The FIFA inspectors were in England this week and everywhere they went they were met by celebrities, dancing school kids and mini football festivals.
Don’t get me wrong, it would be great to host the 2018 World Cup but some of what I saw during their four-day visit amazed me.
These are professional people who I’m sure just wanted to get on with their job of assessing the stadia and the country’s infrastructure.
It must have got tedious for them meeting so many groups of fawning dignitaries and seeing ex-players wheeled out in each city they visited.
I know travelling by helicopter allowed them to see a lot of the country in a short space of time, but surely it would have been a great advantage to the bid to have taken them by train? That way we could have highlighted what we’ve already got in place and shown you can get from London to Birmingham in an hour and London to Liverpool in two hours.
Then there was that big lavish banquet in Manchester at a time when the FA is reportedly strapped for cash. You have to ask whether these banquets are really necessary.
I’m not naive and of course there’s certainly a sense of ‘you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours’ about securing these events.
Anyone who saw the TV documentary about FIFA vice-president Jack Warner a few years back will always be suspicious about what goes on behind closed doors.
England must have the best bid but where politics and football meet things are never straightforward.
Russia have a lot of cash underpinning the game there and must be a real threat.
One worry is the barely hidden dislike of England from Michel Platini and Sepp Blatter.
That was highlighted by UEFA president Platini’s comments about the FA’s delay in appointing a new chairman being detrimental to our bid. I appreciate the FA hasn’t exactly covered itself in glory in recently years, but what he said is rubbish.
Does he think really the FA aren’t going to appoint someone soon and anyway how much does the FA chairman really have to do with running the World Cup?
I just hope it doesn’t come down to who puts on the best junket.