Most significantly, though, the mostly-horrible advertisement for football that was the World Cup ended without too many memorable incidents, and the Premier League returned to my relief. The transfer window was typically Fergie-ish once again, but the slight frustration of not picking up any stars was more than wiped off by the impressive pre-season showing. Chicharito looks like one hell of a find, and even 10 million pounds for a 22-year-old now seems like a bargain. Even then, my instinct tells me Bebe will be another one to join Kleberson, Eric Djemba-Djemba and Juan Sebastian Veron on that infamous list of terrible, expensive buys.
The late Monday night kick-off meant the Azad TV room would be where I watched United's season opener for the fourth year in a row, although it's zilch when compared to the fact that this was the 15th season in succession that Paul Scholes started in a season opener, or that Ryan Giggs continues to be the only player to have scored in every Premier League season. At the stroke of Chris Foy's whistle, there were just four people in the room, and me the only United fan, with the others following the fortunes of their Fantasy League selections or there to wind me up in case we drew like two years ago. And despite their joy at seeing their rivals misfire, the opening half an hour had them all disappointed as Wazza didn't even look close to getting a shot on target, leave alone scoring- their captain was failing them.
When the ever-improving Valencia charged back to win the ball from behind, and a disappointing yet spirited O'Shea passed it to the Ginger Ninja, I, like most of the Stretford End, screamed "SHOOOT!". Yet, he calmly found Berba at the edge of the box, and the Bulgarian's finish was met by my yell of delight and relief. As the celebrations for United's opening goal of the season died down, the fact that I had no fellow fan to high-five began to prick me, though I knew that be it Bangalore, Hyderabad, Mumbai or Gurgaon, Dela, Sushi, Gulati, Manki and Kaka would probably be jumping out of their chairs and yelling, too. The rest of the game, thankfully, was a breeze, with Scholes especially in imperious form. It would have been a perfect night had Berbatov put an end to that lovely one-touch move involving Scholesy and Rooney. 3-0 was still an auspicious start to the season, and definitely the boost we need before that ever-tricky visit to Craven Cottage.
Let's hope, in the year that marks two decades since Liverpool last won the League, we decisively knock them off their fucking perch. Glory, glory, Man United!