So how was it for you?

As a football fan who has been left reeling from World Cups ever since Maradona cheated us way back in Mexico in 1986, the last four weeks have had a weird dreamlike feeling.

 

This was a great World Cup. It had loads of goals, a touch of controversy, brilliant matches and, most importantly for the pub trade, an England side that actually managed to overachieve. That hasn't happened since 1990.

The mood around the trade reflected that of the football world ahead of the tournament. Yes, pubs, especially sports pubs and bars, were looking forward to the event but nobody was really expecting much beyond the three guaranteed group games.

Why would they after recent disappointments against Iceland at the Euros and failing to get out of the group four years ago in Brazil?

But as the tournament progressed something really changed at home and in pubs. England performed and people started to enjoy following the national side again.

 

England fans enjoy the World Cup at The Sultan in Wimbledon

 

I watched games at home, in pubs and, on the opening night, at a brewery.

From the moment Harry Kane scored that last-minute winner against Tunisia it felt like this was going to be a good one. And so it proved.

Social media was full of hilarious 'it's coming home' spoofs. Clips of people throwing beer around in wild celebration (not that we condone such a tragic waste of beer) were all over the news.

This was not just about a national football team confounding expectations but it was about people wanting to collectively enjoy a positive experience.

 

England beat Colombia on penalties. The Lord Nelson in Brentford celebrates.

 

It was as if the tournament allowed football fans and the rest of the country to unite and, for a few weeks at least, have a break from the negative news and noise that so often dominates conversations, newspapers, social media and the TV and radio.

We live in times when it is easy to moan about how awful everything is despite the fact that many people have never had it so good.

Sport can unite people in a way that not much else can. Football, at its best, does it better than any other sport because it is the national game and it just gets to more people emotionally.

And pubs are the perfect place to enjoy football because there is simply nowhere better for people to meet and be joyous together.

Now the World Cup only comes along once every four years but there are plenty of other opportunities to be the place where people come to congregate to share good times.

So embrace the positivity gripping the nation and use it to give people more reasons to come out and spend time with you. People want to do this, they just sometimes need a reason to remind them.