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Only the three pre-season friendlies?

by   |   16/07/2014  Comments (56)  jump

Just an observation I made today whilst watching Sky Sports news and noticed that West Brom have already played two friendlies and Newcastle one... it got me thinking that maybe we were starting a little later than everyone else, so I looked into it.

Whilst our pre-season games do start a little later than most, the main thing that stands out is the fact we only have three. A few teams have four but most teams have much more than that.

Has this been discussed before or are we awaiting more announcements? Or is it something new we are trying?

Either way, if were are using our friendlies this year to try out some youngsters, then I thought we would have had a few more than usual to give them game-time before the World Cup players come back for the final few games to really step it up.

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Mike Allison
1 Posted 16/07/2014 at 15:39:57
I was going to initiate this conversation myself, Lewis. We were told towards the end of the season that Europa League qualification would affect pre-season, but specifically if we had to play a qualifying round, which we now donÂ’t. As a result, IÂ’m somewhat mystified at how few games are scheduled.

I havenÂ’t checked previous seasons but six seems more like normal doesnÂ’t it? Is it too late to announce and play other fixtures, or will the club make an announcement sometime soon?

Tony Page
2 Posted 16/07/2014 at 15:44:57
Do the three friendlies include OsmanÂ’s testimonial?
Tom P Owen
3 Posted 16/07/2014 at 15:33:37
The way I see it, the squad will come back from Austria this weekend, and then will face Tranmere Rovers on Tuesday night, before jetting off to Thailand to take on Leicester Cityon the following Sunday.

IÂ’m surprised a friendly hasnÂ’t been announced in Austria, but you never know, they might prefer to play a behind-closed-doors game to start with.

The club may well just announce a friendly in-between the Leicester game and OssieÂ’s testimonial yet, and a further friendly for the weekend of 9th-10th August seems likely.

But yes, only having three pre-season games at this stage is a bit unusual, as normally clubs have a list of 5-6 games lined up by now. It will be interesting to know why, if it was RobertoÂ’s decision to have fewer pre-season games or, just simply the club have left it late getting things sorted.

The game in Thailand strikes me as a bit of last-minute thing planned.

Andrew Ellams
4 Posted 16/07/2014 at 16:16:13
Apparently there will be a game in Germany the week after the Osman testimonial. Looking at the date of the Osman testimonial, I am wondering if somebody made a mistake as to when the season actually starts.
Peter Laing
5 Posted 16/07/2014 at 16:36:24
The World Cup is likely to have played havoc in trying to schedule the usual overseas tour / tournament. At my reckoning we had the following players involved:

Lukaku (if he signs)
Besic (if he signs)

A number of the other players appeared in games prior to the World Cup for their respective countries and in this day and age footballers are given a pre-season programme and very rarely come back in on the first day of training overweight. I trust in the managerÂ’s plans, the only weird one for me is that we are playing Leicester City in a friendly?

Eric Myles
6 Posted 16/07/2014 at 16:49:00
Peter, itÂ’s not weird if you consider the friendly against Leicester is to celebrate the 25th anniversary of King Power, LeicesterÂ’s owner, and what better way to celebrate than to play another locally sponsored team? And, considering the logistics of it, hardly planned at the last minute, especially since it was the first to be announced!

And the good news is my tickets had arrived in the post when I got home from work this evening!

We also have 3 friendlies lined up against Southport, Wrexham and Rhyl but I suspect they will not be all first XI line ups.

Ray Roche
7 Posted 16/07/2014 at 17:14:34
Just noticed that two of the ShiteÂ’s friendlies are being screened live on BT Sport. FFS, BT are right up BrendanÂ’s trumper.
Kris Boner
8 Posted 16/07/2014 at 17:18:49
Ray, please tell me you have seen those bloody BT sport adverts that are basically LiverpoolÂ’s greatest moments of 2013-14. Single most annoying adverts on Earth...
Raymond Fox
9 Posted 16/07/2014 at 17:13:29
With that Leicester Â’friendly gameÂ’, the chances are theyÂ’re going to be well fired up to prove to their manager and fans that they can compete against us and hack it in the Prem.

