Rosie schaap c m. sharkey

Fans look ahead to 2014/15 Premiership

Stephen Boland, works for UPS; originally from Longford, supports Liverpool

We’ll miss Suarez. How can you not miss Suarez? But I don’t think he would had as brilliant a season at Liverpool this year as last. And the team have shown they can win without him. I think that Sterling will pick up a lot of the slack. We have some new players who will take time to adopt to the [Brendan] Rodgers system.

Manchester City are the team to beat. City are strong. They have the same players and have got the experience. United will improve, but I don’t see them in the top four yet. But they have the advantage of not having to compete in Europe. Arsenal will be closer.

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John McKiernan, designer, Belfast Media Group, Northern Ireland; supports Arsenal

I think we’re going to be stronger than last season, with a top-3 finish. Theo Walcott returns and looks to be our top player. Olivier Giroud looks to continue to make a big difference for the team. The perfect signing for Arsenal this summer has been Alexis Sanchez. He has pace, skill, he can finish and is an all-around great player.

Terry Goodfellow, tech support at Amulet Hotkey; originally from Yeovil, England, supports Manchester United

I’m more optimistic than last season. But I’ve been reading reports that [manager Louis van Gaal] is getting rid of five or more key players, and until I know who those players are, I don’t know how optimistic. Rooney has performed very well in the games in America. The trouble is he’s so unpredictable.

I’d be happy with qualification for Europe for 2015/16 and also if they got some silverware, the F.A. Cup or the League Cup.

I’m a huge fan of [assistant manager] Ryan Giggs. It would be awesome if he became manager in a couple of years, because he’s spent his entire career at the club.

Kieran Quilligan, originally from Cork, supports West Ham United

Hopefully we’ll be around mid-table. Andy Carroll injuries do not help the situation, but Big Sam’s new signings might do the trick.

Mark Taylor, painter; originally from the city of Liverpool, supports Everton

The most important thing this summer was retaining the current squad. Having Coleman, Barkley, Baines, Stones and Martinez all signing extensions, plus adding Lukaku, Barry and Besic. We have a great balance of young and old containing some of the top young prospects in football.

This year I think a top-6 finish would be great considering the amount of money our rivals are spending. Especially our friendly neighbors. I may have a few dollars on Everton finishing above Liverpool, by the way. Mr. Rodgers doesn’t have a great record in the transfer market – Allen, Aspas, Borini to name a few.

If we can get off to a good start, Chealsea, Arsenal in our first three games then who knows? We may shock a few people. If our young players can kick on then and they continue to buy into Martinez philosophy, I think next season will be very interesting. Players to watch: Barklay, Lukaku and Stones are the obvious ones, but I think Besic may turn out to be a very astute signing.

Out of the other teams, you can't look past Chelsea or Manchester City for the title.

Rosie Schaap, writes the “Drink” column for the New York Times Magazine; a New Yorker, supports Tottenham


If it really is the hope that kills you, not the despair, I resolve to have no hope at all at the start of most Spurs seasons. Kafka helps: "There's hope, but not for us."

After the brief, unpleasant reign of Tim Sherwood, I welcome new manager Mauricio Pochettino and must put my faith in him to reenergize the club and develop a strategy that will help a team with plenty of individual talent but a shortage of cohesion perform better together. But after a half dozenmanagers in a decade, Spurs fans can't help feeling a bit of manager fatigue. I hope he'll be given the time and latitude to build.

And my worst fears: that we might lose our brilliant keeper, Hugo Lloris, and our other MVP, the creative, exciting midfielder Christian Eriksen, did not come to pass. So nix the Kafka. There are some glimmers of hope, but I'm not holding my breath for a top-4 finish.

Jay Mwamba, the Echo’s boxing and local soccer correspondent; originally from Zambia, supports Chelsea.

Has Jose Mourinho lost his mojo? That’s the question many a Chelsea fan was asking after the Blues’ gaffer ended his first season back at Stamford Bridge without a trophy last May. In my estimation, Mourinho completely lost the plot.

He griped over the lack of punch upfront and yet exiled and antagonized his most promising striker, Romelu Lukaku. He similarly sidelined and then sold Juan Mata, Chelsea’s best player in the two previous seasons, while three other mainstays of past campaigns, John Obi Mikel, Ashley Cole and Ramires, equally fell out of favor.

The 2014-2015 season offers Mourinho a chance to make amends and he’s done a fair bit of business on the transfer market to suggest that.

The purchase of forward Diego Costa, who lit up La Liga with Atletico Madrid, last year, appears to be a significant upgrade upfront. There’s also the intriguing return of Chelsea great Didier Drogba which adds a sentimental touch to the forthcoming campaign.

In midfield, Cesc Fabregas’s acquisition, undoes the damage done by Mata’s unwise sell. The former Arsenal and Barcelona playmaker could turn out to be another Gianfranco Zola.

At the back, the return from loan of the outstanding Belgian shot-stopper Thibaut Courtois, one of the best goalies in the world today, should further cheer Blues fans.

Chelsea and Mourinho’s Premiership prospects couldn’t be better.

John Spinks, artist; originally from Newcastle (though born in Ennis), supports Newcastle United

Mike Ashley remains at the helm. The club is his cash cow. It’s his business, not his passion. To keep it viable and in the black they have to remain in the Premiership. The transfer activity can usually be likened to the purchase of unlabeled tins in the supermarket. However this season some of the tins have come with labels and there is a note of optimism.

Cabella, Riviere and de Jong are all seasoned pros, and the defender Janmaat had a good World Cup with Holland. There’s a slim chance that Joel Campbell who made such and the defender Janmaat had a good World Cup with Holland. There’s a slim chance that Joel Campbell who made such an impression for Costa Rica in the World Cup might be signed. We live in hope.

The squad has some continuity from last season and is reported to be “happy.”

As told to Peter McDermott