The return of football: Top 5 things I haven’t missed…

So it’s back. The last few months have been unlike anything we have ever seen before. Faced with such genuine tumult, I, like many football fans, missed the comfort of trivial football discussion. So while being sceptical of football returning so soon, with safety more important than any game (even one so brilliant), I was excited.

I had, though, forgotten I support Arsenal. You see, just two weeks into the return of Premier League action I have been reminded of all the things I ‘forgot’ during the game’s hiatus. So here it is. My top 5 things I didn’t miss about football (while desperately missing football):

1. Not being very good anymore. Yes, two games in, Arsenal have recorded two defeats. A 100% record of sorts. The performances however have been strong, conceding just the five goals and scoring one cracker…

2. Hopes being dashed so quickly. The 10 game accumulator that WILL come in. The ‘I fancy our chances today’ before a horrendous defending error. The ‘I think he could really kick on’ before a long term injury. There is absolutely nothing like football for commentator curses. Even from the comfort of our sofa. A good afternoon spoiled.

3. Knowing better than the manager and your tactical genius going unnoticed. That’s right, despite a strong Football Manager record and some superb pre-game tactical insight your manager still goes another way. It’s almost like Arteta isn’t reading my tweets. Occasionally their years of experience and technical expertise may pay off, but I’d like to think my 140 character team talks on Twitter would beat Pep or Klopp 8 times out of 10.

4. Transfer rumours. There were some during the game’s break, but by and large the focus was rightly on the absence and safe return of football. This saved me from being convinced that we’d spend £200m on emerging talent (Sancho on the dream/fantasy list) and be turned into title challengers. Reality has now bitten and Arsenal have since extended David Luiz’s contract.

5. Fantasy football. Football already exists in a ridiculous bubble. From somewhat trivial matters such as diving and imaginary card waving to the extortionate finances of the modern game, TV access wars and social media frenzy. So is Fantasy Premier League really necessary? Are the hours spent studying ‘FPL’ form not just time wasted? My failure to mount a title challenge in any fantasy league over the last two seasons has no impact on this stance. None at all.

That’s my top five and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I am a glutton for punishment and I will be tuning in tomorrow. And next week. And I will be looking forward to returning to my seat at The Emirates when it is safe to do so.

The incredibly tough times felt by so many over the last few months reminds me how lucky I am to be healthy. The ups and downs of being a football fan is no hardship. Besides, who knows, Arsenal may challenge next year and I may win a Fantasy Football league. This time next year, Rodders…

Tom Cunliffe-Whitford


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Named after Michael Thomas, Tom is a season ticket holder at the Arsenal.

By |2020-06-26T13:12:39+00:00June 26th, 2020|

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