A man is facing a desperate race against the clock to prove his fitness to watch the Qatar World Cup from his own living room and local pub, it has emerged.
With the start of the tournament just 3 weeks away, Mike McBride, 42, is in a battle against time to develop a basic understanding of the footballing credentials of some of the lesser-known African teams. He is also yet to finalise his starting-11 stock phrases about the poor human rights record of the host nation.
‘It’s crept up on me this one’, admitted McBride. ‘Usually, by now, I’d be on version 12.1 of my spreadsheet of times for all matches, cross-referenced against work and home commitments’.
‘But I woke up in a cold sweat in bed at 2 this morning and couldn’t even remember whether it was Group E or F that is the Group of Death. And is Qatar 4 hours ahead or behind us?’
McBride’s World Cup form has been a cause for concern amongst his mates, following a number of below par observations about the tournament in recent weeks.
‘Last Thursday I had to limp out of our Thursday boys’ night out in disgrace after I said it would be great to watch Erling Haaland on the biggest stage’, said McBride. ‘Turns out Norway haven’t even qualified. It’s embarrassing.’
‘My daughter asked me just yesterday when we were getting a Panini Sticker album’ said McBride. ‘I hadn’t even thought about that…what kind of a man am I’.
‘He might be able to fall back on some tired anecdotes in the big matches without breaking stride from drinking his cans of Stella sat on his Laz-E-Boy chair’, said McBride’s wife with a note of caution. ‘Form is temporary, class is permanent and all that.’
‘But will he be able to raise his game to offer any meaningful insights into South Korea versus Ghana at 1pm on a wet Tuesday in late November? Only time will tell’