There simply isn't any bigger or better sporting occasion.
And so even with the English media doing its best to derail our bid to host the 2018 World Cup (congratulations Sunday Times & BBC/Panorama!) it was clear we had the strongest bid. My 10 hour journey on Tuesday night had allowed me to listen to lots of build-up and I was hopeful the schmoozing of Prince William, David Cameron and David Beckham might have secured us enough votes.
Alfie will be 8 in 2018, and it will most likely be the first World Cup that he remembers. What Italia '90 was for me, 2018 could be for him ... how wonderful it would be if that was to be in England!
From 1pm yesterday I had radio5Live on, listening to all the build-up and waiting for an announcement to be made at 3pm. I was full of excitement and optimism. But as Sepp Blatter takes the stage to make his announcement it is clear from other rumours and reports that England hasn't been successful, and that Russia has most likely won the race to host 2018.
FIFA - what a farce! Clearly this decision was made many months ago, and what Blatter wants his monkeys usually provide. The voting process is done behind closed doors, and with rumours about the legitimacy of certain FIFA members in question its no wonder we didn't win. Whats even more of a scandalous decision was that 2022 was given to Qatar. A country who has never played in a World Cup. What a co-incidence that Russia and Qatar had the largest suitcases to offer FIFA!
I'm absolutely gutted that, not only for 2018 but also for 2022, Alfie won't get to see World Cup football being played. There was much talk that the Spain/Portugal bid was up there for 2018, and Australia was among the favourites for 2022. Either of those would have seen me take him abroad with huge excitement - watching the World Cup at the Nou Camp would be amazing! But Russia has so many problems (not least regarding fan safety), and I refuse to believe that a World Cup in Qatar - where all games are played in air-conditioned indoor venues - will capture the magic of the World Cup.
Now I can only hope that investigations are made into FIFA and the way they operate. England can't bid again until 2030, I'm just hoping Sepp Blatter has been pushed aside from his position of power by then!
Here's The Sun's comments;