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Champions League? You're having a laugh

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Robbo Robson | 13:19 UK time, Friday, 18 September 2009

It's back. Not the perennial freak show of X Factor auditions (this year get to lose your dignity in front of 2,000 people in an aircraft hangar as well as the millions watching at home! How soon before they have a tone deaf special?)

Not Strictly Come Dancing with its parade of 'where the hell is he from?' celebs, excluding Tuffers and Hingis. (I confess I'd like Tuffers to do well. If they let him have a fag on the go during the tango he could be off to a flyer).

No I mean The Flaming Champions Bloomin League. There it is resurfacing from the murk of summer like some swollen slobbering many-tentacled sea beast that survives by eating its own remorselessly regenerating tail.

I surprised myself on Tuesday and Wednesday. I only managed 45 minutes of United and 45 of Liverpool before I opted for the remote. I watched a recording of The Choir instead. I know! The wife loves it and it's full of the less well-off sticking a musical two fingers up at the posh lot down the road. Like Tranmere beating Liverpool or summat. What's not to like?
Northolt High School pupils on The Choir
The Choir: They only sing when they're winning
Normally, I am as a kitten to a ball of wool when footie comes on the box. So why the indifference?

'Cos I'm a Boro fan? Nah. I'd never 've watched it would I? And don't get me wrong - I loved the Boro's little Euro-jaunt a few seasons back in the days when McClaren possessed neither simper nor brolly.

I think it's because of the naked greed of the whole thing. Especially in these group stages. There's more chance of Teesside Polytechnic reaching the University Boat Race final than anyone other than the English Big Four, Barca and Real Madrid winning this year.

It's become like bloody Cluedo. Every time you open the box it's the same flipping suspects. Sometimes I long for a Baroness Fuchsia or a Wing Commander Taupe to be in that box for a change.

Of course this hasn't happened by accident. The group stages are far more about money-making than they are about entertainment, as those who watched the games in Istanbul, West London and Merseyside can testify. After 20 minutes at Anfield I knew it was going to end 1-0, and I knew Debrecen were plucky.

Ah the plucky seeds. They might ruffle a few feathers, but they won't qualify for the knockout stages. Not the dangerous sounding infection Unirea Urziceni. Not the fragrant-sounding shampoo Apoel Nicosia. Not the thing that fella on the Arabian Knights cartoon in the Banana Splits used to say when he did his magic: "Rubin Kazan!"

None of these teams are destined for anything other than the Europa League (a kind of Champions League for thin cats) or obscurity - that's if you can distinguish between the two, of course.

The other thing about the return of that appalling anthem - to which I recommend you sing the words 'We're making millions! *!?@!* millions!' - is it heralds a period in which managers of big clubs start to blubber on about how they've got seven games in 21 days and how unfair it is.

And how these naughty international managers keep pinching our chaps and making them get injured so they can't get tired and fractious and downright crocked whilst playing for us.

Boo-bloody-hoo! Get over yourselves! The Champs League has been designed to create fixture congestion for the prosperous. If you're Fulham it's a stretch. But if you're in the fortunate position of having at least two top-four XIs in your squads then it's as comfy as a punt on a canal (don't say that wrong).

Come match days five and six you'll be playing the continent's best 13- year-olds (legally acquired of course!) 'cos you'll already be comfortably qualified for the knockout phase.

In fact, and I NEVER thought I'd say this, there is too much football on at the mo. And these bland little evenings in early September just add to the feeling.

Thanks to the Rooney spat - and my lad Darren reacts exactly the same way when I tell him to make space on the sofa by just sitting up on it for once - and the Arsenal defence through which you could comfortably build an eight-lane autobahn without encountering anyone, there were some minor points of interest. But nothing you couldn't have got from The Choir.
Barcelona players throw manager Pep Guardiola into the airCome on, let someone else win for a change
And it's dull for one really big reason - it's not knockout from the start. 'Cos that might throw up an unfortunate one-off result. A league makes such accidents very unlikely. And we can ensure we have the quarter-finalists we want. Can't we?

Besides which, the competition is wrongly named. Our cricket club has an award for 'The Best Catch While Smoking'. Not surprisingly the gold-coloured plastic fag on a pine plinth goes to someone who caught a man out whilst retaining a cigarette within his grasp. (Won it three years out of four, me).

Now, how come you could win the Champions League when you're Arsenal? You've won nowt for four seasons! It should be called The Champions And Other Teams That Have Done Really Quite Well In Their Domestic Leagues Over The Past 12 Months League.
I'd love to see the English clubs flounder this year. Not least 'cos it'll mean we might have some fresh daisies amongst the spent and hollow wallflowers that usually show up on England duty in the summer.

In the meantime that F1 scandal's a shocker, isn't it? Flavio Briatore, the man who put the chicane into chicanery. Ruddy dangerous, mind. Makes Bloodgate look positively charming.

