Date: 30th October 2009 at 8:20pm
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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.