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Thursday, November 05, 2009

Calm down. It's only the European Champions League.

Forgive me if I don't get tearful at the prospect of Liverpool not going through to the knock-out stage of the European Champions League. I don't expect Liverpool fans to get upset about any of the humiliations borne by Spurs in the average season. Watching ITV Sport's coverage of last night's game against Lyons last night and listening to Five Live's post-mortem (interestingly, it was a draw, not a drubbing) you'd think this was an event with far-reaching consequences for every man, woman and child in Britain rather than the sort of thing that is bound to happen in the hurly-burly of competitive sport. The ITV interviewer told Jamie Carragher it was "unthinkable" that Liverpool wouldn't go through. Being a professional athlete, I'm sure Carragher doesn't regard anything as "unthinkable".

It could that the greatest triumph of the Top Four teams is the extent to which they have managed to get the sporting media to identify its own interests with theirs. The prospect of one or more of these clubs having its snout removed from the trough of TV revenue, even for a short time, is something that deeply concerns those companies and people who have made massive investments in space and airtime devoted to these same clubs. If they lifted their heads for a moment they would see that the overwhelming majority of us, being British, would quite like to see these clubs fail for a change. The fact that most of them are foreign-owned companies with scarcely any British employees means we don't even have to feel guilty about it any more.