Piquet's crash put everyone working there in danger. The only problem with the whole sorry farrago is that it's starts to make F1 look interesting. And that can't be right.

Comments

  • 1. At 2:17pm on 18 Sep 2009, redaniel wrote:

    hehe

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  • 2. At 2:23pm on 18 Sep 2009, adampsb wrote:

    II think the Champions League would be better if tehy got rid of seeding and country protection and just had an open draw. That way you would have a lot of groups where it would remain interesting all the way to the last match. Imagine a group of Real Madrid, Inter Milan, Barcelona and Man United. It may make for an unwelcome early exit for the organisers preferences but it would certainly be entertaining

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  • 3. At 2:35pm on 18 Sep 2009, GazUtd wrote:


    I feel like a row this week Robbo! Well a discussion anyway.

    As for the whole "Champions" league title, look we all know it's not just the champions, so what? It never ceases to amaze me how people still whine on about its name.

    It probably should be called the "European League" or "European Club Championship" or summat like that but then the whingers would be out in full force saying how "I told you there'd be a European Super League, do you see how it has ruined English football." Besides Champions League has a decent ring to it and after all it's only a name. When it was called the European Cup it was then really a "Champions" cup but you also had the might of Glentoran and Grasshoppers to contend with in the one of only 6 or 7 rounds (if it even was that much, I can't remember). Hardly the stuff of Champions is it?

    To get on to a more psychological and philosophical matter, there is too much whinging about football today. Yes there are things that annoy us all - diving, prices, Craig Bellamy - but footie is in the best state it has ever been.

    And do you know what else, we are seeing some of the best football too. In the last 20 years or so, since the TV and money bandwagon, we have seen superstars and artists playing stuff that has had us all salivating. So we either have to decide whether to live with it, of course there are some things we can change, or do we want to give it all up and go back to the dross of the 80s.

    Ronaldo is probably the prime example of what I am talking about him. He's annoying, he cheats, he has too much money and too little brains but boy can he take your breath away when he does something spectacular on the pitch.

    As for all of the so-called minnows or non-entities playing in the Champions League I can only see this as good for the game. How can it be anything else? It lets smaller clubs get money and build up a fan base. I do agree with Adam though and think the seeding should be done away with.

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  • 4. At 2:42pm on 18 Sep 2009, TC72 wrote:

    Spot on Robbo I'm glad I'm not the only one that thinks this. If I do watch the early stages I tend to hit the red button and watch the non-UK matches for some variation and unpreditable results. I can't see it ever changing though as UEFA aleady go out of their way to help the CL failures by having the safety net of the Europa Cup.

    I like Adampsb's suggestion about getting rid of seeding at least.

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  • 5. At 2:57pm on 18 Sep 2009, John Lias wrote:

    Agreed. These group games are nearly as pointless as the England v Australia one day cricket series.

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  • 6. At 2:57pm on 18 Sep 2009, olympicgoat wrote:

    Getting rid of the seeding runs the risk of a lot of big teams falling out in the early stages and a lot of weak teams getting through. Good idea in principle perhaps, but the tournament would be rubbish if the final 8 teams consisted on 2 big teams and 4 nobodies - there'd only be one or two matches worth actually watching for a decent competition. The seeding is perhaps flawed, but it does ensure top level teams playing against each other for the whole length of the tournament.

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  • 7. At 3:01pm on 18 Sep 2009, Robbo Robson wrote:

    Gaz. I don't doubt there's a lot of top footy around. It's just it's wall to wall. Too much a good thing? And in the case of the never-ending carousel of group stage matches, too much of a drab thing. Course it's nice for the minnows to make a little money. But that's the only reason it's been designed this way. Money. It'd be nice to think that a truly significant turn-up might happen but if United lose to Besiktas they've got Wolfsburg and CSKA to make back the lost ground and they're good enough to not let themselves down again. Therefore, shocks - what shocks? Therefore it's Col Mustard and Prof Plum in the final all over again, fighting over the same dagger in the conservatory... hmmm, think I've stretched the Cluedo analogy to breaking point there, haven't I?

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  • 8. At 3:04pm on 18 Sep 2009, adampsb wrote:

    but then the wealth is better distributed and the standard of teams becomes better

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  • 9. At 3:08pm on 18 Sep 2009, Johnlindie1 wrote:

    Who would have thought we'd be bored watching Inter Milan Vs Barca, but you are because in the grand scheme of things it is nothing more than a glamorous pre-season friendly as both teams will easily qualify for the last 16. Even as an Arsenal fan watching them go 2-0 down after 5 mins I wasn't worried as you have 5 games to recify it (turned out we only needed 85 mins tho).
    I with adampsb in point two, scrap the seeding and make it a free-for all. I know it will never happen but I guarentee that Barca v Inter Milan or Real V AC Milan suddenly becomes a whole lot more interesting again, which was the whole point of the Champs Lge way back wasn't it???

