Observations with Richard Beecham: World Cup will leave many snookered

FOOTBALL FRENZY Some, like this chap, will get into the spirit of this year's World Cup, for others, it won't be so easy.
FOOTBALL FRENZY Some, like this chap, will get into the spirit of this year's World Cup, for others, it won't be so easy.
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In one month, we will each have a stark choice to make.

To some of us, this will be second nature – a decision so instinctive it wouldn’t even require thought – but to others, this will be a terrifying conflict of one’s own interests.

I am of course talking about the World Cup, and your decision on whether or not you take an active interest in the world’s biggest sporting event.

While I understand many will get into the swing of things, gleefully gluing their free Daily Star St George’s cross car flags and confidently discussing England’s lack of a holding midfielder, I understand to some this will be a month of pure torture.

Speaking personally, I am utterly devoted to “22 grown men in shorts kicking a ball around a lawn”. I have a near-antisocial tendency to remember quirky facts and stats, while regularly making jokes about the heading ability of forgotten 90s midfielders (I rarely get many laughs with those). The obsession with football could be seen as a severe, debilitating character flaw.

So to me, the World Cup is like Christmas dipped in chocolate and rolled around in pistachio nuts. A seemingly neverending treat for my eyes and ears, grabbing my attention by the lapels and never letting go – I just love it. I do. I DO!

However, I have no small sympathy for the majority of my friends – none of whom care in the slightest about “a load of millionaires in shorts”. They will spend the summer hamstrung by their complete lack of interest in the sport, but not being able to contribute to the majority of workplace discussions.

“How about that Fabregas? Overrated, isn’t he?”

“I thought Pirlo controlled the game in the holding role.”

“I never thought Chris Smalling could hit them like that.”

Many of you will make attempts to grin and bear it, inflicting football matches upon themselves in some macabre self-torture scene just to join in with discussion.

And you know what? I completely understand your pain.

Recently, friends and colleagues had become immersed in an altogether different kind of sporting event, one which I could not, despite every attempt, find even passably interesting.

The World Snooker Championships were a dark time for me. Evening upon evening spent on the sofa, attempting to muster enthusiasm for century breaks and cue chalk went unrewarded, each time inevitably succumbing to a You’ve Been Framed repeat on Dave.

“I want Selby to win, he has such good control of the cue.”

“Ronnie is going to absolutely school him.”

“Robertson will prove them all wrong.”

The only contribution I could make to discussions was a vague appreciation of John Virgo’s colourful waistcoats. I since learned he retired decades ago.

It was during this time I learned how it felt to be a non-football fan. Torn between a lack of interest and a need to be involved in conversations, it’s no surprise it leads some to writing angry letters to BBC Points of View every four years.

So my message to those who will be avoiding this summer’s tournament is this: I understand your pain.

That’s not to say I’ll care...