Football's Coming Home | The Daily Star
07:26 PM, June 16, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 09:03 PM, June 16, 2020

Football's Coming Home

Yes, on the television

I can't keep track of dates anymore. I have a general idea about when the work week starts and when it ends, but no track of dates. That is about to change.

If you hadn't heard already, football is back. After weeks without Sunday derbies and UEFA Champions League (UCL) nights, football is finally making its return to the big screen. It feels like it has been forever. After months of bleak and depressing news, this feels like a big win.

While the German Bundesliga had already resumed from mid-May, and Spanish La Liga starting last Friday on June 12, football has not been completely absent. But really, we all know the league whose return we have been awaiting is the English Premier League (EPL). Some fans would go so far as to call it the prodigal son. Mostly for football fans in Bangladesh.

I remember remarking in an article in April, when teams first started playing behind closed doors, that the absence of crowds made the matches feel somewhat dull. I was but a fool back then, who is now ready to not only eat his own words but even beg for a chance to watch Liverpool play, of all things. Heck, I'd even settle to watch Aston Villa play out all the remaining 92 fixtures by themselves.

EPL is set to resume from tomorrow, June 17, 2020, with limited staff from each team and the only outsiders being TV broadcasters, journalists and radio broadcasters. There will also be pre-recorded crowd noise playing to prevent the stadium from feeling too empty. There are also talks for having a limited number of fans on live video feeds to keep morale up among the players. 

So, before it kicks off in full gear, I'd like to take a moment on behalf of all the fans -- many of whom, like me, have spent the last three months playing Football Manager just to stay sane -- to say that I am grateful.

English football had become one of the main forms of escapism for me, since I first discovered it more than a decade ago. But in recent years, I've spent plenty of time complaining about it, whether it's about VAR or my own team crumbling for the last five years. I don't think I ever appreciated the EPL enough. After all, you do take things for granted until they're taken away from you.

So, even behind closed doors, with artificial crowd noise and my team possibly failing to qualify for next year's UCL, I am ready. I'm ready to escape into English football once again. Because it really is that faithful old friend that you need in your most trying times. Now, more than ever, is when I need my old friend the most.

Aaqib is stuck in an existential crisis loop. Send help at aaqibhasib94@gmail.com

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