Friendly Matches - Football
People not too keen on football (yes, there are some believe it or not!) sometimes joke that the gap between the two seasons happened yesterday. Most European leagues finish towards the end of May and recommence sometime in August. The transfer window is open until the end of August. Players will normally jet off to the sun during June ready to start training for the new season, with managers needing to have an opportunity to try out new tactics, embed new players bought from other clubs, in an environment where victories are an encouragement but failure is not crucial, in fact it can be part of a learning curve.
There is of course another commercial reason. Football is about money and European clubs, notably those in England’s Premier League, are cultivating a worldwide market. Millions of fans who will never come within a thousand miles of Old Trafford, Anfield, Stamford Bridge or the Emirates Stadium follow their clubs on TV, on line and through the social media – and of course are customers for replica shirts in the latest designs and all the other Club insignia.
The plans for the current off season have not been announced for every Club as of yet although you will find details on this website of the International Champions Cup in which many of Europe’s top teams plus the pick of the USA teams are competing in a pre-season round-robin tournament played on three different continents with games in Australia, China and North America. Spectators will be able to thrill to the stars of teams such as Chelsea, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester City, Manchester United, Benfica, PSG, AS Roma, and AC Milan.
Even though the summer of 2014 was of course a World Cup year and there were a mere 35 days between the World Cup final and the start of the 2014-15 Premier League season, every PL club bar one took to the skies clocking up an estimated 176,164 miles to reach their various destinations. The two clubs who flew the furthest were West Ham and Newcastle who took part in a tournament in New Zealand.
Friendly matches normally (but not always) live up to their name; after all, no manager wants to see his star forward out of action before a ball has been kicked in the season proper. But they are invaluable to Club bosses, managers, trainers, players and supporters alike – and the global nature of pre-season friendly matches emphasize yet again that football is the game whose passions cross all borders.
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