Wait until next year

Putting off what could be done tomorrow, today

Tag: pre-season

Phoenix Sports 2 Erith and Belvedere 1

Behind the goal, Phoenix Sports vs Erith and Belvedere

Thank goodness for Proper Football. Cup finals and international tournaments are all well and good as spectacles but they aren’t real football. My ideal match doesn’t take place in a gigantic stadium, it isn’t soundtracked by piped-in hi-energy crowd-directing tunes, isn’t played by players cynical and skillful enough to squeeze the joy and unpredictability out of the game. My ideal match takes place in the sort of ground I can wander around, can enjoy a pint in, where I can queue for a burger and watch the match simultaneously, where the smell of the onions is coupled with the spray of Deep Heat, where the soundtrack is a panicked cry at a dawdling centre-half, a grumble from the touchline, a kid kicking his own ball against a fence, oblivious. Read the rest of this entry »

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Why I won’t be watching the England/Holland game tonight

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.

But why?

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!