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  • 10. At 3:09pm on 18 Sep 2009, RedBlueArmy92 wrote:

    Robbo mate, always enjoy your blog and this was as entertaining as ever, though i am not entirely convinced i agree withthe sentiment.. Granted by and large CL offers up 1-0 snooze-fests.
    However Money is at a sickening level throughout the Premier league aswell, so that hardly offers me reason to single out a dislike for CL football... I think none of these fancy dans have the minerals it takes to play proper footy (Apart from Big Sol, who will be welocmed at the Rec soon, though he gets a princes ransom at Gotts Plenty).
    And thier is always entertainemnt to be had in the later stages, Chelsea vs Liverpool was one of the best matches of last season. And the biggest reason is the English teams do well... Which is reason enough to like almost anything. It can be the only thing that explains my love for the darts and Snooker... As the wife asures me they are terrible and wrong? Also withthe Darts, Aldershot has glory thanks to my old mate Wadey... Pride mate!

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  • 11. At 3:12pm on 18 Sep 2009, JoeDavisRoach wrote:

    Robbo

    The group stages, I would agree, are fairly irrelevant - the odd freak result but generally the same teams going through. However In my view this sets up the big mouthwatering clashes further down the line. Assuming you were to get rid of the "minnows" altogether you would be left with only a handful of teams competing on a yearly basis and a scenario where the rich get richer and the poor get nowhere. Granted 3/4 of the teams in the champions league have littleor no hope of winning it but the money they receive boosts the overall quality of the teams.

    If you go down the road of unseeding the draw then in the business end of the tournament you will throw up equally one sided fixtures only at a later stage. Id rather get rid of the likes of Shakter, Werder Bremen, Sporting etc inthe group stages than have a champions league semi final of Barcelona vs Outmatched FC who didnt arrive there on merit.

    The knockoutstages down the line still provide for unpredictability but with the best teams as opposed to teams who have just been given an easy draw. The basic purpose of the Champions League is to match the best in Europe against each other and this is acheived in the important part of the tournament. Yes the group stages offers pointless matches - but like people continually go at length to explain to me about this blog - if you dont like it, dont watch it.

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  • 12. At 3:16pm on 18 Sep 2009, GazUtd wrote:


    Robbo you may well have used up all the Cluedo stuff but you never mentioned Monopoly money or how it's Kerplunk for the lower teams so there's still plenty more left.

    Adam's seeding or lack of it idea seems a great one (Ira won't be pleased) but it's probably not going to happen and yes that's because of money. But then what in life today isn't done because of money so how can we change it.

    There probably is too much footie but I'd prefer to see the Carling Cup done away with than the CL group stages, for us at least. Or even make it that the big teams aren't in it but the winner of it gets a CL place. I definitely think the FA Cup winners should get a CL place.

    And yes for the last few years we have had a bit of dominance in the CL but then Porto won it not so long ago didn't they and Real haven't even won it for a few years.

    Imagine if there was a group now made up of United, Liverpool, Barca and Real. Hardly be a snorefest of a group stage would it? The CL as it stands gives the small teams a way in but then penalises them for getting there.

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  • 13. At 3:17pm on 18 Sep 2009, GazUtd wrote:



    Awww and he was doing so well up until the last line!!

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  • 14. At 3:17pm on 18 Sep 2009, setyourselfonfire - off down the A 5 2 wrote:

    It takes a lot of time and effort to be as unfunny as Robbo. He must be on the same writing staff as The King Of Queens.

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  • 15. At 3:17pm on 18 Sep 2009, Craig wrote:

    Robbo i agree with you:

    I was reading an article mid week about Debrecen who stand to make about £8 million squid from "champions" league money - whereas Mr Platini will be happy with the new name does this not advocate monopoly in the Hungarian league meaning they will be able to buy all the best players availabe and dominate for years to come?

    Is it a better idea to say give Debrecen 50% of the money earned and distribute the rest between the rest of the league? this at least will provide some financial help for the league.

    I'm interested in your thoughts on this?

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  • 16. At 3:20pm on 18 Sep 2009, RedBlueArmy92 wrote:

    11, JDR... You called him Robbo, you made a point and executed it rather niceley, and even had a little sting in the tail to emphasise your point... Fair play mate.

    (if i'm gonna giveyou stick for a post i didn't like, fairs fair i say something nice when you post somethign i do)

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  • 17. At 3:21pm on 18 Sep 2009, SugarDunkerton wrote:

    #6 Thats exactly the point though.. the big teams are far too protected in this competition.. and why do they need it with their squads...?? Why should we ensure that there are still 6 or 7 'big' teams in the last 8?? let them earn it for once. Point being the German Champions are in pot 4 for the draw. How was that fair?

    Even look at the qualifying rounds. I'm a Celtic fan so my knowledge on success in Europe is limited... but we go into 2nd qualifying round as a seeded team and have to play away the 2nd leg... We get through and draw Arsenal who were the seeded team and were guaranteed to have their 2nd leg at home... rules to suit when they want.

