Do fans like pre-season friendlies?

by Calvin Berry

With big clubs competing in money spinning friendlies all over the world and other clubs using the summer to lure bigger teams to face them. There is plenty of money on offer for  the clubs but what is in pre-season friendlies for the fans?

I conducted a survey of  one hundred football fans today asking them one simple question; Do you like pre-season friendlies?

The results were even. Fifty percent of fans said they enjoyed pre-season friendlies while fifty percent of fans did not like pre-seaon friendlies. Even results but the reasons for choosing varied.

Reasons why fans like pre-season friendlies:

They are a waste of money - Paying over the odds for bounce games that are not competitive.

Outcome means nothing – No matter what the score some fans believe nothing is gained from the games as the games have no importance.

Poor quality of games – Friendlies can sometimes be boring affairs with little quality on display due to lack of competition and lots of substitutions usually taking changes.

Reasons why fans like pre-season friendlies:

Gets team in shape for new season – Friendlies help managers get their team in shape for a new seasonand know what positions they need to strengthen.

Chance to see players/teams you don’t normally see – Glamour friendlies can be great for the fans as they will get to watch players they don’t normally see and there is a chance to see teams they don’t normally see their team play every year or if they might even get to see their own team if they live abroad.

Fun to watch as no pressure - No pressure on the players to perform so they will be relaxed and can show off skills and try things like long shots they would get shouted at for if in a competitive game.

A 50/50 split in the survey was interesting. There are ways to make friendlies appeal to most people:

Screen friendlies live on tv – One off games would be great for armchair fans. For example Rangers vs Chelsea on August the 5th this year would have an audience and so would many other friendlies if they were on free tv.

Cheaper tickets  – Charging less for friendlies would bring in bigger crowds. Maybe even doing deals like kids go free or family discount prices would bring in younger kids and the chance to see their team in a more relaxed atmosphere than when the competitive season starts.

More pre-season tournaments – For fans who say they mean nothing. Even though the tournaments would be only friendly affaurs they would bring a little competitveness and excitement for fans. Tournaments like Arsenal’s Emirates Cup has been interesting over the last few seasons and the Renfrewshire Cup is always a tasty affair between St.Mirren and Greenock Morton. Hardly a “friendly.”

Pre-season friendlies will never be completely loved by fans but they are important for clubs to generate money and have a look at their squad before the season starts to know what is ahead of them and what they can change. Making friendlies cheaper to attend and putting them on free tv could help people get excited by them more but no matter what pre-season is like a support act before the main event that is the Season starts and it always will be. Fans just need something to fill the gap when the season is not on.

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