So, the World Cup which brought us 4 weeks of a fantastic tournament and love for the England team once again is now consigned to the history books and the focus now shifts to pre-season for clubs at the top of the tree right down to those at grassroots level.
In reality, most have been ‘back to work’ for 15 days or so in the Vanarama National League and a few Tuesday and Thursday night’s for those aiming to progress from Steps 5 and 6 upwards. But now, they take centre stage and back into the limelight. But how much should you read into pre-season?
Well that can depend on a few things. Managers, whilst liking positive results will be more concerned that what they’ve preached and tested in those training sessions is put into practise on the pitch. Players will be looking for fitness and an improvement game on game with their own condition. Supporters will groan at another loss and toss away the wins as ‘not counting towards anything’, at least most will!
The chance to see the new signings, new kit and in some cases new management does lure those back desperate for a live football fix. But to see one of the game’s elite or top level players is becoming more remote by the year with Premier League clubs heading abroad ready to sell the ‘brand’ and coin in yet more money to the ever swelling coffers.
Fair play to Liverpool in sending as strong a team as they could to Chester earlier this month and a 4,000+ crowd will help a financially stricken club to at least pay a few bills and debts, something top end clubs will never have the trouble of living hand to mouth.
Most clubs are now mid-way through their pre-season campaign with the season due to begin in 2-3 weeks time, although there is still plenty of time for ‘trialist’ to become a permanent proper name on the team-sheet. There is time for managers to tinker further with their squads ready for opening day, one more gem has time to present itself and with the transfer window open until the end of August, movement won’t stop upon the new season beginning.
This season promises to be exciting, the nation carried along the crest of a wave united by England’s summer performance. With much business anticipated in the Premier League will we see a record breaking window where those whose stock has risen over the past 4 weeks push their asking price higher?
The next three weeks will no doubt prove the most fraught and stressful for those in an administrative role within clubs, leagues and associations, players to be signed, match confirmations to send out, everything to be in place for kick off and that includes things around the club off the pitch.
But come that first weekend in August whenever your team starts, it’s like you’ve never been away and by 5pm you’re either off and running or made to wait another few days, either way you can’t beat that first day of the season!