Normally, I look forward to this time of year (the break in the football calendar) because the talk of the title race is getting a little tiresome. The football season seems so long, but this year there has been some seriously good stories especially the Liverpool title race, where they haven’t won in twenty-eight years, unfortunately, after this weekend’s results, the wait continues. Ok Liverpool weren’t good enough to lift the title, but the standard of the results is staggeringly consistent with only one loss in a whole season.
What really must be the toughest pill to stomach is that they would have won every other Premiership battle, outside of last year and this year’s winners who happen to be the same team - Manchester City. It really goes to show how tough sport can be, only winners get the titles with second best being confined to almost always being forgotten.
The only consolation being, that they beat Barcelona from 3-0 behind and now have a shot at the Champions League in a couple of weeks’ time. That would be enough to cement a truly memorable season, but only if they win. The pressure leading into that match must be amazingly high, your team, your manager and your club’s success, for a season, being defined by the result of one night’s football.
Certainly not for the faint hearted.
Which leads me to an interesting comparison. If you watched any of the British Masters which was hosted by Tommy Fleetwood, you may have caught him being interviewed by Jamie Redknapp, where there were some very candid comments from the host, all around the differences between professional footballers and their golfing equivalents. Tommy, since his rise up the world rankings, has now the opportunity to rub shoulders with the best of the best across most sports, so he is well placed to see what sacrifices are being asked from his peers in other sports.
Especially since one of his close friends is now Pep Guardolia, his comment was around how he craves to have as much structure to his life and calendar as a Premiership footballer has. He would love to have a management team around him with a controlled vision, a plan as to how to achieve success. Compared to his own circumstances where he ‘is his own boss’, can watch a player on the range, like what they are doing, have a crack at their movement and potentially lose their way in a matter of moments. Where the footballer in comparison, is told when to be at practice, when to be on the bus, what to eat, when to eat, where to play, what system to play etc.
There is always a safety blanket around the footballers’ lives where the Tour Golfers have a completely different experience. The managers/specialists around the golfer have to be individually picked by the player not the other way around. If the footballers are having a bad spell, they can be benched mid game, if they are injured they can be side-lined, not so with the golfer.
I am not at all saying that the footballers have it easy, no way, especially when you look at the season which has just occurred, Klopp vs Guardiola. The closest team to Liverpool was Chelsea, 25 points behind! Amazingly consistent performance levels over the months.
A week in and week out grind, where you then compare the reigning Masters Champion who has not teed it up competitively since the Masters. For the forty-three year old this maybe a blessing, where he gets to peak for the next Major this week, something which any Premiership Manager would be harangued for; firstly having a forty-three year old on the roster and letting him sit out six weeks of the competitive season.
Two totally different sports, one is taking a short break and the other is just getting started hopefully setting itself up to be a season for the history books.