Season 3 Episode 35

Pre-season Tours

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Episode Notes

The Premier League has confirmed its first pre-season tournament in the USA will take place this July, with six clubs travelling to take part in matches and events in five major East Coast cities.

The clubs confirmed to feature in the Premier League Summer Series are Aston Villa, Brentford, Brighton & Hove Albion, Chelsea, Fulham and Newcastle United.

They will compete in a total of nine matches between Saturday 22 July and Sunday 30 July across Atlanta, New Jersey Orlando, Philadelphia and Maryland.


  1. Meaningful: important or valuable
    ”The Premier League are looking for ways to play more meaningful matches around the world.”

  2. Commercial: related to making money by buying and selling things
    ”Pre-season tours are ofter for commercial reasons.”

  3. Greed: a very strong wish to continuously get more of something
    ”The club’s greed forced them to prioritise overseas tours over player fitness.”


Tommy - 00:00:
The Premier League has confirmed its first preseason tournament in the USA will take place this July, with six clubs travelling to take part in matches and events in five major East Coast cities. The clubs confirmed to feature in the Premier League Summer Series are Aston Villa, Brentford, Brighton and Hove Albion, Chelsea, Fulham and Newcastle United. They will compete in a total of nine matches between Saturday, the 22nd of July and Sunday, the 30th of July across at Atlanta, New Jersey, Orlando, Philadelphia and Maryland.



Tommy - 01:11:
That's right, yeah. Also, this tournament has just been announced recently by the Premier League, so I thought it was a good time to chat about what is becoming a big part of Premier League football.



Tommy - 02:39:
There's one thing I also want to pick up quickly. Premier League teams have played in America for a long time, many teams. Every year there's probably a team that travels there. The difference this year is that it's a Premier League tournament, so it's actually the Premier League who have organised this tournament for six teams. Whereas in the past it was maybe one team on their own, or one and two teams kind of get together with a promoter in America and they put on their own tour. This is the first time the Premier League have done it in America.


Tommy - 03:15:
Yeah, they've had the Asia Trophy before, but this is the first time in America. So let's start with some vocabulary. The first word I chose today is meaningful: "important or valuable." For example, "the Premier League are looking for ways to play more meaningful matches around the world."

日本語、meaningful= 意味あるもの。プレシーズンてね、やっぱりプレシーズンだなっていう感じが、僕あるんだけど、トミーは好き?

Tommy - 03:41: No, I don't care to watch pre-season matches. They're usually pretty boring, really, so, yeah, not that important to me.


Tommy - 04:08:
Even if he is playing very well and everyone wants to see him, it's still not a meaningful match. People go to see Mbappe, they don't go see the match.


Tommy - 04:24:
Yeah, if there's no points, then it's not meaningful.

Tommy - 04:28:
The second word is commercial: related to making money by buying and selling things. For example, "preseason tours are often for commercial reasons."


Tommy - 04:44:
That's right. And there's also commercial, as in CM, like advertising. But in this case, we use it for money, financial reasons. And the third word this week is greed: a very strong wish to continuously get more of something. For example, "the club's greed forced them to prioritise overseas tours over player fitness.”


Tommy - 05:09:
Greed. Yeah, it's a very strong word, this. You spell it G-R-E-E-D. Greed. Or you can be greedy. I think that sums up football in general, actually. Greed. Everyone's very greedy in football. Players, agents, clubs, broadcasting companies. Everyone is just greedy. Everyone wants more money.


Tommy - 05:35:
Definitely. And who pays for this? The fans. Us.

So let's jump straight into it. Let's talk about our thoughts on this sort of thing. In the past, I think most Premier League teams stayed local. They'd play like three or four matches against lower league teams, usually from around their local area. So London teams would play smaller teams from around London. Then maybe they'd go and travel somewhere in Europe for a week or so. Maybe Spain where it's nice and warm, playing against other local teams in Spain or whatever country. They'd come back to their home country and then play maybe one or two big fixtures against foreign teams at home to try and make some money that way from ticket sales. These days it's all about how far you can travel and how much money you can make.


