Boris Johnson tells us in his Daily Telegraph article this week that he is going to Zurich this week to “humbly but passionately” argue our case for hosting the 2018 World Cup. As a fervent sportsman himself (Boris plays tennis, squash, cricket, rugby, ping pong and football, all with huge gusto) and a brilliant debater and thinker, Boris is well placed to plead our cause.
Boris has sympathy with Howard Flight, because he knows everyone drops a clanger to the media as some stage. Boris says: “I was watching my old chum Howard Flight on television as he tried to dodge the media by pretending to be a potted azalea, and I thought, Howard, we have all been there. He was hunched up in his doorway, head down, doing something with his trouser leg. “I have absolutely nothing to say,” he muttered out of the corner of his mouth.
Yup, I thought: that is what it feels like. One moment you are kicking back with some friendly journalist and you let loose some semi-satirical sally that perhaps you don’t even really mean. The next moment – pow. You are the epicentre of the latest hoo-ha, the fox before the hounds, and when you come back home you find you can’t even get in. The pavement is blocked by a spinney of TV crews with their glaring lights and grey candyfloss sound booms.
As they shout their impertinent questions you feel like some mammal that wants to find the small place where the big creature can’t go. That is what Howard was doing with the azalea bush, burying his head – and I don’t blame him.”
Boris believes that the distortions and frenzy of the media might damage our bid to host the 2018 World Cup, because there is a Panorama programme on television tonight that might do just that. The programme is billed as a hatchet job on FIFA. But our bid is based on the fact that we are a nation of football fans with all the the facilities in place, and even better, and England World Cup 2018 would be the best way of spreading the benefits of football training around the world. The World Cup bid will be of huge financial benefit to the UK, if we win it.
Read the rest of Boris’s brilliant article here.