When Phil Harrow drowned his sorrows following the Costa Rica victory that sent England home from the World Cup on Friday, he had to drink deeper than most fans.
Gone were not just his dreams of football honours, but his plans for the much-vaunted supporters' song he wrote with his brother, Richard.
"I put everything into this, for all the right reasons," said Harrow, who is from north London. "I believed it was the passionate, patriotic thing to do."
His song Hope & Glory/The Eve of War was created in collaboration with Jeff Wayne, the creator of 1970s concept album War of the Worlds, at a cost of £30,000, and features the voice of actor Andy Serkis in a stirringly reworded rendition of one its best known tracks. Recorded at Abbey Road studios, it was billed as a rank outsider at first, yet had rapidly threatened to overtake Rik Mayall's posthumously popular offering as the nation's favourite World Cup song.
Harrow, of course, is not alone in his loss. The country's publicans and retailers are also grieving over hundreds of millions of pounds of lost sales as the football feelgood factor leaks away from the high street.
"There are thousands of publicans around the country weeping into empty beer glasses," said media commentator Mark Borkowski. "It's the people who benefit from the mood of the nation that are licking their wounds: the myriad who work in hospitality and the big supermarkets with their barbecue promotions. I'm pretty sure there's a warehouse somewhere in Hendon full of cheap plastic hats and inflatable Spitfires that were ready to be rushed out to market stalls around the country."
Ahead of the tournament one report calculated that every goal scored by England was worth £200m to the retail and leisure industry. Early signs had pointed to a bonanza, with official data showing retail spending rising at the fastest pace in almost a decade. According to the Office for National Statistics, sales in sports shops during May were nearly 30% higher than last year.
At the start of last week, when hopes were high, JD Sports told the City that its World Cup-related sales were so good it daren't publish them for fear of "misleading" investors. Now JD must count the cost of lost sales and overstocks, like market leader Sports Direct, which enjoyed a sales boost in 2010 when England made it to the knockout stage.
Other retailers had also flagged World Cup boosts, with John Lewis showing a sharp weekly rise in demand for TVs, while sister chain Waitrose saw beer sales jump by 50%. Its barbecue meat sales almost doubled too, while sales of salads were up more than a third. "England's exit is definitely bad news for retailers," said Kantar Retail analyst Bryan Roberts. "It will have a discernible impact on shopping behaviour and there will have to be a lot of clearance activity on football tat."
VoucherCodes.co.uk, which came up with the £200m-a-goal figure, said consumers would have spent as much as £1bn overall if England had got beyond the group stage. "England's devastating loss to Uruguay broke the hearts of millions of fans, and it's certainly disappointing to our retail and leisure industry too," said Claire Davenport, its managing director.
The competition was predicted to deliver a more than 5% boost to UK advertising revenue, fuelled by spending on the special, although now less appealing, adverts fronted by England stars such as goalkeeper Joe Hart, who appeared for Gillette, Doritos and Head & Shoulders, and Wayne Rooney, who turned out for Samsung. The 2010 World Cup delivered a big fillip for ITV, but, after England's poor showing, that is unlikely this time.
"If England had gone through there would have been a lot of advertising money for retail, be it for pizza, barbecues, anything you can think of to entertain yourself," said Chris Locke, group trading director of Starcom MediaVest Group.
That spending he says, will now dry up: "People who haven't already committed to ads and have kept the budget to the side of the table will probably not spend that now."
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