The weekend saw a number of newspapers – The Mirror and The Sun amongst them – reporting that Manchester United are considering playing a series of overseas friendlies if they fail to secure European football for next season.
Whilst this may initially seem a reasonable approach to replacing the lost revenue as they miss out on Europe’s top table feeding frenzy, it’s surely questionable as to whether it will serve their long term needs.
Both of the papers mentioned have chosen the same headline for their pieces. “Chumpions League” is the phrase that appears contrived to mock the logic behind the approach. Whilst it’s not overly difficult to imagine the financial power-brokers at Old Trafford searching through options to fill what they expect, and probably require, to be a one year absence from European competition, there’s a certain contrary nature to the proposal.
Should United fall short this season, which seems increasingly likely to be the case, the best way to remedy this malady would be to have a greatly improved performance in the league next term. It therefore has to be questioned whether flying out the squad for midweek journeys to the USA or the Far East is conducive to making that happen.
Long flights and meaningless games are not ideal preparations for the rough and tumble of the Premier League, and that surely has to be the club’s main concern in the medium term.
It could of course be argued that lesser players could be deployed on these foreign excursions, but if the whole idea is to generate money for the club, it’s inevitable that sponsors laying out big money to get Manchester United to play will expect the likes of Rooney,Van Persie and similar stellar names to turn up.
Merely having a few squad players and younger stars trying to break into the team filling the shirts probably won’t cut the ice.
Failure to qualify for Europe was always going to be a problem for Manchester United, both in terms of lost revenue and in their ability to attract players of the highest calibre. Whilst such schemes as a parade of foreign friendlies may on the surface seem a simple resolution, it may just exacerbate their woes rather than solve them.
For more from All Blue Daze: