I think my earliest memory is of watching the World Cup Final in 1966. I would have been four and I remember the room, the excitement and my Mum and Dad’s happiness.
55 years on, I am anticipating getting a free bus-pass and until last night, beating Germany when it mattered had remained as elusive as a pensions dashboard
I had the delight of presenting to an investment governance committee at 5.30pm so the first half was a wash-out. As I and Rahul presented our research, huge roars welled up from the Cockpit and Rising Sun which adjoin my City flat.
I’d run down to Trafalgar Square before the game to check out the fan-zone. at 4.15pm it was raining so hard , the streets were deserted except for huge numbers of policemen awaiting football violence.
These fan zones are little Gulags which lucky people who win a ballot can queue up for to have happiness spoon-fed to them in germ-free sanitization. At first you could peek in , but now they have put big curtains round them to stop passers by from getting a glimpse of the action.
I ran home to do a presentation to an investment governance committee for whom a 5.30 start seemed to make sense. Our research was presented with the sound of the packed public houses – the Rising Sun and the Cockpit, welling up to our second floor flat.
The true fan zones are not organized but happen where people choose to drink and shout.
The second half was a joy. I watched it with my partner on the eve of her birthday. The pubs bellowed and we hugged and after the final whistle we wandered the City celebrating with random flag-waving lads.
We may win this tournament, but I have thought that many times since 1966. I can remember that crushing match in Mexico 1970 when Peter Bonetti’s hands let us down and the long run of defeats to the dastardly Hun began.
I remember watching penalty shoot outs in various hostelries in London, shared grief with friends and family.
But I have no memory like that of sitting on the sofa with my Mum and Dad back in Shaftesbury , watching the black and white Radio Rentals TV and seeing England win.
Until last night.
I woke this morning and thought last night’s victory a dream. Even though I’d tuned in to Dotun Adebayo’s World Football phone in at 2 am, it still feels like a dream.
2-0, a life framing moment, I can breathe easily again after 55 years!