New year – new hope..? | Matt Mohan-Hickson

There is a beautiful melancholy that always manages to creep out each and every January.

By Matt Mohan-Hickson
Tuesday, 11th January 2022, 4:24 pm
Christmas trees are left at a collection point in Reading, Berkshire, for recycling on January 7, 2022. Picture: Steve Parsons/PA Wire
Christmas trees are left at a collection point in Reading, Berkshire, for recycling on January 7, 2022. Picture: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

Like an ominous fog escaping from the earth beneath us, crawling out from manhole covers and pouring through the empty branches of the trees on the street.

Obviously last January was more a case of apocalyptic misery – a boot of pure despair that was collectively crushing us under the weight of doom.

But perhaps it is a sign of things taking a bit of a turn for the better that it is the cold embrace of melancholy I found myself being gripped by.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

It didn’t take long into January for that feeling to engulf me, but it always becomes especially apparent when it comes time to take down the Christmas decorations. The nick-nacks and all that wonderful seasonal junk stripped away.

While it is always a sombre feeling that first time you take in the sheer bareness of a post-Christmas home, it always offers a glimmer of hope.

Sure, the joy and excitement of December and the holidays have faded – and the weather is bleak – but the days are just starting to get a tiny bit brighter at night. A whole year is stretching out in front of you and who knows what it has in store?

There are so many twists and turns ahead – a new job, a move to a new place, a holiday that will last a lifetime, weddings, proposals, births and so much more – we just don’t know what these 12 months have waiting for us.

And that is the most exciting part of life after all isn’t it? The possibility of hope.

Even back in the dark days of 2020 and early 2021, there was always the hope that soon this would pass, that life would return.

I may have spent a day feeling completely and utterly blue after the decorations were packed away, the tree waiting to be taken away and put out of its misery.

Before you know it, spring will be here and it will be summer. I will be dodging the sun trying to avoid getting burnt to a crisp and inevitably failing at least once.

It is definitely the most bittersweet of months – but at least it has the promise of 11 more to come.

TV needs to remember the magic of the FA Cup

The third round of the FA Cup is always a special weekend.

Deep down we are all rooting for at least one upset (as long as it doesn’t involve your team being the Goliath).

We want to see a Premier League team slip up against a non-league side and watch as the fans go completely wild.

But this seems to be something TV producers always forget.

The third round is about the non-league and lower league teams. It is about the Kidderminster Harriers winning or the Hartlepool United coming from behind to make it to the fourth round.

So why did ITV and BBC pick the likes of West Ham United vs Leeds United, or Manchester United vs Aston Villa for coverage?

We can see these kinds of games on any other weekend throughout the year.

I am not enjoying how long it takes to shake these aches

I am starting to feel as if age is creeping up slowly on me.​​​​​​​

Before the year is out, I will have turned 29 – and the countdown to 30 will truly be on.

But it feels like perhaps my youth has already slipped away – a little bit at least.

Hangovers feel much worse already, as cliche as that sentiment is.

However the more worrying trend is that I am starting to find shaking little niggling strains to be much harder.

I enjoy running but I’ve had to take a couple of decent length breaks to avoid seriously pulling anything.

I also slipped down the stairs a week or so ago, straining my back in my attempt to slow my fall.

And the aches from that have been slow to depart.