World Cup 2018 – 8 days to decision

Just a teenager by a few of months, I remember with affection England winning the World Cup in 1966. For those not old enough to recall it, sorry, but it really was a special day and I shared in the nation’s joy on that sunny afternoon in late July. Our family holiday had taken us down to Perranporth and, sitting in the hotel lounge, we watched the Wembley drama unfold. Winning the Rugby Union World Cup pales into nothingness in comparison, despite all the media hype. That day gripped the whole nation, not just sections of it. As the game built to its extra time conclusion, so the crowd in the lounge grew. The chefs quit the kitchen to watch the compelling final minutes and, after we had won, people were so happy that there were hardly any complaints about our meals not being ready as a consequence. The tv audience was 32,300,000 (the biggest one ever, being two thirds of the total population) but I’m sure they forgot to count our chefs.

Reading the papers the next day was wonderful as each one celebrated that never-before or since event. The triumph lifted everybody, whilst beating a good, strong team and our traditional rivals West Germany made it even sweeter. Mind you, it is a long time ago now.

But all of those memories have made me yearn for the World Cup to return to England and I can’t believe it hasn’t happened yet. Both Mexico and Germany have hosted two since then, France have had two altogether and Brazil are lining up their second. Therefore, it is not unreasonable for the Home of Football to want a second turn – even if it seems tied in with the notion that that is perhaps our only way of winning it again. Sadly, that desire to host has been frustrated many times over the years, however, and if England fail this time, the next possible year will be 2026. 60 years since ’66 and there are no guarantees even then.

I have a great deal of sympathy for all the people who have been part of the 2018 England Bid. So much work has been put in that it will be galling if it is ultimately to no avail. But that must be true for people in the other bidding countries; Belgium & Netherlands, Russia, Portugal & Spain. And this is where I find the whole business unpalatable. There is something wrong with a system that encourages people to spend millions of pounds fruitlessly. I know that much of the stadium redevelopment will only happen if England’s bid is successful and yet an enormous amount of preparatory work has had to be done anyway. A winning bid will probably make it worthwhile but how can FIFA allow so many countries to spend so much? Isn’t there supposed to have been a global economic downturn? Maybe FIFA are from the Lord Young School of Economics?

Once I start to think about the bid and the voting process, I really begin to feel uncomfortable about the whole thing. People bang on about carbon footprints, global warming, saving the planet and so on, and yet bidders are jetting here there and everywhere, carrying wonderful gifts, making sparkling Powerpoint presentations and giving out plenty of free key rings in order to woo some very ordinary people into voting their way.

Most of me still hopes England’s bid is successful but, in the end, I wish FIFA had cut out all the fuss and printed a list saying ‘Here are the World Cup venues for the next forty years.’ And that England realised the best way to win it again is for the team to play the best football.   


Author: Graeme Garvey

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Posted November 24, 2010 by Editor in category "World Cup 2018 Decision Countdown

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