By the way…the European season has started
Yet here we are again at the start of another European season. In fact the likes of Juventus and Liverpool have already begun competitive action in Europa League qualifiers and this weekend France’s Ligue 1 begins and England’s Community Shield pits double winners Chelsea against runners-up Manchester United.
It all feels a bit surreal and excitement among fans does not seem to be as palpable as previous seasons. The World Cup was a letdown for many and the transfer market is as dead as a dodo.
Could the beautiful game be losing some of its spark?
The harsh economic realities in the rest of industry are filtering through to soccer. AS Roma are up for sale after big debts and Liverpool are hunting for a buyer while Manchester City are the only European club spending big given no “must haves” were really discovered in South Africa.
Several top sides have new coaches but fans’ enthusiasm for recent Liverpool failure Rafael Benitez at Inter Milan and unheralded Massimiliano Allegri at AC Milan has been muted at least. Roy Hodgson is a good coach, but will he get pulses racing at Anfield?
Even the Special One Jose Mourinho has been surprisingly quiet in his first few weeks at Real Madrid having bagged a treble with Inter, a workmanlike team at best, last term.
It feels as if we are waiting for something. Whether it will arrive when the first whistles of the new league seasons are heard is as yet unclear.
Apathy, brought on by incessant and average quality soccer, is one of the biggest dangers football has faced and don’t be too surprised if attendances dip in the coming weeks. Season ticket sales at several clubs are already down and financial worries are not the only cause.
So come on Ronaldo, Rooney, Villa, Sneijder, Drogba and Co. Show us again why we love this sport so much.
PHOTO: Inter Milan’s captain Javier Zanetti lifts the trophy following his team’s Champions League final soccer match victory against Bayern Munich at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, May 22, 2010. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini