Wednesday, 20 April 2016

End of Season Excitement 季尾激情 戮力爭勝

End of Season Excitement

I don’t know whether it is my imagination or not but this season seems even more exciting than usual as we come to the ‘business end’. It won’t surprise people that I follow a lot of football and it seems that drama is unfolding in just about every league and competition that I am interested in.

Taking the Hong Kong Premier League as an example, with only a few games left at this point in time, both the top and the bottom of the division remain actively competitive with neither the Champions nor the team to be relegated 100% certain. This is good for the sport and especially the fans.

The same is true of the English Premier League of which I am of course an avid fan. Whatever happens, 2015/16 will be remembered as a remarkable season. It is getting nail-biting now as Tottenham look to claw back a 5 point deficit from Leicester City with 4 matches remaining. Leicester City was 5,000 to 1 at the start of the season (you could get lower odds on Elvis being found alive!). It must be excruciating for the fans that backed them to win at that price. It’s tight at the bottom too (apart from poor old Villa) with three teams battling to avoid the dreaded (and expensive) drop.

I follow the Championship too because although I am a Liverpool fan, I have a soft spot for Burnley because my Grandad lived there and used to take me and my brother to Turf Moor on a regular basis. Getting promoted from this division is one of the hardest things to do in sport because there are so many good teams competing (there are 24 teams and more of half of them have been in the Premier League). There are two automatic promotion places and one play-off slot. With three games to go Burnley are in the second automatic place on goal difference. It’s getting unbearable now!

In La Liga there are three teams separated by one point at the top; Barcelona, Athletico Madrid and Real Madrid and 2 points separating the bottom four! However this contrasts sharply with Ligue1 in France where PSG are 28 points clear at the top with four games to go (that one’s not quite so exciting – unless you are a PSG fan). 

All of these leagues, with the exception of Ligue1, are going ‘down to the wire’. The excitement is building to a crescendo as results come in thick and fast. There are so many crucial matches to look forward to – it’s difficult to keep up and to plan the viewing schedule, particularly with the time difference. And then there are the major Cup Competitions. The Champions League is getting interesting now and my own beloved Liverpool is in the semi-final of the Europa Cup following their astonishing win in the quarter final. What a game that was.

But that is what football is all about, competition, the thrill, the adrenaline, the uncertainty. And that’s why people love it!

When all of the drama of these leagues has concluded and tears of joy and despair have subsided, we have still got the European Championships to look forward to! More Football – Hurray Come on England!


Mark Sutcliffe, CEO      

                                                                                                                                           

季尾激情  戮力爭勝

臨近季尾,今個球季的各項賽事似乎比起以往的變得更加激烈。而作為一個球迷,本人所關注的各個賽事及聯賽亦看似變得更緊湊及戲劇性。

就以香港超級聯賽為例,雖然只剩餘2週賽事,但榜首及榜尾情況依然激烈,冠軍誰屬仍屬未知之數,而哪一支球隊需要降班亦未明朗。當然,這競爭性對於足球比賽,甚至球迷來說絕對是好事。

而本人熱愛的英格蘭超級聯賽情況亦一樣。無論最終結果如何,2015/16年度都一定是難忘的球季。現在尚餘4週賽事,處於聯賽榜次席的熱刺亦步亦趨,僅落後榜首李斯特城5分。而另一方面,相信季前亦沒有球迷可猜到李斯特城今季的成績。榜尾形勢同樣緊湊,除了阿士東維拉已篤定降班外,仍有3支球隊作最後衝刺,避免落得降班下場。

雖然本人是利物浦的球迷,但亦不時留意英冠的賽事。我非常喜歡般尼,皆因以前我爺爺經常帶著我跟哥哥 到摩亞球場 (般尼主場)觀看賽事。英冠強隊林立 (24支球隊,超過一半曾於英超作賽),要升班至英超絕對是體壇中最困難的事情之一。英冠每季有3支球隊可升班,當中聯賽榜頭兩位自動升班,而另一名額則必須由第36位球隊以附加淘汰賽形式爭逐。現剩餘3場賽事,般尼憑較佳得失球暫時處於第2位置,形勢非常緊湊!

西班牙甲組聯賽方面,榜首3支球隊:巴塞隆拿、馬德里體育會及皇家馬德里只有1分差距,而榜尾4隊之間亦只有2分之差!反之,巴黎聖日耳門則於只剩4輪賽事的法國甲組聯賽中以28分之差遙遙領先 ,相對之下情況沒那麼引人入勝 (除非是巴黎聖日耳門的球迷吧)

除了法甲外,以上提及的各項聯賽均需要競爭至球季最後一刻,緊張程度令人為之雀躍。因時差關係,要收看全部緊接而來的關鍵賽事非常困難,但仍令人非常期待。除了聯賽外,歐聯賽事亦進入最後直路,而本人最愛的利物浦亦憑著令人難以置信的8強比賽晉級至歐霸盃4強!

這些競爭性、震憾性、激烈程度以及未知之數,正正就是足球的吸引地方以及深受球迷喜愛的原因!

不要忘記,當本季所有聯賽及盃賽告一段落後,歐洲國家盃將緊接上演!英格蘭,加油!


二○一六年四月  薛基輔   

註:中文譯本僅供參考之用,請以英文版本為準。

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