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“The World Cup – An Early Christmas Present?”


So here it is …

Every time I hear those four words, I expect to hear them followed by “Merry Christmas, everybody’s having fun”!  But it’s June, and therefore is a touch early to hear that song right now.  Although, I’m sure it won’t be long before the Christmas cards appear on the shelves in our stores!

No, so here it is, refers this time to the World Cup.  It is finally upon us.  Love it or loathe it, it is going to be difficult to avoid it if you live in a football loving nation.  I’m not sure whether my cousins in the US of A will be following the ‘Soccer’ World Cup with any great interest, but I seriously doubt it.  And I hope we are all still talking after England’s first game against them on Saturday!

I’m not a great football fan – give me cricket any day!  But in this country, every one is supposed to follow our national sport.  And follow it I will.  At least for as long as England remains in the competition.  Now, that could be for only 10 days if things go badly wrong in the group stages.  Or it could be 14 or 15 days.  Or 20 or 21 days if England reaches the part of the competition most people expect the team to reach.  Or, who knows, maybe they could go the whole distance!

And with any competition such as this, there will always be controversy.  And controversy has struck our nation over the last twenty four hours in a way few expected.

The new Prime Minister of the UK, David Cameron, has decided to fly the Cross Of St George flag from the top of Number 10.  This has caused uproar!  Those who are not English, but live in England, are joined by people in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in objecting to this display of patriotism.

They object because Number 10 is a UK Parliament building, not an English Parliament building.  The Scots, in particular, have said that if Scotland had reached the World Cup they would be flying the Saltire from the top of the Scottish Parliament building.

It’s OK for them, because they have their own building – we in England don’t!

Is this really an objection on grounds of the status of the building, or are they just sore because we qualified and they didn’t?

Shouldn’t we as the United Kingdom get behind any of our individual nations?

I know when any of the other home nations play another country, I’m always backing the home nation.  Obviously the only time I have to go against one of them is when two home nations are playing each other.

So come on all you Scots, Welsh and Irish, get behind your neighbours and give them some support.  Forget that we are talking about a political building and just enjoy the spectacle of the World Cup and hope that one of our member countries has a chance to bring home the coveted trophy.

Just think, in the quarter finals we could defeat the French and avenge the hand of Thierry Henry for knocking the Irish out of the competition by cheating.

Who would you rather succeed in the competition, the French or the English?

You’ll get your chance in future World Cups, but right now, it’s England’s turn.  The competition starts in earnest tomorrow, which is also in the future, so let’s finish this post by concluding with lyrics from the song which opened it:

Look to the future, it’s only just begun!

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