Lee Boardman’s World Cup Memories

Lee Boardman is familiar to many for his roles in TV and film across the last 20 years including Coronation Street, HBO’s Rome, Beowulf and – most recently – Bancroft. He’s an avid football fan who supports Manchester United and, naturally, England. Gibraltar Insight spoke to him to find out some of his World Cup memories.

The summer of 1982 

This World Cup was the formative one in my 10-year-old life. My eye was taken by Brazil – the greatest side never to win a World Cup? Definitely. Socrates, Eder, Zico, floating around the pitch with an ease I’d never seen before. They were nailed on to win the tournament. I ran home from school to catch the match against Italy – kick off was at 4.15pm and it was gloriously sunny outside but I was glued to the TV. Pragmatic Italy were transformed after a collection of bloody boring nil-nil and one-one draws and qualified for the semi finals with an unexpected 3-2 victory. The day football died!

Bryan Robson’s goal against France

Only 27 seconds had passed and Robson put England ahead against the Platini-led French team. The move started with a throw-in from my absolute hero, Stevie Coppell, a headed knock on from Terry Butcher and Robson smashing it in, in record time. I almost jumped through the window in joyful disbelief.

1982, again (told you it was a formative one!)

We should’ve got to the final of this tournament. We could’ve won this World Cup!
England needed to score two against Spain to go through the weird ‘second phase group’ that we were dropped into along with West Germany, with whom we drew nil-nil. Two goals to reach the semi. Brooking went so close and Keegan headed past the post when it was easier to score. Another nil-nil. Unbeaten yet knocked out of the competition. I stormed up to bed in floods of tears, proclaiming I’d never support them again. My first broken heart at the hands of the English national team. (Many more since).

The Admiral kit from 1982

My birthday is early July and I was the first kid in my school to get the new England kit – the best one they ever produced. I wore it out, I wore it so much. So synthetic, it was like wearing an unventilated plastic bag. But I loved that kit so much. I won an Adidas tango football in a Shoot magazine competition and would insist on being photographed with it in the garden, team photo style, in full kit, like a 10-year-old Don.

1990 semi final

I was living in Jersey at the time and spent the day of the semi on the beach with mates superstitiously not drinking German ale. I knew in my heart before the penalties began that we wouldn’t win. And in the words of Forrest Gump, “That’s all I have to say about that”.

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