Thousands of runners will be hoping to be pounding the roads of West Norfolk again in the Grand East Anglia Run.Picture: PAUL TIBBS.

As the latest easing of lockdown appears over the horizon, Gavin Caney crosses his fingers and imagines the better sporting days that will hopefully follow in 2021, with the 10 things he’s most looking forward to…

1. Football Mundial’s return

December 14 was the last time our six-a-side team, Champagne Super Rovers, graced the hallowed turf of Lynnsport’s 4G pitch. 

But on March 29, as it stands, our band of mainly aging players will be back out there on a Monday night enjoying 40 minutes of football – time that is treasured almost as much as the beer(s) that will hopefully follow as the season continues.

2. New running beginnings

After 33 years of, mainly, running alone, it’ll be time for a new experience at some point in April. 

When time allows – thanks to the return of six-a-side and dealing with the dad and husband guilt – the odd midweek training session with the Renegade Runners will be on the cards. It’ll be nice to finally meet so many people I’ve got to know virtually since I joined in December 2020.

3. Fairway to heaven

I’m less addicted than I used to be – mainly because I’ve finally realised I’ll always be hopeless. 

But it was nice to enjoy a round or two with my old man before the latest lockdown kicked in. So it’ll be nice to spend three or four hours duffing my way around a new track or his ‘home’ course, Tydd St Giles, and remembering why I fell in love with golf in the first place.

4. Two-wheel action

There’ll be plenty to cheer when fans are allowed back into the Adrian Flux Arena to watch the King’s Lynn Minors & Brady Stars.

The shale, the noise, the smell. Man I’ve missed live speedway. While I go a lot less than I used to when I covered the club as a journalist, I can’t wait to make an early-season visit to watch some two-wheel action at the Adrian Flux Arena. 

After more than a year without any senior meetings, it’ll be great to see some when speedway returns in May time.

5. Three Lions loving

I doubt I’m alone in having missed a good session in the pub. 

It’ll be great to have boozers back open and, with a little bit of luck, if things progress as the government are hoping, they’ll be rocking when England try to taste success at the delayed Euro 2020. If all else fails, the taste of plenty of proper pints poured from a pump should help forget any on-pitch misery.

6. Back at The Walks

You can’t beat life on the terraces at The Walks.Pictures: IAN BURT.

We spent plenty of time in King’s Lynn’s biggest park in 2020. 

However, it’s that beautiful old stadium that sits on the edge of it that I want to set foot in the most. The Torquay game, attended via the press box, whet the appetite and now I just want to be back on the terraces enjoying the National League season as it should be – with supporters filling the ground.

7. Return of ’hopping

It’s small fry compared to some, but the nine midweek non-League groundhops my mate Kaz and I make a season are easily the most enjoyable evenings of any week. 

October 6, 2020, was the last time we ticked off a ground (Peterborough Sports). I’m itching to visit more new stadiums, meet some great characters and wash a dirty burger down with a few tasty ales.

8. Pru Palace Revisited

Ah, the infamous boxing nights at ‘Pru Palace’. 

We managed to squeeze one in during 2020, thanks to the Rule of Six, when Derek Chisora got edged out by Oleksandr Usyk. But it just wasn’t the same watching Anthony Joshua at home on my own a month later in December when the Brit heavyweight brushed aside Kubrat Pulev to, seemingly, set up the mother of all fights with Tyson Fury. 

Let’s hope my mates and I can watch that, or any bout for that matter, together in 2021.

9. Revisit Old Trafford

Yep, I’m a day-tripper. Long gone are my days of getting up to Old Trafford more than four or five times a season. 

Money’s tight with a young family and so is time. Yet it would be great to get back up to the home of my first football love, Manchester United. I very rarely miss a televised game, and there’s plenty of them these days, but nothing is quite the same as being there in person. That hasn’t happened since September 30, 2019, when United drew 1-1 at home to Arsenal.

10. Enjoy GEAR race

I haven’t taken on the Grand East Anglia Run since 2017 and as part of taking running seriously, it’s time to have another crack. Hopefully this time I can enjoy it a bit more rather than dragging myself round after shooting off too quickly. It’s a great event and in a more COVID-19-free country should see plenty of people line the streets to cheer on the runners. Let’s hope I’m at the start line in August ready to try and finish in the top 50 once more – now where is that online entry form again?