Where’s the Drama? – Not Quite Reaching Fever Pitch

Posted on August 10, 2011 by

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From this humble Trawlerman’s point of view, the incipient 2011/2012 Premier League season seems to be lacking a little in the lustre of engrossing narrative and dramatic symmetry. To put it another way, there aren’t many stories, or loose-ends to be tied up. Man City are slowly gaining ground on their hated local rivals but, by their own admission, they are still not ready to challenge for the title, and there is little romance in City’s cynical rise. Chelsea have an intelligent, bright-eyed new manager who is yet to incur the vengeful wrath of any of his opposite numbers. Arsene Wenger is overseeing his beloved Arsenal’s wane, but surely (barring any serious early-season hiccups) he is safe from the sack in the short-to-medium term.

As a Liverpool supporter, I ought to be inspired by the prospect of fans’ favourite King Kenny Dalglish restoring glory to Anfield, knocking Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United of the famous “perch” which have they so recently (and painfully) inherited. But I know that this Summer’s transfer investment actually represents a hard-headed and ruthlessly realistic attempt to reclaim Champions League qualification and top-four consolidation, perhaps with a view to a serious assault on the EPL title next season.

I suppose I don’t see many personal grudge-matches ready to be played out in front of (and embellished by) Sky’s shiny TV cameras (although that won’t stop them trying, of course). I can’t help but feel that great redemptive stories, inspiring and satisfying narrative arcs, or even plain old ESPN-friendly “Downing Scores A Hat-Trick Against His Old Club”-esque stories will be few on the ground. A great deal of teams, players and managers just seem to be comfortably treading water.

But perhaps the dearth of sensational sagas will allow us to truly appreciate football per se. Like modern art shorn of explicit meaning, or the beauty of random nature, perhaps Blackburn vs Tottenham, separated from conventional narrative, can become a whole new abstractly wondrous experience, and allow us to understand the deeper value of football. Context, allegories and conclusions can be distracting, detracting from the true essence of what 22 men on a pitch can really mean.

Yeah, maybe. Or maybe this English season might just be a bit boring. I can’t lie, I’d rather be in Spain watching Mourinho’s Madrid attempt to wrestle La Liga and the Champions League from The Greatest and Purest Team the World Has Ever Seen™. Now there’s drama.

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Posted in: Football