Game 39: Premier League Clubs Consider Playing Matches Overseas

Game 39: Premier League Clubs Consider Playing Matches Overseas


Do you support this move or are you against it? Make your voice heard in our poll at the end of this article.

The English Premier League clubs are considering a proposal to play some matches at overseas venues starting from the 2011/2012 season.

The idea is to extend the regular season to 39 games, with the extra 10 games being played at 5 select venues around the world (US, Middle East and Far East Asia are the obvious 3 destinations, but will we see clubs going to Africa, South East Asia, South America and Australia as well?). The proposal suggests picking actual fixtures by draw, although the star clubs may not always be paired with each other to avoid drab fixtures like Derby County v Bolton Wanderers being played in Buenos Aires to an empty stadium (I couldn’t resist…).

Why, you ask? Chris from EPL Talk puts it succinctly:

The reason why the Premier League is considering this revolutionary idea is because the international TV rights deal could soon be worth more than the domestic TV deal in the United Kingdom. If this does happen, which looks very probable, then the Premier League will value the international rights deal as being able to produce more revenue for its clubs.

It’s for the MONEY! And the direct (and indirect) support (financial) of millions…and millions of Premier League fans around the world (all of whom support Manchester United, or Chelsea, or Arsenal, depending on who was champion when they started watching – another reason why Liverpool is struggling to attract worldwide support for their takeover bid – if it was Manchester United (lots of fans) or Arsenal (very active online community) they would have put up the money by now…).

Mihir Bose – BBC Sport:

“The market in the United Kingdom is becoming saturated and it is the overseas market which is now the big target area.

A number of top-flight clubs already play matches around the world as they seek to capitalise on the huge global interest in the English game.”

Some simple questions that have difficult answers:

Will the points from these games count?

I sure hope so…

Aren’t the home fans (and away fans, for clubs that are actually supported) being shortchanged?

That problem seems to have been neatly sidestepped by adding an extra game in the season instead of shifting a regular fixture. And considering the support of the Premier League, you can expect matches to be mostly sold-out for the top 5-6 clubs, and the rest, well, the Premier League are excellent marketers and I’m sure they will be able to fill all the seats for 80-90 percent, if not all, games.

Will my club ever come play in my country?

Indian fans would be most likely to ask this question and the answer is yes, there is a very good chance that a top Premier League club will play in India in the next decade. Pakistan – well, I seriously doubt it.

Australian fans – yes again, I think a Premiership club will go there as well. Not so sure about South America, although South Africa will be a popular destination too.

One more match in an already congested fixture list?

Yes, one more game, and frankly, one that will help build the profile of these clubs and the league as a whole abroad, and as such would be far more important than a domestic cup game (shoot me if you will).

Fixture congestion is a different issue and reducing one game or adding one game is not going to make much of a difference. What WILL change things is if we rearranged the structure of the league to introduce a winter break, and that’s a different debate.

When will they decide?

A formal decision will not be taken until the annual Premier League meeting in June. Considering the financial benefits, I doubt that any club will disagree, although the technicalities of managing

No local fans = no atmosphere = soulless games! Is this really football?

If it’s for points, then yes, it really is football, no matter where you play it. If it’s not for points, then the games become meaningless friendlies and lose their commercial value. The atmosphere at the recent United friendly in Riyadh was quite good, even if there weren’t any ‘traditional’ United support there.

So how much money is really involved?

From the above-linked BBC article:

The Premier League’s income from the sale of overseas TV rights has already increased from £178m in 2001 to £625m for the current deal that runs until 2010.Broadcaster NowTV paid around £100m for the rights to Hong Kong alone.

Premier League games are broadcast to over 600m homes in 202 countries worldwide, while an estimated 1bn people watched the Premier League game between Manchester United and Arsenal in November 2007.

There’s money there alright, just not in the Wigan v Birmingham fixtures…

But won’t this turn supporters against the clubs?

EPL Talk makes some excellent arguments for this point, all of which you can read here. I strongly disagree though – the emotional ties that bond a club to its local support will still remain, and only sentimental fools would consider this as betrayal if their clubs go and play an EXTRA fixture in the season at an overseas venue. Thing is, football is full of sentimental fools and devoid of reason. Oh well…

The co-chairman of the Football Supporters Federation, Malcom Clarke, had this to say:

“I’m fairly confident in predicting that the overwhelming majority of football supporters will be totally opposed to this proposal.

This is yet another case of the Premier League threatening the tradition of our game simply to follow money.

The idea that teams can play a league game in a place where their supporters won’t be able to go and watch them will be totally opposed by the vast majority of supporters.

What I want to do is put a challenge to the Premier League to abandon this completely if the majority of supporters turn out to be against it.”

Sure, let’s put it to the supporters – hang on, are we going to include those supporters who would die for their clubs around the world, or is it a case of only England-based supporters qualifying as true supporters?

Lawrie Sanchez:

“Other national associations won’t be happy about the Premier League coming into their game, taking sponsors, taking advertising, taking revenue from their game.”

Wouldn’t it increase football’s exposure in those regions?

Any more questions – list them below and I’ll add answers here in the article.

Should Premier League Clubs Play An Extra Fixture Overseas Every Season?

Make your voice heard in the poll below:

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  1. Ahmed, I can see all the benefits, but I feel really, really uncomfortable about it. I can’t really explain why, but it just feels wrong.

    I feel as though this is entirely motivated by money, and that the Premier League clubs who always moan about fixture congestion and playing too many games are suddenly in favour of adding another game, on the other side of the world, just after the busy Christmas and New Year period.

    I do think it short changes some fans who spend their lives and their earnings on their clubs.

  2. Well playing EPL matches overseas makes sense as far as sponsors and overseas revenues are concerned but it would endanger the fitness of already stretched international players. Nowadays, finance is the biggest issue but it could sometimes backfire immensely and here I mean the players’ performances over the course of a grueling season. Yes, we find NFL and NHL matches taking place outside the United States of America but not so sure whether the English Premier League clubs can afford the strains of playing matches in the Far East or Australia.Often we find players and coaches complaining about pre-season games taking place in Japan or Korea or Malaysia, so I wonder what would be the reactions of the same complaining players and managers when EPL teams get to play league games away from England. As a traditionalist I want to see EPL games take place inside England and I’m ready to put my neck on the line on this particular comment.

  3. Graham – how does it shortchange fans? nothing is being taken away IMO, it’s an extra fixture.

    I might be playing devil’s advocate but I have yet to hear a serious argument for how this will hurt fans.

