By Paul Mallon | Minister for Propaganda
It’s like the steak dinner you’ve forced yourself to enjoy because it was too expensive. The meat squeaked in your mouth and the wine tasted like pish. You forgot to notice her new bangs so she wasn’t happy. But you convinced yourself it was good anyway.
Welcome to the Premier League 2012.
We tried to get excited by your elegant, crisp passing, Swansea. But then Aston Villa beat you.
We waited with bated breath for your renaissance at Liverpool, Brendan Rodgers. Worst start in 50 years.
We longed for a razor-sharp Wayne Rooney, terrorising defences. The chip shop got the best of you this summer, porky.
Even Everton, of all the usual early-season misfits, we thought you might step up to the plate. Predictably unpredictable.
It’s not us, Premier League. It’s you.
You see a lot changed since May, the giddy highs of last season and that orgasmic finale when Manchester City scraped to victory.
During June and Euro 2012, Spain thrilled us with football so intelligent they didn’t need a striker.
Then, for July, London had a personality transplant and cleaned up its act. Those days of vociferous debate about how ill-prepared the security company GS4 was for the Olympics was forgotten in a blaze of Danny Boyle-inspired madness at the opening ceremony. Athletes such as Katie Taylor, David Rudisha, Usain Bolt, Mo Farah and, of course, Jessica Ennis lit up the world. (Track and field merits aside, ‘Jessica Ennis sexy’ remains a top search term on the Paddy Power Blog each day. Maybe it’s Seb Coe who can’t let go).
In August, we watched in awe at the Paralympic Games as Jonnie Peacock, Oscar Pistorius and Michael McKillop led a cast of thousands to further inspire us, and push Premier League prima-donnas further down the pecking order in our over-loaded brains.
Premier League fans waited patiently and in hope. On August 18, low and behold, the big kick-off arrived. The new season. The new kits. Gary Neville’s risqué new haircut.
Yes, Eden Hazard can really ping a pass for the Pensioners. Yes, Arsenal look top four material, even if Olivier Giroud couldn’t score in Coppers, and, yes, if RVP can stay snug in the cotton wool at night, Manchester United might do okay.
But it’s still all fur coat and no knickers really. Isn’t it?
The Premier League’s comeback wasn’t helped by the international break.
Like a perverted drunk uncle at a wedding, the World Cup qualifiers showed up. Really, Sepp, your timing is shocking. Those 90 minutes when Ireland were on a football pitch with Kazakhstan (let’s not call it a match) will keep counsellors’ couches warm for years. Vomit could sue over links to the term ‘puke football’.
Ok, so we are 113 or so goals in to the new Premier League campaign. But it’s only this Sunday it really starts.
Liverpool vs Manchester United is the game to elevate this season to the rarified heights of our Olympic-sized expectations.
But the truly exciting thing about Liverpool vs Manchester United at Anfield is not knowing what’s coming.
But, at last, it’s coming.