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I was listening to a 'phone-in on local radio the other day, the thrust of which was, "Where are you going on your holidays this year?" It's the kind of public service broadcasting on which the BBC has built its reputation, and an interesting question to have the opportunity to think about before your next hairdressing appointment.
What struck me, before I managed to switch stations, was the number of people 'phoning to share experiences of campsite nightmares, caravan breakdowns - local radio listeners are fond of the mobile home - fierce inter-marriage packing conflicts and so on, who nonetheless were happy to do it all over again, the ultimate triumph of hope over experience on which the holiday industry relies.
I feel much the same about the forthcoming English Premier League season. We've just been through the inevitable "whither English football?" debate, following failure at a major tournament - so, after every major tournament basically - and agreed that something needs to be done about the structure of our national game. And yet, once Sky Sports start plugging its first batch of live matches, it's hard to suppress a frisson of excitement.
Chelsea - West Ham, Guardiola v Mourinho in Manchester, Arsenal - Liverpool; so many fascinating sub-plots. We more or less know it'll end in tears at Russia 2018 - if we're all still playing international sport then - but if I'm typical at all, I think we're putting that on hold for the time being.
Sky has been yanking our chain with their forthcoming attractions all weekend in the knowledge that anyone with an interest in sport and a subscription would almost certainly be tuned in.....
The rest of the piece can be read on Mon July 18 here
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