Writer: Mike Field
Date:Friday February 8 2008
Martin O'Neill has said he will remain open minded on the subject, well joke, that we should play one 'league' match abroad.
We've had everyone from Gold, to Scudamore ommenting on this matter, in fact Scudamore said they could've suggested something far more stupid I believe.
However, Martin believes that it is a 'semi exciting' idea and from his comments seems to be prepared to encourage the debate in the hopes that the end result may be something workable, and in everyone's best interests.
He remains on the fence about the 'International Round' as it's been dubbed.
Speaking on SSN he said:
'I heard about it yesterday for the first time. I had no notion about it until then and even now, given a bit of time to digest it, I still have a wee open mind about it.
'There were certain things I thought 'that is interesting' and other aspects where I thought 'you need to give this a lot of consideration'.'
This consideration appears to be his long held belief about the usefulness of an Winter Break and his pet hate, pointless International friendlies in the middle of the season.
'For example, I am a club manager and international friendlies are a bit of a bind. If you said they will disappear and we can use the extra time for a Premier League game somewhere else, then it is worth considering.
'I am a great advocate of a January break. As I know from my time at Celtic, you felt refreshed and ready to go for the second half of the season even though the games might be condensed after that.
'This is an extra fixture so you haven't lost one of your home games.
'But while I have an open mind, this extra game at a neutral venue could leave you feeling a bit peeved if a club next to you in the league might get an easier game than yourselves. It might have a big say at the end of the season.'
So presumably it may gain O'Neill's support if it's thought out far better than the current suggestion. Not really sure fans will consider it more whilst it remains based on a draw that favours certain teams, especially if it remains as a live league game but again, at least he acknowledges this:
'You have to pay attention to the fans. There might be some who pride themselves on never missing a game and find they cannot afford to travel to wherever for the extra game.
'I just think at this stage it needs thinking about and I have an open mind.
'The other side of it is there is something novel and semi-exciting about it.'
I'm still not sure what is wrong with my suggestion. Each Prem team cannot play a host team more than once in every 20 odd years. This forces all clubs to play both the best and worst of a given country.
Set up purely as an official friendly break and promote the Prem that way. There is no logic or sense in making it a live game, subject to league points.
Date:Friday February 8 2008
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