The Bloke: Every four years The Missus decides she likes sport

The Bloke.
The Bloke.
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Every four years, the Missus decides she likes sport. The World Cup, she concluded somewhere along the line, is one of those events that everyone should embrace. Even her.

It doesn’t matter that she doesn’t know what offside is, let alone explain the law that relates to it.

Nor is she put off by the fact that she doesn’t actually know anything about the World Cup itself.

“Is there football on tonight?” she asked on the evening of the England warm-up with Honduras.

“Yes,” I said. “England are playing the mighty Honduras. It’s the World Cup semi-final.”

“Oooh, brilliant!” she enthused.

“I’m joking,” I said. “You do realise how preposterous that would be, don’t you? England, in the World Cup semi-final?”

But such ribbing doesn’t faze her. She is in her element when it comes to global occasions that involve flag-waving, blow-up novelty mallets and regular trips to the pub.

Her enthusiasm is the classic double-edged sword. It’s handy in that it means there will be no arguments when I insist on watching the tournament unfold and it also offers the potential for the occasional white lie.

Yes, I really do need to watch the Iran-Nigeria clash, she will be told, because they could be England’s second round opponents.

The flipside is that she starts pretending she knows something about football. Which is not just patently untrue but also very annoying.

For years she championed much-maligned central midfield partnership of Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard.

This wasn’t for any tactial reasons, you understand, it was merely that she fancied the pants off the former and reckoned the latter looked good in shorts.

This time she is already asking questions about Rooney’s form and whether he really deserves a place in the starting line-up against Italy.

This ‘insight’ has been gleaned from second-hand sources, but is delivered with such assurance that to an outsider it may seem as though she actually cares.

The reality is that she’s far more interested in the opening ceremony (she has a habit of getting overly emotional during opening ceremonies, peaking with full-on sobbing during the Mary Poppins/NHS section at the London Olympics) than England’s opener against the Italians.

On Saturday night she will sit down for kick-off and shout ‘Come on England!’ a couple of times, then get bored after five minutes when we fail to complete the most basic of passes to another player, never mind muster a shot on target.

Twenty minutes in, for reasons already outlined, she will demand that Frank Lampard is brought on.

I don’t need this. Watching England at the World Cup is traumatic enough as it is.

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