As another season dawns, so does the prospect of a life curtailed and overshadowed by Premier League football.
Specifically the explosive cocktail that is a Sky subscription and a pre-existing football addiction.
The Saturday lunchtime game, the Saturday evening game, three on a Sunday, one on a Monday, then Champions League through the week. Before the cycle starts again. For nine months.
Social lives diminished, relationships strained and personal ambitions – hell, let’s call them dreams – thwarted and ditched in favour of Burnley v West Brom.
Of course, this is just the way of things. There’s nothing that can be done.
But what if there was a way out? A metaphorical rope ladder to at least partially escape this debilitating cycle. A theory so devastatingly simple, it’s almost impossible to resist its lethal logic.
What if you only watched the second half of matches.
Let it sink in for a second.
The second half is by its nature the decisive half when matters are resolved, where points are won and loss, where critical incidents happen.
You’ll see more goals too. Studies into goal frequency across all of Europe’s top leagues prove that “scoring increases linearly as the match wears on”.
And the action there is will likely be more intense. The players themselves are inevitably more focused on their respective gameplans as the clock ticks down and with their managers halftime instructions ringing in their ears are more likely to come out of the traps quickly. How many games have you watched when the first half is little more than a slow warm-up for the main course after the break?
It suits your own feeble attention span too. Let’s be honest 90 minutes is a long old time these days, as anyone who tried watching every World Cup game this summer will testify.
Your attention drifts, you start doing other stuff and end up operating well below your optimum viewing capability. A one half system will focus your attention and could actually improve the quality of your viewing.
I should say that I haven’t actually tried this out yet but here’s how I see it working.
By coming in at exactly the point after the advert break in which the half-time pundits are reviewing the first-half, you are provided with an immediate summary of the action so far. Published kick-off times will take on a whole new meaning. 4pm becomes 4.52pm and so on.
In a stroke you will have accumulated approximately 120 hours of free time over the coming season, leaving you free to learn languages, write screenplays or socialize with other human beings.
And that’s before you include the hour of preamble before kick off in which Gary Neville plays with that giant touchscreen that looks like a prop from a 1978 episode of Doctor Who.
There’s a psychological trick here too, in that by watching the second half you will think you have watched the whole game even though you haven’t. Leaving you sated for your football fix and allowing you to talk to colleagues with conviction should the need arise.
I know what you’re thinking. What about those times - like with Germany’s demolition of Brazil in the World Cup semi-final - when the game is effectively decided in the first 45 minutes and you miss all the good bits?
Here’s the real beauty of the system. On the rare occasions when this does happen, you don’t even need to watch the second half at all. Now that's freedom.
It’s a slippery slope of course. It’s one step away from only watching highlights on Match Of The Day. And that’s when you really have given up.
Share your own thoughts on whether this theory might work in the comments