The Unwanted Interruption of an International Break

I think most football fans are creatures of habit.  The entire process of watching football is very ritualistic.  Same time; same place; same seat.  Same chant; same pie; same result.  Football provides a welcome oasis of stability in an otherwise ever-shifting desert landscape.

Seven games into the new Premier League season and things are just beginning to get interesting––which Manchester club is topping the table?; which minnow is showing early promise?; will Crystal Palace go an entire season without scoring?––when we come to an international break.  The entire fabric of life is put on hold: time; place; seat; chant; pie, result.

And it is not even as though it is the first international break of the new season.  We already had one back at the start of September when the season was only a couple of games old.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I enjoy watching England play football as much as anyone.  It’s just that I can’t hack the upheaval it brings to my life.  It is a sentiment, which is often expressed by Premier League and Championship managers, but spare a thought for us football fans, too.

In an ideal world, I want to see my favourite players producing top class performances for England, just so long as they still roll out every Saturday––every Saturday, mind––at 3 o’clock for both my club team and my fantasy team.   I am certainly not advocating the model of Rugby Union, where club matches proceed during international weekends fielding weakened teams where they are missing their star players to international duty, although that would throw an intriguing random element––spanner––into the football league.

I want a Utopian glut of football coexisting side-by-side­­––both international fixtures and Premier League––but I know that they cannot coincide.  Club versus country is a debate of longstanding.  There is nothing that I can do.  And this is the heart of the problem: without my regular Saturday 3 o’clock fix of time and place and seat and chant and pie and result, I don’t have anywhere to go to whinge and rant, so instead I must wait two weeks, silently stewing, impotently immobile, until the fixed points within the routine of my life are restored again.

Football in the autumn leaves
Normal life on hold.

@ Donnie Blake


Donnie Blake would gladly kick the October international break into the long grass.


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