And so we come to one of my favourite times of year as a football neutral: the Season Previews. Full of things I’m a sucker for: paper-thin analysis, inexplicable predictions, wild optimism, bogus claims. Of course reading one in a sitting is almost impossible: the best-written is probably When Saturday Comes‘s, which tends to recruit a selection of cynical and plain-spoken fans, and even their mordancy gets stale over 96 teams. Four Four Two gives us glossy banality and the most starry-eyed fans, The Guardian will be more pre-occupied with comparing teams to biscuits or film stars. But none of them are publications to curl up with and savour.

No, they release their pleasures more slowly: the bittersweet joy of the Season Preview is in the gradual unravelling of well-laid plans, the occasional puncturing of hubris (Which team do you most want to beat this season? Whoever we draw in the Champions League final.”) and the even more occasional defiance of well-founded pessimism. Keep one or two in your bathroom and they allow you to wallow in sweet hindsight whenever you like. This year’s are likely to be especially poignant – the Everton example means that more sides than ever are daring to dream and words like “European places” are cropping up all over.

(All of this is a long way of saying that if someone could save me a copy of the Guardian one next Monday I’d be very grateful – ta!)