THIS weekend gives us a little bit more excitement from the football point of view in so far as, believe it or not, the season is actually starting. But of course, we are not able to attend the games.

On the plus side, an agreement has been made where every game will be televised. But the fact that there are no crowds, as I’ve said before, makes the games look more like training pitch efforts.

The England games in the last week proved this point I think where to be brutally honest, both games could be summed up in one word – boring.

Not that the England manager Gareth Southgate will be too bothered because, let’s be fair, he came away from two away games with four points. On paper this is normally something to be pleased about. I think he also gave the impression he was still trying to work out who his best first team will be. We have to bear in mind he had a lot of changes since the World Cup two years ago, where he did very well to get to the semi-finals and has not had too many opportunities to get players together to work out what his best team will be for the European Championship next summer.

I suppose if you look at the squad of 24, which he had with him for Iceland and Denmark, plus six or more injuries, he is still juggling.

When it gets to our local interest, James Ward-Prowse did his usual 90 minutes in the first game, with Danny Ings coming off the bench for about 20 minutes. The fact that neither one got off the bench for the second game proved how experimental these two fixtures were.

New season starting

The league matches starting always gives a lot of excitement, but I don’t even remember how many pre-season friendlies our clubs in this area have had.

Normally after the players have had their summer break, you would want to work them very hard in training and then finish with at least two or three friendly games before the big one. Saints, as far as I know, have only had one game, which wasn’t even for 90 minutes, but Ralph probably used it to give all of his squad a run out against players other than their own colleagues.

I think looking at the opening fixtures, none of them are the easiest of games, but we all know how well we finished last season and it’s just a pity that things during the summer didn’t allow a quicker return to carry on where we left off.

But I think now the manager has been there long enough to dig his heels in. It’s obvious he’s not looking to move on, like a lot of others do after a couple of years. He has had the opportunity to be close to all of the players now and unlike Gareth, I’m sure he will know who his first team will be and games like Crystal Palace away are a good test.

Where Palace would not be in my normal top six, they have got a very experienced manager in Roy Hodgson. He has now been there long enough to get things sorted out and to be fair, he had quite a good season last year.

One of the clubs I’ve always had a bit of an affection for are Everton. They’ve always been a welcoming club when you played there. The board of directors have always been passionate, local supporter types.

When I have always said the league is really six-eight-six, I’ve left Everton out. But I think this year it could become seven-seven-six, because the owners, who have joined the directors I’m on about, have put their money out and apparently over £200million has been spent in the past couple of years.

Also, they have a manager in Mr Ancelotti, who is very well respected within the game for everything he has achieved and I think he has enabled the club to get a better type of player coming in because of his name and the respect he gets from players.

So the top six have always been the big ones, like Man Utd, Man City, Arsenal, Tottenham, Chelsea and Liverpool, but Everton should be in there with Liverpool and I will be interested to see if that turns out to be the case.

Saints Foundation

Last week, Saints Foundation launched their new COVID-19 Response strategy to help the city of Southampton during these challenging times.

Having worked with them over the last few months, I am so proud of what they have achieved, especially with their older generation.

The amount of phone calls they’ve done over the last few months is staggering and I know they will continue to work hard for our community, both in the city and online too.

The staff are a real credit to the football club and, as an ambassador, I am looking forward to helping as much as I can as they put this new strategy in place.