    Its a competition that listens more to tv and sponsorship money than anyone else.. and that, albeit par for the course worldwide, is sad.

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  • 18. At 3:22pm on 18 Sep 2009, RedBlueArmy92 wrote:

    14, Any show with Jerry Stiller is funny... You dont need writers, when you have Jery Stiller!

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  • 19. At 3:25pm on 18 Sep 2009, GazUtd wrote:


    SuperNightShift in the League Of Ireland Bohemians sold their ground a while back (back when you still could sell property here) and made a ton of money. The club is still owned by the fans so they will have a shed load more than other clubs here for the forseeable future.

    Now could we have said to them that they have to share that money around with the other teams? As the law goes, absolutely not. Whether we think it is right or wrong football is a business (it has been for way longer than most people think) so we have to decide should our laws be changed that makes sport different. Something like separating Church and state.

    No fan wants to see their team losing but unfortunately there always has to be losers and smaller teams, that's just the way of things, unless we want to go down the Communism route. But that got us Chelsea when it went all tits up and none of us want to see that again :). So capitalism it is then. But then that got us City. Damn, maybe there isn't an answer.

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  • 20. At 3:26pm on 18 Sep 2009, GazUtd wrote:


    RBA unfortunately you can't say the same about movies with his son.

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  • 21. At 3:29pm on 18 Sep 2009, Two_Footed_Challenge wrote:

    Like what you did there JDR!

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  • 22. At 3:31pm on 18 Sep 2009, TommyO wrote:

    The other thing about the return of that appalling anthem - to which I recommend you sing the words 'We're making millions! *!?@!* millions!'


    LOL! loved that line - that song is forever changed in my head


    Fact of the matter is they're never going to remove the seeding, the whole thing is about money and sooner or later they're going to announce a proper Pan-European League of 20 Super Clubs, a closed shop with no relegation so they can ring-fence all the big cash for themselves for ever more.

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  • 23. At 3:35pm on 18 Sep 2009, Zootmac wrote:

    There was a terrific posting on that other blog (rightly picked up on by Beyond the Pale) in which "Magush", a Hungarian, expressed quite movingly how huge the Debrecen game at Anfield was for Hungarian football, and for Hungarian football fans, and how much benefit Hungarian football would derive from it.

    Teams of the stature of the big four, and the other European giants, are adulated by fans and players in other countries, and the football of these countries can only benefit from fixtures which are, perhaps, too easily dismissed as "irrelevant".

    They're not.

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  • 24. At 3:44pm on 18 Sep 2009, global_citizen wrote:

    I would like to see the group phase changed to 16 groups of 3 teams, where only the winner of the group gets through, and the second place team gets a europa spot. This would have the following impact:

    1 - more teams could be included from further afield.
    2 - competition becomes more fierce - if any side loses a game in the group phase they are under pressure straight away.
    3 - it means sides that don't have as big squads are more able to compete as there are less games to play.

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  • 25. At 3:46pm on 18 Sep 2009, Two_Footed_Challenge wrote:

    I too only managed to sit through small parts of the snooze-fest that was the CL this week. I agree - too much money, too much focus on ensuring all the big teams get through and too much focus on the league format. Even players like Gerrard didnt seem that up for it or bothered.

    Best ideas are the ones suggested above - do away with the seeding and do away with the league format. Bore off.

    However, no matter how bored I was with the footie, there was no chance I would turn over and watch The Choir...!! Whats all that about??!

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  • 26. At 3:46pm on 18 Sep 2009, RedBlueArmy92 wrote:

    Zoots, again you have put thinkings in to words like my brain dont!

    You can see an identical effect across the country every year with the FA cup... I can remember Farnborough (scum) taking Arsenal to a replay a few years abck and it saved them from administration...

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  • 27. At 3:49pm on 18 Sep 2009, alwaysindoubt wrote:

    The problem is that the benefit to the smaller teams isn't sustainable in the medium term. Getting the smaller teams in to broaden the competition and share some of the financial windfall is all very well but has undoubtedly reduced the overall quality of this year's contest.

    More matches with foregone conclusions will ultimately result in less interest, smaller crowds, smaller TV audiences, less advertising revenue, which means the rights aren't worth as much to Sky etc etc. The majority of people want to watch the 32 best clubs in Europe going toe to toe. Reduce the quality of the competition and the income it generates will reduce as well.

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  • 28. At 3:50pm on 18 Sep 2009, Bangforyourbuck wrote:

    23. Zootmac has it exactly right.

    Without trying to sound patronising towards teams such as Debrecen, it's much like the FA Cup. A tie against a big European team, home and away, would be the highlight of the season, and for a few seasons after. They could also provide massive help financially.

