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Footy fever

So another World Cup approaches, and yet again we find ourselves asking whether England will win this year. I don’t remember the time when they last won, as I had not yet been born, so it’s about time they did. I guess Gary Lineker will be one of the BBC commentators as usual. I still find it a bit freaky when I see him in that role on TV in a suit and a tie. When I was a teenager he was the star player of the England squad. Proves I must be getting old.

Admittedly I never used to be into football, or indeed sport of any flavour. As a kid, I was totally unathletic and proud of it — so much so that when two successive school reports in my early teens put my abysmal performance down to lack of co-ordination rather than the usual lack of effort, I was deeply offended. Okay, so I may not exactly be a circus knife thrower, but I did wonder what kind of politically correct claptrap they were spouting. Unathleticism was my high ideal in those days, after all. Heck, I even defied the attempts of three successive schools to teach me to swim.

Needless to say, my attitude towards The Beautiful Game has mellowed considerably since then. Maybe not quite to the extent that I’m actually playing it — I may have embarked on a bit of a health drive at the beginning of the year and started cycling in to work, but I am still very much of the opinion that football is best enjoyed from your armchair over a curry. Nevertheless, it will be interesting to see how well England do this time round and I am of course hoping for victory on their part.

One caveat is in order, however. You may recall the England-Argentina match at the last World Cup, which England won. This match attracted the greatest amount of interest round here by far, as Argentina had hitherto been subjecting our boys to one humiliating drubbing after another ever since the Falklands war. It seemed almost as if it were more important that they won this particular match than the entire tournament. Unfortunately, this made it an extremely bad time to have an optician’s appointment, as I did, right at the start of the second half of the game. Naturally, they were showing the match live on TV in the waiting room, and it was painfully obvious that the optician wanted to keep the length of my appointment to an absolute minimum so he could sneak in a few more minutes watching the game before seeing to his next victim patient. Moral of the story: if you need to book something like a contact lens checkup or root canal treatment, make sure you steer clear of all the important matches.