World Cup memories: Those were the days my friend…
So here we are again…….2010 and the World Cup in South Africa is now just a few days away. It marks another four years having elapsed since the last event, the passing of time and life continuing onwards – me another four years older.
This will be the 12th World Cup in my lifetime. I was born in a World Cup year, 1962, but by the time I emerged onto planet football in late August, the tournament in Chile had been long finished with England losing 3-1 in the Quarter Finals to the eventual winners Brazil.
Now wouldn’t it be fantastic if my first footballing memory was of England winning the trophy in 1966…..sadly I have no recollection at all. My dad assures me that I watched the Final; however there are no images that made an impression on that lad of nearly 4 years old.
So with my 8thbirthday approaching, at last some World Cup memories. The thing about what I can recall is not just about the football, but a sense of the period. That June I was down in Torquay on holiday and the family was there the week of the England v West Germany game. At the time I had no idea that England were the Holders, I just wanted to see us win. The weather then seemed to be as warm and sunny as the images from Mexico. “Back Home” (the England World Cup team song) seemed to be belting out from every holiday café and ice cream parlour in Torquay and England team pictures from the Daily Express (when it was a broadsheet) seemed to adorn every window you looked at. It brings a smile to my face to think of the innocence of it all, a somehow simpler time. The feeling of sun on the face that warm summer in 1970, the joy of a holiday, of families being together. And if I’m really honest the result didn’t matter. Sure I was disappointed, but it didn’t hurt like the “Hand of God” in 1986, the anguish of the Semi-Finals and penalties in 1990, Seaman flapping in 2002 and yet more penalty pain in 2006.
In 1970 I was still a child; life including football hadn’t imposed its burden and responsibilities that come with getting older. Sure I’d like to see us win the World Cup, but I’d love to feel the sun on my face again and enjoy the innocence of youth.