5 Reasons To Hate.....Opening Weekend
It's almost here, opening weekend of the Premier League season. Don't get too excited, today on the blog Andrew Thomas gives us 5 reasons to loathe it.
… the VOLUME
Football is BACK! It is BIGGER! It is LOUDER! It is on TELEVISION MORE! It has more SHINY THINGS that go ROUND AND ROUND or go WHOOOSH or ZOOOM or KAPOW or just APPEAR IN THE CORNER TO DISPENSE STATISTICAL INFORMATION THAT IS LARGELY IRRELEVANT IF NOT UTTERLY FACILE!
There are new KITS!
Somebody may have had a HAIRCUT! Somebody else has definitely had a TATTOO! What does it MEAN? Why is everybody SHOUTING? Why are RANDOMLY CAPITALISED WORDS APPEARING IN MY HEAD? Nurse! NURSE! I've got FIRE by KASABIAN stuck in my HEAD AGAIN and I want to go home and lie down, please.
... the disappointment
There comes a moment every opening weekend when it hits. When you realise that you've been lied to; that you've lied to yourself. You'll be staring at the pitch, and at the players running about on the pitch, and you'll be thinking okay, we're looking good, we're looking tidy, the new lad's settling in, we're making things happen, we're bright, we're switched on, we're going places, we're actually going to make a difference this season, not like the last, or the one before, ooooooh, that was close … and then it will suddenly hit you.
Your new kit's crap.
… the existential terror
The ratio of stupid things said about football against actual football is so overwhelmingly weighted to the former that it might be more honest to just rename the whole sorry business 'Being Wrong About Things, Loudly' and let the poor, hard-working players find something else to do with their time. Set against this are the sensible things, the kind of educated and knowledgeable thoughts that you -- yes, you, valued reader -- are able to form. Sensitive thoughts. Rational thoughts. Thoughts of penetration and insight.
But not on opening day: the one day of the season when nobody knows anything, and nobody can know anything. For nothing has happened. And so anything could happen. Yes, chances are that good players will still be good, and bad players bad, and good teams and bad teams likewise, but all the evidence is the other side of a long summer, during which time anything could have happened. Hell, Fernando Torres fell apart over the course of one January evening.
Sure, people will try and act like they know things, but they're fundamentally guessing. All that time spent poring over pre-season friendlies, combing through Bundesliga match reports, trying things out on Football Manager, doodling possible formations on post-it notes, and it's all just wishes and hopes, guesses and spiderwebs. It's of as much value as words falling from the face of a moron. "I think Stevan Jovetic is hot toss!" "I think their name change will inspire Hull Tigers to safety!" "I think David Moyes is the right man for the Manchester United job!"
Well, Jovetic might be allergic to HP Sauce. And tigers are pretty cool. And Moyes may, just may, turn out to … well, perhaps not that one. Basically, you, clever you, are guessing, and they, inelegant and idiotic they, are also guessing, and so you, clever you, smart and distinguished you, are just the same as them. One of them. Making things up to fill the empty silence that threatens to drown you. The horror. The horror.
… the company
Remember those times of your life you didn't spend in the company of Jamie Redknapp, Steve Claridge, Alan Shearer, Mark Lawrenson, Michael Owen, Craig Burley, Andy Townsend, Robbie Earle, Andy Gray, Richard Keys, Gary Lineker, Clive Tyldesley, Jim Beglin, Jonathan Pearce, Colin Murray, Ian Wright, Graham Poll, and the latest superannuated wreck of a player trying to carve himself out a cushty post-retirement niche in the media?
Hope you enjoyed those.
… the hope
Hope, famously, was brought into the world by Pandora, first lady of Greek mythology. She found it scrabbling about at the bottom of her box after she'd disregarded the big sign that read "Do Not Open This Box, Seriously, Or Bad Things Will Happen" and released all the evils on the world. Isn't it amazing how many creation myths seem to revolve around the disastrous consequences of women not doing as they're told? It's like they were all written by men or something. Anyway, the traditional reading is that Hope is what saves humanity; that all the evils can be borne, can be faced and defeated, as long as there is hope.
This is, sadly, a lie. All the evils are undoubtedly bad, particularly those involving chair legs and stubbed toes, but Hope is worse. Hope -- the promise of better -- is in fact the garnish of worse, the little pinch of sugar that really brings out misery's sour taste. To be hopeless is to be aware of the world as it is: uncaring, unloving, and unpleasant. To be hopeful, though, is to approach the new season thinking that this year, maybe, just maybe, might be good. Might be quite good. Might even be really good. All it will take is a bit of luck, a good start, another signing or two …
Stop it. Stop it at once. It's all going to go the way of the pear, again, and you'll only make yourself unwell. As John Cleese famously said, "You know what? Sod it. I'll just hit the Mini with a tree-branch."
Bookmark our Football Betting Tips Board to follow all of our football tipsters' selections right across the season.
Follow Andrew on Twitter: @andi_thomas
And read more of his work on his blog: TwistedBlood.co.uk