Steady on, Smoothy Sven

I have seen the future - and it will involve moving a lot of furniture. On 10 October, I watched two live games on the net - England under-21, then England-Ukraine. The first was on the FA's website, and I found it instantly, thinking how clever I was, won't my children be amazed. Ukraine was more complicated, and I had to log in three days earlier to get it for £4.99. I had ten attempts at filling in the form on the screen, screaming and shouting, not knowing what I had done wrong.

I came late to the net because, for decades, I was happy with my old Amstrad. Did everything I wanted, fit for my purposes - who needs email? I would print copy, then fax it over, and some poor sod would have to input it. A year ago, it started not turning up. "What does a fax machine look like?" some overeducated young voice would ask. It would be found covered in dust in a corner, out of paper. That's when I decided to join the 20th century, only ten years after everyone else.

I have an Apple, big and glossy, "I" or "Eye" something, I think, silver edges, ever so slim, sits on my desk gleaming and proud. I had only ever typed on it, obviously, for I spend most of my life at the other side of the room, slumped in my comfy corduroy easy chair, footstool in front, little table beside with snackeroos and a spare bottle of Beaujolais in waiting, watching every footer game on every channel everywhere in the world. The decades have been marked out in red wine stains on the rugs around me.

So what a panic I got in when I settled down for the first ever game on the net. Naturally, I wanted to watch it slumped, refreshments at the ready, not sitting upright at my desk. I grabbed my easy chair and tried to move it, knackering my back, pulling up the rugs, which I then tripped over, knocking over the Beaujolais I had opened and losing half of it.

My wife was convinced I'd had a seizure and must be lying prostrate. She didn't see me at first and thought, oh no, burglars, well they are welcome to any rubbish they can find, his room is a dump anyway. I then realised I could swivel my Apple so it faced sideways, thus I only needed to move my easy chair a few feet. After adjusting the angle of the screen and moving the furniture again (as I found I had to sit a lot nearer than if I were watching on the telly), I eventually got comfy.

And the reception wasn't bad, especially close-ups. Long-distance was a bit blurry, a high ball in the air went funny, players ran like figures in a video game - not that I have watched a video game, but I have seen adverts. It was a relief not to have all the rubbish logos on the screen, or all the commercials.

At half-time in the under-21 game, the FA clearly didn't know what to do, except show us an empty pitch. So relaxing. Made more sense than Smoothy Sven in his sexy black shirt at the Ukraine game.

At one point, we saw Sven hand a note to an unseen hand. Just write your phone number down here, darling?

The future, of course, will not be the net. Live footer will eventually be shown non-stop on walls, on wine bottles and in your head: there'll be no need to move anything.

Hunter Davies is a journalist, broadcaster and profilic author perhaps best known for writing about the Beatles. He is an ardent Tottenham fan and writes a regular column on football for the New Statesman.

This article first appeared in the 19 October 2009 issue of the New Statesman, The Strange Death of Labour England