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13 November 2014

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You are in: Birmingham > BBC WM > WM Features > Why we should back the 2018 bid

BBC WM's Mike Taylor

BBC WM's Mike Taylor

Why we should back the 2018 bid

BBC WM Sport's Mike Taylor passionately believes we should support the bid to get the World Cup to Birmingham. Here he tells us why.

Where were you on October 17, 1986? 

I can tell you where I was. Our teacher had put the radio on at school. Out of the speaker, live from Lausanne, came the decision on the venue for the Olympic Games of 1992. 

Mike Taylor, BBC WM

Mike Taylor, BBC WM

The teacher's sweatshirt bore the legend "Birmingham 1992", but it was soon obsolete - we saw off Amsterdam, but then we were eliminated. Who can say what might have happened had Juan Antonio Samaranch, the IOC's top man at that time, not been born in Barcelona (who of course won the vote), but instead was from, say, Nechells?

Life went on. 

But Birmingham, as I have no doubt you will be as proud as I am to boast, has fought hard to attract sporting events large and small to this area and generally speaking done them justice. 

In 2003, for example, the NIA staged the World Indoor Athletics Championships fabulously, and the authorities had little hesitation in awarding the European Championships to the same venue for 2007 as a reward. 

Martin Taylor & Cameron Jerome

Martin Taylor & Cameron Jerome

Sometimes we're a bit coy about it, some of you reading this might not even believe it, but Birmingham does have a worldwide reputation as a serious sporting city. And that is why it is so important - if you're a Brummie it is your duty - to get behind Birmingham for the 2018 World Cup. 

The decree from the IOC that only capital cities (with a few exceptions) can be in the running to stage the Olympics henceforth means we will never get one of sport's two biggest cheeses, and the (to say the least) unfortunate timing of the redevelopment of Villa Park means one fewer crumb for us from the London Games. All the more important, then, that we demand that Birmingham is at the very forefront of an England bid to host the World Cup in 2018.

Back The Birmingham Bid

There will be plenty of folks in suits on your TV and radio sets over the next year or so, telling you about the economic benefits of staging the World Cup, of how it will boost local traders, fill hotel rooms, leave a legacy, and so on. All very true. But not really the point. It's about prestige, it's about pride in where you come from, and, to be blunt, it's about the child-like thrill you get from big-time sport. 

Our political leaders, at all levels and of all colours, along with national sporting administrators, have had a mixed last few years, and this column in no way offers a view on most of their business. 

Villa Park

Villa Park

But through it all has emerged a portfolio of major sporting events for the forthcoming decade that few other nations can rival. I have two young sons, and, though on occasions their mother is aghast, I can't help wanting to show them all that the world of sport has to offer - and I am, I confess, fervently hoping they'll be as besotted with the sporting world as me. 

For the next few years, in this country, we've already been awarded an Olympics, Rugby World Cups of both codes, a Commonwealth Games and a Cricket World Cup.  If those boys show even a scent of interest I intend to save up for/camp overnight in queues for/hang on phones for hours for/do whatever it takes to get tickets for as much of it as possible. What a gift we are giving our new sporting generation! 

Jasper Carrott & Phil Etheridge

Jasper Carrott & Twang's Phil Etheridge

Now we must finish the job by pushing for the football World Cup in 2018 - supporting our leaders when they champion the idea and taking them to task if they appear complacent. Moreover, we must make sure that Birmingham gets a big share - Wembley will have England of course, but let our city invite and embrace the best of the football world. Anyone who remembers the disappointment of Lausanne, on October 17, 1986, demands nothing less.

last updated: 09/09/2009 at 13:40
created: 09/09/2009

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