THE waiting is almost over – the new football season kicks off this weekend and I cannot wait.
You know the season opener is approaching when Wimbledon is a distant memory, Big Brother is reaching its climax and Sky Sports are either launching a new channel or moving to a refurbished studio.
All the above boxes have been ticked and we are ready to go again.
Every single football fanatic knows there are nine months ahead that will be full of joy at times, pain at others and frustration for large parts.
But the vast majority of us will still be there week in, week out paying out our hard-earned cash for that privilege.
There are many non-believers who find it hard to comprehend the addiction of football. I have been tackled in the past on why I would spend so much money each weekend and be so bothered about the outcome of 22 well-paid individuals kicking some inflated leather around a piece of grass for 90 minutes.
I am bothered, though, and that is what keeps me going to the game.
My Saturdays have meaning between August and May and that cracking win can set my mood for the inevitable post-match night out and the following working week.
Even when I’m not at a game, television is throwing waves of live action my way via that little black dish on the outside of the house.
Despite having the benefit of a great World Cup this summer, the last month has forced me to scratch around the Sky+ looking for old programmes to watch and build up that percentage of free space.
But no more will I be playing catch-up on Louis Theroux documentaries or the latest ‘24’ – I have real life drama ready to unfold.
Going to the game may be more expensive each year but then that is where football clubs hold all the cards. Many of them value loyalty and the further down the leagues you go, it is a must if you are to get bums on seats.
But then it is an industry like no other as far as customer relations go.
If you went to a restaurant and did not like the food, you would go elsewhere next time; if the quality of the TV you bought from a retail park superstore was not up to scratch that company would be avoided.
But football is emotive. Clubs know you will not jump ship and change allegiance because of that dire weekend display; they know you will be back with the same hope of success the following week.
And while there will be moans and groans in the pubs around towns and cities across the land on a Saturday night, that will never change.
It’s engrained in us and runs in the blood and it’s time to get back in the old routine.
Let the good times roll.