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Opinion

Why international calendar is no joke for Newcastle fans

7 months ago
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We are now in a 85 day period, where Newcastle fans will watch their team play only eight Premier League matches and England take part in six friendlies.

Yes, welcome to the international breaks, this is the Autumn of our discontent.

What it all comes down to is money.

The Premier League trying every trick in the book to make money by whatever means, whilst meanwhile nobody is keener than the FA in terms of packing in as many England games as possible, especially in England, to get the cash flowing into the coffers.

Apart from the actual finals of the World Cup and European Championships, England matches are aimed at a very distinct market, particularly the home games. People in the south east interested in going to an ‘event’ and tourists visiting London. Would love to know just how small a proportion of your typical England Wembley crowd travels from the north?

So basically, the proper football fans, who pay to watch week in week out at their respective clubs, face a two week break in September, the same in October and once again in November.

What is the point?

On Saturday England play in the ‘Nations League’, have a read up on it and you will be amazed at how much effort has gone into creating something so pointless. It is kind of like the Checkatrade Trophy of international football.

There is some kind of winner of the Nations League eventually…but the main carrot appears to be that there ends up being play-offs, which guarantees somebody qualifies for the finals of the 2020 European Championships from each of the four ‘leagues’ in play-offs.

However, these play-off games only happen once they find out which 20 countries have already qualified for the 2020 Euros from the normal qualifying groups, which run from March to November 2019.

What a mess.

Speaking of England, very little (nothing?) has been made of Jamaal Lascelles being ignored by England.

A popular feeling was that after missing out on this summer’s World Cup finals in Russia, the Newcastle Captain could be part of a new era starting with this September squad, as the two year preparations start for those 2020 Euros.

Jonjo Shelvey was/is injured, so even if Gareth Southgate had reconsidered on him, he couldn’t have been involved anyway. However, for Lascelles to be once again overlooked, must be seen as a significant setback for the player.

Not wanting to encourage it at all but we then find ourselves in a position where a potentially very good player will be very aware, that history tells him, when players have moved on to certain clubs they magically, often instantly, find themselves in the England squad.

Yet another reason to hate international football for the impact it has on the fans of Newcastle United?

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