Revealed: Rinus Michels' Total Breakfast

Legendary Dutch coach Rinus Michels visited Rosie's Café in Kilburn in the 1970s and revolutionised the English fried-up. But of course the English would not listen...

Last Updated: 07/11/13 at 14:46

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This is taken from 'Tutenkhamen's Tracksuit - The History Of Sport In 100-ish Objects', the surreally subversive history of sport by the fantastically original Tyers and Beach. It's available now in all good bookshops and some poor ones.


Object 71
Tactical Condiments
Full English and sauce bottles Kilburn, 1974


In the 1970s, the legendary Dutch coach Rinus Michels visited England regularly, largely to refresh his memory of how football should not be played. Delayed by Jubilee Line engineering works on his way to Wembley one morning, he exited the underground at Kilburn and stopped at Rosie's Café for a meal that would, despite its unlikely and humble origins, have huge cultural significance. He wrote in his diary:

'The café was crowded but I asked to share a table which had three guys at it - I never like being forced to sit in one fixed table so it didn't cause a problems for me. One of them, a builder, was demonstrating to the others a goal he had scored in his Sunday League game, moving the pepper pots and sauce bottles around.

'As I was watching his rudimentary tactical explanation, I started to examine also his breakfast. It occurred to me that the traditional English breakfast was out-dated, rigid - the bacon down the side, the fried bread forming a wall, the beans kept disconnected away from the egg, the immobile tomato. Why should the fried-up have to be this way?

'I began to move items around on the man's plate - a piece of bacon here, overlapping with the fried slice, a mushroom here popping up, there receding into the egg yolk, a free-form dollop of brown sauce working in perfect harmony in alongside red sauce, a Withdrawn (or False) Sausage, all coming together in one glorious breakfast whole.

'The builder man was resistant to my revolutionising of his plate and told me if I did not stop rearranging his breakfast he would start rearranging my face. I told him this would not be necessary and left quietly, sure in the knowledge that the English are a generation at least behind my concept of Total Breakfast.'

Picture note: This Total Breakfast model is used for tactical analysis at the Ajax All-Day Academy and has kindly been loaned to the Museum.

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