Tommy - 07:07:
Yeah, I saw there was an interview actually done with Wenger towards the end of his reign as Arsenal manager, where he said, these days he can't fight these tours, he just has to let them happen because the club needs the money. They need to pay off the stadium they built and things like that. So he gave up, basically, trying to fight these tours. It was just inevitable.


Tommy - 08:18:
It's a very interesting point. I think one of the big reasons for this is because promoters don't want to pay for a team that might not be Premier League next season. You don't want to go and pay for Southampton to come to America if Southampton are not in the Premier League anymore.

Tommy - 08:34:
Yeah, it doesn't make sense. West Ham are actually going to Australia, so there's a chance that they will be a Championship team when they go.


Tommy - 09:20:
Definitely has an impact. I agree. I don't know if it's the first thing that they think about, though. I think there is still a lot of money in America, and that's probably -- the combination of money and comfort for their players. Saudi Arabia has the money, probably doesn't have as much comfort. America just has both. So it makes it a natural choice.


Tommy - 09:49:
That's right. It's quite rare, actually. In the past, I believe most clubs go to the West Coast. I've seen a couple of clubs in Toronto and New York and things like that around the East Coast, but I feel like they go to the West Coast just because the weather is a little bit nicer.

So just on some of the positive things that I think about these tours. First of all, it's great. I mean, fans around the world get to see their team. You and I can see our teams in our home country. That's an opportunity that is very important I believe. Everyone should have the ability to see their team, and it helps make you more involved with that team, and it also creates new fans as well. So I think it's a very important part and a very good part of these tours.


Tommy - 11:17:
And I think that also, that positive environment has a good impact on the players too, because, for example, teams in England, there's a lot of negativity around football from your fans, from the media. It gives you a chance in pre-season, maybe a week or two, of just having positive things around you. The local fans are just so happy that you're there. I'm sure as a player, that makes you feel good, that you enjoy that feeling. I think that's definitely a positive thing.


Tommy - 11:55:
I think it probably has an impact, maybe not a big impact, but definitely, it will help a little bit, and that can help team spirit. When you're building up this team spirit, you've got new players coming into the team, it can be very important to have a positive environment. So I think that helps.

I said last week, actually, at our event in Tokyo, one of my favourite ever football moments was Tottenham visiting Sydney in 2015. It was just an amazing event to have my team play in my city, going to watch with my friends and my family. That's just an amazing experience to have. And I'm also going to Thailand in July to watch Spurs. So football takes you places that you wouldn't normally go. It allows you to meet people you wouldn't normally meet. So I think that's another massive positive of these preseason tours.


Tommy - 13:07:
I don't think it'll be that great for Spurs. Maybe not as exciting for them, but there's a big Thai supporters club for Tottenham over there, so, yeah, that's what I look forward to, meeting those local Thai Spurs fans, just making new friends around the world. It's amazing.


Tommy - 13:46:
I was very surprised, the price that people paid for PSG as well. I imagine most people probably looked at it and said, maybe I only get one chance in my life to see Messi, Mbappe, Neymar. I'll pay whatever it costs. So I can understand that. I don't think I would pay it. Not for me. What about you? Would you go and see PSG?


Tommy - 14:37:
Yeah and this is an interesting part of these tours, is how much of that money goes to the club, how much of it goes to the organiser of the tour. I imagine that all goes to the organiser of the tour and then they give the club an agreed fee. Maybe it's 50%, maybe it's 30% of whatever they make. I'm not sure. There's not really any information on how that works, but crazy amount of money.


Tommy - 15:15:
It will be a big match, but I read that it's not going to be the United first team. It's like younger players against Wrexham. Otherwise, Wrexham would have no chance. But yeah, that'll be a fun game to watch, actually.


Tommy - 15:40:
I think they'll get up.

Some of the negatives about these two. I think there are definitely negatives. The biggest negative for me is that it can't be good for players in terms of the travel, the time away from home. They travel enough for international football, they play enough football during the season, they're travelling a lot to games. You could leave them at home for an extra couple of weeks to just refresh mentally whilst they're doing this hard preseason training.


