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Now hopefully most of you have read the previous post regarding my issues with the FA and their handling of England games and the difficulty we, as fans have, in supporting our team. One of the platforms I share this blog on is Facebook and I have a particular friend who is always good at arguing his point… Often in disagreement with me but that’s what opinions are all about. I’ve decided to share the debate as I think it brought up some good points. Have a read and then comment, let me know what you think and more importantly who’s right:

In response to my FA POST –

Conor: The FA don’t set the international calendar, FIFA do.
Matches are played every single week of the season on Wednesday and if they played at 3pm no one could go due to school, work etc… So 8pm actually gives people a little more time to get there than a 7.30pm ko would.
If it’s such a big treat (which I can just imagine how excited Tristan is especially!) then surely one day of tiredness is worth it.
Sorry buddy but you just seem to be moaning for the sake of moaning now! πŸ™‚

Simon: Boo Conor Henry, you and your knowledge of FIFA and the FA … Boo!!! 😦

Conor: I know, I love nothing better than a good James Bromley rant, but that is far from a good rant! Very disappointed in him 😦

Me: Lol I knew you’d pipe up at the mere mention of English football!  πŸ˜‰
FIFA do set fixtures but I think you’ll find they can be altered within an international week if requested and agreed by the appropriate FAs.
The tiredness issue is just one of a number of obstacles in the way of attending these games. On its own it may well be worth it but with everything else it’s a no no. Schools finish at 4pm. Not possible for anyone north of the M25 to get there on time. Even if it was played on the Tuesday at least the kids are off. A parent could could take a day off work but as we’re constantly told, we’re not allowed to take kids out of school.
It’s an issue that needs to be addressed…. And even if it’s out of their hands don’t act surprised when Wembley is empty πŸ˜‰
And it wasn’t a rant… It was a well constructed point of view :-p

Conor : But not every school in England has the same holidays, it differ s for every LEA some will start back on Monday for example some not until Friday.
There are also premiership matches on Sunday so if they play Tuesday the players would have a light session on the Monday to recover, a jog on Tuesday morning and then the match on Tuesday night with no proper training or opportunity to work on anything and then you would be moaning again.  So yes you are moaning for the sake of moaning 😜
It was very poorly constructed by the way.

Me: The majority of schools start back in the 3rd September. Other terms vary considerably but summer is pretty standard throughout πŸ™‚
Haha who do you think you are? Mourinho? I couldn’t give a rats arse if they do light jogging or a 3 day hike. I just want an opportunity to watch an England game with my kids. I don’t accept ‘that’s just the way it is’. There is always a better way…. It just needs people to look for it.
I thought you were a forward thinker…. :-p

Conor: Quick check of LEA holidays, Nottinghamshire schools start weds, Westminster schools Thursday, Lincolnshire schools Monday.
You have an opportunity to watch the game its just inconvenient for you because you don’t live near Wembley so you are having a moan. You have also spent many a year bemoaning England’s inability to compete internationally but now you want them to start a new qualification cycle with poor preparation just so it’s easier for you to go to the game????
Derbyshire Friday, Teesside Monday, Worcestershire Monday, Birmingham Monday. I think you are making it up that the majority of schools in England start on Wednesday πŸ˜‰

Me: Lol you’ve just picked the ones that aren’t Wednesday…. Yes I am having a moan that I can’t go and watch the national team. That’s allowed. The matches are not accessible to most fans. That’s a fact. Wherever the blame lies, whatever the reason that needs to change. The only way that might happen is if fans continue to make it clear………

Conor: I honestly havent just picked them, they are the only ones I checked. I could go through every LEA in England and give you a detailed analysis if you wish πŸ˜‰ Do you think Derbyshire put it back so all the kids in Derbyshire could attend? I dont get what the issue is? Do you want a ban on midweek football? Its a 2 hour car drive to Wembley from Nottingham, drive down and get the tube in from Nth London, I used to do it regularly from Worcester. I live 2 hrs from the Aviva Stadium.

Me: Yes I want every school holiday please! πŸ™‚
My issue is there’s going to be a whole generation of kids that have never had the opportunity to watch their national team. That’s sad. The National team should always have the biggest support but club teams are taking over because fans can watch them. The English FA and every person involved in football should be doing all they can to improve this before it’s too late.
2 hours?? Did you use a helicopter. I can assure you in midweek rush hour it will be double that :-p

Conor: I had a James Bond type car, that was able to get me through the floods in worcester then over the traffic on the M40 and into Cockfosters station in just over 2 hours, did it quite a few times for champs lge matches. Unfortunately Daniel Craig came along and demanded his car back – Prick!                                      And thats just rubbish! They play plenty of games on a weekend familys can go to if they cant get there on week night . Bigger issues maybe the fact that the premier league is such a bigproduct many fans arent interested in the International side in the same way. Years of under performance has led to a massive indifference, the cost of travel / tickets/ food etc for a family is prohibitive in a country coming out of recession.

Me: Ah I’d love an Aston Martin…  My little Honda isn’t exactly the same thing!! πŸ™‚
I completely agree that the domestic leagues and competitions are taking over. We all know that but enough isn’t being done to tackle it. Very rarely do they offer the ticket discounts club sides do. There’s little that can be done about travelling distances and costs but there is a hell of alot that can be done about ticketing, merchandise etc. A Wembley full of people with cheap tickets will always be better than a half full stadium of corporate ‘guests’ with no real interest in football. Get the fans in and they’ll stay. The problem is the Recession doesn’t affect those in high level football so they have no motivation to adapt to it. The gap between the public and professional football is growing and unless it’s addressed quickly it will only get worse.

Conor: So if not a lot can be done about travelling distances what the hell are you moaning about?
You know what ive just realised, your blog has really made it to the big time  now!! Award nominations and now you have your own personal Troll, me !!!! πŸ™‚

Me: You’re making the mistake of taking each of my points individually. The fact is there are a number of issues that make it difficult for fans to attend matches. They need to be considered collectively when matches are announced. Yes travelling distances are what they are. Wembley isn’t going to move. But when mid week matches are announced these need to be considered along with ticket prices, times etc.
Haha I know…. I like arguing with you. Half the time when I’m writing something I’m anticipating your response!! πŸ˜‰

Conor: Ok then so what would be your solution to England V Norway on a wednesday so your family could attend?
And I like our little arguments too, normally because I’m right & you’re wrong πŸ˜‰

Me: Play the game at the City Ground!! πŸ™‚
The international week is from 1st –  9th September. Switzerland on the 9th. Norway game on the Friday night? kids for a pound? Discount for families travelling via public transport? Priority tickets for competitive games? There’s loads of different possibilities. I know there’s no easy solution but as far as I can see there is no support. ‘This is the match, this is the cost, either get there or don’t bother’….. Leading to an empty stadium. I’m pretty sure there’s some inventive people within the FA!
I think you were right once…  And only because I was tired and couldn’t concentrate! πŸ˜‰

Conor: But if they play on the Friday night and then have to travel to Switzerland for a competitive match on a Monday night night what kind of recovery & preparation will the players have? The best fit for the matches is as they are now, it gives the players the maximum opportunity to perform for both club & country and surely as a supporter that should be the priority? Do the FA not already run Wembley season tickets and reductions/priority tickets through their official supporters club? And I’ve just looked at the price of the tickets, Β£10 kids, Β£20 adults. That’s a pretty good price these days for a senior international match.

Me: If that’s the case then priority needs to be put into encouraging people to attend these matches that are ridiculously difficult to make. There is a supporters club that offers first choice on tickets…. The issue is they are not selling them all so this doesn’t help. That may be the price now but initially the cheapest ticket was Β£30. They have discounted them closer to the game because of poor sales. This means that those who have to travel long distance can’t book our cheaper travel arrangements earlier without buying the expensive tickets. The whole process is not thought through…
So here’s an idea: match confirmed for midweek. Realising this is a difficult match to fill offer tickets at reduced rates. Β£1 kids. Β£20 family. Something like that.  People will beable to book their travel arrangements early, stadium will get filled. Team will have full support. It’s not rocket science. Then offer those who attend discounts on the next match. The FA need to produce a new generation of England fan quickly and encourage them to buy into the National Team. Do that and the money required will soon come in to pay off the stadium etc while building a fanbase for the future πŸ™‚

Conor: or …. I know this may sound crazy but what about this for an idea…. Win matches and play exciting football and then you can charge whatever the hell you want as the stadium will fill itself πŸ˜‰

Daniel: Good on you James. Totally right. The FA live in a dream world.

Me: Cheers Daniel – it’s a no brainer surely?!
Conor – haha yeah of course. If we were winning things I’m sure they could charge what they like. It’s basic supply and demand. But that’s not going to happen anytime soon so the FA have to be flexible in their approach and work with the fans. They’re stubborn and that’s going to ultimately affect the crowds.

Conor: Ok admittedly they could have charged a lower price originally but even then they offered a family ticket for Β£60. But I really can’t see what else they could have done regards the timing and date of the match. I think the person being stubborn here is you, ya big numpty! πŸ˜‰

Me: + Β£150 to get there, Β£8 each for a hotdog + Β£5 each for a drink + Β£40 each for a England shirt….  Bargain!
I’m not being stubborn. If they genuinely don’t have an influence in the date of an international which I’m pretty sure isn’t true, they need to make amendments to everything else otherwise they may as well have it behind closed doors.

Conor: You don’t have to buy shirts and you could drive.

Me: Car parking at Wembley Stadium is Β£30, petrol costs looking at about Β£75 plus rush hour traffic…. Sounds awesome. πŸ˜‰
Kids always want the latest shirts which are changed every 3 months or something ridiculous like that.

Conor: How much are you paying for fuel?? Are you driving a hummer? Park at a tube station further out you will avoid a lot of traffic, it’s cheaper & u get in & out quicker. Oh and learn the word no!

Me: It costs a hell of a lot sitting in rush hour traffic for four hours there and back πŸ˜‰
But the point was with the time and day of the game there wouldn’t be time to park further out….
You’re just arguing for the sake of it now! Lol As I said before if it was JUST the distance, or JUST the day, or JUST the time, or JUST the cost then ok but it’s not. It’s all of it and THAT’S the problem. πŸ™‚

I love a good debate. Thanks Conor Henry πŸ™‚

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OK so there’s our views.. Differing. Is love to hear your thoughts on this subject. England and non-England fans…  Should the FA be doing more to encourage fans, in particular young fans, to England games??