G’Day sports fans
About 8 years ago, we went to an international football match at Upton Park (at West Ham) en famille. England v Australia (friendly). I had some tasty seats through connections at West Ham and we met Martin Peters (goal-scorer in ’66) and David Beckham (he is taller than you would imagine). My girls were very pleased to meet Becks. From the family point of view a big success – daughter adoration nailed on (probably for Becks more than me, but these things rub-off). Pre-match I was happy that the hundreds of pounds for tickets had been well spent.
Then the game began and – My, it was poor! As it was a friendly the team for the 2nd half was entirely different from the 1st and they were both equally bad. I had paid good money for a training game. England got caned and in my opinion it was deserved. If Sven had been within reaching distance I would have happily caned him and duly accepted the prison sentence.
From this point on I have been entirely unsympathetic to international football. In England it is the spectacle for fans of the lower leagues who do not get to watch Becks or his current equivalent every week. I watch premiership football live or on TV most weeks as my drug of choice and so international football doesn’t do it for me.
Then along comes Brazil ‘14 and I am mildly interested. I organise the Altair sweepstake which raises £250 for Theatre Royal Stratford East (and I subsequently agree a CSR sponsorship arrangement with the Theatre). I draw Brazil in the sweepstake and I am slightly more interested. The Altair team think it’s a fix but they are an unduly cynical bunch.
And then the event begins – it is a glorious sporting spectacle. The Dutch whack Spain; Rodriguez scores the perfect goal; the Columbian goal celebration is a joy to watch; the Brazilians eventually get humiliated; and eventually zee Germans emerge as worthy and impressive champions. There were moments in the few weeks of this event that were astonishing; that brought people together; that drew on every emotional sinew. The tears, the laughter and the joy, mixed with despair and eccentricity. A glorious tournament and a testimony to all that is good about football (including what is bad about football).
Of course my team (Brazil) failed to win the cup. However I pre-arranged a range of prizes in the Altair sweepstake. Best hair-cut (Chile goalie); best goal (Rodriguez); best goal celebration (Columbia) and most goals conceded? – Brazil.
The moral of the story? Always have a plan B.
If you would like Altair help design your plan B, call me – Chris Wood 07932 693292 or email firstname.lastname@example.org