OK, so I agreed to an evening out with my Significant Other tonight, forgeting a game was on, but that’s not the reason. Genuinely. Honest.
Even if I wasn’t spending this evening with my S.O. I’m not so sure I’d go out of my way so see tonight’s game, even though ITV are showing it – so I could potentially watch in the comfort of my very own Land of Leather recliner. Mmm. Cheap leather sofa.
1. Friendlies aren’t much fun
Has there ever been a more meaningless pre-season friendly? I can see that in the year prior to a major tournament it makes sense to have your squad to play together as much as possible. It’s certainly worked in the past for smaller footballing nations such as USA in ’94 and South Korea in 2002. But this doesn’t necessarily make for great viewing. Non-competitive England games tend to fizzle out in a sea of substitutions soon after half-time. It’s hard to get excited over a game that doesn’t matter, essentially an extended training exercise.
2. Terrible, terrible timing
Who schedules an international friendly now? Clubs are reluctant to release players at the best of times, so having an international as Europe’s seasons begin is idiotic. Why not start the season a week earlier and have an international break further into the season?
3. The players don’t want to play
The players themselves aren’t going to want to over-exert themselves for fear of injuring themselves (or even tiring themselves) before the season has even properly begun. Or, in the case of Steven Gerrard and others, they’ll remove themselves entirely, to be fit for the weekend. Sensible, I say.
4. Clive Tyldesley
Clive Tyldesley will probably be commentating. And probably trying to shoehorn in Champions League 99 and 05 references at inappropriate moments.
5. Pizza Express is nicer than pre-season internationals
And we have a voucher! Cheap pizza!