The wait is finally over. English premier league season starts today. It has been close to 8 years since I am regularly following EPL and each year I wait more & more anxiously and impatiently during summer for season to begin. Every 2 years there is either ‘Euro’ or World cup in summer break but international football never quite interested me. The level of coordination in players is not the same, the fluidity is not there, players look tired and exhausted after a usual gruelling season and even commitment levels are low, whatever might be the reasons. So I watch international football for only football’s sake. No favourites, just enjoy whatever happens.
But club football and especially Manchester United is a serious business!!! Here I would preposterously dare to compare myself with Sir Alex Ferguson, scrutinizing his attitude towards domestic league and European games. SAF’s approach towards domestic league and Europe has always been very different. In EPL, especially in away matches you can see him in Tees, face red, nose more purple than usual and ready to give ‘hairdryer treatment’ to his players if they go wrong. In European matches, he walks to touchline area all smiles, in Suit. Here he talks about matches in Milan and Madrid, beautiful ladies, stylish men, and the fragrance coming from stands, the atmosphere and what not. When it comes to premier league, it is only the title that counts and he wants it year after year, each year. When he talks, usually those are ‘mind games’ and even great managers like Arsene Wenger, Jose Mourinho, Rafa Beintez (:P) and occasionally jokers like Kevin Keegan have been victim at some point or other . I know, comparing myself with him doesn’t seem to make sense here but I just wanted to drive home the point that how highly I rate club football than international football, just like SAF rates domestic league highly than Europe.
The transfer market has been relatively quiet which has been the trend since recession. Only Manchester City keeps on spending foolishly hoping to catch Manchester United some day. But barring Mario Balotelli there are hardly any other players which the traditional ‘big 4’ would have desperately wanted in their team and even Balotelli’s temperament is questionable. Here he would be competing for a spot with likes of Adebayor, Tevez, Santa Cruz, Bellamy all of whom are equally talented and can be equally dumb like him. Each year a new club has change in ownership. This year it is Liverpool. The fans who prided themselves for not being ‘owned’ by foreigner pre-yanks era, and later desperately kept hoping that they would bring in money, are now having orgasms thinking about Chinese or middle-east owners, the money they would bring in and title which they just might ‘buy’ sometime in future. Liverpool take-over saga meanwhile drags on. I quite enjoy the show at these two comedy clubs and hence dedicated a whole paragraph to them! On a serious note though, business tycoons viewing clubs as investments, interfering with transfers and daily operations of club are bad signs for the game. Nobody expects them to be philanthropic. Yes it is an investment and they should expect profit but they should understand that it is quite different business than usual businesses and hence should put command of club in proper hands rather than spending stupid money and then firing managers for not delivering ‘success’. The financial situation at Manchester United is also precarious but at least there is no interference from Glazers’ in footballing decisions and they won’t dare to do so till Sir Alex is there.
Manchester United has been relatively quiet in transfer window. Given the young talent, a formidable squad and signing of Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez, United are strong contenders for the title as ever. Chicharito already looks a steal for 7 million pounds and can turn out to be the ‘buy of the season’.
I will spend the weekdays waiting for next match and analyzing the previous week’s match. Mind will be again fully occupied with football on weekends. I would get up on Saturdays happily in anticipation of football. Occasional United loss would be mourned by avoiding newspaper and football websites till next match. All the wins will be celebrated ‘as usual’. I am loving it. Bring it on!!