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  • 29. At 3:52pm on 18 Sep 2009, freddawlanen wrote:

    The easiest ways to make it really interesting would be to scrap the group stages, remove the seeding and the ridiculous idea that teams from the same country can't face each other and if it's level after extra-time, instead of penalties, have a real shoot-out, an old fashioned duel, 20yds turn and shoot, audiences would rocket ;)

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  • 30. At 3:53pm on 18 Sep 2009, wedontknowfootball wrote:

    agree with JoeDavisRoach's comment.

    not a fan the seeding this season, there are better teams in europe than those who had qualified to the group stages.

    but i can see how it will improve the minnows in the long run, in terms of wealth (700k per game in the group stage if im not mistaken).

    http://wdkf.co.uk/

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  • 31. At 3:56pm on 18 Sep 2009, dannytrfc wrote:

    Woo-hoo! We get a mention on a BBC blog, that’s probably the first time since Aldo left! Though beating anyone would be an achievement at the moment, let alone Liverpool!

    Totally agree, CL should be knockout from the start. Even if United lose to Dynamo Chicken Kiev or Barcelona lose to Sub-Standard Liege, what does it count for? Squat! It means the little team finishes the group with 3 points instead of 0 and the big teams qualify with 15 points instead of 18.

    Make it two-leg knockout from the start or reduce the groups and make it just the ‘big’ teams from the start and put the rest in the Europa Vase or whatever they want to call it to make it sound more interesting!

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  • 32. At 3:59pm on 18 Sep 2009, bosstard wrote:

    "But if you're in the fortunate position of having at least two top-four XIs in your squads then it's as comfy as a punt on a canal (don't say that wrong). "

    Definitely counts Liverpool out then, they're struggling for a top 4 XI in their first XI!

    And I'm a Pool supporter :-(

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  • 33. At 4:00pm on 18 Sep 2009, global_citizen wrote:

    An example of some sample groups in this format:

    Man Utd
    PSV
    Galatasaraay

    Inter
    Porto
    Celtic

    Barcelona
    Marseille
    Dinamo Kiev

    http://www.xs4all.nl/~kassiesa/bert/uefa/data/method4/trank2010.html

    source current UEFA rankings

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  • 34. At 4:04pm on 18 Sep 2009, Sam Bristow wrote:

    Robbo what a rediculous blog. Maybe people enjoy watching the biggest teams in the world play each other and some of the best players on the planet on the same pitch. And what do you mean no suprise? 2005 final anybody?

    Frankly i think the Champions league is brilliant, perhaps the fact your team is in the Championship is why you are so bitter towards it.

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  • 35. At 4:05pm on 18 Sep 2009, GazUtd wrote:


    The problem with the non-seeding format is that you could end up with a final of Debrecen vs Apoel Nicosia.

    What then are the odds that next year there would be 1,000,000 blogs saying how the competition is worthless.

    Or even worse you could end up with United beating one of the minnows in the final and then you'd end up with the internet being broken due to the amount of Scousers posting that the win didn't count.

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  • 36. At 4:06pm on 18 Sep 2009, DangerJones11 wrote:

    Right come on, own up, who's kidnapped JDR!?

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  • 37. At 4:07pm on 18 Sep 2009, Ireland Brew wrote:

    I agree that there is too much football on the telly (and I don't even have Sky). However, to base the level of interest on the first round of league games is not going to be reflective of the level of interest generated as a whole. That would be like justifying your end of season predictions based on the first handful of games, a fallacy this blog could never be accused of. If we take the EPL for example there is no way there is the same level of interest (or excitement) at the start of a season as heading in to the last 10 games.
    I guarantee that there will be some big teams struggling to qualify heading in to the last 2 games of the group stage and then we will see how much publicity and interest that will generate. It is the same every year.
    I also agree with the point that the smaller teams look forward to playing the superstars. Of course it is very unlikely that they would qualify but I think their guarantee of playing one or possibly two of the aristocrats of the European game in the group stages gives the players and the clubs a great boost.

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  • 38. At 4:08pm on 18 Sep 2009, GazUtd wrote:


    So is the problem that we all just like to moan too much? (I told you I was being philosophical today).

    Is football better as a spectecal now? I would say yes.
    Are there some unbelievably great players on show? Again yes.
    Do we see some breathtaking skill? Yes.
    Do we get a chance to see stuff that we would never have seen before? Yes.

    So do the positives outweight the negatives? Personal choice I guess and coming from someone who supports a team that is winning then of course I am going to think that things are better than someone who supports Boro.

    But then everything is better than being a Boro fan, isn't it? Well apart from being a Newcastle fan, obviously.

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  • 39. At 4:16pm on 18 Sep 2009, Amanbro wrote:

    I like the current format. The new (minnows) teams raise their profile (and money!) whereas the public get to see the best teams safely into the knockout stages.

    There are several teams that have impressed me recently (Shaktar and standard liege). I'm sure this format may unearth more quality teams.

    Anyway, the champions league only gets interesting in February.

