The Casual Father: Elizabeth goes for Iceland and leaves me out of pocket

Casual Father

Casual Father - Credit: Archant

I think there’s an old Chinese proverb that goes along the lines of: “Man who puts forth daughter to predict future shall end up with egg on face.”

Elizabeth Steward picking Iceland in her prediction

Elizabeth Steward picking Iceland in her prediction - Credit: Archant

Ok, perhaps there isn’t but if there was, it would perfectly describe my feelings after the tumultuous affair of exiting Europe twice in one week.

To recap for those who haven’t been following this column, a couple of weeks ago I began letting my daughter Elizabeth crawl towards two or three pieces of paper on the floor to make decisions for me.

What started out as a petty squabble between the wife and I about who should change our baby’s nappy, quickly became the most entertaining game I have played since she was born.

Shamefully, I started gambling on the her “predicted” outcomes and was even posting her actions on my social media accounts.


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She called the EU referendum incorrectly, but then I don’t even think Johnson, Gove or Farage were actually expecting the country to vote leave. So I let her off that one.

The other European battle – the football in France – really provided me with a chance to go to town with the Elizabeth predictor.

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I added in a scoreline dimension and even chucked in a first goalscorer choice for one game. Sadly, she continued to get things wrong, albeit not by much.

In England’s opening game versus Russia, she plumped for a 1-0 win only to be cruelly denied by a Russian equaliser in the 93rd minute.

She had England v Wales down as a 1-1 draw, but was once again proved wrong when a late Daniel Sturridge winner broke Welsh hearts in injury time.

England v Slovakia was called as another 1-1 (with Sturridge picked as first goal scorer) and although the 0-0 draw was the correct result, it won me nothing down at Ladbrokes.

Finally, losing patience and late for work, I quickly got her to have a mystic crawl before the Iceland game, where she picked the Scandinavian minnows to win.

I had no time for a scoreline prediction and my exact words on Facebook were as follows: “She’s predicted most things wrong so I wouldn’t sweat too much England fans.”

I even refused to place a bet on Iceland at odds of 8-1 given the impossibility of defeat against a country with more volcanoes than professional players.

I can’t print what I said after the game on that Monday night, but I should imagine it pales in comparison with the language used by Roy Hodgson and his coaching staff, especially as most of them lost their jobs on the back of the result.

I was faced with the ignominy of discussing what went wrong with my Welsh editor Hywel, who tried his hardest not to appear delighted.

My other colleague Angela was more sympathetic, but did little to enhance my mood after comparing my outrage to how she feels about Rob Titchener’s evil manipulative behaviour in Radio 4’s The Archers.

I have now shut down the Elizabeth predictor machine, with no plans to bring it back any time soon.

To quote an old football coach of mine, which I suppose makes it an English proverb of sorts: “I don’t believe in luck, but I do believe you need it.”

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