When I was young I remember seeing pre season as a chance to watch my team shape up against the greatest side’s featuring the greatest players in the land. Supporting a lower league team (now sadly a non-league team) the opportunities to watch this calibre of player were few and far between, perhaps the odd run in a cup competition would lead to a draw against a top flight powerhouse, however there was more chance of spotting top players in the annual run of pre season games. The top sides warmed up for their season by trying out new players and new systems, as well as blooding youngsters and bringing established players back to full fitness against lower league opposition from within their shores. Not only were their the above mentioned benefits to the top clubs, but in addition the benefits to the lower league clubs was perhaps immeasurable, a chance for lesser players to perform against the best, also an opportunity for fans to watch top draw football as their hype for the new season grows amongst blind loyalty. I remember only too well the thoughts of “This is going to be our year, we looked against Manchester united for the last half hour” and “If we play like that every week we will walk this league, we created Liverpool some genuine problems today”
Sadly this pre season paints a different picture. Tonight Blue Square Premier leagues side Wrexham advertise a match against “a Liverpool XI”, the giveaway as to the standard of team on show is in the naming of the “Liverpool XI” it is highly likely that this will be a scratch side made up of promising youngsters and foreign trialists, possibly none of which will be known names to the local crowd. The star studded Liverpool first team including Gerrard, Carragher, Torres and Cole is in Austria for their pre season training camp and early practice matches. Meanwhile with Manchester United having a similar trip in the United States and foreign ventures for Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City among others it is clear that the ufabet มือถือ of pre season for the top sides is to look abroad and not at home.
So why have the Premier League’s finest taken this approach to such an important part of their season preparations? Some may point to the benefits of training in warmer foreign climates, even at Altitude in some cases. Other muted benefits are the team morale gained by taking a squad away together so they are forced to live and entertain together not simply train together then go home. Surely the biggest benefit is financial. The popularity of the English Premier League all around the year is immense and the traditional pre season exhibition games all over Asia have proved economically rewarding to the top sides with big match fees being coupled with sales of club merchandise to the many fans of the game. Whilst current pre season schedules is a natural step for the modern game I can’t help missing the old style of pre season which pitched the top English sides against those in the lower leagues and gave us fans a chance to dream of what might be in the season ahead.