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  • 40. At 4:20pm on 18 Sep 2009, youngblueblood wrote:

    Holy Me!, is it just me or is someone positively impersonating JDR?..who ever it is,plz keep it going..could u do us all a huge favour and change the password so the real JDR can have access to that screen name...Robbo looks like u r on a lucky run..but son, don't count your chicken yet! spot on on changin' the Champion League Name but as for the theme, hmmmm u better watch your back cos Adriano Galliani must be looking to have your head pretty soon.

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  • 41. At 4:23pm on 18 Sep 2009, TommyO wrote:

    38. At 4:08pm on 18 Sep 2009, GazUtd wrote:
    Is football better as a spectecal now? I would say yes.
    Are there some unbelievably great players on show? Again yes.
    Do we see some breathtaking skill? Yes.
    Do we get a chance to see stuff that we would never have seen before? Yes.



    WELCOME TO GRAND SLAM SUPER DUPER SUNDAY BROUGHT TO YOU BY SKY!!!

    Sussed him - Gaz is Richard Keys !!!!

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  • 42. At 4:24pm on 18 Sep 2009, pilch666 wrote:

    Why not just change the method of seeding?? Instead of just seeding the teams with a good record in the Champions League, which by the very nature means that the big clubs will continue to dominate, but instead only seed the champions of their respective leagues and let the rest fight it out. This means that 2nd, 3rd and 4th places would no longer be protected and could throw up some more interesting groups.

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  • 43. At 4:26pm on 18 Sep 2009, TommyO wrote:

    42. At 4:24pm on 18 Sep 2009, pilch666


    If in doubt the answer is always MONEY !

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  • 44. At 4:27pm on 18 Sep 2009, ControlledMagic wrote:

    Driving home on Tuesday I heard someone on 5live (Lawro, if I recall) talking about the group stage, the 'lesser teams' and the fact that "the richer clubs will continue with the farce that is the group stage because it generates them good revenue" (loose quote there).

    Whilst I can agree with that sentiment and the premise of the blog today, it did also occur to me that same revenue generation (to a, presumably, lesser extent due to ground size) would be there for the smaller clubs too. If we got rid of seedings then, as Zoot points out, the small clubs might not get their 'cup final' against AC, Barca, Real, Utd etc. Can you imagine the dullfest that a group consisting of Maccabi Haifa, Debrecen, Rubin Kazan and that Urinary Infection? Ok, unlikely draw btu you get the drift. The one area I can agree with Platini, it seems, as at least they are guaranteed three games to 'share the wealth'.

    Still, it would be nice to have a big clash in the groups that actually meant something other than 'who will finish first and second in the group'. Ho hum.

    JDR - nice one.

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  • 45. At 4:30pm on 18 Sep 2009, RedBlueArmy92 wrote:

    42, only the 1st place teams getting seeded is ok in theory, but the mega-rich 4 club mini league at the peak of English football would lose what little cut and thrust it has, as the places are genrally secured by March. Just a thought...

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  • 46. At 4:31pm on 18 Sep 2009, tigerjdilla wrote:

    robbo...you are not funny, your joke are blunt and obvious, just cliches.
    i hated reading this!
    i could do it soo much better

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  • 47. At 4:33pm on 18 Sep 2009, Ireland Brew wrote:

    Piquet's crash put everyone working there in danger. The only problem with the whole sorry farrago is that it's starts to make F1 look interesting. And that can't be right.
    ___________________________________________________________________

    It would take more than that to make F1 interesting. I would suggest that they get rid of the drivers completely and just call it the Giant Scalextric Competition. It would be more honest anyhow.

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  • 48. At 4:34pm on 18 Sep 2009, RedBlueArmy92 wrote:

    46, go for it... these posts are here so Joe Public can post his thoughts... Post a little mini-blog and make me and others laugh please?

    I look forward to reading it...

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  • 49. At 4:36pm on 18 Sep 2009, RedBlueArmy92 wrote:

    47, Plus if they pulled the triggers in to quick the cars would whizz off and spin out the track... Then Holly me Jack Russel would run off with the car... (thats how i rememer scalectrix anyhow)

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  • 50. At 4:39pm on 18 Sep 2009, Bertie Button wrote:

    Robbo, absolutely spot on.

    Gone are the days when you see Notts Forest V Malmo. Some people may think this is a good thing but me personnaly, I'm dead sad. The CL is more predictable than a Ferguson jibe relating to how "Adebayor" should be suspended for the derby.

    Those European nights that pitched Liverpool against FC Bruge in the opening round or Manchester City V AC Milan (1977), bloody lovely. Now you have UTD versus CSK Moscow, and it might be spirited but it ends up 1-0 in the 119th minute because some referee from France has caught onto the the Ferguson time-keeping methodology.

    Malmo, from Sweeden, John Motson told me they made cars there, it facinated me, long before the days of the internet I dug my world atlas out and found them on the map, a small town with a soccer team a bit like Trafford, and yes, they brought hope to all us supporting the under-achievers, basically if "Malmo" can get to the European cup final so can we.

