So the time comes, once again, when club football is put to a raging halt as players leave for international break.
Don’t get me wrong, international football is admittedly some of the best football to watch and an all-around amazing experience when it’s an actual competition of course.
Of course, there are reasons for these international breaks and some may argue good ones but qualifiers and friendlies are on the bottom of everybody’s list. Unfortunately, it is a never ending vicious cycle; if we don’t have these qualifiers and friendlies, how can we have major international competitions? If not now, then when? Footballers deserve lives too right?
The inevitable annoyance from a fan point of view stems from one of two things.
1. The potentially broken momentum of teams
A superstition of any fan.
Momentum becomes somewhat of a highly rated thing in team sports. With it, comes chemistry, a proper functioning dressing room and out and out happiness from the fans and club themselves. Without it, it’s hard to come about.
A prime example is that of Manchester United.
First three games of the season comes three wins and impressive ones at that. A team that finally seems to be jelling well not only together but in a José Mourinho way. Though they started off just the same last season, it’s clear that it’s different this time around.
It is Mourinho’s second season after all.
For teams with the opposite problem of United, maybe the break could be seen as a positive. West Ham United for instance; a time to regroup, take a step back, and look at the position you are in.
Psst..or just sack Slaven Bilić
But regardless of the situation and whether you believe it or not, momentum is key.
2. The mere grasp of league football after 3 months
Arguably the more important points.
Simply for the selfish reason of football fandoms, the fact that we suffered a long and dreadful 3 months without watching our teams play. Not to mention a tease of the campaign to come.
As a Premier League fan, we were lucky to see 3 game weeks. For Ligue 1 fans, even better, 4 game weeks! Unluckily for fans of La Liga, the Bundesliga, and Serie A who only got to see 2 game weeks before the break which links to point number 1.
Having such a short term back in the league with new signings, new managers, and new tactics to be discussed doesn’t even allow teams to even gain momentum.
3. Transfer window interference
Lastly, the fact that international break intertwines with the final week of the summer transfer window. Not only does this complicate literally everything when clubs want to sign a player who just flew off with his national team, but it links back to point 1 & 2.
See the pattern here?
Now looking back at these points, you can see why people make a fuss over the qualifiers and the friendlies. But it still leaves the undeniable question of; is there ever a right time for international breaks? Answer: no.
Having it too early would disrupt the training and preparation for clubs and leagues and having it too late would only be a cramming of time and stress on players and coaches alike.
To look on the brighter side of things, is it right for us as fans to complain?
International breaks provide us with a prolonged season and most importantly, NON-STOP FOOTBALL ALL YEAR ROUND. Giving us the biggest and superlative competitions in the world. Football fans are the luckiest fans in the world and let’s face it, we love international football because we love football.
One of football’s greatest problems that will probably never be solved but as a famous German rival coach who shall not be named once said,
That is football!