By Paul Bleakley
YOU can feel it. The sense of anticipation is at fever pitch and the excitement that courses through the bones is palpable. The summer sun might still be lingering, but that is irrelevant. The outside world might as well not exist once the clock strikes three o’clock on a Saturday afternoon.
It is that time of year, folks. The Premier League is back.
No sporting competition quite matches up to the scale of the English Premier League. The Premier League captivates an entire nation. More than that – the Premier League is a showcase for the world’s greatest football players, from Japan’s Shinji Kagawa to Australian legend Mark Schwarzer.
Despite our collective love for sport, soccer has taken a long time to gain a foothold in New Zealand. Our domestic competition is becoming more and more prominent, however the thought that the Premier League would ever hold our interest like the NRL or NRU is, frankly, laughable.
It is a slow process, but it happens. One day you will find yourself having a pint after work, in an intent debate over the merits of Wayne Rooney signing for Chelsea or use Fulham FC as the punch-line of a joke. Before you have realised it, you have become a follower of the English Premier League without even realising it.
It is understandable for a sports-mad people like us Antipodeans to become fans of football while living in the UK. So when the opening round comes along – conveniently right as the NRL season winds-down – it is hard not to be excited. Whether you came to the UK supporting a team or you have adopted a local side, happy 2013/14 season to one and all.
Image by Toby Jagmohan