MOTD: Football’s back and ready to kick some balls

Josh Barrie
144305219 262x300 MOTD: Footballs back and ready to kick some balls

Harry Redknapp has just been announced as a new Match of the Day pundit

Saturday will be an exciting day. This weekend our country will erupt into a frenzy of colour and song; sometimes profound, often crass. Football will once again reign supreme.

Our summer of sport is but a memory to me now. Though by no means forgotten. London 2012 was a resounding success in terms of competition and sporting show; Wimbledon actually saw a GB finalist; and the EUROs were great for those who simply expected to see Europe’s best, rather than England progress via long ball syndrome.

It is commonplace for many admirers of football to accept that at international level, we are miles behind. This is somewhat cushioned however, by the undeniable truth that the Premier League is one of the best leagues in the world. Perhaps not for footballing prowess – although when on song the likes of Arsenal and recently Manchester City do pass the ball to near perfection – but as pure, unrivalled entertainment.

Though after such well-kept and uncontroversial competition this summer, there is a level of apathy among semi-fans and Match of the Day watchers. British football, after all, is riddled with contempt, brutality and misgiving. Not like tennis. Or dressage. There is very rarely hostility of any kind when forehands and hooves grace our screens.

The negativity is hardly baffling, granted. You don’t have to toil through last season’s archives to recount the woes surrounding football: misconduct on the pitch, such as Joey Barton’s brawling against the champions. And how can we forget the never-ending saga that was John Terry’s racism trial, where he was found innocent, but which still further unearthed the dark underbelly of top-flight football.

But last season has been on gone. Since then, the world has enjoyed sport for what it should be: sport. And sport is better still, when Andy Murray precesses his gold medal with an admirable display against tennis’ greatest; or when our athletes shine to reward Team GB with 29 golds. It is of no surprise then that to many, the upcoming season has been ignored more than it would have been usually. Ordinarily, at this autumnal approach, half the nation cannot go on much longer without the ‘title race’ to consider, or Match Of The Day to watch – as much an institution these days surely, as Question Time or Alan Bennett.

Now though, now it is time to properly look ahead to our country’s most famous sporting export. A game that at some point anoints nearly every child in the country, and captivates many others around the world. Millions tuned in to see the Olympics in all its dazzling glory, but many switch on every week to catch a glimpse of Rooney or Torres. The new season can be enjoyed simply for what it is, too: sport at its best.

The Premier League may not be such an unspoilt stage as the Olympics was this summer, but it still represents the pinnacle of sporting brilliance. Of course the truest die hard fans, the season ticket holders, will be preparing for the first stadium trip regardless. But those who merely follow, who usually watch the matches on TV and who spend a considerable amount of time discussing Andy Carroll’s worth over a latte and a salad Niçoise, have been all too quick to talk football down post Olympics.

We can only hope that once Saturday kicks off, once Gary Lineker is sitting on what looks to be the most uncomfortable sofa in England again, smiling and welcoming us home, all there is left to do is support. For the weekends would be nothing without the special guest’s whimsical musings on tactical credibility; or Alan Hanson’s dour exorcism of disorganised defending. Without, even, seeing the other incredible sides that don’t get MOTD privilege, like Crystal Palace. The Football League Show is worth staying up for when Wilfried Zaha is on the ball.

Because football, like it or not, is about to take centre stage. And it will certainly give many something to cheer and be proud about once again this summer. By no means should its problems be ignored, but at the very start of a new season, if for just a weekend, they should not be the primary focus. Right now, it is only whether Van Persie scores on his debut. Or whether Mario Balotelli turns into Jesus.

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  • Steve Burnett

    Well, one does recall a certain degree of violent petulance at Wimbledon, and the Olympics are a clear yardstick against which to measure that football is by no means “sport at its best”. Unbelievable that such a gossamer thin, baseless, witless article can be published.

  • Mad ad man

    He means more biased crap from two bitter ex Liverpool players, olympic style garbage from Crooks Lineker the bitter spurs losers camp , with comedy touches from Arry I can’t right me own name Redknapp. Chuck in the orange bee gee Savage, and their brown nosing Alex Ferguson whilst humiliating other managers and that it. One notch on the cringeometer above ITV’s appalling football coverage, with bitter we never won anything Townsend+Southgate.

    In the olympics we had a no commentary option just the crowd- please please let us have that with the football, and no pundits they arent necessary neither is the expense

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