Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Here We Go Again

It seems strange that the league season is almost upon us already, just a few short days away. There hardly seems time to have savoured the building anticipation of pre-season. After just two warm-up games - circumstance denied us a third in Manchester - we're preparing to face Accies in the season opener, but it all seems just a bit too quick.

It's one area that I think football does better than our game. Obviously it's difficult in at an amateur level of the sport, but I'd have loved a good month at least of meaningless pre-season matches. I like to be driven to the very point of insanity before competitive action gets underway.

Nevertheless, here we go again. Our success of last season will no doubt make us the side that everyone is gunning for from day one. If Accies snatch a victory at Meggetland on Saturday then I reckon there'll be as much sniggering in clubhouses around the division as there has been in France at Toulouse losing their season opener to Montpellier. However, the target pinned to them should be something the guys are used to by now.

From the very early weeks of last season it became obvious that we were the team to beat and teams, I'm sure, upped their game when they faced us. Given that we overcame it last term, there should be no expectation that we can't do the same this time around.

It has become a cliché to say that defending a title is much harder than winning it first time around, but only because it happens to be true. When Rory Couper lifted the league trophy at Millbrae in January, it was only the third time that a 'Muir captain had got his hands on it, and never has the team gone on to claim the same success in the following year.

It is said to be the mark of great teams that they can sustain their success over a number of years. And, to my mind, though it may sound somewhat greedy, that is the challenge for the side this season. Obviously, from a playing and coaching perspective they are right to take it 'one match at a time' and not really set goals for the season, but as a fan I can't help but look at the big picture.

During my near decade involved with the club's website, I've seen us win plenty of silverware and create plenty of history (particularly in the national cup), but to see us crowned back to back champions, for Fergus Pringle to lift the trophy skyward come March, would top the lot.

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