I’m not a big sports fan in comparison to a lot of people. My family are a family of cricket lovers. My dad used to coach Leicestershire, he and David Gower were the closest of friends growing up, and I used to play as a kid. But I really don’t enjoy cricket at all any more. It bores me a little. The Ashes has me hooked, but apart from that, it’s a little bit awful.
My relationship with football is a little odd. Of all sports, it is my favourite. It is the greatest game on Earth. Soccer AM is a must watch every saturday morning, and I do tentatively follow the basics of what is going on across England and Europe, every week. I don’t follow everything as closely as possible though. I certainly don’t claim to be an expert. I follow it all, my own way. I cannot tell you who the centre back for Barcelona is, nor who West Ham are hosting at Upton Park this weekend, but I do keep a close eye on my team – Leicester City, I keep a close eye on internationals across the World, and I keep a close eye on England.
England, in the World Cup or the Euros, always strikes up a sense of Patriotism across the Country. Even among those who aren’t football fans in the slightest. One of my earliest memories, is watching my mum (who does not like football) being unable to watch the 1990 World Cup Semi final, because the intensity of the penalty shoot out had her hid behind a cushion, and angrily yelling at Pearce a few seconds later.
The World Cup this year, is held in South Africa. Games will be played, whilst I am in Australia, which means getting up at around 3-4am every morning to watch (which I will be doing, without fail). England have, what should be a pretty easy group. USA, Slovenia, and Algeria. Every four years, we say “this is the best chance we’ve had in years” and we always blow it. So whilst I remain optimistic in a sense that I secretly hope 2010 is the new 1966, in reality, if I had to bet now, my money would be on Spain. Ten out of ten in qualifiers and current holders of the European Cup, suggests that Spain, are a little bit brilliant. Argentina (if we invade Argentina, and make it a British colony before the World Cup begins, can we technically put Messi in the England side? That would be nice) I think could prove to be a problem for Spain, as could Brazil. But i’m still putting my bet on a Spanish win.
It’s about time an England open top bus rode through Trafalgar Square with eleven players, and a trophy on show.
Shades of ’66 please.