This isn’t a guide for those weak of heart or flimsy of character. Instead, this is a guide for those who will wait for the end of the rain. It’s for those who sing songs in bars. This is for building the stamina and guts to participate FULLY in the upcoming EPL campaign. It’s time for some true cross-training.
When I say rain, I mean torrents of hazardous, painful rain. These deluges include the exit of Hendo and the pre-tirement of James Milner. Even more so with the departure of Bobby Firmino. The rain sometimes goes on forever. Lest I just sob into my computer, let us move on to brighter skies.
RED-Y, SET, GO
If you want to properly prepare for the Reds, and I know you do, then read and learn the following. This could be your best, most injury-free, and enjoyable season in years. Listen, it’s fine to be a bump on a barstool for 94 minutes. If that’s your goal, have at it. But there are some people that have some self-respect.
Folks who are in the know are aware that the players are giving their all for us, how can we not do the same? With that, let’s build you up for 23/24!
Recently, I was entrusted with the feeding and litter scooping of a gorgeous, tiny kitten. This was at a friend’s house just outside of Boston. Catsitting gave me the chance to visit my “regular” pub. After moving last year, I’ve only been to the pub a couple of times on major match days. Other than that, I’m in a football pub desert. Around me, the pubs are really just bars that have been around for a long time. Sure, they all have Guinness on tap. There are music and entertainment nights. Yet around me now, nobody has heard of Peacock. The Premier League is not even an afterthought because that would require a first thought.
Discovering a full Irish or English breakfast would be ludicrous, especially because some of the pubs don’t even have a fryolator. Fish and chips aren’t even on the menu! Now that I’ve got myself riled up, the first exercise of our training is…
I’m serious. Football players to a person practice breathing techniques for fitness, mental centering, and sometimes even to gather an extra ounce of energy for a set piece.
According to all the soccer-drill YouTube sites I frequent, there is actually a method to this breathing. The most reputable video I found is by Matt Sheldon. He plays in the USL Championship and has done a ton of football training content for real people. Give it a look!
To that end, Sheldon isn’t only about physical increases in play. He’s also very dedicated to doing reviews of his gameplay with a series of videos in which he describes EVERY SINGLE TOUCH for a whole match. It’s good stuff and will keep you looking where the ball is about to go instead of basic spectating.
Speaking of basic spectating, if you haven’t read my guide to using the bathroom during an EPL, specifically Liverpool, match, get on it! This is especially important if you have slowed your drinking and eating in the past couple of months. Soon the onslaught of booze and breakfasts are going to rev up your system. Once that happens, proper strategic bathroom training is what will separate you from a newborn in a little warming bucket of its own filth at the hospital.
Wow, that was just a long way of saying that nobody is really ready for the season. I’ll do my best in the following checklist to get you ready. There’s always going to be some Scouser at the pub who knows all the transfers, prospects, beer specials, and Klopp rumors. So bing, bang, boom, put this top 10 list up in your room and refer to it until you’re ready to watch 50+ matches of the beautiful game.
10- Know the rules and rule changes. DO NOT be the wanker who is screaming the first time offside (which is not offside anymore, see handball rule changes through the centuries for an inkling of offside’s future)
9- Remind yourself of player numbers. DO NOT be like one of the writers here who has to eat cat food now because he bid an ungodly sum on a signed Milner shirt minutes before he went to Brighton’s Assisted Living facility.
8- Sit Down. A lot. On hard things. On soft things. Get your butt in shape for the season. Many a fan has been sidelined (and had to stay home on a weekend morning) because of a butt cramp. Take my word for it.
7- Look around the league at the refs. A handful have been jettisoned from the Premier League. Maybe we can hope VAR rulings are correct in 23/24. At the very least, somebody will provide an audio feed of the deliberations.
6- Are you financially ready for the season? Serious question here. If you plan on dropping a lineup on DraftKings every match while purchasing subscriptions to ESPN+, Apple, 1Football, YouTube TV, and the 71 other streaming football services, do you think you’ll have adequate funds to tip the waitstaff, much less…
OH, CRAP! OUR FIRST MATCH IS TOMORROW! This column is junk after our first kickoff, so that’s it for this one.
Remember your training and have a great season. UP THE REDS! #YNWA