A long time ago I said I was boycotting both the Russia and Qatar football World Cups, partly because I believe that they were corruptly rewarded by FIFA, but also because I fundamentally disagree with the way both countries are run, and neither should have a prestigious tournament awarded to them, with the subsequent ability to bath in the warm glow that hosting a World Cup provides.
Basically – Fuck Putin.
Each World Cup is like an orgy of football. I do watch less football every year, but I normally make exceptions for the World Cup. During the last World Cup, I had two screens at work – you can guess what was showing on the second monitor – and it wasn’t Microsoft Excel. The World Cup before, I took a week off and did nothing but drink beer, watch football, and eat Tesco’s special World Cup sandwich (which was surprisingly bloody excellent…Tesco…I know).
Every 4 years I try to watch as much football as possible.
Yet this time, I felt no excitement or interest in the lead up to the tournament.
It didn’t help that the previous football season was pretty damn miserable, as a Hull City AFC fan, watching our club being torn apart by malevolent owners, our players being continually disrespected by them, our managers being undermined. The war on fans goes on. I barely watched any games.
And then the Premiserable League resembled a Formula One race, with the team ahead after a few laps already crowned the winner, with the only excitement left being the question of who would finish 4th. And any crashes/sackings. Yawn.
Oh yeah and England were about as likely to win the World Cup as Brexit is to be reversed.
However, no matter how unexcited I was, it still isn’t easy to avoid the World Cup as a football fan, especially when so many people who care not at all about football, try to talk to you about it. I made the mistake of excitedly signing up for the sweepstake at work – forgetting about my upcoming boycott. For my sins – I received South Korea.
I didn’t watch any of the games at first – despite being off work. Normally I would have been glued to Russia vs Saudi Arabia. But no. I went for a walk instead.
I saw a little bit of Mexico vs Germany, but only because it was on at the pub where I was having a roast dinner.
Then it came to England’s first game against Tunisia. Could I keep my boycott going? Should I keep my boycott going?
In the end I left it to the Metropolitan line gods, and bizarrely it ran exceptionally smoothly and was home from work the earliest time in months.
I took it as a sign and started half-watching it whilst doing my ironing. Fuck Putin, but wouldn’t it be hilarious if we won the World Cup in Russia and he had to hand the trophy over? Not that there was a chance in hell.
Of course, we scraped a win.
I continued to watch no more football until the Panama game. I was at home. My roast dinner was booked for late afternoon. It was quite a joyous occasion.
By this point, I was on board. I’m not going to stop Putin and his thugs locking up journalists, killing British citizens, shooting down passenger aeroplanes, invading countries, etc, by myself. My one man boycott isn’t going to do fuck all to stop Russia interfering and threatening western democracies.
I still haven’t watched much of the World Cup, barely any – just the England games and one other game in full.
The propaganda coup for Putin is sickening but it would be a beautiful “fuck you” if England won the Russian World Cup.
Come on England!