How football is failing to sort itself out Part 2: Green football off the agenda



By Tony Attwood

At the start of February this year there was quite a bit of talk about a Green Football Weekend where supporters could work with their clubs to take action on climate change.

Sky Sports backed the campaign as “the world’s largest climate-football campaign” which it announced was returning for a second year.  The campaign even had its own website.

I am not sure if Newcastle United or Tottenham Hotspur did anything about it, but I do recall once or twice a Tottenham Hotspur manager complaining about fixture congestion or in simple English playing too many games.

Mind you Tottenham did do something about this by only playing one game in the League Cup and two matches in the FA Cup, so I think we have to give them credit for that.

But given that the EPL injury table shows Newcastle with eight men out and Tottenham with nine men down, going travelling at this time of year doesn’t really make any sort of sense other than the fact that the clubs need the income, because of questions about their Financial Fair Play position. 

Which again seems odd if, as some Tottenham supporters have told us, over and over, their stadium generates the most profit for the club of any stadium in the league.  How could having that stadium operating all season, earning more than any other stadium, not give them enough income to ensure they can buy whomever they want without having to go to Australia for a one-off?

Tottenham ended up 25 points behind the league winners last campaign, and although the league winners are under investigation, even if they do get points deducted, Tottenham would still be 23 points behind the newly appointed league winners.

No, the Tottenham trip raises two questions: one it questions their green credentials and two it questions their financial well-being.

But of course I am aware that Arsenal’s women are also now in Australia and I find that also really silly – they are playing the A-League All-Stars team.   I don’t think Arsenal should be doing that, and certainly I don’t think the fact that Arsenal women having gone to Australia, can excuse Tottenham’s team going there.

As I know, having done the trip a number of times, it is over 10,000 miles to Australia.  My defence for making the journey last Christmas and in previous years (covid allowing) is that I want to see my daughter and my grandchildren, and indeed that whether I go or not, the flight is there – it is not put on for me.  I use a scheduled airline flight.

But the flight for these footballers would not happen if it were not for the one-off fixture, and certainly it means that stuff such as the Premier League’s green weekend unleashing, “the power of football to rally fans and families to take action on climate changes” is once more football treating us with contempt.

And this I think is a major concern.  We are being treated as idiots – people so stupid that we can’t actually see the contradictions going on.  There are already far too many international matches going on between countries and clubs for end-of-season fly-by matches to be added to the list.

For we already have Arsenal playing Manchester United and Liverpool in Los Angeles and Philadelphia in July.  And the argument is being put forth of Premier League games being rescheduled to be played in the States.

Plus of course, we have the fact that England’s first warm-up match for Euro 2024 is against Bosnia is on June 3.  

And let’s consider Newcastle.  League matches, league cup, FA Cup and Champions League.  Total 51 games and multiple injuries.  And now a trip to Australia.   They too like Tottenham must be really worried about Financial Fair Play to take this on.

Plus of course the Pre-season tours.  Tottenham are going to Japan and South Korea, Newcastle are going to Japan and Germany.  At least as far as we know, Arsenal are just going to the United States which is bad enough but not as bad as the others.

And at least Arsenal have one compensation: they only used 22 players to start league games last season, although three more did come on just as substitutes.   It does mean that there is some space in the squad for the new season in terms of the Premier League.   The low-starting players were…

Thomas Partey (nine starts, five substitute appearances), Aaron Ramsdale (six starts), Emile Smith Rowe (three starts, 10 substitute appearances), Fabio Vieira (two starts, nine sub appearances), Reiss Nelson (one start 14 substitute appearances), Jurien Timber (one and one).   We also had three players who only came on as subs…  Soares, Elneny and Nwaneri.

Some will leave, we don’t yet know who, but more to the point these summer trips are getting utterly out of hand.

4 Replies to “How football is failing to sort itself out Part 2: Green football off the agenda”

  1. Tony,
    I live in Florida, US. We may still be allowed by the state government to say the word ‘green’ but as of last week it is illegal to say or use ‘climate change’ in any official discourse. Ignorant to a fault, The Governor and like minded idiots refer to it as “the Free State of Florida”. I think it was announced during a book banning. Florida has two industries, Agriculture and Tourism. The lack of, or weak, environmental protections allows one to eat the other. I live on the Gulf Cast and we recently had dead fish and other sea life wash up on the beaches for more than 30 miles! I’ll spare you the details. Agricultural runoff killed the fish which then killed a years’ income for the businesses along the shore. Sorry for the rant but it seems ‘Green’ is always off the agenda.

  2. @goonersince72. Altough I have only visited Florida three times, I had the distinct impression that it was a low lying flatland (in the south). You would think that they would have an attitude towards climate change more akin to that of a Pacific atoll.

  3. My understanding is that many of the Arsenal Women who have travelled to Australia are required to mainrain full training prior to a full round of internationals in early June. Those with knocks or who have recovered from ACL injuries haven’t travelled, nor have those whose contracts have expired or who are expected to leave the club this summer. Manu Zinsberger’s partner is expecting a baby soon so she also hasn’t travelled. Our Australian Players, Steph Catley, Kyra Cooney-Cross, and Caitlin Foord will all be joining their National Colleagues after the game.

    There are a number of youngsters who have also travelled. Defenders, Teyah Goldie, Katie Reid, Midfielders Freya Godfrey, Leila Herbert and Maddy Earl and Forward Vivienne Lia

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