The superfan will be watching football again soon.
I’m ten days from salvation now, with an enticing selection of pre-season friendlies on 7 July. If you thought Feltham v Wembley sounded wildly exciting, what about Epsom & Ewell v Farleigh Rovers at the Wimbledon Common Extensions? I’m literally counting the days.
I’m not a big fan of football on TV – it’s nothing like ‘being there’ – but I’ve seen at least part of every match played so far at Euro 2012. Apart from the England fixtures, I found Poland v Russia to be the most engaging. I’m not averse to watching other sports like athletics and tennis.
As a schoolboy I was even more obsessed with ‘track and field’ as I was with football. Dad took me to White City to see the British Games, the AAA Championships and international meets with USA, Poland, France, Sweden etc. I saw two world records set – by the American John Pennell in the pole vault and the GB quartet in the 4x110 yards relay.
In our annual school sports at Purley Grammar, I had wins in the 100 yards, 220 yards, 440 yards, 80 yards hurdles, relay (anchor leg) and triple jump. I was 6’4” tall at 15 and represented Croydon Schools at the triple jump in the Surrey Championships. My best distance was 40’10”.
I belonged to Purley Bury Tennis Club at around the same time and reached the semi-finals of the U16s Tournament before being turned over by a boy who was a regular for Surrey. At Liverpool University me and my friend Nick were a renowned doubles team called ‘The Cockney Kings’. I also took part in several matches at Dale Hall billed as ‘Yorkshire v The Rest of the World’, which was basically me and Nick against one lad from Sheffield (who became the manager of a discotheque after graduating) and one from Hull.
I’ve never been able to get into cricket, I’m afraid. I’ve only ever played in one match and was run out for nought without facing a ball. Dad once took me to England v The West Indies on a Saturday at Lord’s but I have absolutely no memory of it – except that it was a very long day.
I don’t know if I’m just unlucky but I drew Mexico in the office sweepstake for the European Championship. In all fairness I don’t think they ever had a chance. Roll on 7 July!