  4. It is a novel idea. But the fixture list is so congested that I dont know where they will accomodate one more round of matches. How many managers will support this? Instead of trying for such commercialised moves, why dont the FA try and spread the wealth enjoyed by 20 clubs in a country of more than 100, to the lower leagues. That will definitely boost the development of talent more than insisting Arsene Wenger field English players. And last but not least, training is a big issue. After playing a match in another continent, how soon will the team get back in time for the next one? Lets not forget(and this is the apt time for it), it was such a deadline imposed by the FA on Manchester United that led to the hurried take-off from Munich in 1968 that led to the Munich disaster. It may be a novel idea, but its trash, pure and simple…………

  5. Forget the fans Ahmed, consider the players. It is big money because of the fans (trust the super-myopic FA to look at only that), but what about the players? Plus there is the venue. It broke my heart to see pictures of Highbury being trashed, but now we have Emirates, and Arsenal look different when they play there. I’d love to go there and see matches, but not in Bombay or Bangalore. The stadiums add so much more to the myth of our favourite teams.

  6. A friend of mine has just said it’s a good idea as long as it isn’t league games. I am personally against it. The Premier League is already seen as unreachable by the majority of English clubs (not necessarily in terms of talent – i’m talking money) what sort of a message does this send out to them? The gulf widens…because if this idea takes off it is only going to be a matter of time before the markets abroad become more saturated and demand to fulfil that means more fixtures there, if that makes sense lol.

    It seems to be all about the money. I can see the advantages you mention Ahmed for the rest of the world, well particularly Asia and North America.

    I suppose Man United visited Saudi Arabia recently without too many problems, but I just don’t know. Look at all the attention the massive clubs in the Premiership get when they go to places like Thailand for instance, players signing autographs, the flights, just the general things like that. Managers are already complaining about the fixture pile-ups and so on.

    I suppose I can see this working on the financial side, of course, but how are people like Wenger, Ferguson or whoever replaces them eventually going to feel? I suppose it depends how often it happens, once or twice a season might have advantages but I just feel there is something bad about this.

  7. English football is about the supporters. It’s not an over commercialised load of rubbish like the Super Bowl which stopped for adverts every 25 seconds. Although it wouldn’t affect me, I can’t see many Americans wanting to watch Blackburn Rovers, I am still fully against this idea. As for foreign sports like American Football coming to England, keep them. Please!

  8. I heard about on BBC Sport and one question just spings to mind: what the hell is the point? The Premier League is already one of the most publicised leagues in the world, they play Premiership games even in Lebanon. Therefore it is just another publicity stunt to rake in more money. And I can’t understand why the managers of the teams would agree to it as well – when many of them, especially from the bigger clubs, have moaned about the amount of fixtures already in the English game and were not long ago considering a winter break. The idea is stupid, pointless and could potentially risk players getting injured. Picture this – Cirstiano Ronaldo sustains an injury playing in this ‘new fixture’ right before a major international tournament begins, therefore missing out. If it does go ahead expect many second string players to feature in a game that doesn’t need to be played.

    Note to FA – if it aint broke, don’t fix it.

  9. I won’t bother debating the “morality” of the move, since that’s gonna be done to death.

    However, one logistical barrier I’m not sure about – what happens with fixture congestion, cup replays and the like? As it is, the calendar gets pretty damn stretched, with clubs having to play on Tuesdays and Thursdays and these sorts of things. However, we always know as things are that matches can be called off short-notice or re-arranged, and fans can have tickets reimbursed or changed for two weeks down the line. These sorts of short-term solutions will be made impossible with such a fixture: bear in mind that playing a match in Malaysia doesn’t just mean flying out there, it means taking some time to acclimatise so that you play that extra game in the optimum conditions, as well as accounting for jet lag after the fixture (league championships are decided on a 3 point knife’s edge, and you can talk financial if you want, but losing the title is a pretty damning financial move, as is getting relegated). Remember how much Rafa and José used to complain about European ties – you can double that with a trip to the US.

  10. Also, the draw for matches will destroy things. Imagine your season – relegation, Champions League qualification or winning the title – hinges on the final set of matches. You get drawn away to Man United and your rivals are home to Derby. How do you feel about it now?

    Not to mention the absurdity of the auction for the matches. So a load of Egyptian billionaires decide they want their own personal match in some 15 person all-seater stadium (excuse the disgusting stereotyping). Since we’re whoring ourselves out for money, we can’t be picky about our pimps, can we?

  11. After watching two NFL teams play a game that “meant” something in England, I’m against it. Doesn’t make sense aside from the montary side of things. Keep the exhibitions overseas and keep the games that count at home. Both American football and Real Football.

  12. Ahmed,

    By short changing the fans I mean that loyal, dedicated and passionate followers of a team who travel all around the country spending time and considerable amounts of money on supporting their team will probably miss out on going to a game. If they don’t miss out, it will cost them a fortune.

    I fear that the Premier League constantly fail to recognise that without the fans, there is no game and no money. This will be good for the clubs in terms of finances, and good for the people who will get to see live Premier League football for the first time.

    I just think that, as is often the case, it is the loyal supporters who are forgotten about.

  13. “Premier League games are broadcast to over 600m homes in 202 countries worldwide, while an estimated 1bn people watched the Premier League game between Manchester United and Arsenal in November 2007.”

    Mythbusting: Around 8m people watched the Arsenal – ManU game (plus a few in pubs).

    About playing fixtures abroad: the Premier League is already a global product and not a “traditional national league”. Thus it makes perfect sense to nurture the global audience.

  14. Ahmed:

    This is a very intriguing concept, and I have enjoyed reading your article, along with the commentary.

    I believe that the approach of EPL clubs such as Chelsea, who hold a pre-season training camp in Los Angeles and play a few friendlies, brands the team/EPL better than an actual fixture would. As has been noted, emotional, logistical, along with other concerns have to be taken into consideration.

    Surely, global supporters of various teams would love to see their teams play a competitive fixture. But this is the EPL, and not the “World Football League.”

    Brad Barnett made a concise analogy that makes a lot of sense.

    I would be interested to learn the player’s views about such an idea. How would Arsenal and Spurs players feel about playing each other in Hong Kong, Sydney, Washington, or some other strange venue? Iqnadirshah referenced this in his comments.

  15. I am from America and the, well in English terms, Football…it flat out blows here…i would love to see ANY Premier League team play here just to watch some good football. I think it would be a great idea to send teams overseas to play some matches.

