By Davies, Hunter
New Statesman (1996) , Vol. 135, No. 4796
I'm exhausted already, and we've not yet kicked off. It isn't easy, pinning up all those World Cup wallcharts, humping home 24 bottles of Beaujolais and 24 bags of crisps, "Less than half the fat of Morrisons standard crisps", so it reads on the bag. Who says I won't be eating sensibly this tournament.
During half-time in that warm-up game against Jamaica, when we were four up, I went out into the garden, sat down to have 15 minutes of sunbathing--and fell asleep. Well, it has been a warm week here in Lakeland. Good job my wife woke me and I got back to my action station, just in time.
I've told her the house rules for the next four weeks. No talking. No entering my room during a game. Leave notes, if it's vital, but should you suspect I've fallen asleep, you have my permission to kick me.
It is going to be hard, as I plan to watch all 64 games, starting with three a day for the next two weeks. Good job I'm in training. All the years I've put in will now pay off. I keep notes on every match, dunno why, just habit, have done for the past four World Cups.
I haven't got any flags on my car yet. I don't think it suits a Jaguar, even one ten years old and bashed to hell. But every time I go into Cockermouth, they seem to be spreading like measles. Our vicar, who delivered our paper this morning, has got one on her car, and is wearing an England shirt. She is a sporty type, the Reverend Margaret Jenkinson. Was at the Olympics once, as a physio.
My wife has been into Carlisle, to a shop called Sports World, and bought the full England kit for the two-year-old son of a friend in the US. She won't tell me the price. I know it was expensive because it came with an inducement. She gets all her money back--if England win the World Cup. I've got the leaflet pinned up with all the charts and fantasy predictions. …