Ah how I have missed football. The new season is here and although we did not have to endure a full summer without the beautiful game, it still felt as though there was something missing.
Wednesday, 15 August 2012
Unless you have been watching the Russian top flight or the Airtricity league of course.
I am happy to say that like everyone else across the world I thoroughly enjoyed the spectacle of London 2012 and can openly admit screaming like a teenage girl at a One Direction concert as I watched Mo Farah, Usain Bolt and Michael Phelps achieve things I would find impossible in my dreams let alone in real life. The Olympics were great but I can't help but think that order has been restored and weekends can go back to how they should be.
The Danskebank Premiership is underway, the SPL is back and the Barclays Premier League is about to kick off. That can only mean one thing. It's that time of the year again when analysts, commentators and pundits offer their "knowledgeable insight" and predictions on the forthcoming campaign.
It is fair to say that I, along with every other football fan, have my own thoughts on the season ahead. I agonised over whether or not to offer my own predictions on who will win the league or who will be relegated etc but in the end I decided; "who cares?" There are a lot of people much more qualified than myself to get things wrong.
I could write about my managerial prowess in discussing my fantasy football team but why waste both my own and your time trying to justify my selection of Joe Cole and Gervinho (expecting big things from both - you heard it here first) or why I decided Fernando Torres was worth another gamble. No, instead I thought it best to steer clear of the prediction pitfalls and simply give my thoughts on the two men on whom all eyes in Northern Ireland will be fixed.
The thing that intrigues me most about this coming season is the fate of the two Northern Irish managers in the Barclays Premier League, Brendan Rodgers and Martin O'Neill.
Both are great motivators and both could be set for an interesting season. It is hard to tell how things will pan out for them. Rodgers enters Liverpool faced with the expectation of delivering free flowing football while O'Neill prepares for his first full season in charge at Sunderland without any real expectation at all.
Rodgers and O'Neill will certainly be looking to make their own impact on their respective sides but it could be a case of crawling before they can walk this term. Liverpool's new boss may not have the experience O'Neill possesses at Premiership level but his 'Tiki Taka' philosophy could see him end up with the bragging rights over his fellow countryman.
However, O'Neill's Sunderland team could already be reaping the rewards of their manager's enthusiasm upon his arrival in January so you could make the case that Martin has already set the foundations he needs to build upon if he is to achieve success on Tyneside.
I can't wait to see how things work out for Rodgers and O'Neill and it wouldn't surprise me in the slightest if either had a nightmare season or come May they were both jumping for joy. That's the thing about football we can offer predictions but in reality anything could happen and we all just end up looking like fools.