Leading article: Football crazy

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The Independent Online

And so it begins. With less than a year to go until the 40th anniversary of England's glorious World Cup victory, '66 fever is in the air. Yes, it's heading for this football-crazy isle faster than a virulent strain of avian flu. Today we can reveal that a new film is being made about that wonderful - and so far singular - footballing triumph over the other leather-sphere-kicking nations of the world.

Prepare to be swamped with reminiscences of a "gentler time" when politicians smoked pipes (strictly tobacco, if you don't mind), mid-fielders sported comb-overs, defenders shunned dentistry, and every respectable gentleman wore a hat. Oh and, of course, it was a time when the manager of the English national side was English. Yes really, children.

Can nothing save us from this juggernaut of nostaglia? There is one slim hope: 2006 happens to be another World Cup year. So come on Rooney! Come on Lamps! Bring back that gleaming trophy from Germany - and maybe we can finally lay that "spirit of '66" to rest.

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