Bitesized: How the Olympics ruined football

The Premier League is back!

I can hear Mrs Running Buffet crying quietly in the corner. But for the rest of us it means month upon month of football stretching out in front of us. And I for one believe that the prospect of another season of football calls for a resounding… meh.

It’s all the fault of the Olympics.

Three years ago – can it really be three years ago? – I cheered and leaped, I pumped my fist in the air, I shouted at the television, I became an armchair expert in handball, I held back the emotion, I didn’t hold back the emotion. The London Olympics were amazing. We were entertained daily by exceptional athletes, most of whom had worked hard for many years to be on that stage, competing at the very top of their sport. It was brilliant.

Then we had the Paralympics; just as good, if not better. More inspiring athletes, more excitement, more great stories.

And then, just as the Olympics were winding down, the 2012/13 football season started and… well, it just couldn’t compete. The stories weren’t as inspiring, the spectacle wasn’t as great, the stars not so bright. Highly-paid footballers trotting out an underwhelming performance just a few weeks after the Olympic and Paralympic heroics was an almighty let-down. Sadly, football just hasn’t quite recovered since.

I still enjoy it. I still really enjoy playing it. I will watch Match of the Day as often as I can, the Champions League when I’m allowed (or, at least, that was the case until ITV lost the rights; no more Andy Townsend – shame). But it isn’t the Olympics.

Oh well, only a year to go until Rio…