And so it begins, as fans ready themselves for another 9 months of horseshit and hamburgers, expensive pints and kick offs moved by Sky, whilst managers scramble around for a last minute addition to plug the hole in the defence or to add a bit of creativity to the midfield, the first fixtures of the new Premier League season loom large on the horizon.
There isn’t much like that first game of the season feeling, little else could make a Sunday in Stoke seem so appealing, little else that could make people get up especially early on a Saturday after a heavy night on the Friday to make sure they get to the bookies in time for the accumulator, the cafe for a fry up and still be in the pub for opening.
Many supporters will be wondering whether their new signings will be able to do a job, whether they’ll stay up, whether they’ll challenge for the title, which expensive forward their new manager is going to pick, some will be dusting off the lucky Lacoste they wore when their team beat Liverpool last season, whilst others will be deciding on which pair of trainers go best with their new CP jacket or whether the weather is good enough for shorts and boat shoes. Most will be looking forward to the buzz of beers and banter with the boys, talking shit, having a laugh even if the lager is overpriced, watered down and in a plastic glass.
For that is half of what football is about, whilst you may pin your dreams and aspirations on eleven fellas on ridiculous wages who you can hardly relate to, it is as much about your mates, the pubs and the laugh, the atmosphere, the songs, it’s about your new trainers, and going away in a new coat that no one else is wearing. It’s not about the spectacle or seeing a superstar if it was you wouldn’t do it every week, it’s not a product and we’re not customers and that’s why we’ve got the buzz back for the start of the new season despite ridiculous ticket prices and Sky hampering travel to away games.
Whilst this excitement will wear off on a wet and windy winter Wednesday in Wolverhampton, and you’ll wonder why you’re doing it all over again, you still will, and the next year you’ll do it all over again, whether your team win the league or get relegated, because the start of the season is always a clean slate filled with hope and booze, so roll on Sunday in Stoke.
By Callum West