  16. Of course most fans in England aren’t going to like the idea, sick to back teeth of the emphasis on money that runs throughout our game now.

    It’s a nice idea for fans abroad though who rarely get to see their team play, if they support a team in the Premiership.

  17. Do it! Bring my Gunners to California please immediately. This is not in any way a snub to the fans. It is an inclusion of a large section of the fan base who do not live in England or cannot make the trip there. I am a passionate Arsenal fan and have been since a youth. Did I grow up in the shadow of Highbury? No. In England? No. Does that make me less valued as a fan of the club. I certainly don’t think so. It’s not like every english fan of Arsenal is from north London. Nothing is being taken away from the english fan base so unless you are one of the very very few who can make every home and away fixture than whats the rub?

    This is not taking the sport out of the country. This is also not a gateway to exporting the whole season out of England. The NFL does this with a single game a year and it is a treat for the international fans of the game. If anything us yanks should be pissed that it is a regularly scheduled match that Americans miss out on the opportunity of going to.

    A point made by an earlier post that the EPL is an international commodity could not be more true. Settle down limeys. Share the wealth of the best played football in the world and if you think the venues will be lackluster without the local fans than don’t fly out to the game. We international fans of EPL teams may not know every chant and song but many of us know every player from reserves, youth and first team and would relish the chance to see them live.

  18. Obviously a sign of March Madness come early. Forget logistics, forget the idea that fans in some foreign field would like to see a competitive ELP game in thier country and instead consider the lunacy of one team such as Wigan getting drawn against say Arsenal who then beat them 4-0 effectivly sending them down.

    How can it be a reasonable proposition to have a seeded draw which protects the top teams and hammers strugglers as they possibly play one of the top clubs 3 times?

    Oh yeah, who the hell would bid for Boro v Fulham?

  19. I voted no not because I object to international games, but because I object to adding to the schedule to do it. Leagues that have adopted overseas games, such as the NFL and NHL, have done so without adding games to the season. And Manchester United’s ability to head off to the Middle East shows that games could be accommodated. Perhaps there could even be an international week where all ten games are played outside of England, in different corners of the world. If teams are worried about losing home field advantage, then play two games internationally, so that each team has 18 home games, 18 away games, and 18 far away games.

    As I think about it more, I’m warming to this “international week” idea. Because of the different time zones, games would be spread out throughout the day(s), so even the domestic fans would benefit because they’d be able to watch more games on TV that weekend. (Imagine a weekend in which you could watch 10 EPL games in a row. Footy overload!)

  20. I’ve never been one for tradition. Infact, it’s one of the things I like the least about the English. But this is just taking the piss – it’s blatant money grabbing. I was all for the Community Shield to be played in another country, as I was for the Carling Cup Final, but the Premiership should be played in England. Always. The idea of adding one extra match makes absolutely no sense either..why? Where’s the symmetry? And why can’t the top 5 play eachother yet the bottom 2 can?
    If this really happens I will have lost alot of respect for the English.

  21. And anyway,
    the fans from USA, Middle East or Far East that support Utd, Arsenal, Liverpool or Spurs can die for all I care. Their loyalty is virtually inexistent [and I don’t care if you’re gonna answer saying “I’m from L.A. but I’ve been to Old Trafford 27 times”, I don’t care. I don’t care if you think you’re the only fan from your region that really supports your team.[ and yes, they invariably support the best teams. Watch if one of their teams gets relegated. Watch if Utd get relegated watch 330m fans disappear.

    I hate these people who know nothing about football and call it Soccer or Futból or whatever they call it in Asia. You’re not fans. You don’t deserve Premiership or Asiaship or whatever they’re gonna call it. Why don’t you walk down the road and watch Mahindra United or D.C. United or Colo-Colo or Pohang Steelers. Why can’t you watch your local teams and support them? Why do you have to support OUR teams? You don’t come from our areas, you don’t know what our stadiums look like, you don’t speak the same language as any of our players, you don’t look like us or our players. You’re different, leave our sport alone. If you want to buy our t-shirts and fund lucrative trips then fine but you are NOT getting our Premiership. GO AWAY. You’re not true fans, you support Arsenal but your favourite player is Ronaldo or Torres. You put it into the wrong perspective, you make it sound like Wrestling. Go away, discover loyalty and give it to your local team. Why are you glory-hunting and supporting our team?

  22. In other news, the Premier League clubs will be allowed to name 7 subs instead of 5 for league matches starting next season.


    Sounds fair to me, gives coaches more flexibility and yes, it does favour those clubs with more bench strength.

  23. Funny how on BBC 606 everyone is against it yet here everyone wants it.

    Go watch basketball, hockey or baseball because you’re NOT getting our Premiership.

  24. Hello peejay,

    my name is Ahmed, I’m from Pakistan and I support Manchester United (an association that started in 1994, when I first found out, while living in France, what football was about and before I knew what United stood for).

    I call it football, my favourite former United player is David Beckham and my current fav is Rooney (followed closely by Rio). I run SL (you might have figured that out by now) and you are more than welcome to critically and objectively comment on my loyalty, my understanding of the game and, because you mentioned it, my command of the English language (as well as my insistence on putting a ‘u’ in colour’).

    I am proud to be a United fan – I can’t comment on something that hasn’t happened (relegation) in my lifetime (I’m 25, btw) but I present this blog and my opinions on it as proof of my loyalty to my club. It’s stupid, yes, because this is just a sport, but deep down we all know that it’s more than just a game.

    I also resent the fact that you choose to paint many knowledgeable fans who actively follow the game online and offline with the same xenophobic brush that you’ve used for the masses who only know about football through the occasional match on TV.

    As for the local team argument, I’m actually in discussions with some people to fund a local team and invest in grassroots development in Pakistan. Local loyalties are very important, and I envy people like Scott (ROM Blog) who get to go to Manchester United games.

    I also support England, even though they’ve won shit for the last 12 years.

    You, sir, are an idiot of the highest order. I could have just told you that at the start, but then you wouldn’t have read all the way to the end.


  25. You’re a Pakistani that supports England?
    Funny how all the Pakis, Malis, Yanks and the rest support England, Netherlands, France, Italy, Brazil, Argentina or Portugal. You don’t support Pakistan? Why don’t you support Croatia or Sierra Leone or Chile? Why is it that you support the best Premiership? Is it a coincidence that you started supporting Utd in 94. When Utd were Premiership champions? Why do you support England? You’re not English. Oh I see. Because England are a good team.

