The new season has come around so quickly I don’t know where to look, writes Kevin Robinson.
We’ve been spoiled this summer.
It’s hard to believe Burnley were back in competitive action last night, knocking Port Vale out of the Carlington Milk Capital One Cup or whatever it’s called this year.
After a slow build-up, Euro 2012 eventually got the juices flowing with a couple of group stage surprises, another quarter-finals thrashing for England and a couple of unbelievable performances from a Spain side that must be one of the best international teams in history.
Then we had an outstanding couple of weeks of tennis at Wimbledon culminating in some of the biggest British successes in pretty much forever, as Jonny Marray took the mens doubles title and Andy Murray became the first Brit to compete in the mens singles final since the 1930s.
But that was all just a warm up to what was universally billed as the main event. However nonplussed you were about the Olympics before they started, it was impossible not to get dragged in and absorbed by the two weeks that transfixed the country.
I’ll be honest – I was one of those folk who wasn’t that bothered about the summer games. I never applied for tickets as I had little interest in any of the sports on offer. Well, actually I nearly chanced my arm for football and tennis, but was worried they’d be anti-climatic in comparison to Roland Garros, Wimbledon and ‘proper’ football. So I let it go. Loads of people will enjoy the Olympics and I’d just take a passing interest when the big names compete like Mo Farah and Usain Bolt.
But I couldn’t have been more wrong. Now I’m pretty certain I could do a better job at judging the diving or artistic gymnastics than the professionals, I can offer you expert analysis of the canoe slalam and trampolining – and don’t get me started on the heptathlon. I was totally hooked and barely found away from the BBC’s 4,000,000 dedicated channels from dawn ’til dusk and beyond.
Who could fail to get drawn in right from the start when good old Lizzie parachuted into the magnificent Olympic Stadium with James Bond? The closing ceremony was met by nothing but overwhelming disappointment that all the excitement was over, I didn’t even think for a second about the impending football season.
Next thing you know – boom, we’re one-nil down at Port Vale. How did that happen? Where did…? When…? What?!
The new season is here already! Usually it’s preceded by weeks of boredom, thumb-twiddling and months staring at the calendar on the wall with annoyingly refuses to skip a page however much you ask.
Football has just… happened. No sooner than Posh Spice had stopped looking uncomfortable on top of a taxi, No Nay Never Live was back in action with a sexy new look and we’d already had the draw for the SECOND round of the league cup.
And on Saturday an old friend returns.
I’m not prepared at all. I haven’t read any of the four billion season previews around on the blogosphere (save for the NNN predictions and the truly excellent #shortandtweet), I don’t know where my shirt and scarf are, can’t remember where I sit or anything.
I can’t remember what I do at the change of ends, how I celebrate a spike, how to deal with pressure as we race towards the finishing line – heck I’ve even forgotten all the terminology and rules of the game.
Yet when I take my seat and Charlie Austin rolls the ball out to Ross Wallace to start the game on Saturday, the Olympics might as well never have happened. However enthralling and magical those two weeks might have been, something special happens at Turf Moor.
It’s called passion.
Yeah we might have enjoyed watching all these newfangled sport things, but did we really care? Did it physically hurt when Becky Adlington could only manage bronze? Did we feel unbelievable ecstasy when we won gold for making horses dance to Phil Collins?
We’ve felt disappointment, relief and great pride and happiness – but it didn’t affect us. Lose on Saturday and we’ll be angry and depressed for days, win and it will be the best thing to happen to the world ever. Even better than a KitKat Chunky.
We’ll spend hours, days and weeks analysing why Eddie chose X over Y, what might have happened if A had passed to B sooner, if the ref was right to book C. It means so much that we can’t get away from it, we won’t let ourselves.
It’s why we’re still hurting after Owen Coyle stabbed us in the back two-and-a-half years ago. It’s why we got so touchy when Brian Stock still hadn’t signed a month after we thought he might. And it’s why we love Charlie Austin and Marvin Bartley more than our own flesh-and-blood.
Supporting Burnley isn’t a sport, it’s a lifestyle.
It’s been a great couple of months for sport, but nothing compares to the real thing. Bring on Bolton.
Are you excited for Saturday? Comment below.