IT seems I may have been a bit hasty in ruling myself out of the running for the vacant England manager’s job.
My team, the mighty Whitley Coast Soccer under-eights, are enjoying winning streak of epic proportions. They’ve won two games on the trot.
For those with no association with children’s football, it will mean little.
For those who spend their weekends on the edge of a muddy field in sub-zero temperatures shouting at their offspring while wondering whether they will ever get the feeling back in their toes, it should strike a chord.
Having children changes your life. It takes you on a new path. That path forks again at about the age of five or six, depending on whether those children are boys or girls. It’s the age when the sports start ... and I was dealt a two boys hand.
I can vividly remember traipsing off the school playing fields with our Bradley after one of his first training sessions when he was about six.
We were soaked to the skin, he was covered in a thick layer of mud and his studs clacked across the path as he headed towards the school gates. Coming in the other direction were the girls in tutus on their way to ballet class.
One of the girls was followed by a dad I knew. He was holding a flowery plastic umbrella over his daughter’s head. There was no need for words.
I’m still not sure who gets the best deal out of this.
For all I know, kids ballet may well be a fantastic spectator sport. At the very least it’s a warmer experience.
And before you mount your high horse I am aware that some girls do football and some boys do ballet. The performances of my team have owed a lot more to Wayne Sleep than Wayne Rooney for the majority of the season.
And we have played teams with girls in the ranks. The hard part is getting the boys to shake hands with them at the end of a game.
Aged eight, they are viewed as an entirely different species (I’m not entirely sure when that view actually changes, come to think of it).
I have two sons, now aged eight and 11, and the weekends are non-stop football. And it’s a serious business. How serious, you have no idea. I have seen grown men being separated, fists raised, hurling threats and expletives, and all over the substitution of a youngster during a game involving 10-year-old boys.
I have also seen a grown man in his dressing gown at seven in the morning digging his slipper heels into the surface of his frosty back garden to ascertain whether a kids training session could go ahead.
It’s a sad sight. Even sadder for me, for I was the man in the dressing gown.
How serious? Well, I did have one mum asking if perhaps we should look to employ a man-to-man marking system rather than a zonal defensive system on Sunday mornings.
The kids were aged seven! I can’t get them to tie their own laces never mind employ a defensive system even the full England team struggles to master.
Perhaps it’s the same at ballet classes. For I all know, parents may regularly have to be separated by ballet instructors. “Arabesque, my a**e. My grandmother could pirouette better than that.”
Anyway, I digress. Our team has won two games, and my son Isaac, age eight, scored his first goal for the club.
He was dropped for the second game for failing to do his maths homework.
Too hard? Hey, England need a disciplinarian. Let the FA know, my hat’s back in the ring.