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Give It A Rest

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

It is at this point in the footballing season that there is suddenly a lot less relevent footballing literature to occupy the minds of those who live and breathe this glorious sport. The media and back-page tabloids everywhere begin to conjure up stories along the lines of "Eto'o to Fulham" or "Mourinho to switch jobs with Martin Jol" and so on. It all ends up being exceptionally confusing and hides the real transfer coups going on.

On the other side of events are these now incessant summer tours to far away continents such as Asia or North America to promote "soccer" as a worldwide brand and to hopefully sell some shirts. Mourinho himself recently described an approaching game against a Mexican side at Stanford College in Conneticut (a location that we assume can only have been chosen due to it's similarity in name to Stamford Bridge) as a "true" test for his side. This is a side who have recently ended a season by playing against the best sides in Europe, and beating most of them, and yet suddenly a US Tour is a good test for your players?

What exactly defines "pre-season"? Surely the idea of a pre-season is to bring your players back to fitness and ready for the struggles ahead. This was once the case, but any player playing 60 games a season for his club during a season, and then playing internationals and Far Eastern tours isn't really getting a rest. In that case, a tour of nations not exactly reknowned for their footballing prowess is just the ticket. It can allow you to play your lesser players, and send off your stars on a 5-star holiday with their kids, it also allows you to integrate your new players into your squad and make some cash on the side -- makes perfect sense really from the club's perspective.

It is in these pre-seasons that suddenly it emerges that the Club are more important the team. Real Madrid have been regularly criticised for their far-eastern tours, returning home to Spain jet-lagged and knackered, but having sold a few Beckham shirts to the kids in South-Korea. Manchester United too are guilty of such Tours, and Chelsea seem to think of nothing else (this club have recently denied their own supporters an open-bus celebration of the FA Cup triumph on the grounds that the Fulham council wouldn't help them out with the 250 grand required...). It seems that the business aspect of these situations take precedent, and that although the club feel it is their right to establish themselves as a brand, as a fan it just seems to take the piss.

Just give them a rest. Let Lampard go to Spain for a few weeks, or Defoe and Ledders to Magaluf, let them all have some time off and rejoice in the millions that you have earnt from being a Premiership side, from securing a European spot, from televising more games and expanding your stadiums. These players need a rest, if they don't, we're going to get more finals like the CL and FA Cup Finals, and nobody wants that.

posted by teedoubleyou


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