Some 10 years ago, the Premier League announced proposals for the infamous “Game 39”. This would’ve seen an entire extra round of league fixtures played in January across the world, and in so many different time zones we would have feasibly been able to watch every single game from the comfort of our own armchairs.
Understandably, it caused uproar among fanbases and many other leading football figures – despite supposedly gaining the backing of all 20 club chairmen. Such was the level of outrage that plans were soon scrapped. Instead, most clubs have taken to travelling the world in pre-season to pay a heartwarming visit to/completely cash in on their international fans.
Talk of playing competitive league games abroad has been quiet ever since. Until, out of the blue, La Liga changed the football landscape forever.
Earlier this week, Spain’s top flight announced they would be taking their league Stateside and playing a regular fixture in America as soon as this season. A lack of home advantage for one team would be made up with a nice healthy boost to their bank balance instead.
This news has immediately reignited Premier League fans’ fears that their own clubs will have had their ears pricked and, assuming La Liga’s move is a success, will again want fixtures played across the world.
But fear not! For all the negatives many are focusing on, there are actually some very good reasons as to why taking the Premier League show on the road will be a positive move. To argue the case, we’ve rounded up five of the best arguments…
1) Spurs wouldn’t need to bother finishing their new stadium
We’ve all seen the embarrassing headlines and hilarious/worrying (depending on who you support) images from inside Tottenham Hotspur’s delayed stadium. It’s late and over its eye-watering £1bn budget, with the 1,000 builders on site costing more in weekly wages than the entire Spurs playing squad. Ouch.
But there is an remedy for these woes. Given the Premier League have proven their “you can only one have home stadium in a season” rule is complete nonsense with the decision to let Spurs keep using Wembley in the interim, a precedent has been set for clubs to just play games wherever they feel like. So all Tottenham need to do is volunteer to take all their “home” games on tour, not bother finishing off the stadium and instead play in even bigger grounds in the States.
Immediately they’ll start to earn back the money wasted on their North London shell. Who knows? They might even be able to afford a new player within a few years.
2) It’s a great way to see the world
Bored of just going to Alicante for two weeks every year on your summer holibobs? The foreign Premier League is your answer! With your team playing across the globe, you’ll have new inspiration for your travels every year – giving you the perfect excuse to do that week in Saudi Arabia you’ve always dreamt of. You may even have the option of a winter’s trip to Antarctica, so long as someone pays the Premier League enough.
This is doubly beneficial for fans of teams who aren’t treated to European tours season in, season out. Ticket availability won’t be a problem for them either: we can hardly envisage Burnley vs Huddersfield selling out a 100,000 seater stadium in Atlanta.
3) It could work out cheaper than domestic away games
A particular boon for regular travelling away fans, budget airlines make the cost of flying so cheap it often makes more financial sense to take to the skies rather than an old fashioned rattler.
As a working example, a return train from London to Newcastle can cost fans as much as £225 (yes, really). You could get to anywhere in Europe and back in half that cost if needed. For a similar fee, return flights to New York are also an option, which is ever so slightly a more glamorous than ‘oop north…
4) We can enjoy the ludicrous American commentary
Even the mere thought of Americans mixing with “soccer” conjures up laughable memories of their commentators and pundits talking gibberish. Although, as all good illegal streamers will know, in recent years they have upped their game and got more reputable names such as Lee Dixon in the commentary box.
But if they were to host an entire round of fixtures, they’d have no choice but to get their own MLS commentary teams on the job. As a result, we will hopefully be subjected to more gold such as the time John Arne Riise “released the kraken” against Celtic:
If we were really lucky, we’d get to see Soccer AM’s classic Boston Goals sketch becoming a living reality:
5) We can all go back to real football
Let’s be honest: deep, deep down, nobody really cares about the Premier League anymore, do they? We all constantly moan about inflated ticket prices and the commercialisation of the game at the expense of loyal fans, so moving games abroad will be the £50 note-wrapped straw that breaks the camel’s back.
So they should just go ahead and do it. It’d allow us to go and support our local team who do need our money, in a good old fashioned Saturday 3pm kick-off, while we treat the Premier League as easy morning or evening entertainment depending where in the world it’s taking place.
Bring it on, if you ask us.