Here we go again.
Another World Cup.
Cause for celebration andthe buying of beer and flags or reason to sigh and make plans to pressure-wash the block-paving or take up morris dancing?
For those over, say, the age of 30, the emotional scars of too many battles past are still tingling and too fresh to ignore.
When it comes to being an England supporter history shows that hope doesn’t so much spring eternal as disappear down the drain mid-tournament with the recycled Stella.
Every four years we try to resist the calls from within our football-loving souls to be positive, and every four years we fall for it all over again.
In the long-running American cartoon strip Peanuts, Lucy, the toughest, sneakiest character of them all, would entice Charlie Brown to kick an American football saying she will hold the ball in position while he kicks it.
Every year she says she’ll do it, every year Charlie Brown eventually goes for it and every year she pulls the ball away at the last minute and Charlie Brown goes heels over head into the dirt.
I and millions of other English Charlie Browns are so desperate to give that World Cup ball a good kick that we know we’ll try it sooner or later.
Even as we’re running up we know it’s going to be pulled away and we’ll be hurt and embarrassed again.
But we can’t stop ourselves and nor should we.
When that certain World Cup something clicks, whether it’s the flag in the crowd from Gleadless or Eastwood, a flash of brilliance from Lallana or Welbeck or simply seeing your dad getting hooked again, we’ll all go for it.
Are England good enough to win the World Cup?
No, of course they aren’t.
Will we end up believing it might just be possible if this, this and that happens?
Yes, of course we will.
So get the 24-packs in, magnet the World Cup chart to the fridge and get ready for Lucy to whip the ball away just as we start to believe just a little bit .
We may be naive dreamers in a country that hasn’t been a football winner since World Cup Willie.
But dream we eventually must.
Without false hopes of sporting glory we just wouldn’t be ourselves as a nation.