  26. I do support Pakistan, you muppet. We just never do that well (or at all) 😛

    As for United, it’s a long and complicated story, and it has nothing to do with United winning the title (I didn’t know that till several years later). I should have elaborated more – my contact with United at that age was brief, but the memory remained, as they say (stop snickering at the back). As for England, it had a lot to do with Beckham (again, no snickering).

    I’m sure you’ll find different people with different reasons for why they support a particular team. It is utterly ridiculous that fans who are brought up as Gooners or Hammers have a greater right than fans who fall into love with their club for other reasons. As long as you are loyal, you are still a fkn fan.

    And frankly, I don’t see why you think only some people have a right / responsibility to support their team while others don’t. So how about you explain that bit?

  27. I’m saying that there is a reason why United have 330 million supporters world-wide and Everton probably doesnt have more than a tenth of that. It’s called success. The people that go for the teams that win are called glory-hunters. Your first team should be your local team. If you are Pakistani there’s nothing wrong with you liking Manchester United. But what’s wrong with your nearest team? Or second nearest team. The era when Man Utd was only supported by people within 40km of Old Trafford is gone. However, there are some real hardcore fans that travel from Ireland and Scotland to watch United but I don’t mind an Irishman supporting Man Utd. They want to see John O’Shea, they loved Keane and George Best. They are real fans. It’s a bit like when I go to Milan I meet alot of Argentinians. They have a reason to support Inter. You are Pakistani. Pakistani players don’t play for Utd. You’re not on the same level as the Scottish who follow United or the Irish who follow United or the English who follow United. A grand part of the Scottish and Irish that follow United are real fans. And trust me, they all follow their local teams aswell make no doubt about that. I don’t know how many times I’ve met groups of Scottish people from some small town that has a mediocre team [which they still watch] that come down to watch United. Ahmed, it’s not your fault. You’re just like grand part of the 300 million United “fans” that have never seen Old Trafford.

  28. your first team should be your local team

    Why? What’s your basis for this claim?

    But what’s wrong with your nearest team? Or second nearest team?

    Already explained that in a previous thread, do you think I don’t support local teams based on something I said or because you just assumed it?

    You are Pakistani. Pakistani players don’t play for Utd. You’re not on the same level as the Scottish who follow United or the Irish who follow United or the English who follow United.

    So, if I get this right, I’m not a real fan because:

    – No Pakistanis play for Manchester United
    – I don’t live near Old Trafford
    – I don’t have a local team to support

    So, on the day that no Englishman starts for Arsenal, all English Arsenal fans should quit supporting the club?

    Or, to take this further, why are you claiming that football loyalty is based on archaic notions of tribalism and race?

    Geographical location is unfortunate, but since when is loyalty a territorial / nationalistic debate?

    I have a local team – big deal, I don’t harp about them because there’s no point in speaking about it here.

    There are other reasons to support a club. Success is one of them, but there are plenty others. For most England-based fans, first exposure or first most powerful impression is enough to make them fans. That’s taking advantage of geography but that’s not dependent ON geography.

    How does not visiting Old Trafford – an experience I wish to have some day – make me less of a fan? It certainly means that I haven’t experienced the same things as many fans have, but does this make me less of a fan? In the same vein you could argue that a fan that’s seen United play 30 times is more of a fan than someone who has seen United play twice.

    It’s ridiculous.

  29. Anybody can call themselves a real fan and I don’t know you so I don’t really care. All I’m saying is that if United had been 10th place in the last decade and a half do you honestly think you’d be supporting them? I don’t. And that’s what makes you the opposite of a real fan.

    And the Arsenal thing is rubbish for the following reasons;
    1. Arsenal only started playing without English players 3 years ago. Many English people had already started supporting Arsenal by then. Arsenal is based in London contrary to popular opinion that it’s based in France. So I don’t see why pure English north-Londoners shouldn’t support Arsenal. It would seem strange, however, that a Scottish person would support Arsenal.

  30. Complete bullshit. This sack of tripe of an idea kills all integrity the EPL has left. An extra fixture just to get some more green in your pocket? Go ahead and play one of the regular 38 matches anywhere, I don’t give a shit. This is ridiculous. Or just schedule friendly matches.

  31. All I’m saying is that if United had been 10th place in the last decade and a half do you honestly think you’d be supporting them? I don’t. And that’s what makes you the opposite of a real fan.

    So because you don’t think that someone who isn’t bound to a club through geography (and therefore constant psychological bombardment of that club’s presence in their everyday life), they aren’t real fans and would not support their club through thick and thin?

    Mind you, it’s never happened, so we can’t say shit about it. It’s all hypothetical, and you’ve entered this discussion convinced that someone who doesn’t live near Old Trafford isn’t a real fan.

    I know a Pakistani who lives in the US and supports Everton. No good reason, except that he found out about the club as a kid and has supported them since. I find the fact that he formed an association in childhood through limited exposure very interesting, especially since for him the bond has been strong for a long time.

    There are different ways and different reasons why people become fans. Geography is one of them, experiences are another.

  32. You haven’t answered my question.
    Do you honestly think that if United had been in 10th place through the last decade and a half you would be supporting them now?

  33. Regarding the recent unpleasantness, it was funny when Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, a long-time Chivas fan, was singing the praises of the Galaxy during Beckham’s arrival ceremony. But this is Soccerlens, not a politics blog, so I’ll hold there.

    Before one claims that the rest of the world is worthless, or money is a stupid reason for doing things, bear in mind that more often than not, an abundance of money will help to provide a better product on the pitch or field or what have you. If this can be done in a way that won’t detract from the game (which is why I support international play within the current schedule rather than in addition to it), then it can be a win-win situation for everyone.

    If the NFL or the EPL or whoever has enough of an international fan base to market its product elsewhere and receive revenues from outside of its territory, more power to them.

    However, I will confess one pet peeve with regards to international marketing – namely, the renaming of teams solely to cater to international unfamiliarity with local territory (see “Anaheim Angels” and Rita Moreno of Arte’s team renaming tactic).

  34. peejay – that’s a dumb question. One, I don’t know and I’m not going to lie and say yes when I don’t know. Two, that’s a bit like saying to an Arsenal fan aged 25 – hey, if Spurs had been the bigger team for the last 15 years, AND no one in your family followed football (eliminating family bias), do you honestly think that you’d still be an Arsenal fan?

    I answered your question, in some respects, when I talked about the different reasons why people become fans.

