The Mystery of Sixty-Six

English Football fans love to wallow in 1966 and the winning of the country’s only World Cup. Having made that statement, it is probably also true that the average England supporter loves the pain of every ignominious World Cup exit since. Each time the lions of England are hailed as the new world beating generation that will bring the cup back to the home of the beautiful game, they often seem to leave their teeth in a glass back in the dressing room when the time comes to perform.

Of course, the game is no longer beautiful nor is it likely that a modern generation of English footballers will win a World Cup. For one thing our players to a large extent still lack the elegence of the European and South American players when it comes to conning the referee. Sadly though, they are learning very quickly and it’s no longer just the Maradona’s of this world who have the Hand of God on their side. It’s reached the stage where David Attenborough doesn’t have to go to sea to film diving mammals – he can go to almost any football stadium to film it instead, though the mammals filmed will lack the beauty of whales 😦

Even so, with all the new found capabilities, England’s hopefuls and their supporters still lag behind the might of the Italy’s and Germany’s and such is the gap that you wonder how the victory in ’66 ever happened – though the German fans will tell you about a goal where the ball didn’t cross the line.

So the mystery of 66 – how did we win and when will we do it again – is perpetuated by the “We’re gonna win this time” attitudes pushed by the FA, Fans and players too. Football’s Coming Home was a great hit for Baddiel and Skinner with the Lightning Seeds – it shouldn’t escape our attention that Baddiel and Skinner are commedians! So too, it seems, was somebody else in the run-up to the 2010 World Cup. With South Africa warming up to their role as hosts and England through to the finals under an Italian coach, we heard the usual cries of “this time…” An expectation born out of hope rather than substance I suspected. Even so – my jaundiced outlook was piqued by a ’66 mystery one morning in the run-up to the finals.

Making my way to an Oracle course at Moorgate I was intrigued to find a Film Crew at work in Finsbury Square. You don’t go wandering into a production area – although sometimes you wonder at who has the gall to claim that anything is being produced when making films 😉 So I observed briefly from the sidelines before heading off to my course. The set included a bus with Wembley as its destination. A route number of 66 hinted that something wasn’t quite as it should be – the 66 goes nowhere near Finsbury Circus (or Wembley for that matter) and you don’t have to be a transport enthusiast to know that!

Filming in Finsbury Square
Filming in Finsbury Square

Being the last day of the course we finished in the early afternoon. I wandered back to Finsbury Square to see what had been going on and perhaps to catch the film crew in action still. They were gone but I found an advert – fixed with duct tape to the advertising hoarding of a bus shelter. It was advertising 66 Beer. “Drink to Victory” it said!

66 Beer
66 Beer – Drink to Victory

Now here’s the mystery…
Were the crew filming an advert? Who was brewing this ale for the World Cup?? When was it going on sale??? I guess the answer to the last two questions can be ascertained by looking closely at the advert – No brewer’s name, address or website displayed anywhere. Elementary my Dear Watson – it’s a spoof! Now, who would be filming a spoof advert? The only possibility that comes to mind is one of the London universities as part of a film makers course.

As for the 2010 World Cup. It was inevitable that England would be knocked out by Germany with an England goal disallowed where the ball had clearly crossed the line. That sound’s like a case for goal line technology! What goes around comes around 😉

If you were part of the film crew and read this post, perhaps you’d be kind enough to shed light on the true story of 66 Beer 🙂


  1. That optimistic triumph of hope over reality gets the fans every time! Good luck Martin with unravelling the mysteries of this filming, 10 secs of which might well pop up in an add or skit somewhere down the line!

    1. Hi Patti – well, it hasn’t popped up yet 😉

      Football fans vary in their sense of realism dependent upon the level at which their team plays – the average Wingate & Finchley fan wouldn’t succumb to the idea that any England team is likely to win. They’re just too used to the struggles that go on at the Ryman League level of football. On the other hand, Manchester United Fans and their ilk, because they support a highly successful team, project their club success onto their aspirations for the national team. The result is that they wind up much more disappointed than I would be.

  2. I don’t know if I can be of much help with the mystery, Martin…
    although I suspect it’s a tasty one! 😉
    Your story reminds me of my favorite college (American) football team (The ‘Fighting Irish’ of Notre Dame)! For the first time since I started watching them (well over twenty years now) they’ve gone UNDEFEATED this season and play for the National Championship in January! Talk about exciting! And nerve-wracking! I might need a second 66!

    1. Congratulations to the Fighting Irish – I hope they win Bob 🙂

      I spent the latter part of yesterday evening watching the Seattle Seahawks defeat the Chicago Bears which really pleased me because I’m an off-shore Seahawks fan 🙂 Their young Quarterback, Russell Wilson, looks really good!

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