1) Bring-and-share supper

My friend Ros utilised this idea to great effect at her World Cup party last summer. Each guest brought a foodstuff from one of the countries that was playing on the night. You can limit or expand upon the available countries as much as you like: I've done both, throwing a Spanish and German feast for the Euro 2008 final, and a very diverse World Cup garden party (dishes from all 32 entrants permitted) in 2010.

2) No al calcio moderno!

This was my Seriously Social Party entry one year. Needless to say it didn't get anywhere, because the good ideas were pushed aside in favour of TWO proposals for Alice in Wonderland themed events.

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So firstly, this is another excuse to eat nice food - all Italian this time. Some Milanese aperitivi wouldn't go amiss, either (don't start me on negroni sbagliato!). Everyone should wear the colours of an Italian team of their choice. Use the Internet and a printer to bedeck the walls with photos of Serie A legends. If you're hosting your party in a pub, ask the landlord if s/he can source some old Italian #Football footage, preferably with as much shouting of GOLAZO! as possible.

3) No Pyro, No Party

Personal plug alert: in my first novel, Just My Job, the central character celebrates her twenty-first birthday (which, conveniently enough, falls on Guy Fawkes Night) by asking friends to bring flares and fireworks to her student house, and lighting a shedload of pyro in her back garden.

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The Polish are pretty into this at weddings. As a Dinamo Zagreb fan, it pains me to say that I'd like to have the kind of birthday celebrations afforded to Hajduk Split .

NB - As I had to remind the boys at the school where I teach when one of them bit another 'like Suarez', you don't have to copy everything the Liverpool players do. Probably best to avoid fireworks in the bathroom.

4) Corinthian party

This perhaps works best for nerdy people in their early thirties. Me, for example. You bring all your Corinthian models from that shelf in your bedroom at your parents' house, or the box in the attic. You and your friends get a fairly regular party, although if you're anything like me you'll end up playing with the dollies a little bit too much, and Davor Suker gets to hang out with Patrick Vieira again. (Although, in the light of recent events, I'm not giving Davor Suker anything.)

5) Dress as a footballer

We did this for Halloween at Middlesex University in 2007. I was dressed as Arsene Wenger - grey suit, white shirt, red tie and a home-made mask created by printing a photo from the Internet, sticking it on card, cutting out some eyeholes and acquiring an elastic band.

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Trouble was, without the mask I kept getting IDd, because people thought I was wearing school uniform. I was twenty-six at the time and I still get IDd now.

6) Get your kit on!

Another party from my uni days. You had to wear your football shirt - any one you like - and we laid on some games and quizzes. We issued a prize for the most original shirt, which my friend Nik won because the barmaid/judge refused to award any prizes for Arsenal tops. Nik was wearing my Croatia shirt at the time, and won a football, which he laughed at - "The last few times I have taken a ball outside, there was a dog involved".

7) A candlelit football stadium

It's supposed to be a man's idea of a romantic evening. It's pretty near the top of my list, too. It will take some co-ordination, and you need to have the kind of friends who won't shop your careful planning to the police. Preferably thousands of them. But just imagine! It's Valentine's Day or whichever Sunday Christingle is on, and there's a game. You and everyone in your stand have candles in your pockets. At a set point in the game, a few designated individuals light them and pass the light around. Seriously, since it's allowed in my church, it should be allowed at football.

8) Football match (playing)

Hey, there's a radical idea for a football party! This is what happened on my 30th, which took place in Malawi. It was common practice to go down to the local pitch circa 4pm and expect some training to be in progress. On this occasion, I invited all the other teachers at Kapanda Community Day Secondary School, plus all the other RIPPLE Africa volunteers and staff, to play a match. I got given a penalty and hit it straight at the keeper - did everything but score, in fact. Still, it was a great afternoon in the October sun (not a meteorological phenomenon I'm used to, being English and all that).

9) Football match (watching)

Since I've been a football fan, Arsenal have only played on two of my birthdays. One was my fifteenth (away ay Blackburn in the league, won 2-0) and the other was my eighteenth, a League Cup tie at home to Preston North End. Tickets were incredibly cheap, and so I was able to invite the rest of my nuclear family and two of my friends to come with me. Unfortunately, Arsenal have a policy of only selling four tickets at a time, so my friend Caroline's mum had to buy a pair. When told that Arsene Wenger might not be fielding a full first team, she asked, "Who's Arsene Wenger?" Mirth ensued. Anyway, we had a good time at the match, although I won't go into details about the damage caused to a brand-new train on the way home, or the underage drinker responsible.

Given what ticket prices are like these days, watching in a pub is much more viable than live football for most people, and is a useful stalwart for me, given that there are usually internationals on my birthday. (Why are they always on Fridays these days? What's up with that? It makes the non-club-football weekend even more boring than usual.) This idea is more fun if you are lucky enough to live near a pub with multiple screens, as I did in 2013 (Famous Three Kings in West Kensington). Your match choice isn't limited to England, and if the pub is in a diverse area, you might experience another nation's supporter culture. This brings me onto...

10) Follow the fans

My friends and I kicked off Euro 2008 by going to bars in London where a particular country's supporters were likely to congregate. Ros prepared us for the jollity ahead (and lined our stomachs for the alcohol consumption) by providing a Swiss/Czech inspired lunch. We then watched this opening fixture in the Czech and Slovak Club, before heading down to Vauxhall to watch Portugal through the windows of a heaving bar. (The off-licence next door did a roaring trade, especially as the owner had a bottle opener handy). The next day we found ourselves encamped in F3K - firstly for Austria vs Croatia, in the company of the Croatian Students and Young Professionals' Network (now superseded by the British Croatian Society ), and then in the part of the bar with Polish commentary, although I would have understood much more of the German available next door.

I hope you have found a fun idea with which to surprise a football friend, and I'm sure you have even better ideas/experiences. Comment away!

#Worldcup 2014 #Euro2016