For a Nottingham Forest and England fan, September 1990 should have been the best time to have been born. England had just reached the semi finals of the world cup and had only been denied a place in the final by the new fangled penalty shoot out. (I don’t think it ever caught on.) Forest were one of the top teams in the country having just won their eighth major trophy under the management of the legendary Brian Clough. Sadly, in the intervening 23 years and 9 months of my life, neither of those glorious events have been repeated. Like Dannie, my first world cup was France 1998. I had no idea why it mattered, I just knew that my Dad was letting me stay up late to watch England vs Argentina which was a big deal to a seven year old boy. I remember Michael Owen’s goal and Beckham’s red card. When I woke up in the morning I was greeted by the news that England had gone out on penalties. Football didn’t truly capture my imagination until October 2001. England were on the verge of crashing out of the world cup before it had even started until David Beckham’s breathtaking injury time free kick. From that moment my eyes were opened to the wonderful world of football. Over the years I have become accustomed to the regular failures of Nottingham Forest. However, the sight of England tumbling out of a major tournament on penalties still brings tears to my eyes. On the eve of England’s first match I feel so excited that I have shamefully reverted to being the seven year old boy whose Dad let him stay up late on a school night to watch a football match.