Are you alone? Is the wife out of the house? Good. If she even whiffed a hint of evidence which suggests that Palace aren’t in action this weekend then you my friends may be in for an uncomfortable weekend of painstaking shopping trips, DIY duty or even a trip to see the in laws, what with England playing Montenegro on Friday night.
Jokes aside, the new UEFA schedule results in an empty weekend devoid of any Championship or Premiership games to immerse yourself in. Plus we have to deal with the inevitable grimacing that comes with following the national side; a depressing, demoralising 90 minutes of below par play by supposed big names. But, similar to Palace, it’s something as football fans that we all have to put up with.
So what to do during the hours usually consumed by travel, pub, football, travel and Soccer Saturday? Here’s my list;
1. Gillette Soccer Saturday
The obvious one and the simplest option. Why not? Jeff Stelling, Hartlepool fanatic and stat machine, and guests provide an entertaining and usually comedic spin on bringing you the latest football scores any other weekend, so sit back and enjoy carefree, safe in the knowledge that Palace won’t succumb to yet another dismal away defeat.
2. Spend Some Quality Time With…
The TV. If you’re too busy to watch England on Friday, record it and view from the sofa at the more accepted 3pm Saturday kick off. Or you choose to watch Wales as Jonathan Williams could make an appearance for the full side against Switzerland.
Soccer AM should raise half a smile with outrageous accents combined with even more outrageous acting as Max Rushden and Helen Chamberlain present a gentle opening to the football weekend at 10am on Saturday morning.
Crawley Town then travel to Northampton Town in the Sky live game at 12.45. Though not initially an encounter to leap out at you, League 2 has seen some special scorelines already this season and may just be another 6-goal thriller with the free scoring Crawley Town involved. Claude Davis is now a Red Devil so you could tune in merely to witness a Cobbler receiving a forearm chop. Accidentally of course.
Notts County play Hartlepool on the Sunday in League 1; Hartlepool having lost just once this season while the wise old Notts County drew with Juventus a few weeks back in a friendly! Who said League 1 is boring?
Plus England play France in the Rugby World Cup on Saturday morning as well as the Japanese GP in which Sebastien Vettel could clinch the title.
3. Go To Another Game
Visit another of the 92 Football League clubs in England & Wales for a change! Go down to The Valley and cheer on the mighty Tranmere in the away end, support the Shots as Aldershot take on Macclesfield Town or perhaps venture further afield with Colchester United and Bournemouth both in action at home.
If none of those games take your fancy then an FA Trophy weekend could; Bedfont Town, AFC Hayes, Fleet Town, Ilford or even Walton Casuals are all at home in the Preliminary Round of the cup plus Farnborough, Staines, Welling and Woking all feature in the Blue Square South.
4. Update the Fantasy Team
A two week rest for some players is welcome. Allowing time and added training sessions, they can come back into the side fresh, acting in a similar way to a new signing. So use this weekend wisely to top up your fantasy team, perhaps adding Steven Gerrard back to the team or monitoring the inevitable injury to Robin Van Persie while on duty for Holland (he plays for Arsenal so there’s bound to be one. If not him then it certainly has to be one of Benayoun, Arshavin or Ramsey). In which case, haul them out of the team and re-shuffle, use your tactical nous!
Also, with Nathaniel Clyne and Owen Garvan rumoured to be on the comeback trail, you could squeeze them into the Texaco Championship version and add goal king Murray to the side if you haven’t already – two goals in two games means the big man is looking ominous for more against Watford, Bristol City and Reading!
5. Join In A World Record Attempt!
Yes you heard correct; on Saturday, there is an event taking place at 2pm in Wennington Green where roughly 1000 frisbee throwers will simultaneously launch their discs to obtain a new Guinness World Record! So it’s a little bit different but one most certainly for the whole family to enjoy as, if successful, you could go down in history. You are advised to bring your own frisbee but they will be provided. More details here.
It may be basic, it may be obvious. You may have already known what was to happen but hey, Capello won’t change his tactics. Watching England has become a chore rather than a pleasure over the past year so lets hope we can safely and comfortably secure our passage to Poland/Ukraine next year without the worry and continue to enjoy the two day break, awaiting the next fixture against Watford on the 15th.