Olympic feelgood factor means football can wait

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NOT another column about the Olympics?

No, definitely not.

The games are over now and we must look forward.

Just because a Google search for London 2012 brings up 2,440,000,000 search results- that’s two billion, four hundred million - the most popular games ever cannot be allowed to dominate the sporting agenda any longer.

People are tired of it now.

All that gushing and goodwill, all those smiling faces, world records, moments of total triumph and absolute heartbreak, the full stadiums, the volunteers, the outrageous opening and closing ceremonies, Boris Johnson dancing, even Denise Lewis’s bewitching smile can be put aside now.

It’s over.

There is a new football season to look forward to and we all know that English football, particularly the premier league, is the hottest sporting ticket on earth.

There was Rory McIlroy winning his second major golf title in the US at about the time Take That started belting out ‘Rule The World’ in the Olympic Stadium last night.

We’ve got the third and deciding test against South Africa at Lord’s starting on Thursday, England’s footballers play Italy on Wednesday and there’s the usual torrent of transfer tittle-tattle doing the rounds.

There’s no logical need to keep talking about the Olympics is there?

No, but we just can’t stop ourselves.

With the gravitational pull of a black hole and the brilliance of the sun the Olympics just won’t let us go.

I don’t want to write this column about the Olympics but I must. It’s almost writing itself.

Entire fleets, and they are legion, of BBC reporters are still in thrall to the 30th Olympiad and the hold it had on the world, let alone this country.

Newspapers just can’t leave it alone. It will be at least the weekend before it’s light dims in the tabloids.

It will take the kick-off of the new football season to snap us, kicking and screaming, out of our rapture.

Having missed out on all the live action due to my short-sighted laziness in not applying for tickets 12 months ago, my son and I went to London on Sunday to watch the men’s marathon.

It was only a gesture, a salute to the pulling power of the games. We wanted a glimpse of the athletes first-hand, wanted to see what we were missing.

To hear the crowds as they lined the streets and embankments, climbed up monuments and stood on rooftops to get a view.

To marvel at the organisation of it all, feel the energy, see the runners’ sweat and get a whiff of the glorious Stratford spirit at Olympic Park.

We both thought we knew what it would be like but we went anyway and it was.

Even in the dizzyingly busy Westfield shopping mall, sort of a pop-up Meadowhall, next to the Olympic Park, there was just about some bonhomie with the bling, a sneaking sense of something special among the sales.

When the nights draw in and we’re well and truly back in the love-hate football groove, something said or remembered will bring back a sense of London 2012 and we’ll be glad we bothered.

With the addictive tyranny of football fully re-established it will be hard to remember when the Olympics really was the greatest show on earth.

Don’t fight the feelgood, it will be gone all too soon.