The wait is over, the beautiful game returns

If you’re not feeling it yet, then you will soon.  Football is back.

It’s been less than three months, but for some of us it will have felt like three years.  Despite the offerings of the under-20 World Cup, the under-21 European Championship and even the Women’s Euro 2013, they just do not compare to the drama of watching your club on a Saturday.  It probably doesn’t help when England are rubbish in all three tournaments, but the point stands regardless.

There is a certain buzz surrounding the Football League that is difficult, if not impossible, to replicate anywhere.  Every year you dream of your team clinching promotion, with absolutely no-one ever safe from the threat of relegation.  Much like life, there are good days and bad days, with the former seeing you make successful progress towards your aims and the latter leaving you confused and frustrated.

When Sergio Aguero scored a last-second winner to clinch the Premier League title for Manchester City in 2012, commentator Martin Tyler famously said “you’ll never see anything like this again”.  That may remain true of the top flight, but last season the Football League provided us with not one but two scenarios that were just as exciting.  One spot kick away from winning the third division and achieving promotion to the Championship in injury time, Brentford rattled the bar before seeing their opponents Doncaster Rovers immediately burst up the other end of the pitch and score, claiming the win and the League One title for themselves.  Leicester found themselves in an almost identical situation during the second leg of their play-off semi-final against Watford, with Manuel Almunia saving their penalty kick before the Hornets’ Troy Deeney stung them on the counter attack.

Drama is inevitable come the end of a season, but clubs must face a long, treacherous road before they take the final turn to their destination.  Strap yourself in and prepare for the ride, because that journey starts this weekend.