The final dreaded fortnight-long international break is currently with us, and club football action is set to resume again over Easter with Fulham due next at the Carra. But that is not before everyone associated with clubs, that had their players in action, fretting over the possible consequences of one bad tackle, especially the 'business end of the season' although this doesn't apply to Norwich City now that we have nothing to play for other than pride.
We have often heard managers of several clubs air their grievances, often publicly, against international breaks, and the period is never short of controversy due to a constant club vs. country tug-of-war. Especially when a lot of international fixtures are meaningless and involve slug paced football with no competitive edge and multi substitutions.
Club football usually takes a fortnight-long break once each in September, October and November before one final round of international fixtures in March. The first three breaks, though, are during the first half of the season, when teams are looking to build momentum towards achieving their objectives for the season.
However, there are certain teams that are bereft of any early season momentum, heading into these breaks. For them, this period without a game on a weekend couldn’t come at a better time to allow them to take stock of everything that’s going wrong and hopefully shake off the early season cobwebs.
For instance, this season, The Canaries seemed to be going through a rut that has become all too familiar now back in the Championship with the ultimate embarrassment being the 4-0 hammering provided by Millwall at the Den just before the first break in September. However, the international break gave Daniel Farke given the chance reclaim his wits about him and start with a clean slate again. His plan was really refreshing. Two weeks to work with the squad who were still at Colney having not been selected for international squads. The result was a 1-0 victory at home to Birmingham and a nine game unbeaten run.
Also on the City of Yellows Blog:
With some of his returning key players enjoying an upturn in form and having between Ipswich 1-0 in late October, we believed a league challenge was on. The international break may have been the catalyst for improvement? Before the second break in November, again City had started to slump with four straight defeats. On return, we hit a mixed bag of results this time.
For me, I have always been club before country and would not swap international success for a domestic City honour. If like me you think breaks are a pain, just wait until we eventually play a World Cup surrounded by sand in Qatar, the domestic fixtures lists will be well and truly cocked up and whilst I'm keen on Footy and Cricket, sacrifices will have to made.
The latest international gimmick is to extend the European and World Championship to even more teams at the finals. Even more meaningless, dull non competitive matches not to whet your appetite.
As a lad, professional football ended on one Saturday and cricket season started the following week, football now lasts about 10 months a year and even then it doesn't really switch off, just ask parents who take their kids to summer five-a-side tournaments!