Well the Mike Parry-Sir Bobby Robson interview seemed to go down OK so I thought I’d follow up on a couple of the suggestions for further guests. This time a spoof BBC interview conducted by the master of the convoluted question Garth Crooks and the ever available Graham Taylor whose penchant for stating the bleeding obvious is obvious to everyone except the BBC it seems…
‘Good morning everyone this is Garth Crooks here and my guest today is Graham Taylor, ex Watford (twice), Aston Villa and England manager of course. Good morning Graham – indeed is it acceptable to say that at a time approaching noon or would a simple welcome Graham be more appropriate to the time (which as I speak has just turned midday I notice) Graham? Er what was the question Garth? Actually I haven’t asked one yet Graham – well I did in so far as enquiring about the most apt way to introduce you, though it was slightly rhetorical in its phrasing. Ah, right Garth…an awkward silence ensues.
Can we begin Graham, indeed perhaps I should say continue Graham, by asking for your thoughts so far on the spectacle that is the Euro 2008 Championships, which as we all know, is shorn of the presence sadly of the England team but which, happily, has been free of the kind of social and civic problems revolving around hooliganism which seem to bedevil any tournament in which England participate? Er…that’s a very difficult question for me to answer really Garth. It’s true this tournament is lacking the presence of the England team. Is it better for that? I don’t know but I do know that if England had won those games instead of dropping points against Croatia, Russia and some of the lesser sides, we’d probably be playing in this tournament now.
Thanks Graham, I think you’re right, but whether we’d be realistically in with a chance of winning the event is open to doubt especially when you look at the performances so far of the once mighty Italian and French sides, who let’s face it Graham are struggling here. That’s right Garth and the simple fact is that the reason they both lost so heavily to the Dutch side was that they conceded too many goals. If you let in 3 or 4 goals against a very exciting team you’re going to lose, and that’s what they did Garth. That coupled with the fact that they didn’t score as many goals as the Dutch. Top level football’s all about scoring more than the opposition and conceding fewer. That’s the message I always gave my teams before they went onto the pitch Garth.
And as messages go Graham I think I can say, as an ex-footballer myself, that it is a philosophy which underpins the values and qualities of the best things about football – a creed that all the great sides from the Real Madrid teams of the early 60’s through to the great Busby babes teams, the brilliant Dutch national side of the 70’s have all lived up to. But I see another spectre on the horizon of this tournament Graham; that of the cynical fix which will allow Romania to triumph against a Neths second team thus denying places in the QFs for the mighty Italians and French side. What are you views on that Graham? Do I not like that Garth! There’s no place in football for cheating, except maybe in Italy, but it’s in their culture there Garth. Do you know I once sold the lad Luther Blissett to AC Milan and the bastards never paid us the transfer fee. Bloody disgraceful. Looking back Graham do you think that’s because they thought they were signing John Barnes and you sent them the wrong player maybe? Now look here Garth, Luther was a fine player for Watford – at least as good as Barnsey (well almost) and he was well worth the £5m fee. He’s still revered in Italy by the fans you know – they refer to him as Il Stronzo Grande. I’m not abolutely sure what it means Garth but I’m pretty sure it’s something like the big fella.
That’s fascinating stuff Graham and can I now push you to peer into the crystal ball of fate and to tell us who you see emerging at the end of this great feast of football with their captain clasping aloft the beautiful Euro Nations trophy, like so many outstanding captains before him, and no doubt many more in future generations? Do you mean who’s going to win Garth? Yes Graham. Well that’s a big question Garth. You can’t write off Gerrmany can you? They always start slowly and come good in these tournaments. I’d be tempted to say Holland but those cheating Dutch twats knocked us out when I was manager Garth. That Koemanns would have had the toe of my shoe up his arse if I could have got to him. But no Garth that’s history, let’s move on I always say. No my tip for the trophy would be Spain. They’re playing that lovely winning football which if they can maintain it, should see them emerge victorious. The one thing I am absolutely sure of is that the final won’t end in a draw.
Graham Taylor, thank you very much for that incredible insight. You’re welcome Garth.