Travelling halfway around the world for an unnecessary game: Newcastle-Spurs friendly raises many issues with football


With a gruelling Premier League season finally complete, it seems like a great time for a rest.

It was stressful enough labouring through 760 games, surely, we the fans, now deserve a break.

Wrong, and doubly wrong if you’re a player for either Newcastle United or Tottenham Hotspur. Both teams are travelling Down Under for a vital fixture against each other.

What’s this? Some mystical play-off between fifth and seventh, for a place in the new ‘Europa Nonsense League’?

Ok, I’ll stop, I think you get the point.

If you weren’t aware, the two English clubs are facing each other, at the MCG, on Wednesday – in a friendly.

The news has been met with fury, albeit only by those who actually know the game is going ahead, with former Newcastle striker Alan Shearer calling it “madness” and “crazy.”

Who can blame him, with Spurs flying out just hours after their final Premier League game of the season?

Managers love to bemoan the compactness of the footballing schedule, and it’s easy to see why.

Spurs have played competitive 40 games this season, a small amount compared to their fellow Premier League teams who are in European competitions.

The global footballing schedule is expanding massively, with countless international qualifiers, and a new 36-team Champions League next season.

The #Spurs boys have arrived in Melbourne to train for the friendly v Newcastle #THFC #COYS

— Jonny H (@JonnyH3232) May 21, 2024

The Premier League chief executive, Richard Masters, described it as a “tipping point” with the number of games teams are asked to play.

As a result, decisions have been made to address this issue in England, but as is the way with football, only the big teams seem to have been considered.

This upcoming season will be the last to have FA Cup replays from the first round onwards.

As a fan of a League Two team, I know how FA Cup replays are crucial to the finances of smaller clubs, potentially being the difference between affording some staff’s wages or not.

Despite this, the Premier League clubs, who only enter in Round 3, have huffed and puffed so much that the FA’s metaphorical house has fallen into their demands.

This is beyond reason, with the big clubs deciding if those in the lower league get extra revenue, even though they aren’t affected.

Feeling the love in Melbourne ????????????

— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) May 21, 2024

Hang on…What’s this got to do with Spurs v Newcastle?

Well, it just seems absurd that managers can complain so much about fixture congestion yet can happily justify a trip to Australia.

The decision-makers in football only care about greed for themselves, complaining about player welfare, before happily throwing their sporting robots in front of another set of adoring fans.

However, I think there’s another issue with this game that has avoided the media coverage.

A private jet, from London to Melbourne, emits just shy of 5400kg of CO2 for a round trip, with the total emissions that contribute to the warming effect being over 10,000 kg of different gases.

WATCH |>> Ange speaks to Sky Sports after arriving in Melbourne. #THFC | #COYS | #TTID

— That Tottenham Feed  (@Tottenham_Feed) May 21, 2024

For both teams, that makes 20,000 kg of pollution. For context, that is the same level of emissions of a Ford Ranger (Australia’s most-bought car in 2024) If it were to drive from the East Coast to the West Coast almost 20 times.

All these calculations ignore Arsenal women’s trip to Melbourne to play the A-League All Stars.

I get the appeal of the match, of course I do; Ange’s return home, and a chance to see some world-class footballers.

All I ask is if it is really necessary.

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If sport really cares about its future, then it must address the climate issue, or risk being irrevocably changed by a climate disaster it not only failed to stop – but deeply worsened.

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