Jimmy Hill Remembers

Written by grimbo

Thursday, 17 February 2011

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In an exclusive interview, this reporter has been granted access to esteemed former TV pundit Jimmy Hill. Today, Jimmy gives his views on World Cup 94.

For those readers whose memories don;t stretch back that far, England failed to qualify from a group comprising Norway, Netherlands, Poland, Turkey and San Marino.

Grimbo - "Was your enjoyment of the World Cup spoiled by the absence of England?"

JH - "Not at all. The tournament was a great success, a truly marvellous feast of football, despite England's gallant but ultimately tragic and unsuccessful bid to defy the odds and qualify from the hardest group in the first stages. But, of course, that was the World Cup's loss".

Grimbo - "Are you at all bitter about the nature of England's failure?"

JH - "Anything but. Bitterness is not in my vocabulary. There's no point in moping around, complaining about Ronald Koeman staying on the park after his assault on the marvellously talented Platty or thinking about Holland's lucky draw at the greatest stadium in the world - Wembley - the home of world football. And you won't catch me moaning about the succession of injuries that deprived us of the cream of English talent - such as Carlton Palmer - and I certainly don't feel vindictive about the hopeless Graham Taylor blowing our chances of another shot at the big one. By the way, do you remember we won it in 1966?"

No siree, you won't get me complaining about it."

Grimbo - "How do you feel the final stages went in terms of entertainment?"

JH - "Well the mighty Brazil had to be the experts' choice. The traditions there, the supporters are brilliant and, of course, the team's always tried to copy the fantastic John Barnes' solo goal scored against them in that friendly in 1985.

Italy always had to have a chance, especially since Serie A has been enriched so much by the infusion of English talent over the last few years.

Sweden surprised even me with their third place in the tournament. But really, if you think about it, any team that boasts as one of its stars Andres Limpars, ex-Arsenal reserve and now doing his stuff for one of the most powerful sides in the Premiership, Everton, must be rated.

As for Bulgaria - well, it's national capital is Sofia. Don Howe's niece is also called Sophia."

Grimbo - "What do you think about the relative failure of some of the more established nations?"

JH - Germany were a bit disappointing all through the tournament. Only making it through the quarter finals was a disaster for them and certainly disappointed many of the experts - but for me it more than made up for them robbing us in Italia 90 and Mexico in 1974.

Argentina certainly looked as if they could go all the way, but that slimy little dopehead that cheated us in 1986 made sure their chances would be blown out of the water. Kind of like what Maggie and the boys did to the General Belgrano.

Holland were always going to struggle to win the thing as soon as they were deprived of the services of Ruud Gullitt - he's in the best form of his life and his career's certainly been boosted after joining up with Platty at Sampdoria.

Grimbo - "You seem to be suggesting that England's influence is universal."

JH - Absolutely. Take the USA for instance. They obviously looked no further than England's performance as hosts in '66 to inspire them. As well as the encouragement of the 2-0 defeat of us last summer. That was all the motivation they needed to help them to the second stage.

Switzerland did themselves a power of good with their displays. Coached of course by an Englishman - it shows you just what a depth of talent that exists in the English set-up when you consider that Roy Hodgson wasn't considered good enough either to play in or manage a league team at home. Amazing.

Romania came very close to qualifying for the semi finals. But when you think their star man Hagi plays for Brescia, who were relegated two seasons ago along with Bari, formerly David Platt's Bari, then was it really all that much of a surprise?"

Bolivia played some exciting stuff, despite not making it to the next stages. The country's founder was Simon Bolivar, a very English sounding Christian name if you ask me.

South Korea - Terry Venables once had a holiday there.

Nigeria - Formerly an English colony.

Morocco - They peaked in 1986 when they pipped England to win Group F.

Saudi Arabia - Most of its ruling family were educated at some of England's finest schools.

So...no I wasn't surprised by the performance by the third world countries.

So certainly no envious glances from me at the absence of England. There was plenty to enthuse over. It all goes to show that even a major event without the country that gave the great game to the world, you can really enjoy it ".

The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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