A Hysteria Of Britain

Confused because the past doesn't seem to make any sense?

Why should it? The present and the future are incomprehensible so why the past be any different?

But relax. If you failed to keep up with Simon Schama be of good heart. Professor Flat Eric is here with his seminal work, A Brief Time Of History, to explain those bits you didn't quite follow the first time around.

More Speed, Less Hastings!

Before Nine Eleven, there was Ten Sixty Six. Mathematically incorrect but true.

Trouble seemed in the offing at the start of 1066 when wishy-washy liberal Edward the Confessional kicked the bucket and was replaced by avowed eurosceptic Harold II. Almost immediately a rift broke out in Harold's family with his lil bro, Tostig (of the Todump) getting booted out of the country. In a huff Tostig moved to Norway where he signed up with notoriously cruel jockey, Harold Hardrider. Together they began to assemble a squad for the forthcoming championship, Euro 1066.

In the meantime, the french were stirring up trouble as usual. William, Duck of Normandy, was an ex-viking now turned frog with an eye on the main chance. Because he was (sort of) french, he was known as William the Bastard and he soon showed every inclination to live up to his nickname. He, too, had designs on Euro 1066 and even went so far as to copy the future Republic of Ireland team by getting the blessing of the Pope (John-Paul Ringoandgeorge) before entering the tournament.

However, due to the vagaries of the seeding system eyebrows ere raised, as was much speculation, when Harold, William and Tostig were all drawn together in Group A, which rapidly became known as 'The Group of Probably Not Too Many Survivors'.

With home advantage the odds seemed to favour Harold and his team certainly looked like serious contenders when they comprehensively thrashed Harold Hardcheese and Tostig at Stamford Bridge. Such was the carnage that future Chelsea fans would name their favourite punch-up place after it.

After the match a jubilant Harold said, "That's one in the eye for those who said we could never win a major championship!".

However, Harold still had another tricky fixture to complete against William. Harold's team were carrying a few injuries and were tired after their previous fixture. On the other hand, Harold only needed a draw to progress to the next round of the tournament.

Buoyed by their earlier victory, Harold's side started well as the match kicked off in the magnificent Stadio Del' Hastings. Victory seemed assured but then William took a dive. Infuriated by this blatant (and typically french, hem hem Mr Ginola!) gamesmanship the English abandoned their classic 4-4-2 formation and launched an all-out assault on the opposition's goal. "Dear god, whatever next?", quoth the exasperated Harold as he looked to the heavens for inspiration.

The next thing, William had suddenly 'miraculously' recovered from his 'injury' while Harold was laid low in one of history's most infamous off-the-ball incident.

Thus, the English crashed out of Euro 1066. William went on to win the championship and become William the Conquistador.

However, the English were not too despondent at this reversal as they had long become inured to constant disappointment in competitive matches and so the whole shambles came to be known as The Normal Conquest!

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