Sports Articles

Premier League 2011/12 Season

Saturday August 13. The day it all begins again. We welcome our newbies: Norwich City, QPR and Swansea City with warm arms and cold feet. This passing summer of rumours and speculation surrounding the transfer window has confused even the most intellectual of us. Once again it’s like Groundhog Day with Tevez urgently requiring an agony aunt to confide his family woes to and the Barcelona/ Fabregas/ Arsenal love triangle suggesting no solution, just more problems, as time goes by…

Even if you’re not into fashion, the release of the new football strips over the summer has been highly anticipated and brings butterflies to the most portly of fans’ stomachs. It’s the old cinema trick of mirrored responses as we mutually cry in horror at Blackburn’s overly daring bee tribute yellow and black away kit, whilst admiring the originality of Man City…okay that’s just down to the fact that Liam Gallagher is fronting their new campaign but you’ve got to admit it’s pretty cool!

We complain constantly about football, but couldn’t live without it. It’s like marmite but without the possibility of ever hating it. The passionate arguments you get into at 3pm on a Saturday afternoon after way too much Dutch courage? And what can beat the satisfaction of beating a friend’s team? You don’t even have to utter a word. It’s that universal look. The look that says “My team plays better football than your team. I know more about football than you do. I’m basically better than you.” And the mutual hatred of your own team whilst watching a match which prompts many fans to even boo their own players (though some deserve it: Ronaldo post World Cup wink anyone?).

Being a supporter of a football team means that you suddenly gain thousands of friends out of a singular common interest. I highly doubt that you’ll find unacquainted chess players hugging each other with unconditional love anytime soon.

I attended my team’s final home game of the 2010-11 season in May. It was a sunny, idyllic day and I’d just found out I’d been chucked out of my flat which in turn meant I’d have to resign from my beloved job. Walking up Drayton Park Road the atmosphere was, as it always has been and ever shall be, immense and full of excited anticipation. I took to my seat with a deluded positivity only a gooner could hold and watched as Bent effortlessly humiliated Sczczesny as well as 50,000+ others. Once at 12 minutes and again at 15. At half time I hid myself away on the steps between stands and released the tears I’d been holding in for 45 minutes. Now at this point, even as someone who despises public shows of emotion, I didn’t have the vigour to stop this ever increasing human water fountain I was becoming and the last thing I wanted was company or attention. Right on cue in walks a couple of stereotypical gooners. Bald, chubby, ‘hard men’. And, walking past me on the steps, one of them turns to me and cites, “Don’t worry love- it’s only 2-0!”.  For anyone in need of a reminder that game ended “Only 2-1” and, some would say, cost us the league. And 2nd…3rd

But this is where we start again, with a clean slate at hand and a fresh energy that we all hold around mid August time when the whistle goes. Never again will I take a top place in the league at the start of the season as anything meaningful. Our brief glory soon became as impotent as our title challenge in May. So whoever your team are, make sure you watch that initial match with an open mind and loose pride as you never know what will be coming your way this season- though I’m sure it’ll be filled with plenty of the good stuff!

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