There's no EPL - so what are football fans to do?
1. Pre-season Tours
The Premier League is such a dominant, global entity these days that matches aren’t confined simply to English shores during the season proper. EPL clubs now travel to all corners of the globe, growing their brands and helping them prepare for the new campaign. This year, Arsenal, Everton and Stoke all headed to Singapore and competed in front of record crowds at the biennial Barclays Asia Trophy. Liverpool are taking on local opposition in Malaysia and Australia, while Manchester United are once again heading to the United States. So whether you decide to book a holiday to follow your club, take the opportunity to see some footballing superstars at your home ground or watch them on television in a more palatable time zone, there is more than enough action to satiate your round ball hunger.
2. Learn about some other leagues
The English game might be taking a short break, but that doesn’t mean the world game has come to a standstill. The United States’ Major League Soccer is currently in full swing and attracting a steady stream of superstars to its shores. This season Steven Gerrard has added his name to the likes of fellow internationals David Beckham, Thierry Henry, Frank Lampard, Robbie Keane, Tim Cahill and Jermaine Defoe, who have all plied their trade in the US. The Malaysia Super League is gearing up for its home stretch, with Pahang leading a tight race for the title. Of course you could also use this time to keep a close eye on all the comings and goings in the Premier League transfer market to stay one step ahead of your friends.
3. Play Top Eleven
Launched back in 2010, Top Eleven has developed and evolved into the world’s most popular cross-platform, online sports game, with more than 10 million users worldwide. As the manager of your own club, you have complete autonomy – buy and sell players, build your own stadium, implement your own tactics and formation on game day, determine your team’s colours and ultimately lead your side to glory. Available to play on any device, you can even challenge the ‘Special One’, as coaching great Jose Mourinho has his own Top Eleven squad. Totally revamped earlier this year, it’s still free to play.
4. Get to know your family/learn a new hobby
This may come as a shock to some of you football fans out there, but there are actually activities that don’t revolve around kicking a piece of inflated leather in the park or checking out the goal difference of your chosen club. Southeast Asia has an unlimited amount of activities and pursuits – learn to Jet Ski, take the dog for a walk or brush up on your knitting skills. You could study a new language – those Spanish football commentators always seem like they’re having fun and how good would it be to understand more than just when they scream out “Goooooooooal”? This could also be a good time to get to know the family. It’s never too early to make sure your son or daughter share your footballing allegiance and it’s a great time to earn some brownie points with the wife before its back to those late nights on the couch.
5. Don’t just watch, get out there and play
We all love supporting our favourite teams, but how long has it been since you’ve dusted off the boots, stretched those legs and tried to execute your best Cristiano Ronaldo free-kick? Get some friends together and head to the local park to test your skills or look into teams you could join in your local area. Football is a great interactive sport for people at all skill and fitness levels. If you haven’t already, it’s also well worth looking into local supporters’ clubs for your particular team. Most Premier League outfits have one and they are a great chance to get together with fellow fans. In the unlikely event there isn’t one in your area, why not start your own?
So there are plenty of options as we all await the start of the 2015-16 Premier League season. And if you’re still struggling for motivation, keep in mind – due to next year’s European Championship, and to help Roy Hodgson prepare his England side if they qualify, this season commences on August 8. It’s the earliest kick-off since 1999-00 and means a grand total of just 75 days separates the end of last season through to the start of the new one. You’re already more than halfway there. Keep up the good work.
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