God Bless the World Cup!


Reflections of Life in Spain. 

I AM writing this column having just sat down and listened to the James Corden and Dizzee Rascal World Cup 2010 Song five times in a row, followed by three consecutive repeats of Three Lions On Their Shirts… and I am feeling in great spirits, proud to be English, a tingle down the old back bone, extremely optimistic that we will go all the way… to at least the Quarter Finals!


I am not alone.

I saw on Sky TV that in a pub in the UK all the bar staff have changed their names to Rooney, flags of Saint George abound, English Bars around Spain are promoting the number of TVs you can watch the games on, and the daily World Cup Report on Spectrum FM has been sponsored by Alvaron Cafe Bar.

Recession! What Recession? Long cold winter! What long cold winter? No flights to Spain! …now let’s not get carried away as finding a flight to Spain these days is about as tough as finding someone that actually believes that England will win the World Cup!

By the time you read this England have played the USA in their opening game and although we didn’t win, I am confident that we will still be in with a chance of getting through the group stages.

I am also  extremely confident that we ‘Brits’ will be having a good time! A whole month of 4-4-2 against 4-3-3 (4 Beers, 4 Spirits, 2 Shots v 4 Beers, 3 Spirits, 3 Shots) will have lifted our spirits, given us hope, and helped us forget the Austerity Measures, Smoking Ban in Public Places, Lack of Flights into Spain ……….. and Penalty shoot outs.

Talking to Spanish friends they are convinced we are mad of course. Ask them which bar they will be supporting Spain in and they shrug their shoulders and say whichever they fancy on the day. Try and find a Spanish bar with flags, sweepstakes and wall charts up weeks before the tournament starts, well to be honest you would have more joy finding a cheap flight to Spain this year (you figured out yet that I am frustrated at the lack of flights to Spain at the moment?)

Rather like Concorde, The Beatles, and the Traditional English Pub the World Cup does nothing if not remind us of when England was indeed Great and for that alone we should be eternally grateful in my view. Sure it will probably all end in tears as have Concorde, The Beatles, and the Traditional English Pub but while it lasts we will be optimistic, proud, and patriotic.

I was mulling over the content of this column as I walked along the beach one evening, in particular the intense burst of national pride that we English exhibit, followed by periods of self deprecation. For a country that invented The Pub we sure spend a lot of time drinking in Wine Bars, the Traditional Sunday Lunch was replaced years ago by an Indian Takeaway as the most consumed meal on a Sunday in England, our Fish and Chips shops sell more Kebabs and Spring Rolls than Fish and Chips, and do you remember good old Woolworths?

And then I got it. The Spanish don’t need an intense burst of patriotism to make them feel Spanish. They have it every day: Spanish wine in the restaurants, the same Spanish menu in every Spanish restaurant, the family lunches at the weekends and on Public Holidays, and the comfort and security of knowing that they are pretty good at virtually every sport they participate in.

I love the Spanish way of life, and try and follow their example as much as I can, but do you know what I love the way the World Cup gets us English going, so for as long as England are over in South Africa I am going to drink pints of beer, eat Walkers crisps, enjoy a Full English, and consume the odd meat pie with mash, peas and gravy.

By Chris Marshall



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