    Your argument so far has been that growing up near a club’s home ground is the only way someone can be a real fan (and by extension, only people who live near the home ground support their own team through thick and thin).

    I think that once the association is formed and fully integrated, it’s very difficult, on a psychological level, to support another team. For England-based fans its made much harder because of social pressure.

    So once again, geography doesn’t make you a ‘real’ fan. It’s what you do afterwards that makes the difference.

  35. For those of us in the US, I think it’s a fantastic idea. The extra game doesn’t harm the integrity of the home-and-home round robin. I would love to see a real EPL game in the Fort Worth, TX area.

    A big detriment would be the travel involved. Watching Clint Dempsey in some interviews last night before and after the USA v. Mexico game, the full season plus travel was having an affect on him. You wouldn’t be able to play a game in Hong Kong midweek and then get a Saturday game back in England.

  36. Adam (and everyone else talking about player fatigue) – so why don’t we take a winter break midseason, and schedule this round of matches during that?

    One more game is not going to make a difference, and to be honest, Manchester United did just fine with their jaunt to the Middle East.

    When all 20 teams have to go abroad at the same time, everyone is equally tired and you can then plan accordingly.

    The move has technicalities that need to be sorted out, but these are not insurmountable problems. Also, it’s financially beneficial AND it builds the fanbase abroad without taking away any games from home support.

  37. I’m 25. I’m an Arsenal fan. I’m from India. I live in Australia.

    Now that my demographics are sorted out let me just say to ‘peejay’ that i don’t know what your beef is or what you’re frustrated with or who. Just get it out of your system in some other way quick because i can’t make any sense of your comments but in my professional medical opinion you’re heading for an ulcer reeeaaaally soon.

    I have an idea. Let all the fans in the world, of this so called ‘world sport’, stop supporting European clubs. Never mind that the quality is the best. Never mind that the prestige is the greatest. Never mind that all these clubs have been around for eons & have a rich tradition.

    Stick to being local clubs. Struggle for money. Let the so-called ‘local’ fans weep in expectation that SOME day their team will do well if they JUST had enough money from LOCAL (not international) t-shirt sales to buy the new wunderkind to take them out of the relegation zone.

    Peejay, your comments are nuts, plain and simple. This is a WORLD SPORT. I’ll never stop being an Arsenal fan so just deal with it, mmmmmk?

    To get back to the topic at hand, this article came up sometime last year as well & i voiced my disapproval then & i voice it now again. For all the reasons people have stated above & some more i couldn’t be bothered to write here right now.

    I’m just coming off a night shift…yaaawwwwnnn.

  38. Scudamore says that the league/the clubs will enable “true” fans to attend the matches in order to keep up their record of having been to all games over x years. Quite frankly, that’s not gonna be possible, otherwise 100,00 Mancunian United fans will take the free trip to California and watch the game there. Local fans are going to be disappointed – I’m not saying that they are more important (though I believe they are), I’m merely stating that the FA needs to stop bullshitting and claiming that no-one here is going to be affected. The only way the FA can fairly compensate for moving the game abroad would be to pay for the fans’ travel, an idea both impractical and theoretically absurd.

    Ahmed, there are “die-hard” fans here who wouldn’t dare miss a game – how can you say that they are losing nothing by creating a fixture and then taking it away from them? When Spurs got to the Carling Cup final, a fixture not programmed in the calendar, how many Yids would have been happy to miss that game? It’s an “extra” match, after all.

  39. Peejay, if there wasn’t such a global following, whatever club you follow, nay, even the sport as a whole, would be massively less successful and “true” fans would not be able to reap such benefits as better tv/coverage/games on internet, etc. I just don’t think that fact should be taken for granted. I dislike the idea of the EPL bringing their games to the US be/c I just don’t think in the overall cost benefit analysis that its worth it – no one here really cares about soccer in comparison to how important the sport is in the UK. The majority just doesn’t care, no matter how much we wish they did. And they know about it – the exposure was at an all time high with Beckham this past summer and still the majority doesn’t care. Plus the fan base would be rather alienated, I think, if the clubs ventured over.

    We also saw how poorly Becks’ body interpreted that commute, with all the back and forth cross time zones and elevations, and unless they place these games right at the end of the season, it may not be worth it for the players even though they would be games that counted and not just friendlies. And if these games were at the end of the season, unless its clear who is top of the table, I think the fans in England would really, really want to see those last games live and not on tv, with the crap time difference.

    Sure the fans here would like it, myself included, but I think it’d be better if the clubs or league just worked on expanding TV rights to other countries and banking off of that rather than bringing the real deal live, at least to the US. Although I would appreciate it, I just don’t think the majority would appreciate it enough to make it worth it. I also think it could hurt the MLS to a large extent if the EPL games came to the US..I see more EPL fans being generated, and less MLS.

    Also there were some people who disliked the NFL game being played at Wembley because it just made no sense to them..I guess I would like to also know how many new NFL fans were created in England after that, if any, to see if just blind exposure to a live game can convert someone.

  40. Cherie…now you mention that, it did ruin the pitch for the Croatia game, England couldn’t reproduce the free-flowing, attacking football that had become MacClaren’s hallmark!!

    I’ve thought a bit more about this, and I still see problems with my initial comment that stand, namely the practicalities. Managers and players won’t be happy with this, God know what Sepp ‘wnker’ Blatter thinks, he wanted the Premiership reduced didn’t he, not an extra match?

    Consider how many people in Asia bought Real Madrid shirts when Beckham signed, and the fact 750,000 South Koreans I think own a Manchester United credit card. I’ve long taunted United for being the pride of anywhere but Manchester but these people, at the end of the day, show devotion and it would be good for them to see the clubs play. Then again, as you say Ahmed, Derby v Bolton, don’t know how many Argentinians hold their credit cards.

    I’m a bit torn on this issue, but as an Englishman having seen the way the Premiership has gone financially loopy in recent years this is just another example – that said, I don’t object to Shinawatra’s money coming into Man City nor the fact he wanted to set up global academies for City and market the club in Asia.

    It’s giving me a lot of contradictions just thinking about it, I’m going for a smoke to de-stress…

  41. On a serious note also, United for instance do have such a large fanbase that surely demand for these ‘one-off’ fixtures would force them to be played more. I can see them having to play in places like Dublin in addition to other continents alone.

  42. Haha Ahmed! don’t worry I don’t think peejay has covered himself in any glory the way he came across there.

    At the end of the day one has to bear in mind there are simply so many more people to consider in the world than just Britain. If the EPL is happy for the influx of foreign players and investment, in some ways it seems logical that the powers that be would look complete hypocrites if they turned this idea down.

