Premier League visits should be celebrated

Mathew Langdon Roar Pro

By Mathew Langdon, Mathew Langdon is a Roar Pro

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22 Have your say

    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.

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    The Crowd Says (22)

    • July 15th 2017 @ 3:49am
      jeff dustby said | July 15th 2017 @ 3:49am | ! Report

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

      so other people cant have an opinion about this mickey mouse games aimed at profit maximization?

      • July 15th 2017 @ 7:47am
        northerner said | July 15th 2017 @ 7:47am | ! Report

        Mickey Mouse has given a lot of people pleasure, and made Disney a lot of money, for something like 90 years. Nothing wrong with Mickey. In the end, it’s all just entertainment.

    • July 15th 2017 @ 7:36am
      League table speaks said | July 15th 2017 @ 7:36am | ! Report

      These games keep juniors wearing more EPL tops which means they hopefully aspire to players a few rungs above what’s on offer locally. Which can improve the quality here in the long run.

      Better they want to be like Alexander Lacazette than Matt Simon. (They really do recycle the players in this league!)

      • July 15th 2017 @ 9:18pm
        Mark said | July 15th 2017 @ 9:18pm | ! Report

        What total nonsense.

        Without a stable professional football setup locally, with pathways for juniors to the professional level, there is no hope for Australia to develop world class footballers, now that the European migrant generations have gone.

        Football here would become like it is in South East Asia and India…a game that is watched on tv by many but played seriously by few.

        Eurosnobbery one of the biggest barriers to Australia getting any better as a football nation.

        • July 20th 2017 @ 3:51pm
          Neil said | July 20th 2017 @ 3:51pm | ! Report

          Good post.

    • July 15th 2017 @ 8:51am
      Nemesis said | July 15th 2017 @ 8:51am | ! Report

      They’re practice matches. I have huge respect for Leo Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Mesut Ozil, etc. etc.

      Would I watch them playing this type of practice match? Nope.
      Would I watch them having an unscripted 5-a-side in the local park with a group of unknowns? Absolutely

      Do whatever turns you on.
      These matches are great for putting football firmly on the front & back pages of the media during the ALeague off-season.

      And, they give ALeague clubs a nice 1/2 million dollar cash boost, which could be the difference between a club losing money, or being profitable. Or, it could mean hiring a marquee player that’s worth 50-75% more than you could otherwise afford.

      • July 15th 2017 @ 9:07am
        Waz said | July 15th 2017 @ 9:07am | ! Report

        Pretty much this; sime will love these things, some will hate them; most will be in the middle. Arsenal seem to have done a good job in the community although we could have done without the AFL media call (Do these visiting clubs realise how much AFL hates football and just how much competition there is in the local market?).

    • July 15th 2017 @ 9:32am
      marron said | July 15th 2017 @ 9:32am | ! Report

      “Electric atmosphere”?

      I suppose it was Arsenal, so the bar is pretty low.

    • July 15th 2017 @ 10:02am
      Ken Spacey said | July 15th 2017 @ 10:02am | ! Report

      Just a reminder to other codes just how small they are in the greater scheme of things. In fact the NRL cannot fill that venue outside of origin or grand finals and the AFL have never filled it. Arsenal aren’t even that successful in EPL or ECL.

      • July 15th 2017 @ 2:10pm
        northerner said | July 15th 2017 @ 2:10pm | ! Report

        What it is is actually a reminder that good entertainment – especially international entertainment – a World Cup Rugby Union final, an Adele concert or a match involving a big European football team, will draw the crowds. I doubt anyone is amazed by that.

        • July 15th 2017 @ 2:58pm
          Nemesis said | July 15th 2017 @ 2:58pm | ! Report

          This wasn’t a Rugby WC Final, or a concert involving on of the world’s hottest current pop star.

          This was a meaningless club practice match.

          So meaningless, the ALeague team kept its best players sitting on the bench & gave a run to players who are Reserves or Youth and have been on holiday for 2 months and back training for 1 week.

          The EPL club have been back in training maybe 1-2 weeks longer.

          This was a practice match. If you are comparing that to a Rugby WC Final, you either don’t rate Rugby very high, or you don’t understand the absolute insignificance of practice matches in football.

          • July 15th 2017 @ 3:30pm
            northerner said | July 15th 2017 @ 3:30pm | ! Report

            As I believe I said above, it’s entertainment. You’ve said yourself it isn’t real football, but it is entertainment, and that’s why people go. That’s why they go to Adele concerts and Monster Jams and American college football games as well. That’s why a lot of people who are not died-in-the-wool sports fans go to World Cup and SOO finals. It’s why big crowds will show up in the US to watch a rugby game between the USA and NZ, without knowing a thing about rugby, and why Australians will show up for a MLB game here. For the spectacle. And the fun. Maybe the curiosity value. Mostly, it’s for the entertainment.

            • July 15th 2017 @ 3:41pm
              Nemesis said | July 15th 2017 @ 3:41pm | ! Report

              I totally understand the concept of ‘entertainment’.

              But, to equate the entertainment of a football practice match with other entertainment, we’d need to see 80,000 people turn up to watch

              * Adele practicing her songs
              * a club practice match in Rugby
              * a team of reserve & youth team All Blacks
              * a team of reserve & youth team MLB playing in Australia.

              If Arsenal played Sydney FC in the Club World Cup at the Sydney Olympic Stadium, I’d fully understand event-watchers turning up.

              But, for a practice match? That’s just too funny. I doubt any other club sport could pull 80,000 people for a club practice match.

