The past few seasons have seen Tottenham Hotpsur travel to such far-flung (from England) locales as Asia and North America for pre-season tours. Despite a recently announced friendly against Sydney FC in Australia, Mauricio Pochettino has stated that Spurs will not travel abroad ahead of next season's Premier League campaign.
According to tweets from Press Association journo Simon Peach:
Pochettino says "it's never proper for the team to go at the beginning of the season to go to Asia or America" & that Levy backed decision.— Simon Peach (@SimonPeach) March 6, 2015
Pochettino: "The first period of pre-season, the first seven weeks, is very important for our style and to set the basis of the team"— Simon Peach (@SimonPeach) March 6, 2015
Pochettino: "The aim is to combine the business responsibilities of the club with the sporting needs of the team"— Simon Peach (@SimonPeach) March 6, 2015
This will no doubt be a disappointment to Spurs fans who live overseas and were hoping that their annual tour would take them to a part of the world where they live. Last year's tour to the United States and Canada, sponsored by kit-makers UnderArmor, was massively popular with American Spurs fans, and gave them a very unique and rare opportunity to see their favorite club in person. Oversea tours are more than just pre-season friendlies: they are marketing tools that increase the club's brand throughout the globe. Teams like Manchester United, Liverpool, Real Madrid, and Bayern Munich have global brands aided in part by their teams' willingness to go to where pockets of new fans are.
However, these tours have been criticized by some (mostly British) fans as ignoring home supporters, and there are allegations that they are actually detrimental to the teams' preseason preparation. Pochettino's decision certainly seems to indicate that he agrees with that sentiment, and it also implies a real intent to prepare his team for the rigors of the EPL season.
I appreciate the idea that a solid base of preseason preparation without the distraction of a major trip overseas can help Spurs as they prepare for a very important Premier League season. However, after having watched Tottenham Hotspur for the first time ever in person, and having spoken to several Spurs players last summer in Chicago, I can't help but feel disappointed that it may be years before I see Spurs on American soil again.