    To the rest of the people in the world who may be getting massively excited at this news if the clubs turned round and said no chance imagine how they would feel?

  43. If everyone supported their local team then teams like Manchester United and Arsenal would not be untouchable. Can anyone picture Arsenal and United getting relegated in the next 30 years? If everyone supported their local team then football would be more enjoyable as a whole. Look at when United went to Saudi Arabia. Half the home fans supported United? Where’s your pride?

    Fact of the matter is this: when times were tough and we weren’t winning what did you do for the team? Fuck all.

    We were in the Stretford End chanting and sustaining United waiting for the Premiership to come home while you were in Pakistan writing articles.

  44. Oh and the fans in England will prevent this happening there’s no doubt about that. Watch the petitions come out and by 2010 I’m sure there will be quite alot of signatures.
    Trust me, it’s too stupid to be taken seriously.

  45. Ahmed btw, point 39, I couldn’t feasibly see a winter break working – I do think the players play too much compared to those in the rest of Europe – but its so traditional in England to have the fixtures over Christmas and New Year too.

    If, for example, what you suggest happens then we would be looking I think at losing maybe 4/5 games over the Festive period + FA Cup third round and there wouldn’t be anywhere to put those fixtures back in, unless, as I mentioned about Blatter, the Premiership was reduced. I think also a lot of players and not to mention their families would be upset with them jetting away to foreign lands, so if what you said were to be implemented I reckon it would have to be around mid-January.

    Cherie, just to reinforce what you say, you raise some good points. I don’t think the NFL game caused such a big stir, although they do keep showing the superbowl on the BBC most years so perhaps the Beeb feel there’s interest. I know they say ‘soccer’ will never dominate in the US because of all the popular and mainstream college sports, and looking at the crowds in countries like Australia and Japan I can’t imagine their leagues would appreciate it when they’re still trying to gain and attract interest.

    In essence I think it depends on particular countries and how they feel, outside of Europe. If this idea comes into play they need to take into consideration the points you make and how the local football fans will feel. It may very well be that in certain countries the attendances haven’t been sufficient for the last 10 or 20 years so the EPL fixture wouldn’t be that much of a problem. I’ve also just reminisced about when Man United went to the World Club Championship in 1999, that’s different I know because they were playing global teams not English ones but weren’t all the crowds only filling up after United played or when they played the Brazilian sides? It has to be interesting to the local people. In the countries it is, say for instance South Korea and Japan, there’s gonna be such a huge demand for tickets and various locations it would have to become a regular thing.

    Finally, (I think!!) Hugo you make a really good point too, they would have to find a balance between satisfying local and global fans, the hypothetical example you gave was good though because I can’t answer it and it will be interesting to see what the EPL/FA come up with if that type of situation arose. With the cups for instance, interest wouldn’t be high enough in the foreign countries for the lesser rounds but by the time it comes to finals then, as you say, it alienates local fans who dream of going to Wembley, so it needs to be that extra league game, but what if the league hinges on it like that Arsenal Liverpool epic of 1989?

    Very very finally – when they say global broadcasting revenue will more likely be higher than UK revenue what happens with that? Do companies like Sky, Setanta, BBC raise the stakes to combat this? I suppose they don’t have the financial clout to compete. Do they have any power to stop it happening? Does anybody, even, have the power to stop it?

  46. peejay, how long have you been a fan of whatever is your local? I am a second generation Arsenal who was born and raised in America and has never set foot in England. My line has been supporting Arsenal since the days of “Boring Old Arsenal”. Not exciting winning football when we became fans. But who gives a crap? Who are you to say who should and who shouldn’t be fans of a team? Plus you seem to have some pretty specific criteria for who your real fans are. Only the locals, and people who have someone of the same nationality on the team (apparently only if they are from the isles) and have been to a game. What about locals who have never been able to afford a game? Can you be too poor to be a real fan? What about non-locals who go to every match of a team on the other side of the country? How many games watched in a season at the stadium does it take to be a true fan? Can you be from a country that doesn’t have any teams a be a true fan of anything?

    You don’t make any sense. You sound like a racist. And you look like you are just making this BS up as you go along without ever having really thought about it.

    I have friends that support Leeds because they had beers there when traveling and have been fans ever since. I inherited my support of Arsenal. Ahmed is a band wagon jumping ManU fan :) But we are all real fans of the teams we support.

    By the way if Arseanl ever end up in a tournament where they are playing against my local team I will shout them straight off the pitch. But lets be honest if you don’t come from England, Italy, Spain or one of the other countries with a quality league and you want to watch and become invested in a club that plays quality football you may have to look far from home.

  47. Peejay, thing is United the club wouldn’t complain about that would they? Look at the way they treated ‘loyal’ fans of the Stretford End by regularly taking money from their accounts for Carling Cup matches against Coventry for example and left these fans no choice simply to guarantee their season ticket. It’s NOT Ahmed’s problem.


  48. Peejay. Just reading that question to Ahmed above as well, I can understand where you’re coming from as a local fan but United have changed, football has changed completely since United first won the Prem, clubs have changed, wages have changed, transfer fees have changed.

    When I mentioned FC United, do you take an interest in them? I’m sure most United fans would rather see United than FC united at the end of the day but the fact is that the game is changing.

  49. Peejay how old are you? I support Arsenal and you know why? Everybody around me was a Man U fan, but the first game I saw on TV(in India) was an Arsenal game and I forgot who it was against, but I’ll never forget Dennis Bergkamp that day. From then on its been all Arsenal. I play with my friends(though not as regularly as I was doing two years back when I was in College), I dont play any of those stupid xbox or ps3 or computer games(nothing against those who do). And I do live in India and I dont want the EPL games moving out of England. Having said that, I do believe that we are civilised humans and it is high time we learnt not to abuse others on the basis of their homeland/colour/creed etc etc. If you need proof that non-englishman are passionate about football, just read some of the articles here. But when you’re posting something use some commonsense and post a piede thats worth reading. Peace………….

  50. The glaringly stupid thing about this proposal is that it unbalances the league. One year, a team will get relegated by 2 points, and would’ve played a strong club twice because of this international round. That team will scream blue murder, because a couple million for an overseas game isn’t worth the horror of relegation.

    The only good I see from it is that it negates English managers whinging about releasing foreign players for home internationals. I would love to see David Moyes whinge about Cahill playing a WC qualifyer for us, only to front up in Sydney a week later for an Everton match.

