Last Thursday I stayed up till 3am for the final time. On Sunday, I watched ‘Final Score’, for the final time. And I woke up this morning feeling empty and without purpose. The calender no longer has any important events on it. Just three long months with nothing.
The end of the football season always hits me hard, because it’s the end of a relationship, ten long months of constant stress and worry and arguments and moments of ecstasy and (especially for a Spurs fan) long periods of woeful depression. But it’s always there. You know that however terrible you feel, it all starts again from 3pm on Saturday. And you know that however fantastic you feel, make the most of it, because it ends at 2.59 on Saturday.
And now……nothing. Not even Sky Sports News to watch all through the summer, like a little voice in the back of your head reminding you of what’s coming and warming you up a frenzy of excitement where you can go through it all again, go back to the same places, do the same things, and love it.
Particularly in Bangladesh, where I have no real appointments or things outside of work other than the football, I don’t know quite what I’m going to do. It defines my week, begins and ends it, and now the weekend is just another day to get through, with nothing to look forward to in the evenings. Watching Dimitar Berbatov this season has simply been unbridled joy, sporting pornography in football boots. I saw him at the Lane last August, in his first game, a pre-season, and he looked a bit special. Since then, he’s just looked…erotic.
His languid, balletic, instinctual grace is just mesmerising, has me standing up and applauding and texting people and just thinking ‘wow, what a player’. There are others who are as good as him on the ball, and can keep it technically as well. Ronaldo, Joe Cole, Robben for example, but Berbatov doesn’t seem to put any effort in to it. He performs skill as if it was the most natural thing in the world, just instinctual, whereas whenever I watch Ronaldo dazzle a defender, it’s fantastic, but you get the impression he’s making a conscious effort to do that step-over, that he’s aware of what he’s doing and putting effort in to it.
Berbatov just seems to play with the same nonchalent manner that I drink a cup of tea. The only other modern player that I think can do that is Thierry Henry, and Henry’s pretty damn good as well. Berbatov’s just amazing, and improved my life immeasurably over what’s otherwise been nearly eight rather joyless months.
So…I’m not sure quite what happens now. Next Saturday is going to be really tough. But at least I’ve got some epic memories to cling to. That goal against Middlesborough. That jink past Tugay. The game at home against Bolton….magic