It’s that time of (every other) year when a major tournament rolls around, ushering in the traditional period of English fans losing their collective minds; plastic St George crosses adorn white vans and council estates, Tom, Dick and even Harry has an informed opinion on a 3-5-2 or 3-4-3 formation, and a sense of underlying optimism is hidden behind a self-perpetuating veneer of jingoistic pessimism. On top of that, some muppet in the workplace suggests organising a sweepstake.

We here at Glorious are no different. An entry fee was quickly decided upon (£2.50 per team) and it was declared to be a winner-takes-all contest with a jackpot of £80 going to the lucky guy (or gal) with the victorious nation. However, being a small team of creatives, we usually have to resort to roping in various family members, friends and even canines to make up the numbers. This year the Edis family alone accounts for a 25% share of the entries, whilst Chris dropped the ubiquitous ‘my mate Dave’ into the hat.

We don’t do things by half in this corner of the Northern Quarter, so grand plans were orchestrated for the draw itself involving no less than 150 orange ping-pong balls, a live video feed from Moscow, and our very own master of ceremonies (complete with Russian heritage), Jeff. What could possibly go wrong?

Much like Hitler’s ill-fated decision to invade Russia, we tend not to learn from past mistakes. You’d have thought that the time Jeff set off 50 party poppers into his face, or his indoor firework display that nearly burnt down the boardroom containing a group of visiting students (both on the same day) would have taught us not to involve him in anything grandiose. After a first attempt that was as ill-fated as Operation Barbarossa, we advised Jeff to stay at home and instead held the redraw the next day. With two of his more competent colleagues in charge of the complicated task of picking balls out of a bag and not putting them back in, the results were as follows:

So, commiserations to Chris’s mate Dave for drawing Saudi Arabia (just the 5 goals conceded last night to the lowest-ranked team in the competition). It’s hard to see last tournament’s winner Thom enjoying back-to-back success, not with Iran this time around. The smart money is on the Shaughnessy household raking it in this year, having drawn France, Spain and Argentina amongst them. But who knows? Will Grant’s other half Lucy be celebrating this year?

Doubt it.


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