Sports editor Mark Lea’s column: Friendlies are waste of time and money – we want real action

Spalding striker Tom Waumsley takes on Holbeach defender Jonny Clay during Saturday's friendly
Spalding striker Tom Waumsley takes on Holbeach defender Jonny Clay during Saturday's friendly
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Thankfully the pre-season programme is almost over and the real action will kick off soon.

Although it’s refreshing to have a summer break, this is always an exciting time for football fans – unless, of course, your favourite club looks set to give more lows than highs for the next nine months.

These warm-up games must be useful in terms of getting new-look squads to gel together and work on tactics.

But for supporters, other than getting a chance to see new signings, the friendlies are a waste of time and money. Often you have to wonder why you are paying to watch a training session.

I thought it was a good idea to turn the Lincolnshire FA Senior Cup into a pre-season tournament – for many years that’s what I felt should have happened to Northamptonshire’s competition when I was covering teams over there.

The first half of the tie between Spalding United and Stamford was fairly competitive and played at a decent tempo. Then after the break it looked more like a friendly again and it was far less entertaining.

Because the Tulips got their transfer business done early, it seems to have been an even longer wait for the Evo-Stik League First Division South campaign to get going.

Bizarrely the opening fixtures come a week later than other leagues – almost as strange as the United Counties League always failing to give us a full list of games.

At any level, supporters get a buzz when their team’s matches are published – even though you know everyone plays each other home and away so it’s not like the thrill of a cup draw.

Away from the world of transfer speculation and obscene fees being paid in professional football, let’s hope at a local level that we can enjoy a successful season – whoever you support.