When Queens Park Rangers’ eager communications department described new signing Park Ji-Sung as a “global phenomenon” it was easy to mock. After all, a quick Google search of the phrase mentions the decline of the honey bee but little of the similarly busy Korean midfielder.
And yet, who hasn’t at some time got carried away with outrageous optimism about their club’s summer signings? It’s common knowledge that every team in the country, from Manchester United to my own five-a-side rabble, is perennially three players away from success.
And so, in the heady days of July, Chelsea fans will elevate Eden Hazard to the status of all-conquering hero; Man Utd fans can cling to the hope of Shinji Kagawa smashing Man City; while Arsenal fans might believe Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud could make light of a Robin van Persie exit.
By August the dream will have died for some. Who knew that the free transfer centre-back from Rotherham was quite so limited? Or that Kieron Dyer’s knees were little better than a cut-and-shut job done by a dodgy mechanic. Hazard and Kagawa will have their every touch analysed and those modern-day Roman emperors – aka Alan Hansen and Gary Neville – will be waiting with their equivalent of the thumbs-up or thumbs-down.
Sometimes you do just know – instantly. Sergio Agüero’s brilliant brace on debut for Man City against Swansea had football fans frothing, and nine months later he proved to be the man who defined the Premier League season. Equally, Chris Sutton never was going to recover from stumbling like a drunk at a disco when clear on goal in his Stamford Bridge bow.
But it isn’t always so…
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This article appears in full at BT Life’s a Pitch