So here we are, not yet in the middle of August, and yet this past weekend was the second in the latest football season. My memory must be playing tricks because it seems to me that the gap between one season ending and the next beginning is getting shorter and shorter with each succeeding year. I'm not entirely sue that my recollection is accurate as I have hazy memories of football spectators in summer clothes, which would seem to indicate that August has been the traditional month for the start of the new season. On the other hand, the cup final was always the last game of the season (or so I thought) and was played on the second Saturday in May. I think. Nowadays the cup final is not the last match of the season, which extends further into May.
You might gather from the previous paragraph that my knowledge of professional football (and I'm talking about proper football, not the version of rugby that is called football in America, nor the strange game played under Australian rules) is not top of the form standard. You would be quite right. There have been occasions in the past when I have been to professional football matches, mainly in the far-off days when spectators stood on the terraces, shouted obscene remarks at the referee and rushed for a pie and a pint at half time. I have also been to a couple of matches since stadia became all-seating with no spectator allowed to even stand up to stretch his legs while play is in progress. How anyone can afford to watch professional football on a regular basis is quite beyond me. I have just checked and find that tickets for Manchester United cost from £31 to £53 for one game. Even our local club, which is hardly in the top flight, has ticket prices starting at £25 and rising to £42.
What has puzzled me for many years is the way people say things like, "We won" or "We were robbed". Why do they refer to "we"? It's not as if they had anything to do with the game - other than watching it or sometimes just seeing the result. They were not playing and were not involved in any way with the team. In fact, they are not even members of a club; they are simply paying customers.
I say that spectators are not members of clubs. That is, perhaps, not how supporters see things. All football teams are "clubs" - even though they are, in truth, limited companies often owned by a single person. It's not as though the teams are selected from a closely-knit group, say the workers at a certain factory or the members of a social club. The players don't even need come from the country where the club is based let alone the town. They are simply men (usually) who have been employed to undertake work.
It's the same with any professional team sport - football, cricket, rugby, ice hockey - but quite different in individual sports such as golf, tennis or athletics and, on the whole, in amateur sports
I find it all just a little puzzling. But maybe it's me who is the odd one out and everyone else who is marching in step.
Today, another picture taken from the end of the Upper Lodge Wood. This time, looking west, almost exactly the opposite direction from yesterday's picture.