I’ve spent the last two months trying to write something even semi interesting about football, I won’t lie, I’ve really struggled. As a football fan you spend your entire season waiting for May. It doesn’t matter whether you’re fighting to stay up, chasing a place in Europe or battling for trophies; May’s the month where it’s (usually) all decided. However, once May’s been and gone you’d give your left leg for August to be there. Well, unless you’re Heather Mills, in which case you would just buy the league and banish summer holidays instead. (may be a bit too far a joke for the Faithful?)
I started out writing a blog about what a football fan could be doing to pass the time when there is no (Premiership) football on. That was a month ago now, and I’m still pretty stuck on it. As it turns out, there really isn’t much you can do to fill the void your team leaves when they go on their fancy holidays or intensive marriage counselling getaways. With every average and above player being linked to every average and above team, even football news make depressing reading during the summer. There are only so many times you can read about a player’s “love” for a certain club, before you feel almost as nauseous as when your team is facing a penalty shoot out. Not to mention how many times you can hear people’s Football Manager infused opinions on which players we should sign because they would be UH-mazing. Never mind that they play for a tiny team in Uzbekistan and no one outside of their village even knows who they are, and the ones who do know them rate them only marginally above Dong.
I cannot function without Manchester United. I really can’t. Even I have hated living with myself the last month and a half. During the season you tend to forget how much you miss football in the summer, and every year without fail it hits you harder than the last. Is this what we as football fans have come to? Unable to function without watching 22 men kick a little ball around on a field with white chalk lines on it? The short answer is yes. The long answer would include a lot of swearing when trying to explain to a non football fan why using the term “it’s only football” may lead to me resorting to violence.
Football is like an addiction, only there is no way to wean yourself off the high you derive from it. Even when you think you’ve hit rock bottom you don’t want to clean yourself up, you just continue searching for another high or get crushed by another low. As a United fan this can get tiring, not because we have ever hit a rock bottom in my lifetime, nowhere even close. More because of how incredibly spoilt our fans have become. We won our 19th league title in May. Fergie well and truly pushed the scousers off their perch, and yet we as fans want more. And then some.
The team isn’t good enough. We should have beat Barcelona. We could have won a treble. Comments like those are one of the things that make me long for the football season even more, only because my excitement for watching the boys being back on the pitch makes me more tolerant of general idiocy. No, our team isn’t as strong as it could be. We are lacking in midfield. We all know that, but crying doom and gloom because we have yet to sign a “world class” midfielder when the season doesn’t start for another month is ridiculous. Whether it be Sneijder (he is not the Messiah, sorry), Modric (yes please), Nasri (go on then) or someone like Diarra, a midfielder could still join us this transfer window. If one doesn’t, we’ll have to trust Sir Alex. Not necessarily agree with him, but trust him. We’ve already signed De Gea, Jones and Young, so it’s not like the manager isn’t making additions to his squad. Truth be told, none of those players would have made a difference in the Champions League final anyway, Barcelona were that much stronger that no one would have beat them that night. Our team’s job is to play to win every match; it’s not to play to beat Barcelona as if the rest of the season doesn’t matter. Some people would do well to remember that, and at the same time consider that despite our poor away form last season, we still won our 19th title.
As the squad, with the exception of the players on prolonged holidays due to international competitions, are on their way to the States and pre season, there’s finally a small light at the end of the tunnel. The reserves already got off to a great start in their first friendly with a 4-1 win at the Tameside stadium against Ashton Curzon. The first team kick off their pre season tour against New England Revolution (am I seriously the only person thinking Wrestling tag team name here?), on the 14th at 1AM BST. I’m giddy with excitement already, that’s how much I’ve missed watching our boys. It won’t last long mind, seeing them play friendlies only reinforces the desire to be back at Old Trafford. At least once I’m back in my seat next month and the goose bumps cover my arms as the team comes out I’ll forget all about the dreaded summer for another nine months. If only August would hurry up and get here already.