So England just keep on going. And that means the nation's first semi-final for 28 years will be held on the night of the Develop Awards 2018. Yes, we’re as pleasantly surprised as anyone, but our footballing optimist has been quietly preparing for a while, so worry not we will be showing the whole game at the awards.
In fact our new streamlined running order works pretty perfectly around the game (see below). We’ll be showing the first half at our drinks reception, which starts at 6.30 sharp. We’ll have two bigs screens upstairs to follow the action, or you can watch the big screen downstairs, either by standing at the balcony or heading down to your tables early (though please note there won’t be any drinks service downstairs at this point, but you can take a couple down with you).
Everyone will be called down to dinner at half-time and we’ll skip the usual introductions at this point, including the oh-so brilliant speech I had written, as by the time everyone is seated downstairs we’ll be straight into the second half around 8pm. Dinner will be served during this half.
We’re hoping that England will see off Croatia (touch wood, pray to various deities) before full-time, but we will stick with the game until its conclusion. Extra time isn’t going to impact the running times overly, but if it goes all the way to penalties then the original awards start time of 21.15 will have to be pushed back by around 25mins.
That’s unfortunate given the amount of effort we’ve made to streamline this year’s awards, but it’s also unavoidable and having polled many of our partners and attendees, we decided it simply wasn’t possible to show only part of the game.
18:30 - Drinks reception begins
19:00 - Football shown during the drinks reception on 2 screens and main big screen
19:45 - Call down to dinner during half time
20:00 - Dinner service alongside second half
20:45 - Normal finishing time for the football
21:15 - Original awards ceremony starting time
21:20 - Extra time finish for football
21:40 - Penalties finishing time
22:30 to 23:00 - After party begins
We think this plan offers the best possible compromise between a truly historic occasion for England, while still giving the awards the time and respect they deserve. Apologies in advance to those from other parts of the UK, and the world, who might find all this a little bemusing.