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10 games in 41 days but only 8 in 85 days, when did anybody at Newcastle United ever vote for this?

11 months ago

Newcastle United played out a 1-1 draw with Watford on 31 August 2019 and on 25 November 2019 they will play at Aston Villa, in the intervening 85 days there were only eight NUFC matches.

Compare that to then between playing Villa on 25 November 2019 and a third round FA Cup match scheduled for 4 January 2020, in 41 days Newcastle will have 10 games.

Most definitely famine and feast.

Yet when was this actually decided and by who…that within a few games into every Premier League season there would then be a two week international break in September, then another one in October, plus another in November?

Of course fans don’t get a vote, why on earth would they…

The trouble is, all of the authorities make these different decisions, none of them positive for football fans, then it is only later that supporters realise what has happened.

The problem is as well that all of these governing bodies (FIFA, UEFA, Premier League, Bundesliga, La Liga etc) are all fighting their own selfish corner, with fans left without a voice, let alone power.

For those who grew up in the 60s, 70s and 80s, European football was exciting. Every game meant something because it was all knockout and an open free draw, no seeding, whether it was the European Cup, UEFA Cup, Cup Winners Cup or whatever.

Can you really believe that it is intended from 2021 to have the Europa Conference League, a third level European competition below the other two, with 32 teams and eight losers falling into it from the Europa League. Clubs in groups of course to ensure as many games as possible.

So the Europa League that is so derided by so many is now to have a still inferior league below that, just imagine the likes of Man Utd having to play in that!

You then have the Club World Cup in December and the farce of Liverpool playing two games in two days, playing a completely different team in their League Cup quarter-final.

Honestly, the whole thing is a joke.

Look at the World Cup and European Championships, both competitions with never ending numbers of qualifiers to play and then ever expanding finals in terms of the number of teams who qualify.

It feels like now we go through all of these eternal tedious games and in the end it is only San Marino and Scotland who end up not qualifying!

Look at the qualification for the 2020 Euros, as well as the normal qualifying groups they then added an extra competition (Nations League) which could also help you qualify. Loads more meaningless games and for whose benefit?

England beat Montenegro 7-0 a few days ago and Harry Kane scored a hat-trick, yet even Gary Lineker came out and said that compared to years gone by, Kane’s hat-trick meant very little with this proliferation of matches against nothing teams.

Back in 1978 England missed out on qualification for the World Cup because only one went through in a four team group and it was them or Italy, two of the top teams, England missing out on goal difference.

There are a massive 24 countries heading to the 2020 Euros finals, back in 1976 there were only four. Czechoslovakia beating Holland and West Germany beating Yugoslavia in the semis, then the Czechs victorious in the final.

Back in the day, players would play for their clubs on a Saturday, head off that night and join the England (and other countries) squad. A few days together and play their match on the Wednesday, then back to the club for their game on the Saturday.

Yet now England (and the rest) have a two week break from club football in order to work out how to beat San Marino and/or Montenegro.

Football tourists, people wanting to go to an ‘occasion’ and locals with cheap tickets fill Wembley for walkover after walkover. Who is interested?

Domestic club football, by a country mile the most important thing in football and the thing that everything else feeds off, gets ever more squeezed.

There has been constant pressure for some time to have groups of eight clubs in the Champions League, to ensure obviously many more games. Just think how many meaningless matches that would mean?

To accommodate that of course, domestic club football would once again be squeezed, as always.

The drive towards pushing more and more money, matches and focus onto national sides and elite clubs is never ending.

The real power of football is in domestic club football and the strength of those competitions, yet they are looking ever more likely to kill off their golden goose that is laying ever more lucrative eggs.

When you then have a club like Newcastle United with no ambition under Mike Ashley, especially with regard to cup competitions and Europe, you already see the crowds dramatically dropping as fans say enough is enough. When you add his impact on top of what has been outlined above, what will be the health of NUFC in 10 years time?

(***Even Scotland might qualify for this one…)


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