Ok, I’d better come clean. I’ve been somewhat disingenuous when I said the inspiration for our trip to Sweden is a desire to see more of the Scandinavia we glimpsed on our visit to Copenhagen last year, coupled with a hankering to follow the Scandi detectives. I couldn’t say anything before the recent announcement, but now it’s public knowledge that Roy Hodgson is to be the new England football manager, I can finally admit that our fly-drive is a homage to the man himself.
I’m surprised you didn’t realise when I mentioned our itinerary (Mum’s definitely going to Sweden). Surely it was obvious we had picked our route to visit the towns where Roy had been football manager? Did you think, when I told you we will be travelling West from Stockholm, that our plan is to see the beauty of Lake Malaren? Ah, my apologies, we are, in fact, travelling to Orebro where Roy took the reins between 1983-84. I think I also teased you with the idea that we wanted to see the canal at Trollhattan when, in truth, we are heading for the town of Uddevalla where Roy was head honcho for the Oddevold team in 1982.
You were taken in by my assertion that I needed some time to chill on the beach near Angelholm. Of course not: we couldn’t come this far and not see where Roy began his managerial career, from 1976-80, in Halmstad where he took the team from near relegation to league champions. And I’m sure I put you off the scent when I explained we were flying back from Malmo when in fact it was the ideal way to soak up the atmosphere of his splendid term in office there from 1985-89. I’m hoping we can stand at the Oresund Bridge and look across the waters to Copenhagen, reminiscing about our little jaunt there last year to see the location of Roy’s 2000-01 victories.
As a family we do think we should continue in this vein, using revered football managers to help plan our holidays. Rory, a keen Newcastle United supporter, has suggested we try the Bobby Robson Tour, taking in Porto, Barcelona and Eindhoven: we could even fit in a trip to see my mother at the same time. I’m rather partial to the Jose Mourinho Expedition, aka ‘The Special One’, where the delights of Italy, Spain and Portugal can become part of a new version of The Grand Tour.
Although it’s rather sad that Harry Redknapp didn’t get the England job, I have to admit I’m rather relieved because, truth be told, spending the summer months trudging up and down the M3 corridor wasn’t my idea of a fun holiday.