Finally, the season is upon us! It has been a long time since the start of a new EPL season has been so eagerly anticipated by so many. Mancs are as usual supremely confident after a summer of heavy spending while many Kopites are hoping our first "superstar" signing Torres can lift us into serious challengers. Even Spurs fans are talking about a top 4 finish while the Gooners are hoping Arsene can work his magic again. In rare show of belief, Magpie supporters are actually believing that a former Mackem can transform their misfiring bunch of misfits. Therein lies the magic of this wondeful game. For all its foibles and rich, overpaid stars indulging in a manner that would shame Capote, football has the power of hope and to put a smile on yer face.
As for those who don't understand our obsession with this wonderful game, please read James Lawton's moving article in The Sun two days after Iraq won the Asian Cup. He said the world was transfixed by the smiling image of the Iraqi boy who for a moment could revel in his team's victory & actually forget that his country is embroiled in a civil war.
Lawton also quotes Ian St John who said one of his enduring memories was dancing in the streets of Buenos Aires after Argentina had won the 1978 World Cup on home soil. Again, for a moment the people could forget that they were living under a military dictatorship. Thousands of dissidents, journalists & other "undesirables" had simply vanished from the face of the earth. But for a few hours, it was heaven on earth for the Argies.
What a wonderful respite from the fear & turmoil of their everyday lives. Crying shame we Malaysians don't have such a team to transport us away from the daily grind of corruption, greed and racism that seems to dominate our society. If anything, our team only reinforces all that is wrong and negative about our society.
Just ponder on what Albert Camus once said, "Everything I needed to know about life and more, I learned on the football field."
PS: Kopites, take note - our Reds will take on Feyernood at 1:55am Monday morning on Ch80 (Astro). Hopefully it will not be as sluggish a display as v Shanghai FC on Sat. Am hoping Rafa will start with what should be our staring XI in an adventurous 3-5-2 formation : Carson (yes, I prefer him to Pepe), Carra, Hyppia & Agger as the three central defenders / L-R Riise, Mascherano, Alonso, Gerrard (playing in hole behind strikers), Yossi / Kuyt & Torres.
Please feel free to post your dream XI. With such a large squad this year, we have the option to chop & change players & tactics even more often. Let's hope we can at least mount a challenge this season rather than be left out of the race by Nov.