I went with a friend to the Sainsbury's Anniversary Games last weekend to witness 80,000 people re-live the euphoria of London 2012. When Mo Farah hit the front in the 3000m and proceeded to decimate the rest of the field with a show of imperious athleticism, we were swept to our feet as the crowd erupted in a spine tingling cacophony of national pride that brought back memories of that famous super Saturday and Team GB's record medal haul.
But, as we know, seeing the Mobot cruise to victory is just one part of British success this summer. The Lions, Justin Rose, Andy Murray, Chris Froome and now England on course for the Ashes is part of a wider record of stellar success. So much so that it has led some people to describe this winning behaviour as decidedly un-British. Firstly, un-British? That's rubbish, throughout history we've won loads of stuff - just ask the French. But more seriously, as we watched on Saturday, my friend and I chatted about how we'd seen Britain's best stand tall in the face of pressure - like Murray in the final game against Djokovic , or Froome pushing his body to the limit to win the Tour. But, we lamented that in football, all we seem to have are over-paid show ponies who look more out of touch than George Osborne talking about pay rises for MPs whilst eating a Greggs pasty.
Right now, Wayne Rooney is possibly the leading light of spectacular self interest and PR misjudgement that seems to run through Premiership football at present. The latest headlines reported that Wayne had been forced to travel to Portugal with Colleen to escape his ongoing "turmoil". No Wayne, the Middle East is in turmoil. Your decision to either stay at the biggest football club in the world or go and play for Chelsea for about a million pounds a second is not turmoil. Ok, I realise that the tabloids will exaggerate to fill the endless column inches of celebrity non news, but I'm still pointing the finger at Rooney. I am doing this because somebody somewhere has to be feeding the press all this garbage. Either Wayne himself is talking to reporters to leverage his exit or his agent, publicist or another member of his faceless entourage is. And it is here that I think footballers like Wayne and their advisers across the Premiership need to have a good look at themselves in the mirror. Many people across the country haven't had a pay rise in years, athletes who won gold medals in 2012 - like the dedicated rower Helen Glover, are struggling to find enough sponsorship to support their training, and yet we have footballers driving around in gaudy Ferraris talking to their leech-like agents on their diamond encrusted iPhones demanding an extra £25,000 a week in wages or guarantees from the club that they'll always be in the starting eleven...or else. Or worse, you have agents feeding rumour and speculation just to try and force the hands of football clubs to make their next commission. It's a corrupt cartel of players and their acolytes, indulged by the media that ultimately only impacts fans. Either players tantrum and aren't worth the entry fee, clubs raise ticket prices to pay outrageous wages pricing fans out, or at worst, clubs go bankrupt. I know it sounds ridiculous but I am almost convinced that because we indulge the petulance of footballers off the field that their pathetic, morally questionable and bite- riddled behaviour appears on it.
It's also why England on a national scale aren't performing either. Rooney and co. are so self obsessed with their next mega contract or sponsorship deal that any collective national pride to represent their country comes a distant second.
So, if England manage to beat Australia (and the weather) in Manchester this weekend and once again the nation rejoices in more success, perhaps finally our footballing fraternity will think about how they can take the first step to reconnecting with the national mood by stopping their selfish petulance so they can start to contribute to our sporting legacy again.