As the 2015/2016 Premier League season fades into obscurity, the memory of the past ten months becoming as hazy as those of your 21st birthday party (with less fat-burning drugs, probably), so it is natural for our thoughts to drift forward to next season.
After all, football fans would never survive without next season, which exists in perpetuity, always there to act as a solace when times are tough, be that in May when your team has been pipped at the post, or in September when a brand new season holds as much promise as a 9-month jail term. Next season could be better. Next season will be better. Next season soothes all. Therein lies the problem…
Right now Liverpool fans are a classic case in point when it comes to next season. Following the arrival of Jurgen Klopp last October, and the subsequent roller-coaster season that saw a woefully under-performing and seemingly inadequate Brendan Rodgers squad qualify for two major finals under the stewardship of the hirsute German, expectation on the banks of the Mersey is high.
“Surely!”, I hear them cry (typically at 3am outside my window, the selfish sods), “All the ingredients are there for a title charge next season: A summer of transfers that will allow Klopp to bring in ‘his’ players (and ship out those who gegen-unimpressed). A full pre-season that will allow Jurgen to
brainwash impress his ideas upon the chosen ones. No European ‘distraction’ to tire out the poor lambs with just one game a week for the majority of the season. Hell, even The Brodge almost (and should have) won the title in similar circumstances….”.
All valid points, and all perfectly accurate…but there are many teams who have similar reasons to be optimistic, but who themselves are all ignoring the rather large elephant in the room. Sorry, make that the large herd of elephants in the room….
Elephant Number 1: Pep Guardiola – Arguably (and please feel free to argue among yourselves, I really can’t be arsed) the world’s greatest manager rolls into Manchester with a bottomless pit of money. Granted he has a lot of work to do, and this is probably the weakest squad he has ever ‘inherited’ but still…it’s Pep.
Elephant Number 2: José Mourinho – Arguably (see Elephant Number 1 above, I beg of you) the world’s greatest manager rolls into Manchester with a very large pit of money. José. At United. It’s like pure evil just married pure evil to create an evil force so evil as to be beyond evil. I suppose he had to graduate from Chelsea some time…
Elephant Number 3: Antonio Conté – A hugely successful manager in charge of yet another bottomless pit of money. A bit more of an unknown quantity than Pep or José but a rank outsider? Hardly. Besides, look at those eyes…LOOK AT THEM.
Elephant Number 4: Arsene Wenger – Stop laughing, he always finishes in the Top 4, and by the law of averages (and sheer bone-headed stubbornness) he’ll fluke a league title eventually, right?
Elephant Number 5: Mauricio Pochettino – The new star manager in the Premier League. He’s had a full ‘trial-run’ at the title and will be far more prepared for it this time around. In many ways he’s like Klopp with a year’s head-start. Mind you, there’s always a chance they’ll ‘Spurs’ it up. Again.
Elephant Number 6: Claudio Ranieri – I know, I know, they’ can’t / won’t do it again, right? Well we all said they can’t / won’t do it all throughout last season, so what do we know? As of right now, we all (and I’m including every single pundit in the world) know bugger all, about anything football related.
While many have decried the quality of the Premier League last season (with good reason), next season is shaping up to be perhaps the greatest Premier League season ever. Hell, with just the magnificent seven highlighted here, it could go down as the greatest season since football began! (If Sky Sports say anything even vaguely similar I’m going to sue their arse off).
To put it very simply for those of you that are mathematically challenged, 7 into 4 doesn’t go (those of you saying 0.5714285, hang your head in shame. Those of you reaching for a calculator to check those numbers, you’re massive walloping bell-ends). There are going to be THREE managers who will be asked to explain (while clearing their desks you suspect) how the hell they haven’t even achieved the bare minimum target of a Top 4 finish, and that’s on the back of a season where Leicester bloody City won the league, which instantly eliminates every single footballing excuse ever (budget, lack of players, lack of star names, Thai prostitutes, Mike Ashley….).
Of course that’s assuming things revert to the norm. I mean Burnley could win the league and we’ll all shrug our shoulders and look ahead to next season….
So in summary, temper your expectations ahead of next season. It could be a glorious charge to the title, but it could just as easily be a 6th place finish, out in the first round of both cups and 40 games of soul-shredding exasperation.
Or you could tell me to shove it up my b*ll*x and count down the days until next season begins and your teams inevitable march to the title gets underway.
I bloody love football.