After a three month break the Premier League returns this weekend. Well, it does if the unjustified heinous actions of a few does not lead to the cancellation of games up and down the country as the police are required for duty elsewhere, of course.
I for one, would suggest that restoration of the security of the country far outweighs the anticipation of a football season starting. Many matches have already fallen foul to the madness of the last few days, including England's international against Holland, only time will tell if the powers that be decide whether the opening weekend will go ahead as scheduled.
Everton go into the new campaign with the same squad as ended the previous one, even the solitary acquisition of Eric Dier, on a season long loan from Sporting Lisbon, was with us for the latter stages of last term. A few familiar faces around the squad have found pastures new, most notably the league’s youngest ever goalscorer James Vaughan and the ever present reserve, back-up goalkeeper Iain Turner.
Many are concerned by the lack of recruitment on the blue half of Merseyside, however, in truth not many clubs have made signings at all, and many of those that have, have used money gained from the sales of key players or sought after potential to fund purchases. By now, I would imagine, David Moyes would have expected to be somewhat knees deep in cash after waving goodbye to Yakubu, Joseph Yobo and at least one "dispensable" star player\prospect, currently they will all still appear on the back of the match programme as an Everton player. Although, as the years have passed, clubs have become more accustomed to playing the transfer window game, holding out until the last moment to try and get the best price, with this window not due to close for three weeks it's still relatively early days.
Everton fans have been buoyed over the close season by the emergence of Ross Barkley. He has been on the radar of most for the last two years or so but this summer saw his first full pre-season with the senior team. Although he made an appearance on Everton's bench last August, a horrific injury meant he sat out the majority of last season. Moyes was clever with Barkley offering him new terms just into his recovery to prove Everton's belief in his abilities and dedication to see him progress with the club. From what I have seen, he is a big burly 17-year-old, stockier and taller than Rooney at that age but with a similar confidence to play the game, whilst watching him command the midfield for the opening 45 minutes against Villarreal, I saw glimpses of Paul Scholes in his approach, so we could have some player on our hands if he lives up to his ever growing reputation and expectation amongst the Everton faithful.
Injuries have too often dictated our seasons over recent years, previously key players missing in clusters has meant specialists needing to adapt to new roles for the short term to fill gaps on the pitch. Young Player of the Year Seamus Coleman will be our only recognised long term absentee following his diagnosis of damage to ankle ligaments early on in the eventual loss to Villarreal. Although Mikel Arteta is not expected to be fully fit for a couple of weeks, Moyes must be relatively chuffed to have practically a full squad to choose from. It can only be good for the squad as competition for places is healthy and will drive those selected to try and keep their place in the team, knowing there are others vying for their spot.
The key player for us this year has to be Fellaini, the giant Belgian was wonderfully elegant at times last season, which when you look at him might seem a tad farfetched but the way he cuts through play, breaking up attacks and finding space for a pass to counter shows why Moyes had the faith to make him our record signing, a full year in the side and injury free could see him work miracles from the centre of the park. He is currently in contract negotiations and there is an air of optimism that he will commit his future to the club which can only boost morale amongst the squad and fans alike.
Everton are crying out for a centre forward and a natural winger to act as their provider, if we can obtain these before the end of the month, do our utmost to ensure our choice XI stay fit and use the squad wisely to balance experience with exciting prospects, there is no reason why Everton cannot again challenge for Europe, this should be our minimum aim and would expect it to be so. Both League and FA Cup should also be a priority, they were too easily thrown away last year and remain our best chances at Silverware for the foreseeable future, again squad rotation would benefit us in either competition.
Whenever it starts, I'm looking forward to the new season, you never know it could be our best one yet.
Thank you for reading. Jacko
Follow me on Twitter @jackdoggydogg
Follow ESPNsoccernet's Football Correspondents on Twitter