Congratulations! You’ve made it through a full week without football. It might seem like nothing, but it’s actually been a massive challenge for someone who watches it so frequently. Not only that but after being practically moulded into your sofa or glued to the floor of a pub to watch every World Cup match, it was previously astounding to consider going longer than a few hours without football in your life.
Alternative activities don’t come in all too many forms, but we’ve been able to establish some ways to ease the gap as we await another Premier League season. Next weekend sees the return of the Championship, which is massive news for fans of clubs in England’s second tier, but only a mere consolation for those who continue to hold out for the top tier’s 2017/18 campaign.
Worthwhile Club Friendlies
Queens Park Rangers v Union Berlin – Loftus Road at 2:30pm
If pre-season is anything to go by, Queens Park Rangers could be significantly more threatening in the coming season, as they’ve only played three games but scored eight goals and conceded just three. Unfortunately, that’s hardly ever an indication of genuine quality but the 7-0 win over Staines Town certainly says otherwise! Their next game has Steve McClaren’s new-look but mostly very similar QPR hosting Bundesliga second tier side Union Berlin at Loftus Road in another interesting challenge.
Adults - £5
Over 60s and Under 21s – FREE
Interested in learning more about the German second division? Why not become engrossed in vague leagues from across the pond?
Flicking through the endless sports channels leaves a lot of football fans with no choice but to watch the football on offer from all corners of the globe. Whether it’s the suddenly popular Chinese Super League, the somewhat intriguing Swedish Allsvenskan, or the questionable Bolivian Liga de Futbol, there’s plenty of alternative ways of enjoying football, and the availability to bet on practically all of them.
Not only could you watch or bet on these leagues from afar but why not take the summer holiday as an opportunity to visit a part of the world that you didn’t even know existed? Obviously, you must be careful before blindly picking a country and engrossing yourself in another culture, but with a lot of these leagues playing out their games at unpredictable times, there’s the option of a different, if not slightly intimidating, away day.
Reading v Crystal Palace – Madejski Stadium at 3:00pm
There are surely not many recognised sides with as uninteresting a pre-season as Reading, who’ve somehow failed to win all three friendlies they’ve played so far. Not only that but the first was a defeat to National League side Eastleigh before losing by four goals to two against League One strugglers AFC Wimbledon. Their third tie had them holding Fulham to a draw, but they’ll face another major test before things get serious next weekend, hosting Crystal Palace, who’ve recently returned from a successful trip to Sweden, where Roy Hodgson faced a Halstad side he once managed, before royally thrashing them 6-1.
Adults – £10
Under 17s and Over 65 - £5
Not blown away by the thought of seeing what could easily be a goalless draw at The Madejski? Get away from it all with a fishing trip!
It’s easy to grow tired of being stuck in the same pattern for months on end. Getting off the grid and being one with nature is something a lot of people do while they have time away from their normal lives, and it makes a lot of sense to do this while you aren’t waiting for the results of a football match. We’ve already mentioned the joys of the great outdoors but if you’d rather sleep in your own bed, fishing could be the perfect activity for you!
Another positive to fishing rather than hiking is that you’ll be away from the dangers that could be waiting in British forests and fields, instead carelessly floating in a rickety old boat, completely alone in a lake you’re visiting for the first time. What could possibly go wrong with that? You must always be careful with these sorts of days out, but fishing is a typically safe hobby and, when done correctly, could result in the next few meals being sorted. If you’re aiming to see the match and go fishing in the Reading area after, it’s worth visiting the website for the Reading & District Angling Association for further information on the local rules and the best fishing spots.
Sheffield Wednesday v Villarreal – Hillsborough at 3:00pm
After spending almost £70 million in the summer transfer window and bringing in notable Premier League faces in Santi Cazorla and Ramiro Funes Mori, Villarreal look set to take La Liga by storm this season. How do they plan on preparing their new-found dominance over Spain’s toughest division? By taking on Sheffield Wednesday, of course! The Owls have had a very different window so far, with some big-name departures being their only highlight, but it’s hoped they’ll replace them with some worthy additions before the window closes.
Adults - £15
Under 11s - £10
Derby County v Wolverhampton Wanderers – Pride Park at 3:00pm
As if it wasn’t a big enough kick in the face to miss out on promotion to the Premier League through a tense Play-Off Semi-Final defeat to Fulham, Derby County are now set to play Wolverhampton Wanderers, who finished top of the Championship in the same campaign. Wolves’ main priority has been to assure permanent deals for previous loan signings Diogo Jota, Willy Boly and Leo Bonatini but they boast of the best continental football of any side in the West Midlands, so Frank Lampard’s Derby really do have their work cut out.
Adults - £15
Under 18s - £10
Derby are steadily adding to their squad in time for the new season. Why not take the lack of football as an opportunity to do some shopping of your own?
A lot of people would answer the question ‘what’s worse than doing nothing?’ with ‘shopping, of course!’ but it will certainly use up your time on a quiet day. Not only that but it will at least allow you to appreciate past times where you weren’t out shopping, which is a massive plus.
When you’re bogged down with work and making use of your weekends, going shopping is the last thing on your mind so it might be as good a time as any while nothing’s going on and no important football is taking place. It wouldn’t be the top of anyone’s list in terms of exciting activities, but it certainly beats doing nothing at all…or does it?