A pessimist's guide to what to look forward to in 2021

England's Harry Kane gestures during a UEFA Nations League Group match at Wembley Stadium, London

Reasons to be cheerful ... 1, 2, 3. Surely 2021 can't be as bad as 2020? - Credit: PA

A pessimist is never disappointed, they say.  Not quite sure who ‘they’ are but they are wrong.

I am a natural pessimist. Always have been. 

Maybe it is a northern thing? Following a team like Huddersfield Town for decades has certainly had more downs than ups. And even when there were ups I was awaiting the inevitable. 

Even as a kid I was fairly glum. If I got something new and beloved I often dare not leave the house with it for the crippling fear something dreadful would happen.

I might puncture my new football on a rose bush, drop that toy I had been longing for all year and break it or rip a new t-shirt accidently.

And maybe my profession hasn’t helped. As a cub reporter I was often the first on the scene of some personal tragedy or other.

Sometimes literally, like the time I arrived at a birthday party gone bad before the fire brigade or police when the candles on the cake took a liking to the curtains. Bet they wished they’d just send a card. 

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There is something very human about grabbing disaster at the very last minute from what appeared to be a success. 

But alongside the foreboding doom that is a constant on my shoulder I am also quick with a laugh. Because hey, if you don’t laugh you might cry eh? 

So after one of the most awful years in living memory here is my guide to what to look forward to in 2021.

A vaccine  

Top of everyone’s wish list for 2021 is to ditch this awful pandemic. 

But here is a word of warning: Even with millions of arms full to the shoulder blades with Oxford, Moderna or Pfizer’s scientific wizardry life is a long way from being back to the good old days when we only had Brexit to worry our little heads.

Masks will no doubt still be on some faces this time in 12 months. And not everyone can have the jab of course. 

But it does feel like the first half of 2021 will be a turning point in the battle against Covid. And for that we should raise a glass. 


My first real memory of professional sport was watching Maradona punch the ball beyond England’s Peter Shilton. I was five at the time and knew only the basics of the football rule book. But I certainly was aware that only the curly haired fella in long sleeves was allowed to handle the ball near England’s goal. 

I was outraged. I still am actually. Add to that penalties in 1990 and 1996 and numerous ‘golden generations’ that failed to show up and I have my doubts about the current England team in the Euros. 

When England went 1-0 up in the world cup semi in 2018 as everyone celebrated I shouted: “Calm down - we will need another.”

Saying “I told you so” as the game slipped away was no consolation. 

But the fact this tournament now looks likely to go ahead at all is a triumph.

Let’s hope fans might get to see some of it live. And I fully expect England to scream into the final - and lose on penalties. 

The economy

Hard to be optimistic here isn’t it? Really hard. 

Well I guess it can’t get much worse. Again a lot is pinned to that vaccine roll out and more and more people out and about and spending money.

What the pandemic has taught us is the importance of our independent stores.

They were there for us in the darkest days and we must continue to be there for them as they rebuild their businesses. 

When you log on to MegaCorp.com to buy a gift or update your wardrobe think twice.

Is there a firm in East Anglia that you could spend your cash with? Because money spent here, stays here. 

East Anglia

OK – here is something I am not pessimistic about. 

Many of you reading this were lucky enough to be born in this incredible part of the world. I had to stumble across it, and thank goodness for that. 

Whether we can holiday abroad or not in the summer matters little when we have the extraordinary coastline of the East on our doorsteps.

From the other worldly, stretching sand-scapes of North Norfolk to the warm, tempting beaches of Suffolk. 

Marbella? Not a patch on Southwold. Ibiza? Cromer please. 

And our businesses will bounce back. We have a wealth of innovators and a people blessed with a never-say-die spirit. 

So here is a some optimism: 2021 won’t be perfect, I can assure you of that. But surely it can’t be as bad as 2020? 

Happy new year.

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