Season preview: a doomgoblin speaks

Everyone is ‘buzzing’ for Saturday, the big kick off is just around the corner. The season previews are out; who are going up? who are going down? whose signed who? So why am I not very excited about it?
On Friday I asked if a bloke at work was looking forward to his imminent retirement. He shrugged disinterest at the thought of years of complete freedom from the obligations of work and said he was more looking forward to the football season.

Personally, I can’t keep up with the off season. Or at least I don’t really want to. When Saturday Comes last month lamented the passing of the real off-season, when everyone went and played cricket and basked in the sun allowing a little respite from the horrors of the football season; I empathised.

Nowadays, the internet facilitates an unrelenting flood of close season activity drumming up false excitement; signings, new kits, pre-season fixtures.  In the past, because football wasn’t reported on a minute by minute basis, pre-season coverage consisted of little more than a few grainy pictures in the opening day programme. Something happened during the summer, but nobody really cared what. New players would appear in August not before, as would new kits, although that was rare.

The elastic finally snapped with me last summer with the Olympics offering a wonderful distraction. The break from constant football was much needed. This year, perhaps it’s the weather, or simple mental fatigue, but as we stand a few days from the start of the new season I’m currently somewhere between disinterested in the new season, and actively not looking forward to it.

I don’t ‘buzz’ about new seasons anymore, the familiar routine of the pre-season deadens any excitement. I know I need to play my way in. By October I’ll be right there, but I’ll take a while to engage. This year everyone is very excited by the opening fixture against Portsmouth, but for me, that’s not helping. It’s the hype, it’s just too much too soon. This isn’t Portsmouth from the Premier League managed by ‘Arry Redknapp. This is Portsmouth the bankrupt shell, who have signed Tom Craddock.

Throughout the summer each new signing is an event and kits are officially launched with pictures of players giving a rubbish ‘we mean business’ glare. Its so familiar, its so tedious.

One of those pictured in the new shirt was Danny Rose. The Herbalife Boy was, to say the least, an odd mahogany colour. Perhaps the snake oil protein product he insists on promoting has turned him a peculiar hue.

I’m not really a fan of Rose. He comes with the unhelpful tag of being the ‘former captain of Manchester United reserves’. Perhaps he doesn’t like the label himself, but he singularly failed to live up to expectations during his first stint at the club even though the fans gave him a lot of slack. He seems to have bulked up, and turned this funny colour, plus he’s had some decent spells at Fleetwood and Newport. Perhaps he has blossomed, but I shall sit here with my arms crossed expectantly until he proves his worth.

The other returnee is Asa Hall; which I’m happier about. Couple this with my views on Danny Rose and I think this makes me completely the opposite of most fans. Hall’s form before he left at the end of 2011/12 was fantastic. This may have been down to the form of Adam Chapman with whom he ‘t’like tried stuff out n’t’stuff’. But I hope he’s not reliant on Chapman and that Chris Wilder has found the right formula to make him play.

Signings of Dave Kitson and David Hunt seem against the new vision of a young vibrant local club. But it does suggest some degree of ambition exists within the boardroom.

I don’t join the fray in terms of actually going to a game until Wycombe on the 24th; the minefield of holidays and other early season commitments conspiring against me this year. By then, things will be in full flow. But will I?

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Oxblogger is a blog about Oxford United.

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