Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

The Glass-Half-Full Approach

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

The Glass-Half-Full Approach

Article excerpt

As you've asked, my routine so far has been to walk to the lake, do some work, then at 12.30 settle down with a drink. Yes, I know--disgusting, starting at that time of day, where will it end? Ten hours later is the answer, having watched three live games, one after the other.

Now that I've watched 33 games in succession, I am staggering about dazed and overdosed, cut off from life, reality. You enter a haze, a tunnel, lose track of day and time and place. Thank God the World Cup comes round only once every four years. What am I saying, wash your mouth out.

The 12.30 games are over, so it's down to only two a day--easy, though I do sometimes find myself watching the clock, counting the seconds, hoping for compassionate leave. But I am proud to be one of the retired, the elderly, the bedridden, the freelancers of the globe, who are slumped with me, cheering their lads.

I have my little charts to fill in. Stupid, really. Everyone knows the score. I don't have it exclusive. But I also add stars for each team, which is my opinion, unique to me.

Perhaps my most important contribution to global fandom is my goals analysis. I started categorising goals around 40 years ago when I was doing a book about Spurs. Being in the dressing room discussing every goal, I thought I should keep a record. So I devised five categories of goals.

First, there is an Error--by a goalie or the defending side--when a goal seemed unlikely. Then a Scramble--when, again, it looked fairly unlikely, but with pressure and luck it goes in. …

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