home.

The story of England’s 4-2 win over Germany to win the World Cup has gone down in history as the country’s greatest ever football achievement, and it does provide a fitting conclusion to this album documentary. However, Nigel Patrick reveals one footballing fact that may surprise even the most rabid England fan is that Germany had never beaten England in 65 years prior to the World Cup and could only muster one draw in all that time, which is an incredible statistic considering England’s struggles and underachievement’s in the big tournaments ever since that momentous occasion.

This aural documentary is an impressive and nostalgic production of a bygone era in football and one can only hope that the film itself will see the light of day once again. England on this one and only occasion could claim to be the best and the World Cup was won by players who lived on the same back streets as the fans, and Alan Ball one of the heroes of 1966 commented that ‘we were just ordinary lads who walked through the streets, shoulder to shoulder with the fans because we were representing them’. This album documentary is an enchanting and immersive historical artifact that will undoubtedly inflict the listener with a sense of nostalgia, and it is a brilliant snapshot of a glorious moment in sporting history. BUY HERE!

Long John

Charming Chap and a new sharp force for Eyeplug, being a toppermost writer with a keen appreciation for things of quality and distinction. A well known face on the London ‘Mod’ Scene but with an open mind and heart. Got a strange interest in Pirates? One to watch out for!

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