Writing a season preview for the FFL is a virtual impossibility. There simply isn’t the information available in order to make anything like an educated guess of who’ll be good and who won’t (congratulations to the Tribes, Shotguns and Titans on having the best three websites in the FFL, while I’m on the subject of information). So I won’t be writing a proper preview, instead I’ll be taking a look at a couple of other things.
To begin, here are my top five FFL games not to miss this season
5 – May 1, Anderlecht, 12:00 kick-off. Bornem Titans v West Flanders Tribes
Why? : Bornem has been a quality team for a couple of years now, and this will be their second crack at the Tribes in 14 days (they also play on April 17 in Ostend). Will the Titans make the adjustments required to get the job done or will it just be business as usual for the Tribes?
4 – April 3, Bornem, 12:00 kick-off. Antwerp Diamonds v West Flanders Tribes
Why? : Despite a few lesser seasons from the Diamonds, this is still THE rivalry in the FFL, and a game not to be missed for the intensity alone.
3 – March 6, Bornem, 15:00 kick-off. Gent Gators v Bornem Titans
Why? : Is this the year that the Gators finally get over the hump and into the playoffs? It’s these type of games that they’ll have to win in order to do that.
2 – March 6, Bornem, 12:00 kick-off. Brussels Black Angels v West Flanders Tribes
Why? : This should be one hell of a day in Bornem! The past five years this has been the game to decide the number 1 and 2 seeds in the FFL, and every single match-up has gone to the Tribes. Is it finally time for the Angels to knock off the boys from the west? The Tribes are noted for their slow starts, and this is their first game of the season.
1 – June 4, Ostend, Belgian Bowl XXIV
Why? : OK, I admit that this isn’t techincally an FFL game but it’s absolutely not to be missed. The hype machine is rolling and we can only hope for as good a game as the lead-up work has been!
Speaking of that, let’s talk Belgian Bowl. I must admit to being rather impressed with all the work that’s going on surrounding Belgium’s biggest football game, mostly, it would seem, by John van de Mergel (though there must be others too, I would think). Being the facebook user that I am, I get plenty of updates, photos, teasers etc and they are having their effect. I was thinking of giving the whole affair a miss this year but I’ve been convinced otherwise by the clever marketing and advertising work. Totally looking forward to it!
On a personal note, by next week, I should have my (temporary) drivers license. That means (so long as the wife will let me borrow the car) that I’ll be all over the place to watch games this season. The plan is definitely to be in Gent on February 20 for opening weekend (Bulls v Diamonds and then Gators v Lions). I would like to go to Berendrecht the week after that but that’ll depend on whether I dare to take on the Ring ’round Antwerp! Anyway I am looking forward to the freedom of being able to watch any game I like.
Ten things I think I think :
1 – Despite not being able to write a proper season preview, I think that the Tribes are favourites, and will be until they lose two games. They open against the Black Angels and to be honest I wouldn’t be hugely surprised with an Angels win, but however, as anyone who is from the capital and wears Black knows, the Tribes always win the big games.
2 – I think I expect two Flemish teams in the Belgian Bowl. Hasn’t happened for the last two years.
3 – I think I should make it clear that I’m no longer in any way associated with the Tribes. If you see me at a game taking notes, I’m doing it for this column, and not for anybody else. I hope by the end of the season to be able to come up with some sort of unofficial All-FFL team, although I need a more catchy name than that!
4 – I think I’m definitely looking forward to seeing lots of people around the games! I had a blast at the Belgian Bowl last year, catching up with people I hadn’t seen in a long time. Hoping to have a little repeat of that every week.
5 – I think that as the winner of the FFL Fantasy Football competition (yeah baby!) I’m entitled to a beer from each of the other contestants. As I’ll be driving with an ‘L’, I’ll settle for a coke, alright boys?
6 – I think Peter King wouldn’t really mind me ‘borrowing’ his idea of ten things. I can always ask him on twitter, I suppose.
7 – I think I picked the Packers to win the Superbowl back before the season started. Let’s go Cheeseheads!
8 – I think it would be nice to see the Belgian National Team back. That was one of the highlights of my career.
9 – I think I’d be more inspired to write if I had lots of people reading the column! Tell all your friends, coaches, teammates about me 😉
10 – I think these are my non-football thoughts of the week
– My wife suffered a nasty knee injury while doing judo (torn ACL, strained MCL, bone chip) and had surgery a month ago. Now she’s walking around without crutches. Good job Nele!
– Started reading the Discworld series of books. Really into it – writing style reminds me a lot of Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy, which is a very good thing. Unfortunately there are 37 books in the series! However, the way things are looking, I’ll be forced to buy ’em all.
– Drank a Guinness last weekend. It actually wasn’t all that bad, although the colder it is, the better.
– Can a poor Aussie get a bit of sun around here?
– Gotta love kids. I had my daughter yelling “c’mon man!” at the TV the other day. We were watching Total Wipeout on the BBC – now that’s some brainless, fun TV.
– I enjoyed watching ‘De Allerslimste Mens’ but it only proved to me how little I know about history, media, Belgian/Flemish culture and so on
OK, that’s a wrap for this week. You can get in touch with me through facebook, or write me an email at dhousden-@-hotmail.com (of course remove the dashes). If I get something to work with I’ll include a mailbag section next time.