    But now the journey for every small team is firstly conquering the top 4 or top 2 or top 1, be it England, Italy Germany, Hungry (bloody hell) Cyprus (even more scary) and then being cast into a group containing Barcelona and Inter Milan, it brings tears to ones eyes.

    At least next week we have the Carling Cup to occupy our hearts and souls and at least it is honest. Wolves might actually beat UTD and Leeds may also beat Liverpool, because its a one-off game and the deck is not stacked and they may get that little bit of luck that gives you a chance. The Carling Cup, it may not be the CL, but my God it much more interesting.

    'We're making millions! *!?@!* millions!' 'We're making millions! *!?@!* millions!' 'We're making millions! *!?@!* millions!'

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  • 51. At 4:40pm on 18 Sep 2009, GazUtd wrote:


    Has JDR come over from the dark side?

    See, I was right last week, he must have said "Robbo, I am your father"

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  • 52. At 4:40pm on 18 Sep 2009, pilch666 wrote:

    #45 To be fair, at least two teams may still be challenging for first place come March........though sadly not Liverpool (well sad for me) and unlikely to be Arsenal either if they do not sort out their defence.

    Perhaps the earlier suggestions of doing completely away with the group format and letting the smaller clubs have a potential big payday is the way forward.

    Or just don't bother watching it until the knockout stages in the first place!!!

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  • 53. At 4:44pm on 18 Sep 2009, Bangforyourbuck wrote:

    @50.

    I honestly think we have a chance of beating Liverpool too. It's remote, but it's been a while since the scousers graced Elland Road, perhaps they've forgotten the atmosphere they're in for. And needless to say we'll be up for it, a chance to relive those heady days of yore!

    Ok, it's Friday afternoon and I'm clearly delirious, but a boy can dream.

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  • 54. At 4:45pm on 18 Sep 2009, AnubisUK wrote:

    I've been saying for years how dismayed I am when I watch the Champions League. The big teams are just getting bigger and bigger, and the smaller teams are being completely left behind. Surely this isn't sustainable?

    I wish they'd just get rid of things like seedings and throw everyone into the same pot to give some of the smaller teams a chance to make some progress in the competition!

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  • 55. At 4:45pm on 18 Sep 2009, chips_in_the_queue wrote:

    The Champions League is probably the most inaccurately named competition since baseball's World Series.

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  • 56. At 4:49pm on 18 Sep 2009, youngblueblood wrote:

    46. At 4:31pm on 18 Sep 2009, tigerjdilla wrote:

    robbo...you are not funny, your joke are blunt and obvious, just cliches.
    i hated reading this!
    i could do it soo much better
    ....................................................

    what are u smoking, Son? must be a very strong stuff. wanna join in the sorry JDR's bandwagon? pity.. u lack the intellect

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  • 57. At 4:51pm on 18 Sep 2009, Ozzie Stan wrote:

    "The problem with the non-seeding format is that you could end up with a final of Debrecen vs Apoel Nicosia."

    What would be wrong with that?

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  • 58. At 4:51pm on 18 Sep 2009, Lethal_Lumb wrote:

    Made me laugh again, good blog

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  • 59. At 4:51pm on 18 Sep 2009, Excumbrian wrote:

    Spot on as always, Robbo. But then I rather like "The King of Queens"...

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  • 60. At 4:54pm on 18 Sep 2009, TommyO wrote:

    57. At 4:51pm on 18 Sep 2009, Ozzie_Stan wrote:

    "The problem with the non-seeding format is that you could end up with a final of Debrecen vs Apoel Nicosia."

    What would be wrong with that?


    I refer the honourable poster to the answer i gave some moments ago

    point 43 to be precise

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  • 61. At 4:56pm on 18 Sep 2009, pilch666 wrote:

    #57 "The problem with the non-seeding format is that you could end up with a final of Debrecen vs Apoel Nicosia."

    What would be wrong with that?

    -----------------------

    To be fair, that it is a highly unlikely outcome as at least one of the bigger clubs would still get through. So instead of a complete surprise final with two minnows, you get to see an absolute thrashing instead.

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  • 62. At 4:59pm on 18 Sep 2009, GazUtd wrote:

    57. At 4:51pm on 18 Sep 2009, Ozzie_Stan wrote:
    "The problem with the non-seeding format is that you could end up with a final of Debrecen vs Apoel Nicosia."

    What would be wrong with that?


    -------------

    If you'd have bothered reading the rest of the post you would have seen taht I gave the answer. There would then be loads of whingers saying that it wasn't a real final and didn't count.

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  • 63. At 5:01pm on 18 Sep 2009, hudjer wrote:


    Robbo, It should be the extended Europa league you are having a pop at!

    Overall, the later stages of the Champions League are probably of a higher playing standard than the World cup.

