The soccer World Cup is, in terms of viewing numbers, the foremost sporting championship in the world with the finals contested by teams from thirty-two countries held every four years over a one-month period and qualifying matches taking place over the preceding three years. The tournament started in 1930 and, with the exception of the war-effected years of 1942 and 1946, has been held ever since.
Modern soccer originated in a set of rules codified in Britain in the Nineteenth Century, particularly after the formation of the Football Association in 1863. The game soon became internationally popular although in North America and Australasia its popularity is dwarfed by more local sports such as American football and baseball. Although recognised by many as the "home" of football, the World Cup has only once been staged in the British Isles when England played host in 1966. Although the final was held in London, other matches were played all over the country with three of the group three matches (leading to the quarter finals) being played in Manchester and three more being played in nearby Liverpool.
The 1966 World Cup in Coronation StreetEdit
David Barlow, as an ex-professional footballer for Weatherfield County FC and a London club, managed to procure tickets for the Brazil v Portugal match at Goodison Park in Liverpool on 19th July (broadcast as part of Episode 585 (20th July 1966). The men who attended the match with David were Ken Barlow, Jerry Booth, Dennis Tanner, Len Fairclough, Jed Stone and Stan Ogden. Jack Walker had been supposed to attend but wife Annie refused to let him go so he gave his ticket to Jed.
The 1998 World Cup in Coronation StreetEdit
Anticipating a large crowd to watch the final played on 12th July 1998, the Rovers staff decorated the pub although Jack and Vera Duckworth bickered over who should man the bar and who should watch the match. As it was Sally Webster's birthday she wanted to go out for meal which meant that husband Kevin would miss the game but, unable to get a babysitter, the meal was off and Kevin was able to join Curly Watts, Martin Platt and others in watching the spectacle.
The Cup That Cheers, an episode in the second season of spin-off programme Pardon the Expression was suggested by the real-life theft of the World Cup on 20th March 1966. It was found by a dog, Pickles, one week later, hence the line in the episode that "Fingers" Ferguson will claim that his cat found it at the bottom of his garden when he comes to collect the reward.
Behind the scenesEdit
On many occasions in the programme's history, coverage of World Cup matches have been some of the few programmes which have moved Coronation Street away from its traditional 7.30pm timeslot, indeed coverage of the England v Uruguay match on 11th July 1966 meant that Episode 582 was transmitted at 6.55pm - the first time ever that the programme's timeslot was shifted nationally from its usual slot.