Terry Venables helps change Barking and Dagenham’s name ahead of England v Wales Euro match
PUBLISHED: 14:59 13 June 2016 | UPDATED: 16:28 13 June 2016
As the England vs Wales game approaches, Terry Venables has returned to his hometown to give England a 59-58 lead.
Don’t worry, you haven’t slept through to Friday – instead the borough is now called Hartrosewalkersmallingcahilldieralliwilshererooneyvardykane, named after England’s starting eleven.
The idea behind the stunt is to “beat” Wales – the former holders of Europe’s longest town name title with Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch – ahead of Thursday’s Euro 2016 match.
Former England manager Venables teamed up with Paddy Power to rename the borough and hopes it will give the England side a mental lift.
“Throughout my managerial career I was always looking to land the first blow before a big game but this is the equivalent of a Stuart Pearce two-foot tackle – it could make all the difference,” he said.
Venables, an ex-Chelsea and Spurs player who grew up in Dagenham, is backing the project because Paddy Power will be donating to the Bobby Moore statue fund.
The council is hoping to raise £167,641 to create a permanent tribute to the West Ham great in his hometown.
“What we are trying to do is fund money for Bobby Moore’s statue – we’d all like to see if we can get as much push as we can,” Venables said.
“It’s something that typifies East Enders and there’s been a lot of players come from Dagenham.”
As millions of fans hope for a successful tournament, most of them look back fondly to 1996 when Venables lead the national side to the Euro’s semi-finals.
“Not a day goes by without somebody stopping me to talk about it,” he admitted. “In London it was taken for red. It was just great.”
As the national team prepares to emulate the players from Venables’s England side by getting to the semi-finals, he warned that there’s one Welsh player that they should all be wary of.
“I think Bale has spurred everybody on, not just with his performances for Wales but also to be able to go to a team like Real Madrid and do so well,” he said.
Regardless of the result Venables, whose mother was Welsh, will be cheering on England and he believes the occasion will be one to remember thanks to both sets of fans.
“There will be a lot of passion, the Wales team are like the rugby team these days,” he said. “It will be a great game.”
The borough’s new name can be seen on a plaque outside Dagenham Civic Centre, in Rainham Road North.
Visit spacehive.com/the-people-s-statue-to-bobby-moore to donate to the statue campaign. `