Like being woken from the dead, last night's chance channel flicking that landed on the pre-season game between my team the Indianapolis Colts vs the Dallas Cowboys brought all my senses alive. What a feeling! There they were my boys led by their man Peyton Manning. Though he wasn't playing when I finally discovered the game he held court on the sidelines just as effectively as on the field. Ah, the burgeoning NFL season. In that realm of things, only one other thing exhilarates me as much - the other football season - the Premiership, and it gets underway tomorrow.
There's nothing like waking up to Saturday morning football on the telly. The sound of the crowd, the commentary, the players, the play - ah, it brings back so many weekend morning memories for me - hard boiled eggs on a bun, tea and football. Tomorrow's games aren't as significant to me as Sunday's. Except of course Aston Villa vs Liverpool, Villa being the last English side my dad Graham Leggat was affiliated with as coach of the youth side before we packed up and left for the Toronto Metros here in Canada. Villa will always hold a place in my heart because at one time they too were part of our family.
Sunday my club Chelsea open against one of my Dad's other old clubs, Birmingham, and the last place I lived prior to hopping the Atlantic. As the season unfolds you'll see how every team ties into my upbringing in one way or another. I don't hold much of an allegiance toward Birmingham despite the family connection and I get the feeling that even though Chelsea played relatively well against Man U the other day, that they'll be in fine form Sunday against Birmingham City and should have no trouble beating this side. Especially to prove something after three of their penalty kicks were saved by Man U's stellar goalkeeper Edwin Van der Sar. I don't think that's ever happened before, not even by ex-Liverpool and England's old national team superstar goalie David Seaman, who personally I thought was great.
Sunday, the dreaded Manchester United play Reading. I think Man U will crush Reading. Too many superstars, so much adrenaline, fire, the list goes on and on. Unfortunately for the rest of us, I think this will be Rooney's pinnacle year, which is frightening. As a team, they are always frightening - bastards. Speaking of which, the same day the Gunners take on Fulham, the real family team for us, next to Aberdeen and Scotland International, many a Craven Cottage story has been imbedded in these ears, in this heart. I wish my Dad was playing for them Sunday. Can't help bringing to mind the time he scored three goals in three minutes for Fulham, still holds the hat trick record, granted that game was against Ipswich on Boxing day in 1963, not Arsenal, one of the teams, like Man U, that I was born to loathe, despite liking many of their individual players along the way; the now departed Thierry Henry for one. Losing him, another strike against Arsenal as far as I'm concerned. (My cousin Paul's a supporter so for that I try to make allowances!)That said, I hope Fulham crush Arsenal on Sunday, and that the ref is on Fulham's side.
Ah, the history, the comaraderie, the football life - both of them. It's been a long dry off-season, even though the U-20 tourney was superb - hail the oasis, the light at the end of the tunnel.