Right. Here’s the thing. I hate summers with an odd number in them, and I just know that you do, too. I hate them because, of course, they’re the European Championship and World Cup-free summers, when we have to make our own entertainment for a few weeks. The realisation always hits me at about this point of the season, when suddenly you can count the number of matches left on your fingers and toes. What have we got left to look forward to? One more round of Premiership matches (most of which are little more than glorified friendly matches), the Football League play-offs, the FA Vase and FA Trophy finals, the Conference play-off final, the FA Cup final and the European Cup final.
Now, I’m aware, of course, that the Womens World Cup is being held this summer (and you can rest assured that I’ve already started swotting up on it – after all, I have to do something to maintain your interest over the next three months or so), but I’d be a liar if I thought that this was anything other than filler material before we get back down to business at the start of August. I certainly can’t see myself getting as absorbed in it as I do by other tournaments, but I’ll give it a go. I haven’t even been able to find out whether it’s on the television or not yet (I suspect that the BBC may have the rights to it, but I’m unsure where this suspicion comes from). The preview will start on here as soon as the Champions League final finishes.
Some countries, of course, play their football in the summer, but this is more out of necessity due to the harshness of their climates than out of any desire for the likes of us to see some sort of football results being printed in the newspapers. I’ll keep half an eye on what’s going on in Russia, Sweden and Ireland (Ireland? Does their league play in the summer? Where have I got that idea from?), and let you know if there’s anything that should divert your attention. Some countries, most notably Brazil, have such a convoluted system that they more or less keep going all year round, and then there’s the UEFA Cup, which pits England’s ninth best team against the third best team in Liechenstein, or wherever.
Other than that, we have to make do with what I would describe as “peripherals”. By that, I mean things such as transfer gossip or new kits. I’ve never been very interested in transfer gossip, to be honest. The last time I was genuinely interested in a transfer was when Andy Cole went to Manchester United in about 1995, and that was in the middle of the season. It promises to be a pretty dismal summer for new signings. This is partly because there are so few outstanding players about at the moment, and partly because the “big” signings will only involve three clubs. There was an article in The Independent yesterday about how Dimitar Berbatov is “too good” for Tottenham Hotspur. This is the sort of thing that I mean – if a player has one good season, he’s suddenly only worthy of playing for Chelsea or Manchester United. It’s a thoroughly depressing spectacle. New kits, however, are a different matter. They’re always exciting. Some of them have been previewed already (the Tottenham one is probably the best shirt they’ve had since about 1982), but I’m saving them all up for a division-by-division new kit spectacular at some point in the summer.
Also, this little blog’s first birthday is coming up at the end of this month, so I might put something highly self-indulgent to mark that. I might even to send out free presents to anyone that wants one, or something. I haven’t decided yet. I certainly still feel as if I should thank you all for your support over the last year or so. I’ll certainly be uploading lots of old TV and radio clips and having another trawl around for TV-related paraphernalia. Also, I noted with dismay that John Bourn’s excellent history of football on regional ITV has been taken down so, having rescued the text from oblivion, I might put that up at some point (if I can locate him and get his permission, that is).
So, to clarify, there’s no need for you to all slope off during the summer. I have a contingency plan!