The main reason I never liked football was that I could never play it. Football at school involved skilfully dodging people who were charging towards me – fine had I been a striker, less so as a defender. Nobody in my family liked the game enough to watch it on TV, so the upshot was I never got any idea of the shape and tactics of football. Even when I got into the drama of the game I would watch games in wary ignorance of what was actually going on pitchwise.

That may finally be changing, thanks to the miracle that is Pro Evolution Soccer 3. Ten days of playing it over Christmas led to a wonderful moment: I sat down yesterday afternoon to watch the second half of Liverpool-Yeovil and I – I – I could see!. It was just a game of football, not an especially great one, but I could understand what people were trying to do and why, and even why it worked or didn’t. This comes naturally to the rest of you I’m sure but it was a revelation to me.

(The only problem is that I see everything in Pro Evo terms, especially the goals. At one point Heskey put a shot well over the bar, and in my mind I could feel his pushing that square button too eagerly – my PS2 controller has given fresh meaning to the word “tap-in”.)