Dear Max Boyce: The comedian's contribution to national hubris triggered the bleakest period ever for Welsh rugby, says a fellow Welshman. So if Wales triumph at Twickenham tomorrow, sing 'Land of my Fathers' by all means, but ease off the jokes

Click to follow
Indy Lifestyle Online
Remember your joke about Dai and his dog that used to bark out the score whenever Wales beat England? 'What does he do when England beat Wales?' he was asked. 'Dunno,' said Dai, 'we've only 'ad him eight years.'

Ah, Max, you turned English rugby into a real laughing stock, didn't you? When your best-selling LP Live at Treorchy came out in 1974, the England rugby team were in the middle of their leanest spell, during which they managed to win the Five Nations championship outright just once in 21 years (in the same period Wales won it outright nine times).

For us Welshmen, they were the greatest of days: Gareth Edwards, Barry John (the Outside Half Factory]), Phil Bennett, the Pontypool Front Row (the Viet Gwent), Merv the Swerve, Llanelli beating the All Blacks.

I don't suppose 'hubris' is a word much used in the Glynneath Co-op. My dictionary defines it as 'insolent pride such as invites disaster'. If we were chuckling heartily in 1974, any student of Greek drama should have known that we wouldn't be laughing long.

You don't need me to tell you, Max boyo, that disaster not only came, it set up head office in the Principality. We sank pretty low: not only getting trounced regularly in the Five Nations, there were humiliations that could hardly have been dreamt of in Treorchy back in 1974.

Remember that scene in Drop the Dead Donkey? Damien, one of the reporters, picked up a phone, dialled a number and when it was answered, he yelled: 'Max Boyce? WESTERN SAMOA]' Oh, what a fall was there, my countrymen. (Beaten by Western Samoa at the Arms Park in the World Cup in 1991: just as you said, Max, I know 'cos - I was there.)

There are several things I regret that my 12-year-old son has never seen: a Labour government, British victory in the Eurovision Song Contest but most of all the chance to celebrate a Welsh Grand Slam.

Now deliverance is in sight. Tomorrow the bleakest era in Welsh rugby could end with victory. And here's my request, Max: if things go our way at Twickers, restrain yourself from indulging in raucous public displays of Celtic triumphalism.

Let's hope Ieuan and the boys do the business against England (about 30 points to nil would be a fair margin). And after the match we shall turn to our English neighbours with composure, say simply 'bad luck]' and offer a manly shake of the hand.

By all means sing hymns and arias and 'Land of My Fathers'. But please don't contemplate getting up on stage to mock the English and tempt fate for a second time. I hold you personally responsible for our wilderness years: if you threaten another dose I promise to beat you to death with your giant leek.

Just one more small request, Max. I don't suppose you've got a spare ticket for The Match? It's for my son, really

(Photograph omitted)

Comments