Just hope itÂ’s Â’friendlyÂ’ on their part!

Ray Roche
10 Posted 16/07/2014 at 17:57:30
And they HAVE to show the RS goals against us in their adverts....
Ian Bennett
11 Posted 16/07/2014 at 18:40:57
I guess we are missing the little American tournament. Playing Juve was an upgrade on the usual fare in prior seasons.
Tony Page
12 Posted 16/07/2014 at 18:42:24
Ray, BT is short for BrendanÂ’s trumper, and Kris you say BT have the RS in the adverts... is there a connection between BT and BrendanÂ’s trumper?
Bill Gall
13 Posted 16/07/2014 at 18:14:37
One of my concerns over the lack of activity in the transfer market was it does not give any new incoming players time to adapt to the ManagerÂ’s playing style and become comfortable with his teammates. This problem could set us back at the start of the season where we have a more difficult set of fixtures compared to last seasonÂ’s start.

Friendlies before the start of the season are to get the players match fit and try tactics that have been developed on the training ground so would it have been more advantageous to bring in what players that the manager had targeted (if any and surly he must have been given a transfer budget;) as early as possible to play in pre-season games.

I do not know what the manager has for money to invest in the market but at this stage of the season as we are not supposed to be going for the higher priced players why do the club procrastinate over the purchase of any players.

The manager is supposed to have a 5-year plan so to me that means his plan for this season was started at the end of last season and although the World Cup brought a great number of players in the one area, he must have had players in his mind prior to this competition.

You do not plan a 5-year future without knowing what finances are available to bring in the players to achieve it and then for one reason or another have your plan compromised without a backup plan.

If players like Lukaku canÂ’t make up their mind about joining then give them an ultimatum and move on and do not leave Everton struggling at the end of the transfer window to find players.

Darren Hind
14 Posted 16/07/2014 at 18:54:51
IÂ’m not too concerned about this.
Moyesie used to like to pack the games in before the big kick off and weÂ’d still often come out of the traps backwards.

Martinez is trying something different, thats all.

Back in the seventies, National Hunt racings leading trainers often used what was regarded at the time, as cutting edge, sofisticated, training methods when preparing their horses for the Grand National. Ginger McCain used to take Red Rum along Southport beach to "enjoy himself"

Its not important how you get to the starting line, its only important that you are primed and ready to go when you get there.

Darryl Ritchie
15 Posted 16/07/2014 at 19:06:05
Was kind of wondering about the lack of friendlies myself. Then, I started thinking, (uh oh! ), with the additional matches in Europe this season, it could be a good thing.

We have a thin squad, and even with a good transfer window, I donÂ’t see that changing all that much. The less wear and tear on the squad in the pre-season, the better chance we have over the long haul.

Paul Andrews
16 Posted 16/07/2014 at 19:28:07
I think we can put our trust in Senor Roberto. He will know what is best to have the team ready .
Harold Matthews
17 Posted 16/07/2014 at 19:13:57
Darren. Red RumÂ’s bad feet may have enjoyed the water but "hard as nails" Ginger pushed him to the limit...and more. Maybe Roberto has a different approach. Working more on mental fitness and team spirit for instance. That said, the warm weather training break was a total disaster. Everyone came back a yard slower, looking half asleep and needing a holiday. I hope we donÂ’t try it again.
Mike Allison
18 Posted 16/07/2014 at 20:20:38
Andrew, what do you know about a game in Germany and how do you know it?

Eric, the games you mention will be Under-21 games, what used to be the reserves.

Martinez has talked about treating the young players as part of the first team squad in pre-season so I donÂ’t think the wear and tear thing will be an issue at all. Including those five or six young players weÂ’ll have 25-26 players to find playing time for and three games isnÂ’t going to be enough.

Darren, are you saying Roberto is taking the squad to Southport beach?

