International Football is Stale and Has Been For a Long Time

When I was growing up I looked forward to the international break so I could watch England. However, now I feel less and less motivated to watch an England game. It could be that the string of disappointing performances over the years have finally caught up with me, it saddens me to not look forward to watching my country play. I am not the only one who feels like this. There have been countless posts on social media about the international break and how it has become somewhat of a bore, it has even been mentioned as a disruption.

In a way I am happy I am not the only one who does not look forward to the international break, however it fills me with sadness too. Why has the feeling changed? The international weekend interrupts the basic human liking for routine. Supporters miss out on their weekly fix, with even the 90,000 at Wembley preferring to be elsewhere if their noise levels after 75 painful minutes are anything to go by. There are a lot of corporate seats at Wembley, which in my opinion doesn’t help the atmosphere. The corporate section are always late back to their seats after half time, they are rarely all filled in time for kick-off.

The changing of attitudes towards the national side does not surprise me. Especially when you look at how the game and players have changed. When I was watching England growing up, I saw the likes of Shearer, Pearce, Ince, Gascoigne and Adams pull on the three lions shirt. Players who left nothing on the pitch and showed so much pride and passion in playing for their country. As much as the modern day player will deny it, to me it is clear that playing for your country is less important now. The extortionate amount money in the game poisons the attitudes of those involved. When there was less money involved in football, it meant more to play for your country, that’s what I honestly believe.

If you asked a number of people what matters most, their club or their country – The vast majority would say their club. It is a sad state of affairs when watching your country is seen as a disruption. With most of the England games being pretty dull it is hard to look forward to watching them play. There must be something that can be done to liven up international football. Whether you’re top of the league or rock bottom there’s not a single football fan alive that prefers international football to watching their beloved team on a weekly basis. Who actually enjoys watching internationals now? Compare it to how you feel watching club football. If I’m out of the house and there is a game on I want to watch, I’ll do all I can to make sure I’m back for kick-off. But would I rush back to watch England? Certainly not for a qualifier.

When I am watching an England game, I am not fully focused on it, not in the same way as I am when I am watching my beloved Newcastle United play. I would say that is the case for the vast majority who tune in to watch England games. You do it because you think you might miss something, however in reality you end up on social media telling the world how boring the game is. You also tune in to international football to see if any players get injured for the club you support.

One of the reasons the majority of fans dread the international break is because of the poor quality on show on a consistent basis. England fans are reluctant to spend their hard earned money to go to Wembley and sit through a dull game of football. The problem international football has is it hasn’t had half the investment as club football has seen over the years. International football just seems stale at the moment and if the attitudes towards it persist, match attendances will continue to fall. You see smaller countries getting absolutely battered every time the international break comes around. There’s no fun in watching the likes of Gibraltar or San Marino losing 4 or 6 nil each time. It is the same thing over and over again, there is always a breaking point and international football’s breaking point was a long time ago.

Particularly in England – after several successive disappointments – but all over the world, too, appetite for the international game is low. If the relevant governing bodies care about interest beyond major tournaments – and who knows whether they do – then action needs to be taken.