On Sunday at Craven Cottage l witnessed some of the best of the premiership with both teams putting up a good performance. United fielded a team with a Mexican, Bulgarian, Ecuadorian and Korean, illustrating well, the global dimension of our game. But it won’t be this, which wins us the World Cup bid for 2018 in December.
With FIFA officials passing through, I’d expect us to put up an excellent technical performance, particularly as we boast some of the best facilities and infrastructure available, both to watch and play the game, and particularly in London. But having the best facilities already available in the world won’t be enough, as Paris learnt to their detriment when they lost the Olympic bid in 2005 to us. We should also learn the lessons of the successful World Cup in South Africa this summer.
Far more important, is the geo-politics amongst FIFA voting members. For example, part of the attraction of having the World Cup in South Africa was to introduce the tournament to Africa for the first time. (so I think the move by some London clubs now in banning vuvuzelas is not a good idea, as it may appear to be a move against the Africanisation of the game) In this context, the competition is coming from Russia but let’s just be grateful that we’re not facing a bid from China!
And if we win the bid, this will, (undoubtedly) improve our chances of winning the World Cup once again as the only time we did win, was when it took place on home soil in 1966. But we’ll need a bit more; we’ll need a change in government. As Harold Wilson pointed out at that triumphant time, have you noticed how we only win the World Cup only when Labour is in power!