Patrick Murphy
19 Posted 16/07/2014 at 20:44:23
No Mike - I think Darren is suggesting that we put a wager on RobertoÂ’s boys for the Grand National next year.
Patrick Murphy
20 Posted 16/07/2014 at 22:25:18
According to a feature in the Daily Mail - James McCarthy says EvertonÂ’s players are getting primed for a silverware push with Roberto MartinezÂ’s tough pre season training regime.

He goes on to say that the players are being pushed and doing a lot of work with the ball - looking at the pictures in the article it looks like a very serious pre-season for all the players which of course is what you would expect from professionals.

Darren Hind
21 Posted 16/07/2014 at 22:32:30
You see Patrick?

Even Roberto thinks we can win the Grand National.

Most bookies pay out on fifth too, so you" ll get far better VFM

Kevin Tully
22 Posted 16/07/2014 at 22:32:06
I honestly donÂ’t think travelling to far flung places a couple of weeks before the start of the season does the players much good at all. They donÂ’t sleep the same, plus jet lag and strange food is not a recipe for success. It may help to promote the club, which we all want, but I donÂ’t believe it benefits their overall fitness, that can be achieved quite easily at Finch Farm.

Can we really say we reaped the benefits last August of our American tour against top-class opposition? It didnÂ’t look like it in those first few games.

ItÂ’s difficult to say what will suit each player, but I donÂ’t imagine those that were on World Cup duty will want to go on another overseas tour before the season starts.

No-one on here will be thinking about pre-season games if we win our opener against Leicester, thatÂ’s for sure.

Rob Halligan
23 Posted 16/07/2014 at 23:30:13
Too right Kevin. I read today that a Premier League team are going to New Zealand for a pre-season tour. What is there to gain from that, apart from money? Opposition will be useless, will take them 2-3 days to recover from the flight, which is probably as far as you can go before you start coming back, and then there is the return flight.

As you say, General fitness can be achieved on the training ground. Playing games is obviously important for match fitness and gaining that sharpness and confidence to take into the new season.

Ernie Baywood
24 Posted 17/07/2014 at 00:21:36
We would have said the same about the far east 20 years back wouldnÂ’t we? Unfortunately itÂ’s part of the game. Football is on the grow in the US and it made sense to go to a tournament like that.

NZ maybe not so much but I canÂ’t claim to be an expert on the global value of football.

Eric Myles
25 Posted 17/07/2014 at 01:51:16
Mike #18, yes IÂ’m expecting those 3 games to be a run out for the academy lads that RM is considering moving into the first team squad plus a run out for the players returning from injury last season like Hibbert, Gibson, Kone.

Kevin #22, no need to worry about our lads getting strange food, in Bangkok thereÂ’s loads of English Pubs with fish & chips and mushy peas and pints of Guiness so theyÂ’ll feel right at home.

David Ellis
26 Posted 17/07/2014 at 03:35:13
Last seasonÂ’s tournament in the US was great. Its not being run this year but I think it will be run every other year.

However, we would be lucky to be invited again as they probably only have room for 3 English teams, and last time LFC and Man Utd had their own Asian tours planned. I think it may grow in stature and they are talking about holding it in the Far East next time. Whether that helps us start the season well is another matter.

Going to NZ is crazy. It’s a 10-hour flight from Hong Kong – it’s a long long way. And it takes a week to recover from jet lag.

Conor Waters
27 Posted 17/07/2014 at 07:14:15

I hate to break it to you David, but it is on again this summer. We just werenÂ’t invited. Our neighbours were though...

Sam Hoare
28 Posted 17/07/2014 at 07:43:54
Seems strange to have so few games to prepare the players. Also a missed opportunity marketing wise: no surprise there.

Perhaps they were hoping to be invited to a tournament that never happened? Or more likely itÂ’s Roberto trying something different, I think Patrick Murphy told me on another thread that this is what happened pre season at Wigan.

Eric Myles
29 Posted 17/07/2014 at 12:58:24
Given Tim HowardÂ’s performance in the World Cup it would be a great time to be in US to cash in on his popularity.
John Crook
30 Posted 17/07/2014 at 20:02:16
I think that the reason for only three organized pre season games is the fact we did not know our official European commitments until the full-time whistle went in the FA Cup FInal. All of last seasonÂ’s top 4 secured their top 4 places with several weeks of the season remaining and most of them fall into the Â’money clubsÂ’ category. So knowing your official starting dates for European games the following season with several weeks of the season to go allows you much more time to organise individual pre season matches.