Tommy - 16:10:
Yes, I wanted to mention that today, actually. That was crazy. They did that twice, actually.


Tommy - 16:17:
So the one that I mentioned before in Sydney, that was actually a post-season tour. That was a week after they played Everton in the last game of the Premier League season, 2015. They went to Malaysia, played on the Wednesday and then they came to Sydney and played on the Saturday. That's terrible. As a player, you've just finished, you want to go on holiday and you're being sent to Malaysia and Australia.


Tommy - 16:45:
Definitely, yeah. Having said that, it did allow the players to be a bit more relaxed because they weren't training as hard. All of their hard work was done so they could just kind of relax and just enjoy the tour as well. As opposed to a pre-season tour when it's all about preparation and really training hard.


Tommy - 17:08:
Yeah, I don't know, actually, it's a tough one.


Tommy - 17:44:
Yeah, definitely. And maybe you do this tour once every two or three years. You don't need to do it every year, I don't think. I think also this travel can't be great for global warming. There's that issue. And I think also the money that used to go to lower league clubs, as I mentioned earlier, usually, you play local teams around your team. That money has been taken away from those teams and is just making these Premier League clubs richer. The Premier League clubs are already very rich and now they're getting even more money, but also taking away opportunities for the smaller clubs, which is definitely a negative for me.

One of my other big -- this one I could have put on the Pet Peeves episode, actually. This is a big pet peeve with pre-season: I don't think Premier League teams should play each other. I don't want to see Man United vs Liverpool in pre-season or Tottenham against Chelsea in pre-season. Premier League games are sacred. They're so important. I should only watch that twice a season. I don't need to see it pre-season. And even worse than that is a derby. Spurs versus Arsenal in pre-season is just...ugh, no way. No, thank you.


Tommy - 19:07:
Exactly. Yeah, I don't like that at all. As I say, we see enough of those games during the season. You want to see different teams, you want to see your team play against new opposition and new experiences and things like that. So, I'm not a fan of that.


Tommy - 19:32:
My last one, then, similar: don't give out trophies. You can't win a trophy for a pre-season tournament.


Tommy - 19:46:
That doesn't count. Yeah, Spurs have won a few. It doesn't count. That's just garbage, it's pre-season. As we said, they're not meaningful matches, they're just for practise.


Tommy - 20:05:
Not really. I remember Tottenham in 2008, they played, I think, seven pre-season games. They won all of them, including the last pre-season game, they beat Roma 5-0. And everyone's like, oh, yeah, we've got a really good team, we're going to do really well this season. That was the season they got two points from the first eight games and then sacked the manager. So pre-season, really, it doesn't give you any indication of how good your team is because everyone's at a different point. Some teams have been playing pre-season matches for two weeks, some have been playing for four weeks, some seasons don't start till late August or early September, so you can't really compare, I don't think, in pre-season. So you can't place any value on the results.


Jリーグのクラブのツアー先も調べてみました。J1とJ2は、ほぼ宮崎、鹿児島、沖縄です。日程は1月中旬から始まって、10日から2週間程度。なぜ、そこに行くかというと、J1とJ2同士で試合をしたいんだろうなってのが、一番かな。 楽だから。けど、海外に行ってるチームも何チームが出てきてて、川崎が去年、タイ、ベトナムツアー、セレッソもタイに行ってて、広島がトルコ、昔ね、ベルマーレもアンタルヤ、トルコの地域に行ってるのも、これなんか何でここいくんだろうなって、面白いかな。神戸がアメリカツアーに楽天の力でいってましたね。一番うまくやっているのは、実践とマーケティングを活用しながら、札幌のチャナティップ。タイのメッシって言われてる彼が、タイ遠征をするとやっぱりムーブメント起きるっていうふうに思う。Jリーグも、シーズン前にそういうことをやり始めてんのかなっていうのは面白い話題だと思います。

Tommy - 22:07:
I think one of the most interesting parts of this is the J.League pre-season is in winter, so that takes these teams to warm places. That's why Okinawa, Thailand, Vietnam, places like that. The Premier League teams are different because it's summer in England, so there's not as much of a necessity to go to a warm place. But yeah, definitely in the J.League. If you're doing preseason training, you don't want to be doing that in winter.


