Friday 23 March 2018 / 11:56 PM

The perverse delight in a summer without football

So, the season’s over.

Well, not quite. We’ve still got the FA Cup final and the Champions League final to go, but from a domestic league front, we’re done.

As an ardent, passionate football fan, I should be pretty gutted, right?

Right. But I’m not. Let me tell you why.

You see, I love football a tremendous amount. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of live football, and equally there’s nothing quite like settling down to watch a game on TV or at the pub.

And yet, I’m so excited about the next two and half months, precisely because there will be no football to watch. Bizarre, eh?

You see, the thing is, I get a massive amount of enjoyment from watching football, I really do. But if I’m being totally honest, it’s only part of the fun. For me, football is a soap opera. And regardless of whether there are games to watch, the show must go on.

Take this week for example. No Premier League football on, but intense speculations over the futures of Gareth Bale and Raheem Sterling. No games to watch, but a fascinating decision from Real Madrid to let Carlo Ancelotti go. Zero matches to view on TV, but a ‘should they or shouldn’t they?’ moral dilemma with West Ham and Sam Allardyce.

Some of you might hate these elements of football, but for me, they all add to my enjoyment of the sport in such a way that if they were taken away, I’m not sure how much I would enjoy it.

Of course, I do still love the beautiful game above all else, but – and this is the key here – it’s not exclusively about the two goals, 22 players and one ball.

As humans, we’re all programmed to love stories, and that’s exactly what the footballing sideshow provides for us. Players acting up and demanding transfers, managers moaning because the board aren’t landing the talents they want, agents meeting in dark corners of expensive London hotels to discuss below-the-table transfers. All of that stuff makes the game so much more intriguing, and the fact of the matter is that we get more of it in the summer, purely because there is much less football to watch.

I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait for a summer of transfer gossip, player tantrums and managerial merry go rounds. It makes the summer immensely fun. And that’s not to mention the feeling you get when a really BIG transfer happens. Remember where you were when Shearer signed for Newcastle for £15 million? Or when Ronaldo went to Real Madrid? Or when City signed Robinho on deadline day?

Like it nor not, the soap opera surrounding football is a large part of what makes the game such a universally popular one. The main acts and the big fight scenes might be finished for a few months, but there’s still plenty more for us to feast our eyes on. Roll on a summer of drama.

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About the author

Seb Greenwood

CBS’s longest-serving contributor, Englishman Seb is our leading football correspondent, pulling no punches with his opinions on the Premier League and the international scene.

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