These American pre season tournament and so on are probably organised 6 to 9 months in advance as a guess. Roberto did say in one of his end of season interviews that America is something they would definitely do again as the trip was a big success. The fact we didnÂ’t know we would take the automatic Europa place (and start Europe in September and not August) until Hull lost the FA Cup Final meant we couldnÂ’t officially start preparing until 17th May. By then most teams had already announced their pre season programmes.

But I do agree with main theme of this post. Three games seem very little considering the youngsters were supposed to be getting a run out this summer. I would suspect (and hope) that another one or two games are added certainly in the currently free weekend before the first game away to Leicester.

Mike Green
32 Posted 17/07/2014 at 23:54:50
Personally I think the whole pre-season friendlies thing is bollocks.

No one ever has said Â’JÂ’unno wha, da reason Citeh won da League last year was dat pre-season game against Kidderminster... 1-1, amazing 90 mins....Â’ (Everyone else around nodding sagely).

Let them kick back for a bit, take their families away for a few weeks, come home, get into Finch Farm, get trained up, play a couple of pre-season games if you have to and get on with the job on August 16th.

James Marshall
33 Posted 18/07/2014 at 14:46:47
Celta Vigo and some German side that just got promoted. PC Baderhorn or something.
Darren Hind
34 Posted 18/07/2014 at 19:27:49
Well I wasnt too concerned but this is getting farcical.

Just when I started to think Martinez was adopting a different approach we start trying to cram in pre season friendlies against anybody whoÂ’ll give us a game.

Perhaps when Robbie left for Brazil to err ... "observe the training methods of the top international coaches " he left instructions with the fixture arranging department and like the recruitment dept they have let him down.

I wonder if anybody has the heart to tell him ?

Paul Andrews
35 Posted 18/07/2014 at 19:48:42
I believe Don Roberto asked a couple of players to go pudden and beef as well.

Lyndon Lloyd
36 Posted 18/07/2014 at 19:49:53
What is "farcical" about this?

At the end of the day, the players just need enough matches to build fitness and sharpness and, preferably, a couple against decent opposition

In addition to the usual regional friendlies against the likes of Tranmere and Everton XI dates against Rhyl, we have four games lined up against top-division opposition. What more do you want?

I'm sure the players could do without flying out to Thailand but it's far enough out from the start of the season that it shouldn't affect them too much.

Paul Andrews
37 Posted 18/07/2014 at 19:57:52
Four games is plenty in my opinion.

If we trust Roberto let us show it.
I personally trust him 100%,he will do what is necessary to have the lads ready

Darren Hind
38 Posted 18/07/2014 at 20:13:29

I was happy to go along with what appeared to be a different approach (see post #14) and I'd have been just as happy to have supported a packed program... but this latest announcement seems so last Minute.

Can you honestly say this would have been your ideal preparation? The matches seem a bit of mish-mash to me, I don't get the decision to fly out to Thailand for just one game and the fact that our opponents are the very team we kick off against makes that decision even more puzzling.

I liked the idea of Martinez trying a different approach but, if we were always going to play several warm ups, don't you agree that a little more thought could have gone into it?

Personally I don't think it will stop there; I think if we can find a few more games to play, we will.

I just wish we were a bit less "It'll be alright on the night."

Paul Andrews
39 Posted 18/07/2014 at 20:46:25

The friendly against Leicester was arranged before the Prem fixtures came out.

Darren Hind
40 Posted 18/07/2014 at 22:12:08
It doesn't matter if it was arranged 10 years ago, the decision to fly half-way around the world to play a team based not much over 100 miles away and then fly back again, is truly bizarre. It's not as if it's a massive money spinner. There had to be better opportunities to explore... surely?

Would these last-minute arrangements have been so last-minute if Roberto had been at his desk... and if he isn't calling the shots and arranging these games... why is it him you are putting all your faith/ trust / confidence in to get the preparation right?

