We used to have a proper close season. One where we could get into cricket. Catch sticklebacks and put them in a jar. Watch The Flashing Blade. Go on holiday for two weeks. Come home. And really start to miss the football.
League games would end at the start of May. Then there was the FA Cup Final and European Cup Final, followed by the Home Internationals (three live televised games in two weeks would send us giddy). It was all done and dusted by the third weekend of May, and that was it – until some time around 21 August.
The close season has now been nibbled away at both ends and is threatening to disappear altogether. And the days of the honest chap who could earn a living as both footballer and cricketer are now long gone.
May is all about the play-offs, while the sprawling UEFA Europa League kicks off its Qualifying Round on 1 July, and the Football League usually times its ‘Big Kick-off’ for the first week of August.
What was once three months is now one. Weren’t football’s greedy boys ever taught that you can have too much of a good thing?
We are now working hard on ‘Got, Not Got 2′ but you can still get last year’s model. (Cunning punk rock reference). Don’t leave it too long however, we hear that supplies are getting low… Available from branches of WH Smith and Waterstones or online here…