And so the football season begins, at last! I hate odd years, those long footy-less summers. But then, as a Spurs fan, the new season always brings a mixture of ridiculous over-expectation and glum resignation to what will likely be yet another transition season (surely a successful season for us would be a transitional season). But I don’t care, because football is finally here. Still the summer brings its own excitements, namely the wild transfer market, and (for me at least) the constant flow of new kit releases; I’ll talk about those in another post. This summer has seen world record transfer deals, with Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka going to spend more time with Real Madrid’s endless chequebook, and Manchester City’s Mark Hughes spending his Arab bosses’ huge stockpiles of cash safe in the knowledge that he’ll probably be sacked by Christmas so he may as well enjoy it before he moves on to a poor (and more realistic) club. Most of it has been spent at Arsenal’s Big Summer Sale. And then possibly the biggest transfer surprise was Michael Owen going to Manchester United, on a free. That will either be the best move of his life or the worst. No, no way could it be worse than his move to Newcastle. I think it was pretty shrewd of Sir Alex to pick him up; he may just coax those goals out if him. After all, they have a shared interest in racehorses.
Spurs meanwhile have picked up Peter Crouch, who, at thirteen foot six, is the tallest humanoid in the galaxy. I remember when he was a trainee at Spurs, back when he was a little lad of six foot ten. That meant Darren Bent was shown the door (though he actually missed three times before he managed to walk through it). I felt a bit sorry for Bent. He was actually our top scorer last year. He never shook off the big price tag, and going to a club like Spurs which collects strikers like Michael Owen collects betting slips, and has a ‘Have I Got News For You’ guest-presenter policy on managers (perfected by Newcastle, who can barely get through a match without changing coach), the odds were against him. Well, he’ll be at Sunderland now, where he may not find that managerial stability, but at least he’ll get a game of a Saturday.
Possibly the most bizarre move of the summer was managerial – oops, I mean director of football, or whatever the term is these days. Sven, back from his unsuccessful jaunt as Mexico boss, has made the inexplicable move to Notts County, in the English League Two. That’s the old Fourth Division; that’s three divisions below the Premier League. That is one giant downward leap for Svenkind. Well, it’s easier explained by the presence of new Arab cash (in English football, Arab cash, like Russian cash, is far more valuable and easy to spend than regular cash. But when people know you have it in your wallet, they jack up the prices). Greavsie was right. Football really is a funny old game.