Mon | May 20, 2019

Kelly's World | I'm a free agent - who wants to sign me?

Published:Monday | May 14, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Stoke City goalkeeper Jack Butland (centre) reacts after Crystal Palace's Patrick van Aanholt scores his side's second goal of the game, during the English Premier League match between Stoke City and Crystal Palace, at the bet365 Stadium, in Stoke, England, yesterday. Crystal Palace won 2-1.

You know the Jamaican phrase, 'Every weh mi tun macka jook me'?

Well, that seems to be my lot, at least as it relates to the English Premier League, the current season of which ended yesterday.

The most-televised football league on the planet has many rabid followers in Jamaica, and I am one of them.

I used to support Manchester United (Man U), but I jumped ship after I believed, and still believe, that the power brokers of the team are moving away from the core values that made the team great.

When I left I had no real idea which team to support next, if any at all. I decided I was not going to any of the other 'big' teams like Arsenal, Chelsea or Manchester City.

So I went with a 'safe' pick, Stoke City. I figured they would finish mid-table as usual. However, just my luck, Stoke got relegated to the second tier of English football, the Championship.

Talk about jumping from the frying pan and into the fire. Or in this case, I jumped from a ship that was headed in a direction I didn't like, to one that was sinking.

Too bad I didn't see the leaks until after I had climbed aboard. Oh well.

Thing is, I'm now in a bit of a conundrum. The 'normal' thing to do, for some people, would be to simply go back to Manchester.




But I don't think I want to. Forget about the obvious shame of the team you support getting relegated. I maintain that my reasons for leaving Man U were justified.

Thing is I don't 'go back' very well. Can't tell the last time I visited my childhood home, or any of my alma maters.

It's like I have an impulsion to keep going forward. The memories will obviously remain but I feel like I'm 'stuck', mentally, in the present.

So as far as I'm concerned, at this point I'm left with four choices. One is to stick with Stoke and follow them in the Championship.

Now that will be tough sledding because that league has more teams, and the schedule can be absolute murder.

If some of the better players decide to move on, it could mean they're left with youngsters to fight the good fight.

Truth is that Stoke may not return to the Premier League for a while. Lawd have mercy.

Another option is to find another mid-table Premier League team for whom the wagon has plenty of room for more supporters.

So maybe a club like Everton or West Ham would be a good fit. Although who would have bet on Stoke getting relegated? Not many.

Third option is I'll go for one of the promoted teams coming into the league for next season. Wolves look good and I like Cardiff City.

Then there's option number four, just don't support a Premier League team at all. I love football and I have teams in other leagues, so do I really need an English team?

Hmm, I'll have to think about it. Season starts in August, so I got time.

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