The World Cup stepped in and made the waiting bearable. But in any case, the wait is over, and the English Premier League (EPL) kicks off this weekend. And by God’s grace, there is a lot to look forward to.
To start with, Pep Guardiola used the Community Shield to remind us how quickly his philosophy is catching on. It is scary to see how easily his youth graduates and new comers have adapted. All in what? Two years? Manchester City games will be entertainment gold, I lie you not.
Meanwhile Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp and Manchester United’s Jose Mourinho are so engrossed in retail therapy or the lack of it to notice.
And one sometimes wonders whether this shopping is aimed at challenging for the trophy or suppressing the realisation that they can no longer compete.
Those two will beg to differ. But I feel like we have all been down this road before.
Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino will probably feel this is his final season unless he wins a treble. Which he won’t.
He says the ground isn’t level and Tottenham lack the pulling power of the ‘Big Boys’.
He is right. Still, there is a new stadium to get into and an impressive squad to keep their nose ahead of Arsenal. I bet they don’t mind that at all.
And even if not, much can be said of all those below my top four, mention must go to teams like Chelsea who always seem to win the league in the first year of a new coach or Arsenal for whom hope always springs eternal.
Maurizio Sarri, who looks like a cross-breed of both, will wish for the luck of Avram Grant and the passion of Antonio Conte. And Unai Emery, well he is a Europa expert.
And so, many sub-plots each capable of standing ground as a full production will unfold. But don’t come here looking for impressive technique. That lives in Spain. Don’t expect a talent on the scale of Paul Scholes to emerge. You are better off betting on the discovery of yet another center-half whose reckless application means they shall be in hospital more often than not.
What you can expect however is entertainment. From the cricket scores, to the sensationalism of the media – all of which feed off each other in some form of self-gratifying cycle; nothing quite compares to the EPL.
And that’s is what our wives just don’t get. That English football is so random and one of the last surviving primeval forms of entertainment. That is its pull, and we shall be drugged and dragged in regardless of how silly it can sometimes be.
But above all, to many of us it is a release, a chance to step away from the daily grind of our existence and into the comfort of each other’s company, where we can rant at un-met expectations, laugh at ourselves, and hail the heroes we are unable to find in our day-to-day lives. That is what the Premiership offers us, and we are glad its back.