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Voice of the Paper: Football fan or not, World Cup can unite us all

Gazette deputy editor Damien Lucas

Gazette deputy editor Damien Lucas

 

The world’s biggest sporting event gets under way this weekend but to me it doesn’t feel like it.
There seems to be a lot of apathy towards the England team, and football in general at the moment.
As a former sports editor I love any major tournaments but many people I have spoken to just aren’t ‘up for it’ yet.

There seems to be a lot of apathy towards the England team, and football in general at the moment.
As a former sports editor I love any major tournaments but many people I have spoken to just aren’t ‘up for it’ yet.

I have hardly seen any flags out and about, certainly none adorning cars like in previous years.

Perhaps the ever-increasing astronomical wages for the average footballer are simply turning people off of the beautiful game? Maybe people are under the wrong impression that it will be difficult to see the matches because it is all the way in Brazil. In fact most of the game times are better for those working 9 til 5 than if it was in Europe.

In the wake of the recent elections and what has been dubbed ‘the rise of the right’ across Europe – our (eastern) region leading the way in voting for UKIP – debate and difference of opinion over the way the country is heading is rife. We live in a democracy, something we should be thankful for each day, the fact you can write into this letters page and vent your spleen and it be published to thousands of people is a great example of that. So when elections come around the strength of feeling can often be fractious in society. A civilised conversation about even local politics often gets people worked up in a way only possibly 
religion can rival.

But a major sporting event like the Olympics or the World Cup can bring us all together. Even if you don’t like football you should still embrace it. It comes once every four years and despite all the negativity surrounding the Brazil preparations, I think this could go down as one of the most memorable tournaments yet. Just last week we had a story about Derek Gowlett, of Choice Taxis, who came up with the idea of giving everyone in Hemel Hempstead and Berkhamsted free cab rides for 24 hours if Roy’s boys triumph in Brazil. Cynics would say Derek’s firm won’t be losing any sleep about having to give any freebies, but it exactly this sort of community-spirited idea that encapsulates how something like the World Cup can unite us all.

While on the subject, the majority of you voting in our web poll think England will be eliminated in the group stages. For what it is worth – who said not a lot?! – I think England will surprise a few people. I’m going for a slender win over Italy in the first game and a valiant journey to the quarter-finals. 
Come on England!

 

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