Thursday, March 27, 2008

Your Opinion on Friendly Matches

A full slate of international friendlies interrupted domestic league seasons on Tuesday and Wednesday, and despite some entertaining, high-flying matches (4-3 victory for Holland over Austria, Mexico's 2-1 win over Ghana, etc.), club managers throughout the world are becoming increasingly unhappy with these fixtures.

Arsene Wenger, in fact, said yesterday that he believes these friendlies may not have a place in the future because fans just aren't that interested and they come at an inconvenient time of the year. Many managers say that the risk of injury far outweighs the reward for the players involved to wear their country's colors and that it's not fair to the clubs when players have to travel and miss training.

This is certainly understandable and managers have a right to voice their opinions concerning these games. However, if you polled the players, it seems like many of them are in favor of representing their nations. Many of them truly enjoy playing against another country and stepping out of that club atmosphere for a little bit.

I'm interested in your opinion as a fan. Do you like seeing your favorite players play in these friendlies, or would you rather them skip the games and stay with their respective clubs? This brings up the old club vs. country debate and it's one I want to have.

In England, fans of the Three Lions are generally also fans of lower-league teams and don't get to travel abroad with their team or get a chance to watch their team play big-name, Premiership opposition on a weekly basis. Fans of Premiership sides, especially those of the "Big Four", seem like they really couldn't give a toss about the national team and only care when the European Championship or the World Cup rolls around.

Because I'm not a fan of any one particular club side, I enjoy watching friendlies and any other international matches during the course of the year. They're not played too often and it's a nice break from watching the same teams in the same leagues go at it every week, and it's a chance to see the best players in the world compete for their homelands, something many of them are clearly honored to do.

As I said, I want to hear your thoughts about these games. Do you like them, do you hate them, do you want fewer of them, what? Leave a comment or send me an E-mail; my contact info is on the left side of the homepage.

No comments: