Summer Footie & To Intertoto or Not
The usual hoary ol' chestnut of summer footie made its annual appearance with a bit more substance than usual during the silly season in the sports media. Also, it was given more credence than normal with Rodger Mitchell claiming it was a possible goer in the future.
I'm fairly ambivalent about summer footie but like everything in life there's pros and cons to it. OK, I agree I'd rather watch footie without a howling gale and driving rain or in freezing conditions, but the only difference some British/Scots summers have is that the rain is warmer, it can still be pretty windy (not just at Arbroath). Conversely, if it's a dry hot summer, the pitches will become dust-bowls and rock hard despite watering by groundstaff. I'd also query just when the ground gets re-sown or re-turfed - you can't do it between Jan-March when the new close season would be. I read UEFA are not particularly enamoured with the idea either, they seem to be under some false impression that Scotland could qualify for World/European Championships which get played in the summer months! As stated it doesn't bother me one way or the other too much as I'd be able to watch lower league or elsewhere during Jan-Mar. But I can see some spells when fans take holidays when attendances would suffer. Also some prefer summer sports, eg cricket and tennis.
I'm a rare breed I've played and watch both so trailing to watch some meaningless SPL fixture may not have the same allure. I'm also just about old enough to remember the Summer Cup, the only cup I've actually seen Motherwell win as I was in France in 1991. The crowds were nothing to write home about, I think Third Lanark got their lowest ever crowd?!? So I suppose it's a case of suck it and see; nothing ventured, nothing gained, providing a decent SPL with a level playing field might be a better notion - without the Old Firm might be a better solution, but the again they weren't in the old Summer Cup!
So onto the undervalued, unloved Intertoto competition. A chance of foreign opposition and a route into the UEFA Cup with competitive games pre-season, or trailing to far away places with strange-sounding names playing front of three men and a dog or hordes of fanatical locals. Take your pick, for some reason few British/Scots clubs with exception of West Ham have made much of the Intertoto, unlike German and French sides who see it as a route into European competition even the Italians have started taking the same attitude. Bordeaux got to the final of the UEFA Cup last season. Stuttgart got to the quarter-finals to lose Alaves via the Intertoto. Unfashionable clubs like Wolfsburg get to play in Europe via the Intertoto.
So personally I can't understand why there's so little enthusiasm towards it here in Scotland. I know personally speaking I'd rather see 'Well play a competitive game against continental opposition and progress than watch some meaningless friendly pre-season practice games here or abroad. I'd imagine Bonetti has found out a bit more about the shortcomings in his squad than Billy Davies will playing in France despite The Dark Blues bombing out against the Serbs. Had they won, they face a lucrative tie against 1860 with possible TV revenue. OK as it was they probably made a loss having to travel to Serbia which no doubt affects John Boyle's attitude and others to the competition.
I've seen an Intertoto game and would have even thought about travelling up had The Dees played 1860. It's a better way of reaching fitness than meaningless friendlies and I suspect Dundee will be better equipped than most for the start of the season. However it shows just how poor quality the SPL really is when Dundee bombed out at the first hurdle.
So instead of knocking the Intertoto, lets give it a go - Think positive, Think Intertoto!!
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