Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Famous Rants - Oslo 1981

"LORD Nelson!Lord Beaverbrook!Sir Winston Churchill ! Sir Anthony Eden! Clement Attlee! Henry Cooper! Lady Diana! (lapses into frenzied Norwegian, roughly translated as 'we have beaten them all!') Maggie Thatcher, can you hear me? Maggie Thatcher! Your boys took one hell of a beating! Your boys took one hell of a beating!"

The scene: Oslo, Norway, 9th September 1981. A hapless England led by Lancashire born boss Ron Greenwood looked to have blown their World Cup qualifying hopes for their third successive tournament by losing 2-1 to a Norwegian team considered to be cannon fodder.

News enough in itself, but the match passed
into footballing folklore thanks to this joyful 'rant' at the final whistle from the Norwegian radio commentator, Bjorge Lillelien, who, in a few breathless seconds, outdid even the most frenzied Brazilian broadcaster with his random grasp of iconic British celebrities, statesmen and women.

England would love to consign this banana skin to a permanently sealed archive, but thanks to our hero, Mr. Lillelien it will be mentioned in perpetuity whenever the teams meet.
Henry Cooper now Sir Henry, the South East Londoner, has never been held in such esteemed company.

Lucky England still qualified for the World Cup in Spain in 1982, thanks largely to the ineptitude of the other teams in England's group - Romania suffered an embarrassing home defeat to Switzerland.

The team in Oslo contained four all-conquering Liverpool players, plus Bryan Robson and Kevin Keegan.

Finally, the rant may have inflicted lasting damage, as the commentator died prematurely a few years later.

England Team: 1.Clemence 2.Neal 3.Mills 4.Osman 5.Thompson 6.Robson B 7.Keegan 8.Francis 9.Mariner (Withe) 10.Hoddle (Barnes P) 11.McDermott

Scorer: Robson B

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