Tommy - 23:19:
I don't know what you'd call these...mid-season games? Mid-season, yeah, rather than pre-season is a strange thing. These players probably should have a holiday rather than been playing more football.


Tommy -:
So that's what I said before. It's all about money, then, isn't it? These teams want money. Yeah, it's not good for the players, it's good for the club's bank account.


Tommy - 24:06:
Yeah, exactly. And that would be great, I think. Then you'd probably even see more teams coming to Japan because it lines up perfectly. Both teams have pre-season. I think it just work out well.


Tommy - 24:36:
There's also one connected part of this whole story, which is something that is called Game 39. Currently, in the Premier League, each team plays 38 games. Back in, I think, around 2012, Richard Scudamore, who was the CEO of the Premier League, he kind of raised the idea of playing a 39th round of fixtures around the world. So, for example, you might have Manchester United against West Ham in Asia. You might have Chelsea against Liverpool in America. Every team would play somewhere around the world as a 39th match. Which, if there's a worse idea, football, I haven't heard it. This just sounds absolutely terrible and I hope it never, ever happens.


Tommy - 25:32:
NFL. That's right.


Tommy - 25:37:
Exactly. Yeah. I just don't see how this is a good idea for any sport but football particularly, because everything about it is the fans, right? It should be about fans going to see their local team tours. Pre-season tours are great. I think they're a good idea but you can't have a real match played somewhere around the world.


Tommy - 26:05:
Yes. And Copa del Rey, I think? the Spanish one. Also, I think Boco v River played in Spain. It's just taking football away from the fans, the local area, the local people, and that's not right for me.


Tommy - 26:29:
Exactly. Tottenham could come and play at the field next to my house and I would be unhappy. I'd be very unhappy because it's just not right. You play home games in London, you play away games around the rest of England, then you can play your pre-season games anywhere around the world. Keep it that way.


Tommy - 26:56:
So that kind of covers pre-season tours. We also want to talk maybe in the future about pre-season training and what kind of happens there, because that's another interesting part of pre-season. Maybe we do that towards the end of this season or at the beginning of next season.


Tommy - 27:20:
So last week we had our first-ever live podcast event in Tokyo and it was a big success. First of all, a massive thank you to everyone who came along to see the show. We met some really nice people. It was great to talk to everyone, to put on a little show. I don't know, it felt kind of strange to have that. But it was really fun and really nice. So, again, thank you so much to everyone who came.


Tommy - 28:18:
Yeah, I'm still working on it. I would like to release it, but we'll see. There's a couple of problems as we go throughout the show. We spoke to some of the guests and had them come and talk, and at that point, our microphones kind of turned a bit strange. I'm trying to edit to see if we can get something out there, but maybe not.


Tommy - 28:57:
I loved that a few of our guests actually did it in three-point style like we do. That was amazing.


Tommy - 29:13:
So, again, thank you so much. It was really, really humbling, really nice to meet people, and thank you very much for all your support.


Tommy - 29:26:
Yeah, exactly. Yeah, cool. All right, well, thank you very much. If you have any thoughts on pre-season tours, if you're excited to see any matches this summer, if you've travelled somewhere interesting to watch a pre-season match, please let us know. We'd love to hear from you. You can contact us via our website or via Twitter, and we'll see you again next time. Thank you very much.

皆様からのお便り、お待ちしております。皆さんが経験したプレシーズン、あとは行ってみたい試合など。、お便りお待ちしております。サッカーと英語、ポッドキャストを調べていただくと、我々のページ上の方に来ると思います。各回の放送のコメント欄がありますので、そちらにコメントを待ち取ります。実は、Webページでは文字起こしを挑戦中です。来年に向けて、サブスクができないかっていうのをちょっと考えてるので、文字起こししながら文章を僕たちの英語と日本語読んでいくと、かなり音が入ってくるかなと思いますので、ホームページ、ぜひとも見てください。それではまた来週です。Bye for now.

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