With fewer than 100 days until the World Cup gets underway in Brazil, Al Murray the Pub Landlord talks to Leo Moynihan about war, WAGS and why England will win the bloody thing...
What do you say to the naysayers and gloom merchants who laugh at England’s chances this summer?
Naysayers? Gloom merchants? I’ve yet to run into any. Everyone I know is 100% convinced England will definitely win the World Cup this summer. This is not related to the fact that they’ll be barred if they say otherwise.
How excited are you about the World Cup? Are you one who likes to raid the supermarkets and stock up on all the St George’s Cross paraphernalia?
Excited? My bar staff have been dressed as crusaders since January 1.
During these tournaments everyone gets involved and excited. Kids love it. So do women. How do you feel about the fairer sex getting into football?
If women want to get into football then that’s great. Many of the men I know who are into football haven’t met any women, can’t look women in the eye, lose the power of speech around women. Introducing women into an environment that these men are familiar with could help them learn to be around the opposite sex. Like at the zoo when they introduce animals who’ve not met before.
The FA have announced that the WAGs will be with the squad for parts of the summer. Your thoughts?
The FA likes to imagine it has control over many things – football, footballers and what they say – and now seems to think it can decide what WAGS can do. They’re mental.
To the squad. What are your thoughts on the following: A weak back four (would you have John Terry back?)
You’ve no choice. JT is turning up whether you like it or not, in his Full Kit W*nker gear and everything.
Wayne Rooney’s role?
As long as Wayne cuts down on the rolls I’m sure he will be able to deliver this summer.
Youth or experience?
Well, to be honest and if memory serves, those ladies in their 40s certainly know what they’re doing… oh sorry, you were talking about the football.
4-4-2, 4-2-3-1, or 4-3-3?
1-9. Take nine strikers. Might as well.
What about the manager? Roy Hodgson has the air of an old pub landlord. Do you feel a connection?
Roy is that rare beast in football, the intellectual manager. He can read, speak a language and that. But does that mean he’s the right man for the job? Well, that depends on the job you’re offering him – a bit of filing maybe, or perhaps some bookkeeping. But I can’t see him running a pub. Being a football manager, let’s be honest, he can only deal with up to 11 people at a time – he’d buckle on New Year’s at 11:59 when people are getting their last-minute rounds in.
What would happen in this country if England won the thing?
It would be the perfect moment for England to declare independence from Scotland, catch the jocks on the hop.
What would you do?
I expect I’d change my name to that of all of the squad. Maybe burn the pub down and cash in the insurance so I can refit the pool room. I also expect there’d be three weeks of enthusiastic five-a-side that would peter out mid-August. What I will do is open that new box of crisps that are still within their sell-by date that I’ve been saving for a special occasion.
Speaking of crisps, is it true that McCoys are taking you to Rio this summer?
Yes, that's right. McCoys have decided to put your pub on a plane and send your local to Rio. Well, I say that, but you have to enter the competition - go online, nominate your pub, get voting and who knows, the next thing you know you could be drinking in a reproduction of your gaffe on the beach in Rio. No, I'm not making this up, I haven't banged my head either. Too good to be true, eh?
What memories do you have of 1966?
It’s a year permanently etched on my memory even though it was two years before I was born.
If England won this summer, would the likes of UKIP prosper?
UKIP would doubtless have a knees-up drinking French wine on their Euro expense account. Lefties.
There are a few foreigners we have to beat first though. First up is Italy in the Amazon jungle. Thoughts?
Italy are always one to look out for, if only because they’re generally better at football than us.
What about Uruguay? Are you a fan of Luis Suarez?
Suarez is worrying too, what with him being really brilliant at football.
What do you know of Costa Rica?
Not a lot: are they better at football than us?
The favourites are Spain, Argentina and Germany. Is it a coincidence that we've beaten them all in wars?
Truth is we’ve beaten everyone – you name 'em, we’ve done 'em at war. It’s made them all try to get their own back the only way they can, on the football field. Though the Germans have been too quiet for too long.
And what about the hosts, Brazil? They say we invented football but Brazil made it beautiful. Agree?
I agree that they’re really good at football, yes. The bastards. Will no one think of our feelings?
How good will a load of pale Englishman look on Ipanema beach?
There is nothing finer than the sight of an Englishman’s puny white flesh on the beach. Some may say it’s foolish and impractical, but it’s actually a way of knowing who’s who when you’re abroad. The way English soldiers once announced their presence by wearing redcoats, we now display our skin as it goes from white to lobster pink: it strikes fear into the hearts of the locals.
Al Murray the Pub Landlord was speaking on behalf of McCoy’s, campaigning to get pub landlords and their punters to vote for their favourite local to be recreated in Rio this summer and to win a trip to Brazil. To enter visit www.mccoys.co.uk/riolocal