How the fans have finally converted me to the World Cup

In years gone by, you would have probably found me using this column to bemoan the fact that the World Cup has played havoc with the scheduling of my favourite soaps, but this time around it's a bit different.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 6th July 2018, 5:06 pm
Updated Friday, 6th July 2018, 5:14 pm

For a start, I’ve found myself drifting away from some of my traditonal ‘must see’ programmes.

I was brought up in the halcyon days of Corrie, when Hilda, Stan, Elsie, Rita and Mavis trod the cobbles, and although the storylines they are now covering are all very laudable I still hanker back to the times when it provided us wih escapism rather than realism.

Anyway, before I find myself harking back to Hilda’s ‘murial’ and these ducks that never quite sat properly on the wall, let’s return to the World Cup.

Like many people, I feared that, when the tournament headed to Russia, things would quite literally ‘kick off’, especially given the dire warnings about the country’s hooligan element and their past indiscretions.

Of course, the situation was stirred up even further with the poisoning row so I have been pleasantly surprised at just how well things have gone.

I tuned in to the first match more out of intrigue than anything else but I was so taken by the performance of a Russian side deemed so poor that even their own fans didn’t expect them to make much of an impact that I’ve found myself back in front of the TV almost every night since.

I don’t proclaim to be a expert on football. I’m still ridiculed for the time my son brought home a picture of his school team and I remarked that it was a shame that one boy had forgotten his kit. That boy, it turned out was actually the goalkeeper.

Anyway, I now know enough to follow and game and have even felt confident enough to offer my opinion at at work on occasion. Cue much eyebrow-raising from some of my male colleagues.

However, what I really enjoy is watching the range of emotions the fans go through as they enjoy the games.

They are all decked out in their country’s colours - one even wore a clown’s nose on his white-painted face in an extremely acccurate portrayal of the Japanese flag - and there seems to have been no trouble despite the obvious lack of strict segragation.

There have been cheers and tears in equal measure but one thing that amuses me is that, no matter their emotional state, they can always manage a smile when the camera pans in on them!