We need a proper summer; here's hoping for another 2018 or 2019 | Jack Marshall's column

Summers are defined by three things: sun, sport, and holidays. The holy trifecta.

Monday, 14th June 2021, 4:55 am
Gareth Southgate celebrating winning the FIFA World Cup 2018 round of 16 match against Colombia (Owen Humphreys PA Wire)

The summer of 2018 came good on all three fronts. The weather was so warm we were bombarded by satellite images of our soggy little island looking like one of then-PM Teresa May’s fields of wheat. The countryside literally caught fire. It was, as they say, proper hot.

It was a World Cup year, too. United by a remarkably-likeable England team, the country was enveloped by a summer of fan parks and people throwing pints when we scored. Of Gareth Southgate’s waistcoats and ‘it’s coming home’. Bliss.

Holiday-wise, I was in Croatia for a dip in the Adriatic, a nosy around some old towns and islands, and to see the locals lose their minds at their national side reaching the World Cup final. A 4-2 loss to France did little to dampen spirits. I’ve never seen so many flares in my life.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

If 2018 was good, 2019 topped it.

The weather may not quite have been as scorchio, but the sport...

In April and May, a glut of some of the most unbelievable Champions League games (Man CIty 4-3 Spurs, Liverpool 4-0 Barcelona, Ajax 2-3 Spurs) ever was punctuated by one of the greatest Premier League goals of all time from Vincent Kompany against Leicester.

But, even then, it just kept getting better and better.

I was at the rugby Premiership final at Twickenham to see Exeter lose 34-37 in a thriller against Saracens in the sun, then at Old Trafford to see New Zealand pip the West Indies in one of the tightest World Cup matches cricket has ever seen.

And then England only went and won the whole thing ‘by the barest of margins…’

I watched the start of the World Cup final against New Zealand from a villa in Montenegro, watched England take control and then proceed to lose control on dodgy plane wifi, then watched the stunning finale in an Airbnb in Vienna. Then we went for pizza and wine.

Just as you thought it was all over, Ben Stokes went superhuman at Headingley to single-handedly defeat the Aussies and keep the Ashes alive. Colossal. Then, in late August, Tom Curry and Sam Underhill went full ‘Kamikaze Twins’ in England’s 19-7 win over the All Blacks in the rugby World Cup semi.

After the write-off that was 2020, 2021 shows promise.

And have we ever needed a real heatwave-until-mid-September kind of summer as much? Needed Gareth’s brave boys to pull it out of the bag as much? Needed those late-night booze-ups on staycation with mates as much?

I don’t think so.