fabio-capello-1When the England football team failed to qualify for last year’s European Championships, the predictions about the effect on the British economy were dramatic. The press, of course, had a field day with the figures from economists keen to get their names up in lights. There’s nothing quite like telling someone you’ve cost the country £2billion to help raise those fallen spirits, is there?

So, what of the euphoria now we’ve qualified for next year’s World Cup in South Africa? Predictably, the numbers are flying around again, this time saying that it’ll be a boost of around the same amount. That’s right, there’s a £2billion lump sum for retailers, lying just around the corner!

This was described in an article in the Financial Times the other day as ‘birging’ – Basking In the Reflected Glory of the team and its deeds. The term ‘birging’ will never be used again, obviously, but what it signifies is a real area that retailers can win – be it through sticker albums, booze, snacks, ‘Officially Licensed World Cup Merchandise’ or otherwise. If the fans are hitching a psychological lift from the team, there’s no reason you can’t hitch a psychological – not to mention financial – lift from the fans.