Our top 10 TV football comedy moments.
There's plenty of comedy in football without the contributions of our finest comedians. Who could forget Terry Venables' remarkable impression of Sven Goran Eriksson on the phone during ITV's build up to the 2006 European Cup Final ? or Christian Gross? This though, is our selection of intentional comedy from the archives.
No.1 Harry Enfield's Television Programme (1992) Arsenal of the 1930s v Liverpool of the 1990s
A full house at Wembley greets the teams for the inaugural match between the Arsenal of the 1930s against the Liverpool of the 1990s. Arsenal have the inspirational captain Charles 'Charlie' Charles, chain-smoking keeper Stan 'Between the Posts' Hartley and the demon for speed Finney, on the wing. Liverpool are initially baffled by the black and white game but take a firm grip on the match to lead 9-0 at half time. However, Arsenal learn quickly and the 2nd half is a different story. Pure comic gold. Why can't Enfield do this sort of stuff any more?"http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yzhlAQgv7kE"
No.2 Clive Anderson (1993) Peter Cook Interview
This is Peter Cook's finest 7 minutes. Long after the glory days of the sixties he appeared on the Clive Anderson chat show in the guise of three, fictional characters. The first and easily the best was Alan Latchley, a football manager of the old school. A mixture of Brian Clough and Ron Manager he brings his management philosophy to the fore. To motivate his players he would kidnap their wives or push them out of the changing room with a pitchfork. If you've never seen this, just watch the clip. If you have seen it, watch the clip anyway. Genius.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oeG9r6HxJgE"
No.3 Monty Python (1970) Germany v Greece - International Philosophy Football
A brilliant idea for a sketch. Two teams of philosophers, the ancient Greeks versus the Germans, managed by Martin Luther, wander about on the pitch. There's a lot of thoughtful rubbing of chins while a bemused Beckenbauer (a surprise inclusion by the Germans) tries to rally his men. Referee Confucius has to book Nietzsche for claiming he has no free will before a Eureka moment from Archimedes. Socrates finishes off a clever move with a diving header to seal it for the Greeks. Marx and 'Nobby' Hegel have no answer. It would be 2004 before Greek football rose to such heights again.Germany v Greece - International Philosophy Football video.
No.4 The Fast Show (1994-2000) Ron Manager
Jumpers for goalposts? Giggsy Wiggsy? Rubbing the ball in a bit of dogshit and getting your friend to head it? Marvellous. Isn't it? T he Fast Show's Ron Manager is probably the greatest fictional comic creation football has produced. Ron's marvellous half time interludes with his sidekick, dour Scot Tommy Stein, were a highlight of any episode. The Fast Show has other good football sketches including Roger, the nouveau football fan and Channel Nine's results service brought to you by Antonios Gubba.The Fast Show - Ron Manager video.
No.5 Father Ted (1997). Annual All-Priests over-75's 5-a-side competition
This is the stuff. This is what they want. Ted's star player is likely to be out for a while with death, whereas rival Father Dick Byrne has pulled off an international transfer coup on the eve of the annual over 75's 5-aside ding-dong. With Father Jack out for the count on Sleepy Nightie Snoozy Snooze, Ted conjures up the sort of dastardly plan even Sir Alex would baulk at. Cue a remote controlled electric wheelchair and a pair of false arms in an absolutely classic episode.
No.6 Ripping Yarns (1979). Golden Gordon
Barnstoneworth United are the worst team in the north of England. They haven't won for 6 years and their No 1 (and possibly only) fan is Gordon Ottershaw. With a local scrap dealer ready to close the ground Gordon decides to reunite the team from the glory days. A marvellously well written half hour from an underrated gem of a series. It is especially resonant for those of us that support crap, northern clubs. Some inspired moments, especially the interaction with his son, Barnstoneworth. Watch out for a cracking cameo from John Cleese.
No.7 Boys from the Black Stuff (1982). Yosser's Story
Although this is a tragic tale of urban strife in the early 1980s there is a moment of sublime comedy in the moving 'Yosser's Story'. He finds himself in a bar with Graeme Souness and Sammy Lee and engages in a crazy discussion as to the lookylikeyness of himself, Souey and Magnum PI. Possibly the only time Souness has ever been slightly scared on camera, he signs his autograph as "To Yosser Hughes, better looking by far, best wishes, Graeme Souness," Only a paper round stopped Yosser joining him on the Anfield turf.Boys from the Black Stuff (1982). Yosser's Story video.
No.8 The Likely Lads (1973). No Hiding Place
A classic episode of the Geordie comedy starring James Bolam and Rodney Bewes. The lads are determined to avoid the score of the Bulgaria v England match played that afternoon so they can watch it on Match of the Day. Flint, played by the late, great Brian Glover, has bet that they can't avoid finding out. He finally catches up with them just as the highlights are about to begin...
No.9 Monty Python (1970). Watford Long John Silver Impersonators v Bournemouth Gynaecologists
Another inspired piece of nonsense from the Python boys. Not really much to it apart from the Gynae boys running rings around the immobile impersonators of the pirate captain, whose only response is to shout 'Aaaah Jim Lad' at them. Even funnier after a few cans.
No.10 Minder (1984). "Ride to Scratchwood"
Arfur buys 2,000 tickets for the England v Scotland match from a former footballer. He sets off with Terry for Glasgow to sell them to Scots, desperate for their trip to Wembley. Things don't, unsurprisingly, go to plan, in a quality episode.