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.


  1. Anonymous10:59 pm

    I would find it refreshing (and amusing) if any of the big four failed to qualify, for the same reason the rugby world was delighted when Harlequins were relegated a few years ago. It's just funny.

  2. Jeff Williams11:50 pm

    I don't understand why you would want one of the four British clubs to fail !!.I have friends who don't support any of the big clubs but want them to do well because they're British. Personally i don't care if their "foreign - owned companies" it's exciting, and how great was it last year to see three British teams in the last four.

  3. Couldn't agree more. The thing I detest most about the 'big four' is the attitude that they have a god given right to succeed, and their rightful place is at the top. Like most people I know a lot of Man U fans. Most of them were supporters of other teams years ago and have transferred their allegiances in order to follow a successful team. That's not being a fan.

    Me, I support Hereford United. Sigh ....

  4. Anonymous2:40 am

    I am a Liverpool fan and am old enough to have seen the highs and lows since Dalglish made his move from Celtic. I have a lot of friends who are as mad about their sides - Derby County, Doncaster Rovers, Manchester City, Chelsea, Spurs - as I am about mine. But the possessive pronouns `their` and `mine` are fading away. I haven`t been to Anfield for years, and the fact is I may never go back. What you said, David, about the owners and employees is absolutely spot on. This has severed connections, and I haven`t even started on salaries yet. And neither will I, as life is short enough already.

  5. Andy Gardiner11:13 am

    Tangentially, I'm reminded of one of my favourite sports quotes. Danny Blanchflower was asked who he thought would win Saturday's game: "I don't know - that's why we're playing it"

  6. Paul K7:14 pm

    Why does the media continue to believe that nationalism overrides club loyalty? As a Chelsea fan, I will be THRILLED if Liverpool fail to qualify. No, Jeff Williams, I do NOT want to see four "British" clubs in the quarter-finals; I only want to see one - mine.

    I hate it when a "European" match ,let alone a Final, is between two British teams. Why should I want to see Chelsea play any team we will play twice in the Premiership, rather than a team like Barcelona or Real Madrid? And then, of course, you get fatuous commentary claiming that "it's different when (two British teams) meet in the Champions League" - why?

    So please, an end to this absurd commentary which always supposes we support the "British" team - I don't support any "British" team other than my own, and see no reason why petty Nationalism should override that.

  7. What Paul said, I hope they get knocked out (yes, I'm a Chelsea fan too). It's not "unthinkable" that Liverpool don't go through because they aren't as good as Chelsea or Man U or the Liverpool teams of the past that won it so many times. "Tradition" doesn't win football games and thinking that any team has a divine right to win things is why so many people hate Man U fans.

  8. Anonymous3:25 pm

    Well I am a Liverpool fan and ITV drive me to the vey brink with the doom and gloom. We may qualify we may not whatever happens I will have to go to work tomorrow

  9. Paul K9:27 am

    Anonymous is clearly not a true Scouse, then - he's got a job to go to!