Monday, 11 August 2014

English football: explained!

I'm not ready for it but football season is upon us! 
It doesn't seem like five minutes since the bloody World Cup ended and now we're about to witness the first games of a nine-month-long season! #givemestrength For the next nine months, wives will become widows and men, no matter how mature and sophisticated they are normally (ha), regress to teenagers, cheering, drinking and even mourning their team's losses like it's the end of the world! It's madness that I do not understand, but I do know that I am one woman who has the misfortune to have fallen in love with a footie-mad man! 
Hubby bloodly loves his footie, so I've roped him into giving you, and me, the lowdown on the 2014/15 season and why we women should just give in and fall in love with eleven men kicking a bag of air around a grass square for 90 minutes the beautiful game. Take it away, Tom...

Football (soccer to Laura's American readers) is the most played sport in all the world; no matter where you go you will always see a football shirt! I know I'm one of the lucky ones who has a wife who makes an attempt to understand the rules and my love for the beautiful game, but,. bless her, she doesn't always get it right, so to help her and you, I thought today I would try to make sense of the English football season for you #yourewelcome

First things first, the technical bit: the English league system is probably the biggest in the world with five main leagues plus lots of feeder leagues. The structure is made up of: the Premier League, the Championship, League 1, League 2 and the Conference. After the Conference league, you have different 'grass roots' leagues that feed the main leagues, starting in the Conference and working up to the Premier League. Every league but the Premier League had their first games on Saturday just gone, but the Premier League teams kick off this Saturday, with the first game taking place at 12.45pm when Manchester United play Swansea at Old Trafford.

If you watched any of the World Cup (if you did, I hope my guide helped), you will have seen the refs using vanishing spray to mark where 'the wall' (made up of three or four players) should stand when the opposing team is awarded a free kick; well, this spray is making its way to just the Premier League this season. I think the idea is so simple and so brilliant; it should stop those players that form the wall creeping forward to try to gain an advantage.

Last year, Manchester City won the Premier League so they're obvious contenders to retain their title as they have pretty much the same squad, but I think Chelsea will win the league this season. They have invested in key areas that they were missing last year during the summer transfer window. However, my heart will always say Tottenham Hotspur (the team I support #COYS) will win the league, but that’s just being optimistic (Laura: you mean deluded). In all seriousness, I think we could secure fifth place in the league this year!! I'm looking forward to watching Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal's major summer signing) play this season; yes I know I shouldn't say this because I’m a Tottenham fan (Laura: Arsenal and Tottenham are bitter rivals #neverred #didIdogoodbaby), but I always liked him as a player for his previous club, Barcelona.

There are some great matches that you should make an attempt to watch with your man, most notably the local derbies: the North London Derby (Tottenham vs Arsenal on 27/09/2014 & 07/02/2015), the Merseyside Derby (Everton vs Liverpool on 27/09/2014 & 07/02/2015) and the Manchester Derby (Manchester City vs Manchester United on 02/11/2014 & 11/04/2015). Obviously, each team plays one another twice every season so there is the opportunity for the losing side in the first game to get their own back in the second, so make sure you watch both matches!

Other interesting matches to keep your eyes peeled for include any of the Champions League matches (the English clubs in the Champions league are: Manchester City, Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal, who still have to play a qualifying match to make the group stages but I’m expecting them to get through) and the Europa League matches (English clubs in this competition are: Everton, Tottenham and Hull - I’m not sure but I think all three have to qualify for the group stages). These matches take place during the week, so there the perfect excuse to spend a school-night in the pub!

If I've not yet managed to convince you that you should take an interest in football this season, maybe these five will convince you:
1. Football makes the weekend interesting (make sure you watch Sky Sports News every Saturday from 12noon until 6pm for Soccer Saturday #unbelievableJeff)
2. Football strikes up conversations at work, some that you may wish you could avoid after a heavy defeat!
3. Football season brings with it nine months of sheer joy...
4. and pain...
5. and absolute agony! But I wouldn't have it any other way!

Finally, if you're looking for a team to adopt, may I suggest Tottenham Hotspur; as well as being the only Hotspur in the English league, they also promise to never give their fans a dull moment!

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1 comment:

  1. I love posts by husbands. This one is really helpful too, because even though I've played "soccer" I still don't totally understand it. Hopefully this will make watching it more fun for you too. What worked for me with American football was getting into the drama behind it all via Sports Center and picking a few teams with players I liked (or that were cute ;)