Fail to prepare; prepare to fail.

David Ellis
41 Posted 19/07/2014 at 06:29:06
It's five friendlies now... which seems perfectly normal.
And Darren, the decision to play Leicester in Thailand is to do with the shirt sponsors - we will get paid well for going there and it will help the brand in Asia... its not bad planning.... its just business.
Eric Myles
42 Posted 19/07/2014 at 06:59:50
Darren, the friendly against Leicester is between 2 teams with Thai sponsors so makes sense, and as Paul points out, you'd be better of asking the FA why they scheduled our first game against a team we are playing a friendly against.

Don't see that this has anything to do with RM's World Cup gig at all.

Darren Hind
43 Posted 19/07/2014 at 07:28:18
Eric, I was trying to make two separate points – although looking back, I didn't separate them very well.

One is about hastily arranged fixtures and the other was questioning the wisdom of flying to Thailand.

Both you and David #41 clearly know more about the Leicester fixture than I do and have given the reasoning behind it... I get the reasoning, but I can't believe there weren't better options to be explored.

Eric Myles
44 Posted 19/07/2014 at 07:52:48
Well Darren it's King Power's 25 birthday so what better than to have a friendly against another locally sponsored EPL team to generate an interest among the locals (Thais) that don't support either team.

Also I don't believe they've been hastily arranged. You don't get on the 'phone to a team and say 'fancy a kick about' and arrange a stadium and the supporting staff, ticketing arrangements and local police permitting in just a couple of weeks.

Paul Andrews
45 Posted 19/07/2014 at 08:25:58
Eric, 44.

Your last para.

Darren Hind
46 Posted 19/07/2014 at 10:19:25
Eric (second para)

That is basically what we have done. ticket arrangements still weren't finalised yesterday. I can't think of any circumstances where it would be beneficial to anybody to keep planned fixtures a secret.

Paul Andrews
47 Posted 19/07/2014 at 11:10:20

That's nonsense. The fixture has been arranged since early June.

Darren Hind
48 Posted 19/07/2014 at 12:36:17
Yeah of course it was, the club thought it was a good idea to keep us in the dark until yesterday.

Or perhaps they had to wait and make sure their was enough staff to cope with the stampede through the tunnel.

Paul Andrews
49 Posted 19/07/2014 at 13:43:36

You are working too many long shifts.

The friendly v Leicester was arranged early June before the Prem fixtures came out.

Eric Holland
50 Posted 19/07/2014 at 15:38:39
They are also playing a friendly today behind closed doors.
Darren Hind
51 Posted 19/07/2014 at 15:16:28
And Paul your determination to argue every point I make because I have been critical of your idol is becominga little too desperate

We are talking about Erics "second para" #44 . You know the one were he disputes "hastily arranged"fixtures.

Eric explains his point about the Leicester game in his first paragraph and I took it on board, we moved on to talking about recently arranged games .. .Spaniards at Tranmere ?. . . . ticket arrangements? - the clue is in Eric's use of the word "also"

I have no problem if you want to post "precisely" after every single post in which somebody disagrees wiith me, but it would help your credibility enormously if you didnt keep arguing until it becomes blatantly obvious that you don't understand the point you were so quick to agree with.

Paul Andrews
53 Posted 19/07/2014 at 16:29:58
You flatter yourself.
Paul Ferry
54 Posted 19/07/2014 at 19:25:16
How about we host an Old Lady tournament along the lines of the Emirates thing and we invite seven or three (or take your pick) teams to play in a three-day competition with all matches played at the Old Lady and we wonÂ’t need to hop on a plane.
Mike Allison
55 Posted 20/07/2014 at 10:40:46
We did that once Paul, I went. It was us, Chelsea, Newcastle and Ajax. We beat Ajax 1-0 and played Chelsea in the final. Can’t remember who won. It was around 1996/7-ish.
Rob Halligan
56 Posted 20/07/2014 at 16:10:28
See Exeter are playing a friendly in Rio today against Fluminense!!!

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