Premier League visits should be celebrated

Mathew Langdon Roar Pro

By , Mathew Langdon is a Roar Pro

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    As another European giant of football graces our beautiful shores, the Johnny Buzzkills of the world are once again bemoaning the apparent lack of high-quality football.

    As Arsenal graced ANZ Stadium for their first of two friendlies against the Sydney A-League clubs, the atmosphere at the stadium was electric.

    But some took offence that Arsenal and Sydney FC didn’t seem to treat this game as if it was a UEFA Champions League final

    Both sides played experimental line-ups, with several stars for both sides beginning the game on the bench.

    So a 2-0 scoreline isn’t the most exciting in football history, so what?

    At the end of the day, these are exhibition games for both sides to tune up for the upcoming seasons. Nothing more, nothing less.

    The main complaint that many seem to have is that these friendlies are nothing more than money-grabbing exercises for the travelling sides.

    It seems to have completely slipped their minds that pretty much everything football clubs do nowadays revolves around money. These pre-season tours are no different, but they have an added benefit.

    These tours give the thousands of diehard fans on this side of the world to see their heroes up close and on the pitch. As a recent Roarer wrote, the idea of seeing their beloved club in Australia was a pipe dream for decades for many Arsenal fans.

    Scoreline notwithstanding, I guarantee more Arsenal fans left the ground ecstatic they got to see their club live and in the flesh.

    The players and club have also set up many opportunities for their fans to see the club and take part in amazing opportunities well out of reach for many Aussie-based supporters.

    As a Manchester United supporter, the 2013 game versus the A-League All-Stars was an amazing feeling for me.

    Not only did I see my heroes in person, I was within a foot of the Premier League title, got to meet hundreds, if not thousands of my fellow Manchester United supporters and experience amazing crowd experiences I couldn’t get without travelling to Old Trafford.

    I was fortunate enough to go to the recent game with a diehard Gooner, and it was amazing to see a person in their mid-20s say to me before kickoff: “this is amazing”.

    We as Australians are so fortunate that these clubs grace our shores almost annually now. Decades ago, these tours would have been almost once in a generation.

    It’s time to stop taking these games so seriously and simply enjoy the spectacle. If you think football is only worth watching when points are on the line, guess what? You can watch games like that.

    I hope you get enjoyment out of any game you watch, just stop trying to rain on other people’s parades.