It maybe doesn’t need saying, but I’m excited. This is pretty much my birthday, Christmas, New Year’s Eve and anniversary (sorry honey) rolled into one.
I’m not going to pretend I’m a “life-long” fan but I’ve been to every World Cup from 2003 onwards and that won’t change.
You can read all you like about the differences between football and rugby, you can build up barriers between the two and make comparisons and generalisations about fans of the other, but it’s all irrelevant from tonight.
I grew up in a football household. My dad followed Chelsea from a young age and has seen them play all over Europe. My mum is a Palace fan and has even worked at the club. From about 7 years old, every weekend was football. In fact, I do still spend many more weeks each year at football than rugby, but that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate both equally.
I’m excited for this World Cup. Hell, I’m already excited for the NEXT one, too. But this one is different – this is the first World Cup I’ll have experienced on home soil. If we were ever to get a football equivalent in this country, I’d be excited for that, too!
I remember the disappointment during the Olympics of the struggle to get tickets and was grateful in the end for what I did get (I was sat 100yds away watching GB basketball lose the night Farah, Ennis and Rutherford covered the Olympic Stadium in Gold!) but overall I enjoyed the event, the spectacle and felt proud of my country and my city.
This time, I’ve taken no risks – I signed up earlier to the ticket website, I made sure my England membership was up to date and I sat patiently by my laptop on the days I needed to.
The reward is an opportunity not just to cheer on England at Twickenham, but the opportunity to see at least 17 of the 20 participating nations, the best in the world, ply their trade around the country.
Between now and October 31, I’ll be absorbed in all things rugby. I’ve even set Sky to record all the games, in case I want to watch them again on the days off!
If you aren’t a rugby fan (you probably aren’t reading, actually, but still…) watch some games, visit a Fanzone and see what you might be missing. If you get a chance to see a game in, the flesh, grab it with both hands. The opportunity to see world class sport close up should never be overlooked. It’s not something you see every day, so take the plunge.
If you’ve read this far, then thank you. Enjoy the World Cup, welcome everyone visiting and be a considerate fan.