A football fan’s guide to surviving the off season

The Copa del Rey is well under way, the final shape of the La Liga table is coming into focus, and spring is in the air. It can only mean one thing – before we know it, we will be in the final throes of the football season, and wondering exactly what to do with our Saturday afternoons till it all starts up again towards the end of the summer.

There is a smaller window than there used to be between one season ending and another beginning, but if you are devoted to your team, whether it’s FC Barcelona or Girona, it can still seem like an eternity.

Stop worrying, though. We have come up with the football fanatic’s survival guide for what to do during the off season.

Go to Russia!

OK, you might decide not to actually board the plane, but many football fans will be spiritually if not physically in Russia between 14 June and 15 July. Many people decide to put a flag of St George in the back window of their car and get behind England. But if you are not a big follower of the national team, why not adopt and underdog, such as Nigeria, Saudi Arabia or even the hosts, Russia, and follow their fortunes. You could even put a small bet on them to reach the latter stages – you never know, you could end up with a nice win!

Follow MLS

The Major League Soccer season runs from March till December and features teams like LA Galaxy and the Colorado Rapids. TV coverage is getting more extensive year upon year, and there are numerous opportunities to stream matches online, some of which don’t cost a penny. Most of the top sports betting sites provide the opportunity for you to check out the latest odds and place bets on your favourite team, as well as the usual range of specials, such as who will win the golden boot.

The beauty of getting into MLS is that by the time August comes around, you will be so absorbed, you will not know whether to devote your attention to what is happening in the USA or the new domestic football season.

Play online

Most football fans enjoy a virtual kickabout, but while console games like FIFA are fantastic entertainment, it soon gets boring playing against an artificial opponent, and you can’t always guarantee having a like minded football nut around who wants to take you on.

Fortunately, this is the age on multiplayer online gaming, and there are some excellent games out there for football fans where you can play online against like minded people. Perhaps the best known is Football Superstars, which combines impressive 3D action with all the background stats a true devotee could wish for. It’s an ideal blend of football strategy of the type we know and love from traditional Football Manager games and good old fashioned arcade action. With extensive online community support, it is what social gaming is all about.