Friday, July 12, 2013

Dancing on the streets of Raith

No, no, no Geordie Munro
Oh no, no, no my wee laddie,
I don't want to go to Idaho,
I'd rather watch Hibs in Kirkcaldy
(With apologies to the Scottish folk music community and the Raith Rovers fans who have claimed this song as their own.)

To Fife tonight and a first glimpse - for me - of Hibs in action after their foreshortened summer break.

Next week Malmo lie in wait for Pat Fenlon's reshaped - but incomplete? - squad, another Scottish club looking for European success before the domestic season has got underway.

Do these summer skirmishes still bring the same excitement?

I remember school holidays when football would all but disappear in a non World Cup or European Championship summer, the summer sports (golf and tennis in my case) perhaps punctuated by a spell at an Ian St John Soccer School.

That doesn't happen now, this summer the Confederations Cup segued into age group tournaments and now Women's Euro 2013 and European qualifiers already in full swing.

Even in the summer, football is everywhere. Buying new kit can be done anytime, from anywhere - you are never more than a click away from buying football boots from Brantano. Take a look at their kids football boots section to see how the range and quality has changed since the days I thought my new boots would make me play like Alan Rough or Steve Archibald.

Bad football news doesn't take a break either. Financial travails and travesties at Hearts and Dunfermline, bickering over administrative mergers and new league structures, the tradition of many of our clubs losing their best players with depressing regularity.

Despite it all though - and despite myself - I'll still be quietly excited sitting on the train to Fife this evening.

Maybe it's just the comfort of an old habit returning. The prospect of 90 minutes in the company of Hibs filling me with optimism and joy. The expectation that it could leave slightly depressed, fretting about the Europa League qualifier against Malmo and the SPL season ahead.

It might never have been away but tonight football will feel like it's back.

Bring it on.