Tuesday, 6 August 2013

The Season Started without Me!

So the football season started without me last week for the second time in 3 years, and it makes it very difficult on a Saturday afternoon watching the scores coming in and not playing. I find keeping myself busy instead of watching scores helps to keep my spirits up and doesn't let me get too down. I know a lot of footballers are in the same position as me, waiting on something happening or remaining undecided on what they want to do, so it is comforting knowing a lot of people are having the same feelings as me. It was good to see Falkirk, QOS and St Johnstone all winning at the weekend as my former clubs started the season well.
St Johnstone in particular have had a great start to the season. Defeating Rosenborg in the Europa League is a fantastic achievement, and it is testament to the hard work of the players over the Summer to get fit and ready to play games of that magnitude in the middle of July. The Norwegians aren't the team they used to be, but they are still a big club, so for a club in Scotland to beat them is great for the game and huge for the club. Now they look destined for the first round proper after a great 1-0 win away in Minsk, in the following round.

It is at times like these that it is good to have a supportive family and friends around you to help stay motivated and keep believing in yourself. Depression in football is often overlooked, and I am not saying I am depressed, because I'm not, but it is understandable at this time of year that somebody could start to feel depressed. Luckily for me I have girlfriend who keeps me going and believing that I am good enough, and also parents who have supported me throughout my footballing life.

At the opposite end of the football scale from me are the transfer sagas currently going on in the English Premiership. With Bale, Suarez and Rooney all seemingly wanting to leave for a combined total of more than £160m from their respective clubs, it is fair to say that this is a completely different world from the struggling game up in Scotland. Supporters inevitably become restless and start to vent their frustrations about their top players leaving for new clubs, but they are all understandable in my opinion. Bale can go to Real Madrid, who wouldn't want to go there? Suarez was one of the best players in the Premiership last year but he is at a club who have no Champions League football and no hope of winning the league. Rooney has been at Man United for 9 years and given everything he has for those years. Now he wants a new challenge and to play in his favoured position, so it makes sense to me.
One of my main gripes with football fans is when they say there is no loyalty in football anymore with players. The truth is that clubs have no loyalty either and as soon as a player has a bad season then he doesn't get his contract renewed or he is sold. I think sometimes the supporters forget that football is a job, particularly in the lower leagues and especially in Scotland. It is a job that can instantly be lost through serious injury, and since it is a game of opinions, all it takes is a new manager to not like you and you won't play and can end up without a contract. Therefore while it lasts it is important to make as much money as you can, and also prepare for the future(I'll discuss this in my next edition). Supporters always say they hate it when players move for the money, but honestly, who can say that they wouldn't switch companies to earn twice as much money than their current job doing the same thing?

The USPGA starts this week in Rochester, NY, and being the last major of the year, it is the last chance for eight months for someone to win a big one. Tiger Woods had a massive win at the Bridgestone at the weekend so that sets him up, again, to win his first major since 2008. He has won 5 times already this year, 4 of them being against all the top players(WGC Cadillac, WGC Bridgestone, Players Championship, Arnold Palmer Invitational), but he hasn't managed to get a major, even though he has been in contention going into the weekend in more than one. The old Tiger used to be unbeatable and it was inevitable he would win on the Sunday, but nowadays he is beatable, and I don't think he will follow up last weeks win with another this week.
Mickelson will be high in confidence going in and will be right up there, but a first major win for Jason Day is my tip this weekend.
I hope Martin Laird has a good week for Scotland, and as usual I'll be betting on my cousin hoping he can win me money for a change. He has won 3 times on tour, none of which I have bet on, but I continue to bet on the majors and hope that his game comes together for that particular weekend.
Defending champion Rory McIlroy hasn't had a good year so he won't be one of the favourites, but if he plays the way he did last year he has a good chance. Unfortunately for Rory, the switch to Nike hasn't helped his golf, but he is too good a player to remain winless for long, so who knows, it could be this week.

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