              • July 15th 2017 @ 5:07pm
                northerner said | July 15th 2017 @ 5:07pm | ! Report

                I think perhaps you’re the one who doesn’t understand the concept of entertainment. Hint: it’s an activity, show or performance that entertains and amuses an audience.

                Does a match featuring Arsenal or Liverpool entertain the spectators? Yes, because the spectators are not looking for the same things you’re looking for. You want a competitive game of football counting towards a league or cup championship. The crowd is there to see a favourite team; a favourite player; if they’re lucky, a bit of on-field flair; and get a chance to soak up the atmosphere. And that’s what they get. It’s a finished product as far as the spectators are concerned because it’s not about the game alone but the whole accompanying package.

                No, it won’t necessarily be a great performance – but then most rock concerts aren’t great performances either. You want great performances, you buy the record. But entertainment they most certainly are.

                And the same thing applies to all-star games, one-off rugby matches like the US-NZ one, Harlem Globetrotters games and the like. Many years ago I got dragged to an evening of exhibition performances given by figure skating medalists following the World Championships. Was it competitive? Nah. Nothing on the line. Was it entertaining? Yes, it was. Oh, and the arena was full to the rafters.

              • July 15th 2017 @ 5:44pm
                Nemesis said | July 15th 2017 @ 5:44pm | ! Report

                The indisputable point is..

                This was a practice match. All the other entertainment you’ve mentioned are the real deal. The end product. Not practising. The real thing.

                If, as you suggest, people think watching European teams playing a practice match is entertainment, why do they throw paper aeroplanes? They threw paper aeroplanes when Ronaldo played at the MCG. When Messi played at the MCG. The people, whom you say come to watch the great players, are so enthralled by the great players they start throwing paper planes. That’s a level of ignorance that seems unique to casual sports fans in Australia.

                Nearly 1,500 ALeague matches played to date. Not 1 paper aeroplane thrown.

                We may not get 80k people turning up to watch our allegedly crap A-League with allegedly crap players, but at least the fans are entertained enough to not throw paper aeroplanes.

              • July 15th 2017 @ 7:24pm
                northerner said | July 15th 2017 @ 7:24pm | ! Report

                Oh man. You really are a – well, words, printable ones – fail me.

                So what if people throw paper airplanes? Don’t you get it at all? It’s about enjoying the entertainment. I don’t give a rats if the average A League fan doesn’t throw paper airplanes: they’re going to the game for different reasons, and looking for a different experience. People who go to these exhibition matches are there to have fun, enjoy the vibe, maybe see a few of their favourite players doing their thing. And if they want to throw paper airplanes, why exactly shouldn’t they?

                What on earth makes you think that everyone has to enjoy football in the way that you enjoy it? What makes you arbiter of what is and is not “ignorant?” I’ve checked FIFA regulations and I don’t see anywhere that Fuss gets to decree what is and is not proper behaviour at a football game. The world is full of people that think differently than you do, and that doesn’t make them ignorant: it just means they think differently than you do. Deal with it That’s what adults do.

              • July 15th 2017 @ 10:04pm
                Nemesis said | July 15th 2017 @ 10:04pm | ! Report

                “It’s about enjoying the entertainment”

                So, let me get this right.

                You say the fans are enjoying the entertainment on the pitch, so they start making paper aeroplanes & then spend the rest of the game trying to see who can throw the longest distance.

                If you actually believe that you’re even duller than I imagined. And, believe me, I don’t regard you highly.

                I must tell my old Uni lecturers that the reason students throw paper planes is because they’re intently focused on what’s in front of them.

      • July 15th 2017 @ 2:12pm
        Brisvegas said | July 15th 2017 @ 2:12pm | ! Report

        What do you have to do to be a successful club in the EPL? Only ManU have a better record.

        • Roar Guru

          July 15th 2017 @ 5:47pm
          Rick Disnick said | July 15th 2017 @ 5:47pm | ! Report

          3rd actually.

          Chelsea are more successful.

    • July 15th 2017 @ 1:32pm
      LuckyEddie said | July 15th 2017 @ 1:32pm | ! Report

      They have seen their heroes play a training game and charging a lot of money to see it. Question is will these poor fans (event goers) front up next year if Arsenal return, no way. It’s a simple money grab and that’s all. They will have flogged off the new jerseys, folded up the circus tent and headed off to the next market place. These games do nothing for the A-League, Liverpool got full house of 50k against the Roar and the next week the Roar got the usual 13k. So in the case of these circus games, Arsenal make a nice earner and the FFA and SFC get some crumbs but it in no way helps the A-League profile. In fact we are just played for suckers.

      • July 15th 2017 @ 9:32pm
        Mark said | July 15th 2017 @ 9:32pm | ! Report

        Arsenal got a great crowd because it was their first tour. Barca, no doubt, would get a similarly big crowd.

        Would they get so many a second time, or a third time, if they played again in the same city? I very much doubt it. The appeal of these games is for fans to ‘see their team in the flesh’. Once they’ve done that, though, are they going to pony up another $100+ to do it again? Not likely, because the matches are generally very average quality matches in sterile atmospheres and the first time excitement of seeing your team can’t be repeated.

        I very much doubt Madrid would sell out the MCG if they came down again. To be honest, without Ronaldo, I don’t think they would have last time. If they sell him, they couldn’t draw another massive crowd here. Even if Barca came here for the first time, if Messi is no longer around or doesn’t travel, I wonder if they would pull a massive crowd.

      • July 20th 2017 @ 3:54pm
        Neil said | July 20th 2017 @ 3:54pm | ! Report

        Good post.

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