We’ve all been here before. But it doesn’t get any easier.
It’s summer. And as if the terrible weather or the threat of having to sunbathe and somehow conceal the beer belly, which has developed further over the past few months, wasn’t enough to get me down, there is no football to go to either.
Those sport-filled Saturday afternoons are now a distant memory and the Euros have not really done anything to lift spirits, watching former Boro managers analyse another England penalty shootout defeat and listening to the commentators telling me how warm it is in Ukraine, while listening to the rain crash against the windows as next door’s caravan floats down the road.
Weekends are now packed with “pottering” and trying to avoid – at any lengths – being dragged around yet another shopping centre. But ultimately, there are only so many times you can reorganise the garage. And can I convincingly say the shed needs painting again? Maybe that wall could handle another shelf.
And failing this the weekends will be spent going on trips to places that are overcrowded and where the only parking left is on the muddiest bog of an overflow field. And despite it having rained for 40 days and 40 nights – or at least it feels like that – as soon as I have waded my way through the car park the sun will break out and suddenly there’s a heat wave. I’ll be left with the choice of should I sweat it out or be left carrying around my coat for the rest of the day while trying to avoid dropped ice creams.
I never thought I would be yearning for a cold winter’s game against Millwall. Who cares if you have to stand up every ten minutes to make sure there’s still blooding flowing to your frozen feet? Who’s bothered if the snow is still somehow blowing into your face even though you are in row 29 and it’s only September? It doesn’t matter if I have to spend 40 minutes digging the car out after the final whistle, surely?
The Riverside stands empty in the distance, not that it’s visible through the wind and rain, as a reminder of what is missing. Apparently when the stadium is empty you can still here echoes of Alistair Brownlee celebrating Maccarone’s goal against Steaua Bucharest. Ok, I made that last bit up, but I’d like it to be true.
And although there’s plenty of sport available with a home Olympics, I couldn’t tell if that gymnast’s routine should score one or a perfect ten. If they manage to stay on their feet they’ve done well in my eyes. Why hasn’t Maradona been picked for the Argentinian handball squad? And RS:X sounds more like a sporty hatchback than a sailing event.
But look on the bright side. The start of the season is not that far away. And although Barnsley away first game of the season isn’t what dreams are made of, especially with the addition of Mido and his inevitable goal before limping off in the second half, who knows where this season could go?
Maybe this will be the year we get promoted back to the Premier League and pick up the FA cup along the way – not that I am one to get carried away, of course. But for now I’ll have to occupy myself as best I can. I think that wall needs repainting.
This piece was written for the Middlesbrough Football Club website while on work experience at the club’s website. It can be seen on the site here.