Wednesday, April 18, 2012

No New Friendlies

Mood: Irritated bordering on really angry
State of Mind: Resigned with overtones of anger
Location July 21: NOT at the Skydome

It's (almost) official everyone; today Ticketmaster accidentally announced what we already knew - TFC will play Liverpool in a Friendly at the Skydome on July 21.  This is not something to jump up and down about; this is something to get ticked off about.  There is no purpose to having this match other than to line the pockets of the Owners of TFC. It is, plain and simple, a cash grab. 

There's been a lot of mention made of the 0-5 start of our Reds as the reason to be upset about this game. For me that has little to no impact on why this is a bad decision -  I would be upset if the team were top of the league and on their way to winning the CCL trophy. Make no mistake; this was put into motion long before our team fell to Santos Laguna and long before our season started off so poorly. This is a distraction that the team does not need at the midpoint of the season; regardless of current results or what their record is come July. Not to mention that a league match between TFC and the Chicago Fire was moved to September (right in the middle of International play) so that both teams could host one of these ridiculous matches. So short term dazzle for long-term loss as TFC will be missing several key players in the fall (Cann, Morgan, DeGuzman, Henry, Stinson) but hey, who cares about winning league matches?

What's that you say? This will raise the profile of the game here in Toronto? No, quite simply, no it won't. The Skydome will be full - well, half full. I doubt this will sell out -  of local Liverpool fans (and there are a lot of them), a few curious fans and the odd pocket of TFC fans. You will not see a sudden rush of ticket sales for TFC matches after this game. The converted already have their tickets, the EPL fans will still only be EPL fans and the curious will have had their "big club" experience.  As for the rest of us that think this is one of the worst ideas ever? We'll continue to go to matches at BMO to support our team and be displeased with the way the TFC Front Office is running the team.

Have I boycotted every friendly that TFC has played you ask? No, I've attended several; I watched Aston Villa, Pachuca and a few others. Why am I so upset now? I know better now; I've watched our players get hurt in friendlies (Ronnie O'Brien anyone? How did that year turn out?) and I've sat surrounded by supporters for other teams in our stadium. This is not the football experience I want during the season.  And regardless of form, no team needs this kind of distraction mid-season. If they want to have friendlies during pre-season I'm all for it.  Bring up one of the Latin Amercian clubs (you know, one of the clubs we might actually face at some point) and have at.  If Liverpool wants to tour and build their brand, let them tour with another big name club - just don't ask our team to play - it's as simple as that.

From the reaction in the twittersphere I'm not alone in my dismay and anger over this game. I urge you to continue to voice your displeasure in hopes that in the future the Owners (because make no mistake, this is a decision made by the Owners, not Management) will think twice about having another of these ill thought matches. I'm sure it won't but that's the relentlessly optimistic part of me speaking. I also urge you to not attend - let's not make this a "success" for the suits at MLSE to point towards next year. So say it with me; No New Friendlies!

Logical Links: A number of others have said the above and more - it's worth your time to check out their thoughts on this "game". Duncan at Waking The Red, Squizz at CSN, Rudi at and The Yorkies

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