Opinion: Should you be able to watch the World Cup in schools and at work?
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As a 12-year-old boy starting life at secondary school, I sat waiting for the mundane lessons to end, just so I could go to Sainsbury's and buy one more pack of limited-edition World Cup Match Attax. As soon as the tournament started, teachers started to put the games on, particularly the football fans.As I was working during my gap year in a clothing factory, I learned that the supervisors used to sneak a small radio into the warehouse just to listen to BBC Radio Five Live's coverage of the World Cup.
The quadrennial sporting event (the biggest sporting event in the world I might add) possesses this special aura, a magical feeling that conjures up the childhood football fanatic in everybody: from 12-year-old schoolchildren to the elderly season-ticket holders of 60 years. If we see a big stone, a used cardboard roll or the likes of them, we cannot help but to just have a swipe resulting in ourselves becoming, in our eyes, world champions. England last won the tournament 52 years ago, in 1966 on our home turf. The real sense of patriotism and immense pride in our country's sporting achievements is becoming few and far between, with the likes of Sir Bobby Charlton and Sir Geoff Hurst idolised in a way which Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane may never be. If you ever need one reason why schools of children primed to be inspired, this is it. Seeing your patriot peers achieving the heights of success on the world stage can be enough to inspire every child. Gareth Southgate has provided, in my opinion, a relaxed, motivated squad of players hungry to succeed and showcase their abilities in the eyes of the world. With an average age of just under 26 years old, they are the third-youngest squad on average travelling to Russia. The likes of Raheem Sterling, Marcus Rashford and talismanic striker Harry Kane provide the attacking basis designed to entertain casual fans and football nerds alike, providing the same levels of excitement as the so-called 'golden generation' of the 2006 World Cup in Germany. If some of the England players perform for country exactly as they did at club level, then the British public are in for a treat, with players bringing an assortment of different styles of play and tactical awareness.
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Another aspect, which only seems to take place during the World Cup, is watching the beautiful game in locations never usually associated with football.
Sitting in the idyllic settings of local pubs is the mainstay for the rest of the three years and 11 months of the footballing calendar. But, just for these four weeks, the footballing stage is open to places such as cafes, and even local football grounds, with teams such as Burton Albion screening England games at the Pirelli Stadium.
There are also various settings within the capital city (including countless pubs and bars!) that are screening England's three group games.
But this should encourage, not discourage employers and headteachers from showing the football.
No England fan will come out publicly and say "We will win the World Cup!" with true conviction, but one thing is definitely for sure: there is bound to be entertainment to hand when it comes to the Three Lions.
If the Jules Rimet trophy is to truly come home from Russia in the 2018 World Cup, then the England squad will need every single ounce of inspiration and support that they can get their hands on. If that has to come from the schools and the workplaces of the nation, which provide the very essence and heartbeat that makes England so prosperous, then so be it. Image Credit - Pixabay. Wikipedia Commons. Flickr Commons, Moazzam Brohi.