Classic Moments: ‘Maggie Thatcher, Your Boys Took A Helluva Beating!’, 1981 (Video)

Chris Wright

9th, April 2013


By Chris Wright

The year was 1981 and England had just lost 2-1 to Norway in a World Cup qualifier in Oslo. Step forward veteran Norwegian commentator Bjørge Lillelien, who duly etched his name into footballing folklore by flying into a jubilant rant in broken English at the final whistle…


Here’s the full translated transcript (as Lillelien alternated back and forth between English and Norwegian):

“We are the best in the world! We are the best in the world! We have beaten England 2-1 in football!! It is completely unbelievable! We have beaten England! England, birthplace of giants.

“Lord Nelson, Lord Beaverbrook, Sir Winston Churchill, Sir Anthony Eden, Clement Attlee, Henry Cooper, Lady Diana – we have beaten them all. We have beaten them all!

“Maggie Thatcher can you hear me? Maggie Thatcher, I have a message for you in the middle of the election campaign. I have a message for you: We have knocked England out of the football World Cup.

“Maggie Thatcher, as they say in your language in the boxing bars around Madison Square Garden in New York: Your boys took a hell of a beating! Your boys took a hell of a beating!”

Sticklers may have noticed that Norway didn’t actually “knock England out of the World Cup” at all, with Ron Greenwood’s men eventually making it to Spain ’82 finals while Norway went on to finish bottom of the qualifying group.

Details, details.