It’s All Kicking Off

Like many other football fans, I hated the closed-season. And for a variety of reasons and I’m sure many of you will concur.

The game is back on now. Football has returned, and the darkness of those seven weeks without it are in the past.

It’s a period of limbo that we suffer. It’s like the love of your life going on a two month back-packing trip to the other side of the world and being drip fed rays of sunshine via text message.

You know – the day the fixtures are released – you know it’s coming. It’s round the corner and the excitement starts to build. But as you look at the first real fixture; the day the League flag will be unfurled – it’s almost 2 weeks away. I’ve been through enough shopping trips, DIY Stores and Soft Play Areas. Whoever thought it was a good idea to stick a thousand screaming weans into a warehouse with Climbing Frames, Trampolines and Chutes wants shot.

And it’s always the Saturday after you’ve had a big night out. I have a genuine fear of these places when hungover. This is the FEAR. I’d seriously consider sitting in the Govan Stand with my full Celtic kit on rather than face that. Well, maybe not. But a heightened sense of nervousness washed over me every time I go through the entrance.

Weekends fill me with dread when the football’s not here. Ok, the occasional barbecue and perhaps an all day session with the boys can fill the gap. You either get caught by the backyard bore who wants to talk solely about what they do for a living or need to involve you in petty chat about what’s under the bonnet of the latest Audi R8. But you know near the end of the night that the void has only been temporarily filled.

And if you dare breach the subject of football in the company of those who do not share your love of the beautiful game you immediately feel as if you’re in the dock for the massacre of a family in cold blood whilst nicking each of the company’s wallets or purses.

Members of the football fraternity, no matter what team they follow will understand my pain but let’s look forward to what’s in store.

Celtic will inevitably take another step closer to 10-In-A-Row and the fans will expect to win all three domestic trophies. This can only be achieved if the loss of Hooper and Wanyama is filled and filled properly. The hope that Hooper might sign and new deal and stay has been forlorn. He’s gone, and life will have to go on too.

What I know about new signings Balde and Van Dijk you could write on a midge’s penis with a magic marker. But then again, a sense of de ja vu ran through me as I could have said same about the aforementioned Wanyama and Hooper.

But that’s Celtic’s style. It’s their market. Celtic is and always will be a massive club. They just don’t have the freedom to move in the marketplace for the obvious reasons. Let’s face it – moving to England is a fairytale. It’s not even a dream of mine any more. I’ve faced facts and moved on.

Southampton snapped Wanyama for a phenomenal £12.5m – many thought that a move anyone bar Manchester United or Arsenal then it lacks ambition. I slightly disagree. They will be playing in a better league. These guys will need to prove themselves in this arena before going any further if they do go to a lesser side. Wanyama, I believe, will go on to bigger things and may get a big move now but I have my doubts about Hooper. I genuinely think Hooper was suited greatly to Celtic’s style of play and will need to work hard to bag goals down south. We will see.

He would, however, have gone down in my estimation should he have chosen the Championship over Celtic. We’re drip fed utter bullshit about this league. It’s God awful at times and again, money has been thrown at it.

These guys are a MASSIVE loss and without them I’m fairly sceptical of the Hoops emulating last season’s feats in Europe. I would love to get to the Group Stages again but I think the last sixteen may evade us. On the other hand both Lennon and his side grew up greatly last season. They learned to win away. The held on to possession better and scored goals. Samaras became the talisman. Hard to believe eh? But Celtic needs reinforcements but I’m starting to worry about the level of player we’ll bring in. Good strikers are like hen’s teeth unless you pay an exorbitant fee – which we won’t.

Nobody will forget the monumental victory over Barcelona or the win against Spartak away either but with second rate players, we’ll struggle to attain such a level. I don’t buy this rubbish that Kayal can be as good as Big Vic or Antony Stokes can emulate Hooper if he screws the nut. Stokes has the ability to bag goals but I doubt his pedigree in Europe. He’s capable of 20-25 goals but we need TWO players who can do this over a season.

Now let’s be forthright and honest here. I want Celtic to win the League by record points this coming season. I want the Treble. Many Celtic fans will echo my thoughts. Some performances last season bordered on boredom but a double was bagged.

Meanwhile there’s The Rangers? They’ll win the 2nd Division and their second trophy in their brief history, but they are already out of one of the other cups, and I expect them to crash out of hte others, including the Pawnbrokers Cup, despite having the most expensive squad of players outside of Celtic in Scotland. They continue to give us endless laughter from both front and back pages, narrowly edging Hearts out.

I suspect that they, incidentally, will be relegated from the from the SPL or SPFL Premier (whatever it’ll be called).

Ally McCoist will win the Nobel Peace Prize after admitting that Global Austerity is not Celtic or its fans fault, in a moving speech at the doors of Ibrox. He’ll still allude to the burnt out coach, global warming and petrol prices as the Hoops supports fault.

Back to the real football. The warm up is over. Kazakhstan is the real test. The bread and butter stuff will take care of itself, but Europe is the stage where we want to be judged, and aside from the slim possibility of having visitors from the other side of Glasgow in a cup game, it is what gets the juices flowing.

As a final aside, I heard recently that there were several arrests at T in the Park from a crowd of around 90,000. Will the Scottish Government be introducing the Offensive Behaviour at Concerts Act? Just wondering.

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