What’s this gold badge on my sleeve?
August 18, 2012

Photograph: MCFC.co.uk

So, where were we?

Oh yeah. It was 446pm at the Etihad on that May 13 afternoon and Edin Dzeko had just scored the equalizer for Manchester City to bring the score to 2 – 2. The game at the Stadium of Light had just ended and as the table stood, Manchester United was yet again, the champions of England. Tension was high for the 40,000 fans in blue as seconds away was the destiny that shall determine if history would be made, or the mother of all 'Typical City' moments would make its mark.

93 minutes and 20 seconds into the game, time stood still. Aguero scored, Martin Tyler had an orgasm, City lifted the trophy, and the 2011/12 season became the greatest English Premier League season ever.

But let's not dwell too much on the past, shall we?

For today begins the 2012/13 season. Twenty teams battle it out again for nine gruesome months as fans worldwide go tooth and nail bantering on the Internet.

City marches into the season as champions. (Man, that felt good.) But after a rather quiet summer with Jack Rodwell as the only major signing so far, one would wonder if this lack of development would open up the chase for the title. Especially with Champions League winner Chelsea spending almost £65m already on Eden Hazard, Marko Marin, Oscar and John Terry's lawyers.

The story of this particular transfer window though, would definitely go to the Robin Van Persie saga. Signed for Arsenal in 2004 from Feyenoord for £2.75m, the Dutchman recently made the move to Old Trafford for eight times that amount. Despite the noise at the Emirates over this transfer, I thought Arsenal got the better of the deal getting that amount for an injury-prone 29-year-old.

Nevertheless, always a man of shrewd and astute spending, Sir Alex Ferguson has already come out to say that his current strikeforce of Rooney, Van Persie, Hernandez, Welbeck and Kagawa is on its way to rivaling his Class of 1999 team; the best in Europe at the time. Somewhere in the United dressing room, a lanky backcombed Bulgarian is reading his comment in despair.

Enough about United.

As always, the upcoming season will see managers old and new making their rotations around the Premier League musical chair. Brendan Rodgers is starting to win hearts at the Kop and with the addition of Joe Allen coming in from Swansea, the dream of bringing the tiki-taka from one coastline to another is becoming a reality. So watch out, FC Barcelona.

André Villas-Boas is back after his post-Chelsea sabbatical. And over at Villa Park, Paul Lambert has switched the yellow and green of Norwich City for the claret and sky blue of the Villans. How this is a move forward though, is beyond me. I thought Norwich had massive potential on making its mark back in the top-tier.

Sadly, there will be no sights of Harry Redknapp this time -- unless you're in the same evening class as him. Nevertheless, the return of Sam Allardyce would be a huge boost to the sport. West Ham may not play the most attractive football under his leadership but if there's anyone that could match Tony Pulis at ball-punting, it would be Big Sam. West Ham – Stoke is one match I don't mind missing next season.

Alas, this is the English Premier League. No amount of preview could ever come close to the real thing. This is as good as football gets, bar the referees. In all this excitement, football fans are already making predictions over the top four as well as the relegation candidates. And at both extremes, the usual suspects are often similar.

I personally believe that it's probably too early to make predictions considering the surprises and drama that the league has got to offer. So bring on the new season, I say. And let the good times roll.

PS: City is gonna win the thing.


Another great unbiased(well ok - not that biased) piece of writing Asrif! Enjoy.

Haha. Many thanks Dave. Off to a good start I see. :-)

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Photography by Azalia Suhaimi

  • Asrif, b. 1983
  • Subang Jaya, Malaysia
  • asrifomar[@]gmail[.]com
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