I was not at the 1966 or 1970 World Cup. But I know a man who was.
For many years I have admired the work of Norman Giller. I recall seeing him in and around Fleet Street when I began working there in 1977. I was in awe and said nothing to him. I know I shared a press box or two with him but, again, I didn’t dare to approach him. But I always read what he had to say.
Norman has been there at some of the most memorable sporting events of the past five decades. His first love is boxing and he considers himself fortunate to have seen some of the biggest title fights. He’ll talk to me about boxing in a later on camera interview.
But here he is recalling his access all areas press pass for the 1966 World Cup final at Wembley. And, four years later, he was in Mexico to witness first hand the greatest football team to play in a World Cup final, Brazil.
Today, via his column here http://www.sportsjournalists.co.uk/the-giller-memorandum/brazilian-blend-offers-best-world-cup-since-1970/ Norman has written that the 2014 World Cup is: “The first World Cup since 1958 when I have not been involved in some way or the other, from reporting, sub-editing, TV backroom work, video producing or book compiling.
“Thanks to the wall-to-wall coverage by BBC and ITV I have not missed a single kick, and so far only the Iran-Nigeria goalless bore has been sub-standard. The Brazuca-shaped rings under my eyes are testimony to my commitment to watching every match. Sofa so good.”
Norman confirms the belief of many watching from the comfort of their living rooms, that ITV are “taking a hiding from the BBC.”
In this 8 minute segment of a much longer chat with Norman (more will follow later) Norman reveals the secret he kept for his friend Bobby Moore prior to the 1966 World Cup final. Norman also talks about Sir Alf Ramsey, Gordon Banks and his old mate Jimmy Greaves. Norman explains why ‘Greavsie’ was not playing in the World Cup final at Wembley.
And Norman lists his top footballers of all time.
If you are into reading sports books, be sure to check out Norman’s collection via www.normangillerbooks.com