Secret Diary of an Entrepreneur: World Cup self-interest

Football's rubbish. But I figure that England doing well could be good for my bank balance.

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Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

I can't tell you how much I hate football. It's not just that it's boring in itself - watching 22 pampered millionaires kick a stupid ball around a field for a whole hour and half. It's the effect it has on other people - particularly men - who can apparently talk for hours about its most tedious intricacies without getting bored, while getting incredibly over-excited over results that, in the grand scheme of things, really don't matter at all. So ordinarily, the prospect of a World Cup - which gives men an excuse to spend three solid weeks watching and talking about football - would fill me with horror and dread.

Not this time though. The way I see it, football has two big advantages. One, it gives men something to talk about on otherwise-awkward social situations (albeit it stops them recognising the inadequacies of their small talk). But more significant, at least as far as the World Cup is concerned, is that during those brief periods when England are doing well in a big football tournament, the country as a whole definitely becomes a happier place. People spend more money on food and drink and barbecues and replica sportswear and car flags, and - particularly if the sun's shining - go to work feeling more optimistic about life, business and the universe generally.

So while the World Cup has some obvious disadvantages for business owners like me - people tend to be more distracted, and even sometimes try to talk to me about football, which is a major no-no in my book - it can also have a big upside. Happier people tend to spend more money and commission more work. And as far as I can tell – sad though this may be - there's nothing like a big football tournament for raising the country's overall happiness levels. Which, let's face it, is something we really need at the moment.

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