    I like the idea of English league matches staying in England. International round shrieks of tokenism. I want to watch the Arse play, one day, but I’d prefer to save my pennies and watch them over in London with 60,000 fat, navel-gazing, obnoxious, drunk, racist, dumb, whinging Poms. It just wouldn’t feel right, otherwise. Take the match out of its native habitat, and it’s just a bunch of over-paid prima donnas jogging around for 90 minutes.

    I’m Ipanema Bob.

  51. I’ll have to take this in several bites.
    Firstly, great idea and inevitable. This is the next step in the Premier League’s inexorable expansion as a global brand. Its quality and entertainment value will only sustain if the brand remains the best in the world.

    There is plenty of competition from other leagues. Globalisation is everywhere now and there is no holding back the tide.

    There are plenty of details still to be ironed out but as an exercise in keeping the EPL top of the global tree (with all the benefits that brings with it) its an imaginative and progressive initiative.

  52. Let me take up some points made by Graham Fisher (no. 12 above.)

    Graham Fisher writes:
    “By short changing the fans I mean that loyal, dedicated and passionate followers of a team who travel all around the country spending time and considerable amounts of money on supporting their team will probably miss out on going to a game. If they don’t miss out, it will cost them a fortune.”

    Firstly Graham, you seem to make a case that ‘Away’ fans are more loyal, more deserving etc than others. Let’s take Utd as an example. Several million fans worldwide, many of whom are passionate about the team and never miss a broadcast of a game; don’t have any option in terms of seeing live games.

    Equally, demand has hugely exceeded supply at Old Trafford for years. Thousands of fans who could and would go to games can’t get tickets on a regular basis.
    Does this make these fans less loyal or in some way 2nd class? Rubbish!

    And, by the way, the fans that go to every game, apart from being very lucky that they can, do so as part of their passionate interest in life and because it’s the best form of entertainment and excitement they know. You make it sound like it’s a penance.


    Graham Fisher writes:
    “I fear that the Premier League constantly fail to recognise that without the fans, there is no game and no money. This will be good for the clubs in terms of finances, and good for the people who will get to see live Premier League football for the first time.”

    Would you like to reconcile these two sentences? It is exactly because the PL understands the need for fans and that without the fans there is no money that they are proposing this initiative. Expand the global brand = more fans = more TV revenues = more money for the clubs and the PL.

    You contradict yourself.

  53. To the people who are trying to argue for some sort of a hierarchy of fans…….what gives you this right?

    Arguments that you are a better, more loyal or passionate fan because you live down the road from the ground or live in the same city or the same country (what the hell is the benchmark anyway!!) is no measure of your passion or commitment to your club.

    No fan can claim greater ‘ownership’ of their club because of these factors and no one has the right to decide whether someone can or can’t be a fan of any particular club.

    So I reject all arguments that raise any such premise to support them.

    It’s 1 game a year (extra) so the impact on the playing side will be minimal, while the commercial impact will be huge.

    I can remember people opposing shirt sponsorship, Pay per View TV, and the whole concept of the Premier League itself but then, with all progress, a lot of people have to be dragged kicking and screaming through every change.

    Compare the product now with what was there in 1992 and there IS no comparison. It’s a hundered times better now. The PL is the best and richest league in the world. Complacency won’t keep it there. Imaginative development will……. which is exactly what this is!

  54. I’d leave Peejay alone at this point. He’s clearly made a show of himself and will need some time to get over his embarassnment!

  55. Thing is, he’s not alone in this – he represents a hard-core segment of United fans who are, to be honest, the foundation of United’s support at home or away.

    We can easily sweep this aside as an individual case but it’s not – quite a lot of footy fans are like this.

  56. Condell has a point, so does Ahmed. And the fact remains that if in case this proposal does go through, and Arsenal do come to India, I’ll be there for the match. But I sincerely hope this doesnt happen. Along with the players the grounds do add a lot more to the atmosphere. But we are all forgetting the fundamental point, where are the extra matches going to be accomodated? I dont know and I would certainly love to hear some proposals. Ahmed? Anybody?

  57. iqnadirshah,

    I think there are various options:
    1.Reduce the Premiership by 1 or 2 teams. This removes 2 or 4 games while then adding 1 back.

    2.Reduce the ridiculous number of meaningless friendly internationals and revamp the Group qualifying stages for Euro and World Cup so that there is a 2 tier system and fewer teams (games)at the group stages.

    3.Pull Premiership teams out of the League Cup. Its become a bit of a joke anyway.

    4.Extend the season by 1 week (leagues in Italy and Spain tend to finish much later anyway).

    5.Start the Premier League 1 week earlier. These fixtures could be the first up and then would also not be seen as so crucial in potentially determining who wins the PL.

    6.Have a winter break of 2 weeks when teams can fly out to warmer climates for a couple of fixtures.

    Take your pick, but fitting in 1 extra game can easily be accommodated with a bit of imagination.

  58. Aren’t you guys forgetting that a 39 round season is unbalanced? That’s the ONLY concern, in my mind. We have an unbalanced league in Australia (each side plays each other three times), but that’s compensated by a final’s series to determine the winner at the end. In a round-robin table, it’s impossible to see this as anything other than unfair.

  59. I agree with Bob – and it’s a point I tried to make above. The symmetry of the league system is what makes it fair, and the absurd idea that in one of these games held abroad none of the top 5 should play each other (and yet the bottom 5 still can) is clearly creating a dangerous hierarchy of teams.

    I have an idea – why don’t we just get it over with and create the sodding European super-league. It seems that it will inevitably happen. That way, we can all go watch the Championship, which is the best league in the country anyway :-)

  60. [Ahmed]
    “all of whom support Manchester United, or Chelsea, or Arsenal, depending on who was champion when they started watching…”
    I take offense… :-( I started supporting United when Liverpool were unstoppable.

    * I think it’s a good idea, but not for January. What about perhaps the last or 2nd last game of the season. Even better, why not look at making the Carling Cup global (teams lost their respect for the club already, so it might help restoring the cup pride)
    * Why are people against ‘global’ games anyway, it happens already week-in and week-out with the Eufa and CL cups???
    * There was once an article on Soccerlens about the “true” fans, where the main argument was that “true” fans go to watch games live. Maybe this can be a way of ‘bringing the moutain to Mohamed’.

