Chelsea are no different to any other club with regards to a busy pre season schedule and traveling far and wide is now the expected norm for preparation for a new season. I very much appreciate our supporters from all over the world and it’s quite amazing how big our fan base has become during the last twenty years or so. As a kid growing up in Essex during the 80’s and 90’s I was fascinated if I saw someone wearing a Chelsea shirt in my local town centre!

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As we all know there’s a lot of money in football now and marketing to be done in various different countries for sponsorship reasons and developing our fan base worldwide. It’s also fantastic for those supporters to have the opportunity to see their heroes in the flesh despite it being a pre season game.

However, I do question how beneficial this is to the players and preparation for a new season and surely that should be the most important thing above all. From a footballing point of view it has to be more beneficial to be playing pre season friendlies in the UK.

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Who remembers the games against teams like Plymouth, Gillingham, Southend, Kingstonian etc? In the 1990’s Chelsea did compete in pre season tournaments on English soil including the Makita Tournament and the Umbro International Cup Tournaments. As I’ve already said I know these aren’t high profile but it was certainly beneficial to the team and preparations. Unfortunately now it’s all about exhibition matches against teams like Real Madrid and Barcelona on the other side of the world. Sometimes beating a lower league team six or seven nil in pre season can really increase a player’s confidence.

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Think of Chelsea’s pre season this summer. Started in Ireland, then onto Japan, back to England for one friendly, then onto Austria and Germany. The team then head to Manchester for the opening game of the season. It should also be noted the European Super Cup showdown against Liverpool is shortly after this in Istanbul.

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I’m not making excuses but looking at what is really beneficial for a team preparing for a Premier League season. The most important thing is players fitness during pre season and playing in difficult conditions and being on long flights isn’t helpful to the cause.

Written By Chris Wright