Coping Without Football - Week 1

No more football for 4 weeks!

A Guide To Coping Without Football – Week 1

After such an intense focus on the World Cup, it’s become hard to imagine a time without football, and it’s the reality we have no choice but to face over the next few weeks. Accumulators still abound, but do you know much about the Chinese league? The World Cup controversy, drama, star players, and overachieving England campaign was enough to rank World Cup 2018 as one of the greatest of all time, but going from three fixtures a day, to two a day, to one a day, and now down to none a day, has left a gaping hole in our lives.

While efforts to persevere without the calming viewing of eleven men battling another eleven men for a heavy balloon could be successful, there will be a lot of football fans who are struggling to find meaning. For those unfortunate souls, we’ve delved into alternative hobbies and outlets during the lack of competitive football, with a view to providing genuine entertainment away from the Premier League, if such a thing exists…

Worthwhile Club Friendlies

Burton Albion v Aston Villa – Pirelli Stadium at 3:00 pm

For those still in denial about the two-week gap until we finally get the Championship back, Aston Villa are taking on Burton Albion at the Pirelli Stadium. It provides some resemblance to last season through the teams involved but we won’t see the same matchup for at least a year, as Burton Albion were relegated to League One after finishing twenty-third in the previous campaign. There’s a lot of hype surrounding Aston Villa too, as they’re expected to start on the front foot and finally return to the Premier League after two years away.

Costs: Adults - £10 Under 17s - £5

Sports
No football, no cry!

Underwhelmed by lowly Burton’s playing style? Why not go pro yourself?

Football in England and all major European countries primarily takes place between August and May, but other sports aren’t restricted to this timeline. Playing football is perfectly acceptable but unless you’re able to find a non-league side who have started pre-season training and are open to taking on even the most unprofessional of players, it’s unlikely you’ll find anywhere with an opening.

Even though Wimbledon was at its peak during the World Cup - meaning that a lot of us football fans missed it - tennis remains as one of the summer’s most popular sports and is worth playing while you can run across the court without slipping on ice. Cricket is another traditional summer sport and you’re likely to see a lot of people getting themselves involved with a local cricket club, thwarting the grieving feeling of going without football for so long.

Preston North End v West Ham United – Deepdale at 3:00pm

Nobody could have predicted the immense spending seen by West Ham United this summer. It’ll be interesting to see how their new-look starting eleven fairs against a Preston North End side who finished far higher last season than many expected. A reported £85 million was spent on attacking reinforcements in the form of Felipe Anderson, Andriy Yarmolenko and Jack Wilshere, and defensive upgrades through the arrival of Issa Diop, Fabian Balbuena, Ryan Fredericks and Lukasz Fabianski, effectively making The Hammers into an entirely new side.

Costs: Adults - £10 Under 18s - £5

Not interested in West Ham’s revamped team? Why not revamp your home instead?

After procrastinating over things that ‘need doing’ in your home, you might take a good hard look and realise that most doors don’t shut properly, there’s inexplicable nails sticking inwards from every wall, and one room is either shut off from the rest of the world, or technically on fire.

Coping Without Football
No more football for 4 weeks!

If there’s ever been a time to focus your energy on fixing up your house, it’s now. Attempting to delve into these highly stressful and extremely sensitive tasks while you’ve got an important football fixture in the background could result in ending the day trying to hold the roof above your head as the house begins to crumble, or gradually removing a nail from your forearm. Either way, you’re best ‘Doing It Yourself’ while you’re able to avoid a trip to the emergency room.

Derby County v Southampton – Pride Park at 3:00pm

Two extremely contrasting seasons, Derby County lost the Championship Play-Off Semi-Finals to Fulham, who went on to find promotion, and Southampton avoided relegation from the Premier League by the skin of their teeth, proving how fragile they’ve become. Frank Lampard now faces the challenge of finally getting The Rams back up to the Premier League after a decade away, so a visit from Mark Hughes’ Saints could be just the test they need before things get serious.

Costs: Adults - £15 Under 18s - £10

Bolton Wanderers v Girona – Macron Stadium at 3:00pm

Easily the most bewildering of friendly fixtures on Saturday, it’s been a pleasant surprise to see Phil Parkinson’s Bolton Wanderers hosting last season’s surprise package in La Liga, Girona. The Spanish newcomers pushed up to ninth despite it being their first season in the top tier, and they have to credit some of their achievement to the six first-team players who were handed to them on loan from the Premier League. It’s also where Cristhian Stuani moved after Middlesbrough were relegated, so he’ll be up for proving a point back in England.

Costs: Adults - £10 Under 18s - £5

Girona are travelling nearly 1,100 miles to play Bolton. Want a challenge of your own? Why not investigate the British countryside?

Countryside
Not a ball in sight!

Venturing outside your house and into the wilderness can be a frightening prospect but when you consider the benefits, you might be tempted into at least trying it. It’s easy to become accustomed to staring at screens and dwelling in darkened rooms but there’s a whole world out there waiting to be explored. There’s also practically no limit to what you can do, with camping spots and national parks around every corner.

What could be better than taking several tireless hours to put up your tent, only to find that you’ve disturbed some of Britain’s most dangerous animals, and now need to run for your life? It would be a lie to say that there are no dangers to trekking across the countryside, so we’d certainly advise assuring your own personal safety, but it’ll certainly help you to appreciate the quiet safety of your own home.

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