The dominant sport in this country for much of the year, football will take a back seat during the Olympics. While other events sold out quickly, organisers have struggled to sell tickets for the football matches. Will a bit of knees-up geezer Cockney styling get the masses interested?
This is what adidas are hoping. The sportswear giant, manufacturer of the Olympic ball, has announced that it will be called the Albert, as a bit of Cockney rhyming slang from the Royal Albert Hall, itself named for Prince Albert, whose interest in the beautiful game has hitherto remained a secret. The name was conjured up by Derbyshire man Bob Ashcroft who, along with 12,000 others, entered a competition to name the ball.
Lest we think that this is merely an exercise in brand marketing by adidas, the company's UK managing director was keen to play up the significance of this improbable Cockney christening:
The London 2012 Games are becoming synonymous with the East End of London and it was important to us that the name reflected this strong heritage.
Others may also think of Albert Square, the fictional burb in which EastEnders is set, which is to share its postcode with the Olympic park; while the more smut-minded among us may reflect on the Führer's allegedly missing testicle or the fact that the Prince Albert is a pseudonym for a particular (and probably quite painful) type of genital piercing.
Photo / Simon Crubellier