The Bishop of Croydon, the Right Reverend Nick Baines, has prepared a set of three prayers to be deployed by England fans over the world cup. And what a killjoy he turns out to be.
In the event that ‘all around are gripped with World Cup fever’ we should be asking the Lord for ‘the gift of sympathy’. Stuff that.
Surely the appeal of a tournament like the world cup is that it allows those who feel the need to let off a little steam, indulge their tribalistic side and behave is a quasi-racist way without doing any real harm. Who on earth wants to experience ‘common humanity and a growing attitude of generous sportsmanship to others’?
No. We want to win. And to win big. At any cost. And we want to humiliate our opponents. Having indulged that emotion, we can then return to being reasonable, considerate human beings.