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Last month, on the first day of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, we headed down south to Hackney Marshes in East London to help (with Betfair’s assistance) link up a group of football fanatical bloggers with a football legend in the form of goalkeeper Peter Shilton.
For those of you who don’t know, Peter Shilton is England’s record appearance-maker and also the proud holder of the record for most competitive appearances in world football.
The timing was perfect. It was the hottest day of the year so far, not a cloud in the sky, and just days before England’s first group game against Italy. Flags were flying from bedroom windows, fuel efficiency was at an all time low thanks to those little plastic car flags, and general excitement around the country was at fever pitch (hard to believe now, granted). Taking into account Peter’s list of records in an England shirt, it’s fair to say that experience is his middle name, so he was the perfect person to give his thoughts on England’s chances of glory before the tournament kicked off. Peter was also on hand to teach our group of valued football bloggers how to take the perfect penalty. Now, we’ve seen some perfect, and not so perfect, penalties so far this World Cup, and it was intriguing to listen to him talk through the fine details which make such a huge difference when it comes to placing the ball on the spot and taking that all-important kick. All in all, the PR day was a huge success for Betfair, with Sky Sports News, Daily Mail, and TalkSport all covering the event, and, most importantly, our football bloggers absolutely loved it.
Charlotte went down to Hackney for the day and gave us a few thoughts on the whole experience… “After days of careful planning ahead of this event for Betfair, I’ll be honest, the day didn’t get off to a great start. I was booked on an early train from Leeds down to Kings Cross and my need for a coffee was bordering on dire. Sadly, of all things for the Starbucks at the station to run out of, hot water was possibly the worst, so I had to settle for a hugely inferior East Coast cup of coffee. Upon arrival at Hackney Marshes, however, everything took a huge turn for the better. We spent a couple of hours setting everything up and then waited to welcome the bloggers and Peter Shilton. Peter was an absolute gem. Forget any preconceptions you might have about footballers; Peter was one of the most down to earth people you could hope to spend time with, and a font of information about England’s chances ahead of the World Cup. In retrospect, looking back at England’s ill-fated World Cup campaign, Peter’s words ring true. He was unsure about the shaky defence in front of Joe Hart, and also talked up the likes of Raheem Sterling, who came so close to finding the back of the net against Italy in the opening minutes. Peter also perhaps unintentionally jinxed Spain goalkeeper Iker Casillias, who could have been on course to better Shilton’s World Cup clean sheets record, of which he is extremely proud, but fell at the first hurdle when Spain limped out at the group stage in humiliating fashion. The bloggers we invited down for the day had a fantastic time, learning how to take the perfect penalty, and taking part in an extensive Q and A session with Peter. All in all it was a fun, very successful day in the sunshine for all involved, apart from some embarrassing sunburn on my part, the pesky English sun striking me down despite the use of Factor 30, and we’re really looking forward to the next PR day we organise.”
Charlotte is chief whip when it comes to making sure words are in order at ICS-digital. You can get in touch with her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org