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What if we just gave up international football?

Which would you have rather watched: England-Norway or Aston Villa-anybody?

Laurence Griffiths

Let's abolish international football.

Okay, perhaps that's a bit too much, but if you actually stopped to think about it, would you really be all that heartbroken if it happened? Yes, we'd miss the World Cup. We'd miss the Euro competition. And we'd miss... England taking on noted football powerhouse Norway in front of a crowd that set the wrong kind of record for size. International breaks are the worst part of every season, and if they disappeared the Premier League would be better for it.

And in their place we would have had another weekend of league play. Glorious, wonderful league play. League play that had just begun and was getting some momentum only to be halted so that the United States could play the Czech Republic in a meaningless friendly.

Even worse than the halting of the league football that we all love is the fact that these often meaningless matches can actually adversely affect said league football. We were all excited, as Aston Villa fans, to see Fabian Delph get a start for England. But would we be as excited if Delph had broken his leg? Where do our loyalties truly lay, with club or country? For me, I'd much rather see Brad Guzan fully healthy in goal for Aston Villa than for the United States. I imagine many of you feel the same way.

And what could we have in the place of international football? What if it were done away with? Well, if people still insisted on an unnatural break in the league schedule, we could move Champions League play to this weekend. Teams in the Champions would appreciate the impact that would have on fixture congestion. Fans would appreciate the chance to watch those matches on a weekend. Networks would love to have more eyes on those matches rather than having a dead weekend.

Obviously the abolishment of international football will never happen, and I suppose realistically I wouldn't want it to. I would miss the World Cup. And in order to have the World Cup you must have qualifiers. And in order to have qualifiers, coaches must have friendlies to pick their best teams And in order... you get the point. But every single year the sudden halt of the season is maddening. Aston Villa have just gotten new players in the window and now we have to wait to see them! Hooray! That's great entertainment value!

I get the appeal of international football, but I sometimes wonder if the big payoff is worth all of the annoyance in between. Yes, the World Cup is wildly entertaining. But I'd enjoy all of those extra weekends of club football even more. Thankfully, this break is over. Now we can get back to Aston Villa until... mid-October. Great.