The league doesn’t lie, it is the definitive statement of your team’s status in the footballing milieu. An undeniable truth. During close season, of course, because for convenience, most league tables are set in alphabetical order meaning on current form Aston Villa can expect a Champions League place this year.

Friendlies take over when the tables are like this. The top top clubs barely play friendlies in this country, preferring brand building tours overseas. Unless, of course, they patronisingly send an ‘XI’ for which one can read ten schoolboys and someone you vaguely recognise from a league cup tie.

Premiership clubs don’t generally play at home during the close season, which is logical, more passive Bournemouth fans are likely to want to see Portsmouth than vice versa. Championship teams may play one friendly at home, usually against a Premiership side, or occasionally, and inexplicably, a overseas giant (usually resulting from an unlikely friendship between the team physios or something).

Oxford used to play one home friendly; the Bill Halsey Memorial Cup. But like most lower league sides the further you drop the more you play at home. It defines your status in the game. This year we play three at home, and one against an ‘XI’. How we have fallen.

Keeping with tradition; here’s Eastleigh’s report on the 2-1 win in midweek, and Chesterfield’s from yesterday’s 3-1 meaningless home gubbing.

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