The 2022 World Cup in Qatar is going to be an absolutely roaring success and I cannot wait for it.
Regular readers might prepare themselves for some sarcasm at this juncture, however, I’m absolutely serious about that statement.
Tuesday’s recommendation for a tournament spanning November and December is almost certain to be ratified by FIFA’s executive committee next month.
If you ignore the inevitable knock-on effect on our domestic and European club football programme, and, more of a challenge, turn a blind eye to the humanitarian conditions facing migrant workers helping to build the infrastructure for the tournament, then I stand by my claim.
While I'd have rather the tournament was almost anywhere else, and in the summer, I certainly intend to make the best of it.
December is always the most fun month as it is, everyone’s in a good mood, parties everywhere, eating and drinking to excess are almost compulsory. Just imagine for a moment... the World Cup final... held on a Friday evening... two days before Christmas.
Work finishes and you get to look forward to a World Cup final party at home or in the pub, with the promise of a four-day weekend to follow it, with Bank Holidays on the Monday AND Tuesday.
Yes I’m on board with this already.
What makes it even better? Well we might even have a half-decent shot at winning the thing.
Just think. A squad of English players who are fresh and raring to go at a major tournament, rather than having limped to the end of a 10-month season with sore hamstrings, mental fatigue and the dreaded broken metatarsal.
Now I realise that it’s going to have huge implications for the national game here. Your Premier League season would probably have to kick off in July, resume in January and finish in June. It’s going to be hectic.
While we might miss out on our usual festive football extravaganza, and have to spend more time with the families, it does offer an intriguing opportunity to raise the profile of lower-division or even non-league football, during the international hiatus.
All of a sudden Gillingham v Millwall in League 1 is your Boxing Day Monday night football game. Super Sunday the following week comes direct from the Gallagher Stadium where Maidstone welcome League 2 title rivals Arsenal (we can dream...)
For all FIFA’s faults, and there are many, when you get handed lemons in life, make lemonade. This tournament certainly looks to be refreshing.
I don’t tend to be one for self-reproach. Don’t regret the things you do, regret the things you don’t, is something of a motto of mine, although admittedly it’s caused me untold problems down the years,
However I couldn’t help but plant my palm into my forehead on Tuesday when Luis Suarez popped up to slam Barcelona ahead against Man City.
Suarez. Back in the UK. Where he feels vilified by the media. With a point to prove. In the most high-profile game of the Champion’s League season so far. How did I not see that first goal coming, and why, why, why did I not think to have a cheeky wager on it? I could have been quids in. It’s exactly the way football works.
To make matters worse I did have a punt on Lionel Messi to score at any time. He saw an injury-time goal disallowed, then a penalty saved and sent a diving header from the rebound wide of an open goal from eight yards. I regretted that one alright.