The glass-half-full approach

As you've asked, my routine so far has been to walk to the lake, do some work, then at 12.30 settle down with a drink. Yes, I know - disgusting, starting at that time of day, where will it end? Ten hours later is the answer, having watched three live games, one after the other.

Now that I've watched 33 games in succession, I am staggering about dazed and overdosed, cut off from life, reality. You enter a haze, a tunnel, lose track of day and time and place. Thank God the World Cup comes round only once every four years. What am I saying, wash your mouth out.

The 12.30 games are over, so it's down to only two a day - easy, though I do sometimes find myself watching the clock, counting the seconds, hoping for compassionate leave. But I am proud to be one of the retired, the elderly, the bedridden, the freelancers of the globe, who are slumped with me, cheering their lads.

I have my little charts to fill in. Stupid, really. Everyone knows the score. I don't have it exclusive. But I also add stars for each team, which is my opinion, unique to me.

Perhaps my most important contribution to global fandom is my goals analysis. I started categorising goals around 40 years ago when I was doing a book about Spurs. Being in the dressing room discussing every goal, I thought I should keep a record. So I devised five categories of goals.

First, there is an Error - by a goalie or the defending side - when a goal seemed unlikely. Then a Scramble - when, again, it looked fairly unlikely, but with pressure and luck it goes in. Dead Ball covers free kicks, penalties. Set Moves means a sequence of passes, ending with a cross, a shot, a header. Individual is when the most important element has been one person's brilliance.

I won't tell you the results so far - do contain yourself - but it means I am frightfully busy. Oh yes, she thinks I am lolling there half drunk, only waking up to shout abuse at the screen, which is only half correct.

I do find I have to put my wine glass down to write up my notes, so that decreases the intake. And I have to concentrate in order to decide how to classify each goal. Scrambles are hard, for oft I am tempted to list them as Errors. But it is my game, my project; I can change my own rules.

I am thinking of posterity, knowing that the world will be grateful for my analysis, but there is another reason I keep such detailed notes. After every game, I stagger out of my TV room, into the light and the real world, to be greeted by my wife.

Do I know you? That's my first reaction. Oh, yeah, now I recognise her. "Who won the game then?" she asks, nicely. What game? That's my second reaction. If I concentrate really hard, I can usually remember the score in the game just finished. "And what happened in the afternoon game? Did Italy win?"

The awful thing is, it has totally gone. At this stage, each new game washes away the old. I can't remember who played, let alone the score. That's why I need my aide-memoire . . .

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