Now it's time for World Cup to take centre stage
Discovering English football live in far flung corners of the world is now no great surprise. Having won a Queen's Award for exporting its TV rights, we all know how popular (and lucrative) the Premier League is around the globe.
But I have never experienced the climax to a League season in quite the surroundings I found myself on Sunday evening as I watched Chelsea's eight-goal stroll against Wigan.
Thalebo's Place is right in the heart of the Johannesburg township of Alexandra, not as famous as Soweto, but one of the poorest urban areas in South Africa and one-time home to Nelson Mandela.
Inside a packed bar or shebeen, locals watched the climax to the Nedbank Cup quarter-final between Soweto side Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns of Pretoria (Sundowns won 3-1 after extra-time) before switching channels (one of four showing live Premier League games on Sunday) to cheer on Didier Drogba and Chelsea.
The football was accompanied by loud African rhythms, blaring from a jukebox, so I got a real sense of the colour and vibrancy which will be such a feature of this World Cup.
A South Africa fan warms up for the World Cup. Photo: Getty Images
So why am I in Alexandra? Well, for the past week I have been in South Africa filming a report to mark one month to go until the start of Africa's first World Cup. Speaking to people here, there is real pride at that honour. It almost overrides any national rivalry between the African sides that have made it to the finals.
Of course, South Africans want the Bafana Bafana to do well - and many here are incredibly optimistic about their chances - but it is set up to be Drogba's tournament. His image adorns the side of office blocks and poster boards across Johannesburg, while many locals fancy they will switch allegiance to the Ivory Coast should they progress further than South Africa.
Shebeen owner Thalebo says there is great excitement ahead of the World Cup but reveals there is also anger among his regulars at the cost of tickets, which he says are too expensive for most people living in Alexandra. To make matters worse, he says he is expected to pay 50,000 rand (£4,500) for a licence to show live games in his bar during the World Cup. It is just one of a number of stories reflecting a sense of frustration at what poor black South Africans see as the greedy exploitation of their sport.
Despite that, it is clear people are embracing the event. South African flags fly from cars, while the green and gold of the South Africa strip is being worn with pride, especially on Football Fridays, when everyone is encouraged to wear their colours. Merchandisers have apparently underestimated the demand, with reports of shirts selling out as soon as they arrive in stores.
In South Africa - and around the world - Premier League football will have to take a back seat now as the World Cup prepares to take centre stage.
The challenge for South Africa is whether they can use the event to create a vibrant and successful domestic competition, one which could come to rival the almighty English Premier League - and mean the next Drogba will play league football in his own continent.