We have just had a wonderful summer of sport with the high points being a super high quality Euro 2012 and an absolutely joyous Olympic Games. So as English Premier League football barges its way back into the sporting arena it might appear as wretched and unloved as the fabled red headed step child. Why would anyone want to associate themselves with the self aggrandising monster that is the EPL when we are all still swooning over the lovely Mo Farah and Jessica Ennis?
I was fortunate enough to be able to attend some events at the Olympics and am claiming the tiniest of assists in the gold medals of Ennis, Rutherford, Farah and Joshua because I was cheering them on from the stands. It was a privilege to be present at those moments and the memories will live with me forever. Yet even as those dramas were unfolding I couldn’t help feeling there was something of a missing element.
I think the Olympics has been an overwhelmingly positive experience for everyone. A generosity of spirit abounded even to those who didn’t meet their expected level like our Swimming team. The whole thing was all so nice and that of course was the missing element.
Predictably, ballbags like Alan Green started to use our admirable and charming Olympians as a stick to beat football with and admittedly adjectives like nice, admirable and charming are rarely needed in a conversation about football. However whilst there is nothing wrong with nice I don’t think it can sustain you in the long term.
When I was in the Olympic stadium watching Mo Farah run the 10K I really, really wanted him to win, but I didn’t have fear to the pit of my stomach that he wouldn’t. And had he been beaten I would not have been angry or envious of the runner that had won. Football has a much closer relationship with other vital human emotions like rage, hate, fear, envy and love. The best sporting dramas incorporate all of these, which is why the Premiership is, and will remain, the greatest show on Earth.
For this reason I welcome back the EPL in all its disgusting glory. The Olympics was the best two week holiday you could ever have, but it is time to get back to real life.
It is traditional to put some predictions in any ‘preview’ piece but as many great minds have said ‘it is difficult to make predictions, especially about the future.’ On that basis I am going to steer clear of the ‘who is going to win what’ stuff and give you a few random thoughts.
- John Terry will remain a c*nt for the entire season
- A journalist in a broadsheet newspaper will call for Sebastian Coe to be appointed Chairman of the FA with Dave Brailsford as Performance Director for Football (actually this has probably already happened)
- Arsenal will win The Wenger Cup, i.e. finish in the Top 4 of the EPL
- Alan Green will become morally outraged about an occurrence in a football match that he would have given a pass to had it occurred in the Olympics, e.g. deliberate dive (Mens track cycling), haranguing of a referee (Mens Hockey)
- Nobody will watch dressage ever again
- Alan Green will remain a c*nt for the entire season
- Sebastian Coe will be appointed Chairman of the FA
Enjoy the season
by Nilesh Bhagat