As Andy Williams was so fond of crooning, it’s the most magical time of the year. A time for presents, peace on earth, and a celebrity we haven’t heard from in a while surprisingly croaking it.
Christmas is Boxing Day footy, fans dressed as Santa, and commentators we don’t like very much having just a five minute report to show for a hundred-mile treacherous journey when a game is called off.
It’s also, alas, a time for reviews, lots and lots of best ofs and worst ofs that will clog up our timelines and newspapers in the days to come.
Oh the media love a good look back on a passed year. They love them nearly as much as clickbait headlines and outright fibs.
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So we’re not going to do that. Instead we’re going to buck the trend, write off 2015 entirely and peer ahead six months, to when your milk-bottle legs are vaguely tanned, the telly shows nothing but repeats and the sun is nature’s alarm clock, waking you early by blazing through the curtains.
2015/16 may have so far given us the fairytale of Leicester City, comedy galore in the freefall of Chelsea, further guffaws at Manchester United’s spluttering and stuttering, and schadenfreude as high as the Royal Liver Building as Brendan Rodgers’ ego imploded, but it is nothing – it is soggy Brussel sprouts next to a choc-packed selection box – in comparison to what potentially lies ahead next summer.
If the stars align, money talks, and contracts are drawn up it is not a far-fetched reach to suggest that next season might just be the best one, well, ever.
Hyperbole? We think not. Not when Pep Guardiola is Premier League bound to take the reins of a Manchester City that has plastic surgeried itself into a Barcelona model in recent years in the vain hope that the great one will come and repeat history.
Not when a fired-up Jose Mourinho takes charge of a floundering Man United with the duel intentions of resurrecting their reputation and his own.
Not when Diego Simeone will undoubtedly be prised from his miracle workings in La Liga, reunite with Costa and shake up a Chelsea presently in neutral. Not when Jurgen Klopp has a large window of opportunity to mould and forge a Liverpool side of his making.
Those four elements alone are enough to have us drooling at the mouth like an unattended Stephen Hawking, and that’s before we get to the juicy subplots.
The further year of settlement for Pochettino’s blossoming Spurs; Wenger’s new-found glee in signing a summer superstar; Jose v Pep part two, only this time pressure-cookered to explosion by locality.
Each dawn of a football season brings with it a new soap opera: A big-money signing or managerial appointment that intrigues. By the time August rolls around we could be embarking on a campaign equivalent to Corrie merging with Eastenders with a exec producer who thinks ‘Hmm these murder and incest stories are a bit tepid. Let’s ruffle a few feathers’.
Let’s not forget Leicester trying to out-fox Real Madrid or Bayern in the Champions League, either. Or the ‘welcoming present’ signings each new coach will be afforded as the Premier League splurges its TV money bonanza. We may even be on the verge of Everton spending serious moolah.
The common consensus is that this season has been strange to say the least and by extension infinitely more engrossing than usual. That is certainly true but in the broad scope of time – in 2042 when fifty years of the Premier League is commemorated by holograms appearing from a tiny device affixed to our ears – it will merely be regarded as a curio.
Whereas the season to come could conceivably be viewed as the starting point for the most exciting era of all, a decade (or probably less) when English football went peak Premier league, rammed the hyperdrive up to juddering levels of insanity, put all its eggs in one basket, and blew our freakin’ minds.
Enjoy your turkey this Friday but save some room. The feast is yet to come.