    Why is it ok for an Irishman to support United (to watch O Shea), but not for an African (to watch Fortune, Djemba-Djemba, Manucho) or what about the Brazilians (Da Silva’s, Anderson, Possenbom, Kleberson), or Chines (Dong), or Koreans (Park), or Trinidad (Yorke), or Argentinians (Tevez, etc), or Portugese (Ronaldo), or the French??? etc, etc, etc? Where do you draw the line?

    Your childish, selfish “our league” concept ignores the fact that you need “their players” to make it exciting.
    I think it’s time for you to grow up and realise that this “colonistic” perception of yours is so wwwwaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyy outdated.

  61. Liverpool have the most popular website and football TV Channel (not including skysports) so i think its obvious we still have the most fans

  62. Well that obviously went tits up – why does the preview show what it would look like with the html tags kept in and then strip them out when you submit?


    Here’s what it should have been (nearly)…

    A good portion of this thread seems to have become about who is and is not a real fan of their club and whether foreign based fans should have an opportunity to see their team play a competitive league game close to where they live. I can see that argument from both sides really, and I don’t really want to re-hash it again. For me though, there are two main problems with this particular proposal:

    1. It unbalances the symmetry of the league where each team plays each other team home & away. This is the way the English league has worked for 116 years. It’s fair and equitable in it’s sporting purity. After each team has played 38 games, the one with the most points can justifiably claim to be the best team in that league. That is one of the factors which, over the years, has made it a great competition – one with an attraction to sports fans around the world.

    Suppose that over the other 38 games Man United collected 85 pts and Arsenal collected 84, both beat Fulham home and away in those 38 games, but both draw/lose to Spurs. Then imagine United are drawn to play Spurs in Miami and Arsenal to play Fulham in Cape Town. If the games go the same way as before, Arsenal leapfrog United.

    Can Arsenal fans be proud of having won the league that year?

    2. The SOLE motivation is to increase market share and make more money.

    In #58, BD Conwell said “I can remember people opposing shirt sponsorship, Pay per View TV, and the whole concept of the Premier League itself but then, with all progress, a lot of people have to be dragged kicking and screaming through every change.”

    Well I would argue with any of those changes actually being “progress”.
    Sure, they’ve all brought extra money into the English game, but they have also all favoured the more high-profile clubs for one reason or another.

    The real watershed was the breakaway of the Premier League from the Football League, forced through by the then “Big 5″ (Arsenal, Everton, Liverpool, Manchester United and Spurs) and sanctioned by the FA (supposedly the guardian of All English football – international, professional, amateur & schools – due to petty political rivalry with the League). Prior to that, the TV money was more equitably shared between all clubs in the 92 club league as well as helping to fund “grassroots” football. Not only did the TV money get shared around, a percentage of gate money was paid to the away team, and a further percentage to the League for distribution down the football ‘pyramid’.

    This is the structure which allowed English teams to dominate European competitions in the 70’s and early 80’s when the likes of Nottingham Forest and Aston Villa won European Cups, and the likes of Derby County won the league.

    The league structure built competitiveness into the English game and allowed well-managed, well-coached teams to become successful. For all the progress since then, only 4 teams have ever won the Premier League, and only 4 teams have a chance of winning it in the foreseeable future.

    So BD, yes, some of us did oppose the formation of the Premier League, some of us did argue that it would be bad for the game as a whole.

    And some of us think that this proposal is another step in the same direction which will lead to still further concentration of riches at the top clubs and still further undermining of the league as a competition. Do you think that would be progress?

    Finally, I’ve already heard ‘suits’ from the EPL and some clubs claim that part of the motivation for this proposal is to ‘grow the game’ and give fans in other parts of the world ‘access’ to live Premier League games. Expect this to be the party line as the marketing campaign for this move goes forward – “We’ve got so many fans worldwide, we just want to give a little something back”, etc.

    Do you really think they really care about ‘the game’? Do they care about kids in Asia or Africa developing their skills and enjoying the game? Do they care about the existing teams in the places this travelling show will visit? Do they really care at all about ‘the fans’?

    Or do they just want to take more money off you?

  63. Ahmed Bilal. chelsea have more foreign fans than liverpool???

    r u mental. the only people who do that r creeps who support winning teams only( like most, not all i admit, manchester utd fans).

    get ur facts right. i’m mauritian n half the populace here r lfc(the other half manu). chelsea n even arsenal get little support even though we’re africans….

    u’ll never walk alone………..

  64. hello. well i really wouldnt want the prospect of another Muncih disaster. I mean we can’t afford it now. I’m a manchester united fan but i speak for everyone here. Its true: we dont wanna risk it. BUT: if they come to pakistan, then it’s all good. i mean, I would die if manchester united played in pakistan. BEing a pakistani thats the best thing that can happen to a manchester united fan.

  65. The radical option is for the PL to buy one club and designate it as the “overseas” club. That club will play all its games overseas. Logistics can be worked around. The “overseas” club can play its games sequentially, (e.g one month playing in Asia, one month in England, one month in USA) to minimize traveling for them. The “domestic” clubs have have their fixtures rigged to arrange a 9-day turnaround. You’d probably have to scrap the Carling Cup for it to happen, though. The only real problem is that the “overseas” club would have NO real fanbase, NO home advantage, have problems retaining players, and would need special protection against relegation. And, there’s the special nightmare if they qualify for Europe.

    Still, it’s a workable solution.

  66. Bob – I think that the idea of an “overseas” club is unworkable, for all of the reasons you kindly listed yourself. How can games be claimed as competitive when the club in question cannot feasibly qualify for Europe and cannot be relegated? It’d quickly become a joke.

  67. English Premier League. I think the clue is in the title. It’s English not World. This is the beginning of the end of OUR beloved game.

  68. I’ll back Ahmed here though I didnt really read what he said

    Nowadays most of ’em sheep are Chelski supporters, for some strange reason. Abramovich seems to have bought (with repayments) half of Asia too. Arsenal play the beautiful game at it’s best while Man Utd just grind it out without the need to pass to each other 420 times. Liverpool..give ’em a year or two and we’ll be going ‘Liverpool who?’ ..Must be a L thing like:- Leeds?!

    & please just settle all this crap and have the 39th games in Aus (technically:- Oceania). Asia doesnt wan’t any of it, nor the States. Stuff you lot then! AUSSIE AUSSIE AUSSIE :-)

    I’m all for it. Wouldnt mind checkin out Old Trafford sometime in the future though

    Now I know there are MANY (many many) reasons to be against it, and I completely understand why anyone would want to go against it – but just for fun sake I’m going FOR 😀

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