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Of Course These Friendlies Are A Waste Of Time

Of Course These Friendlies Are A Waste Of Time

Sir Alex Ferguson was in the limelight again, this time complaining about pointless international friendlies. Only this time the media and the various associations and groups did not blast him as more or less everyone agrees, bar the men at the FA.

'All international managers have their jobs to do and we support that, particularly when it comes to the issues of competitive games, ie the European Championships or the World Cup,' Fergie said.

'It's very important that these players play for their countries.

'But friendly games are a different matter. I don't think that anyone agrees with them if you're a football coach, a league coach, whereas international managers have a situation that they find themselves in.'

He also complained about how these games put excess demands on players but that's hardly the point here. Yeah, of course, players tend to get injured in these games and it's infuriating but it's not the real problem with these fixtures.

Quite simply, international friendlies are a waste of time. Half the squad will never show up anyway so it's useless for preparation and gelling, the games are usually tedious as the competitive edge is taken away - by and large they are useless.

And many of us feel a strong hatred towards these because of their cynical nature. I mean Capello and the FA might insist that England v Brazil in Qatar is one of the important phases of preparing for the World Cup but it's quite clear that the only aim of this fixture is to make money. There will be massive revenue for the FA and that's all it matters.

At least the clubs' equally cynical pre-season tours in Asia have a point: to get the players' fitness and form up to standards. But a travel to Qatar sandwiched in between league games? Come on.

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

Date:Friday October 30 2009
Time: 8:19PM


You dont have many players representing you, so who the feck worry?
31/10/2009 04:00:00
Short memory in his old age. Interestingly, Ferguson's attitude seems to have changed from a couple of years ago, when he took his Manchester United side to play a friendly in Saudi Arabia in January 2008 for a reported £1million fee. That's a 6,500-mile round trip, but on that occasion it was apparently OK. Fergie said at the time: "We're satisfied. It was a great experience in terms of a different kind of atmosphere than we're used to. Even though we were relaxed, we still want to compete as best we can, so we're disappointed to lose. "We're resting on Tuesday. Some of the players will stay by the pool and get some sun, some will play golf. I'll certainly be playing golf. Then we'll have two training sessions on Wednesday before heading back home." Far from being worried about player fatigue on that occasion, Ferguson included Wayne Rooney, Cristiano Ronaldo, Carlos Tevez, Owen Hargreaves, Patrice Evra, Rio Ferdinand, Darren Fletcher and Nemanja Vidic in his team for that game, which took place three days after United's away league game at Reading, and five days before an FA Cup tie against Spurs. Incidentally, United's opponents in their Middle East friendly were the mighty Al Hilal. England's will be Brazil. As for the lack of criticism from the press? Daniel Taylor of The Guardian, David McDonnell of The Daily Mirror and James Ducker of The Times, to name but a few were invited to this trip, all of whose bylines appear above Ferguson's quotes this morning. It couldn't be because they got a lovely jolly in the sun last time, and are angling for another, could it?
Little Dutch
31/10/2009 08:57:00
Don't you know by now Little Dutch that it's ok when Manu do something but not ok when anybody else does it.
31/10/2009 14:02:00
There is a clear difference between the two situations - As manager of MANCHESTER UNITED there are clear benefits for HIS team when playing friendlies mid season - money, bonding, experience, did I mention money? Manchester United dont benefit from international friendlies (especially as pre-capello our players would comeback injured or completely demoralised) and as they pay their players a healthy amount to represent the club its annoying to see them miss games for the club because of an international kick about. There is no hypocrisy here. He isnt complaining about players appearing in friendlies mid season - he's complaining about them playing friendlies mid season FOR SOMEONE ELSE!!!
31/10/2009 19:07:00
Dutch - you took the words right out of my mouth. And Tuscan, you are of course, correct - he doesn't benefit in any way, shape or form, so he bitches and complains about it.
31/10/2009 21:59:00
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