Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

Billy on the Box: Living the dream down Wembley way

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 11: (L-R) Martin Keown, David Seaman and Terry Venables, technical advisor of Wembley FC, look on during a Budweiser FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round at Vale Farm Stadium, on August 11, 2012 in Wembley, London, England. (Photo by Daniel Hambury/Getty Images)

You all remember the Carlsberg footy ad where Bobby Robson manages a team of former England stars but over on ESPN they do things a little differently.

For a start, the beer has changed to Budweiser and their team is real, as was shown this week when Dream On — The Journey of Wembley FC kicked off.

“Budweiser have brought someone else in to help us. Not only was he England manager, he’s played for Spurs and he’s won the FA Cup twice in his career,” teased chairman Brian Gumm, brother of E By.

“He also left as Spurs manager under a big cloud, wrote Seventies sleuth series ‘Hazell’, sings at the drop of a hat and no other club will touch him with a bargepole,” he didn’t add, but by then Terry Venables had walked in, looking very much like an extra from Benidorm.

The premise is that Terry is not, I repeat, NOT the manager, but technical director, got that?

The not-the-manager has also brought in new coaches, including some bloke called David Seaman, to work with the keepers.

One of them is called Lee Pearce and is quite good although built more like Phyllis Pearce, while his rival between the sticks has all the poise and handling ability of a lackadaisical slug.

Basically whatever the not-the-manager says goes, which hasn’t gone down well with manager Ian Bates, who has potential to become more like Norman Bates as we progress over the next seven weeks.

It’s fly-on-the-wall stuff and not wishing to spoil it but given they all played last week against Langford (not Bonnie) and it was shown live on ESPN, the likes of Graeme Le Saux, Claudio Caniggia, Martin Keown and Ray Parlour have been brought in to play in the FA Cup by Terry ‘not-the-manager’.

Where it all ends is still a mystery but if Terry mysteriously ends up inside a shower curtain in a motel then it’s not going to take Hazell to solve the case.