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  • 64. At 5:02pm on 18 Sep 2009, DB Cooper wrote:

    People who moan about the standard of smaller teams in the CL dont seem to understand that gulf in standard has mainly been caused by the CL - the wealth generated by the CL, and how it is distributed is the reason for smaller leagues becoming far weaker.

    People now laugh at Notts Forest beating Malmo in the 79 final, but look at who Malmo beat to earn the right to play in the final. That only happened because there wasnt a huge difference between leagues.

    Football is being destroyed by money.

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  • 65. At 5:03pm on 18 Sep 2009, GazUtd wrote:


    Overall, the later stages of the Champions League are probably of a higher playing standard than the World cup.

    ----------


    They are most definitely a higher standard. The WC is pretty tosh for the most part. In fact that is probably a good comparison. Robbo, what about the WC, surely there is only a select group that can win it too. And the qualifiers and group stages for it are usually the same. The qualifiers are sometimes complete garbage.

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  • 66. At 5:05pm on 18 Sep 2009, GazUtd wrote:


    Football is being destroyed by money.

    ------------


    I've always wondered about this statement.

    How exactly is it? We have more football being played in more places than ever before. We have brilliant skill and nail-biting competitions. There are more fans than ever before getting to see it.

    So how exactly is that it being destroyed?

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  • 67. At 5:07pm on 18 Sep 2009, GazUtd wrote:


    And of course remember that last years winners of the CL are a team still owned and run by the fans. A team who don't even take money for shirt sponsorship. So if this team can win it how can it always be about money?

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  • 68. At 5:08pm on 18 Sep 2009, TommyO wrote:

    #64

    totally right


    You often get some idiots (usually Man U fans, strangely enough) banging on about how easy it was to win the European Cup back then because Barca/Madrid/Milan/Inter/Bayern Munich etc etc weren't all in the competition every year without realising that for many years around that time those 'giants' of the game weren't actually all that good. The better players didn't all congregate in one or two leagues or among a handfull of clubs because the money was more even between countries, and more even between clubs within individual countries, creating more opportunity for lesser known names to achieve League and Cup success.

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  • 69. At 5:12pm on 18 Sep 2009, RayManUtd786 wrote:

    "Punt by the canal (don't say that wrong)"

    Haha very funny.
    Keep up the good work

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  • 70. At 5:13pm on 18 Sep 2009, GazUtd wrote:


    creating more opportunity for lesser known names to achieve League and Cup success.


    --------


    Like Liverpool.

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  • 71. At 5:15pm on 18 Sep 2009, TommyO wrote:

    see - there's one

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  • 72. At 5:16pm on 18 Sep 2009, Chizzle wrote:

    With regards to the "Champions' League" I think a whole new format needs to be devised. At the moment it feels like two types of competition in one. It should either be one big Super League or knock-out rounds all the way to the final. The knock-out idea wouldn't work, because what if we got United v Real Madrid in the first round? One massive team goes, and it dilutes the rest of the competition which is never good for business (talking from the POV of UEFA here). I think the Super League is the only way to go, with the top 16 clubs in Europe in the primary group, and the next 16 in the group below, and so on and so forth for the first season. Then have relegation and promotion just like in domestic leagues, and whoever comes up top at the end of the season wins the European Cup.

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  • 73. At 5:20pm on 18 Sep 2009, TBY wrote:

    Overall, the later stages of the Champions League are probably of a higher playing standard than the World cup.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Well, why do we enjoy the World Cup so much more than the Champions' League then?

    The Champions' League is a bloated behemoth of a tournament that generally produces desperate anti-football in the away legs of the final stages.

    I hope the top clubs do finally breakaway, because then we could be shot of them forever. And I'm sure AC Milan will be satisfied with a 15th place finish and never winning silverware?!

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  • 74. At 5:23pm on 18 Sep 2009, GazUtd wrote:


    Well, why do we enjoy the World Cup so much more than the Champions' League then?

    ------

    Because I would guess that you are an England fan who also supports a team that has no chance of winning the CL.

    Which is somewhat confusing because England have no chance of winning the WC.

    And I would suggest that your statement that "we" enjoy the WC much more is somewhat erroneous. There is probably a greater number of fans who enjoy the CL.

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  • 75. At 5:26pm on 18 Sep 2009, TommyO wrote:

    Overall, the later stages of the Champions League are probably of a higher playing standard than the World cup.

    -------------------------------------------------

    i reckon Brazil, Spain, Italy, Holland, Germany and Argentina (with a decent coach) could hold their own in the latter stages of the group stages





    There is probably a greater number of fans who enjoy the CL.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------

    biggest load of nonsense written yet

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  • 76. At 5:26pm on 18 Sep 2009, TommyO wrote:

    -re-write required


    Overall, the later stages of the Champions League are probably of a higher playing standard than the World cup.

    -------------------------------------------------

    i reckon Brazil, Spain, Italy, Holland, Germany and Argentina (with a decent coach) could hold their own in the latter stages of the WC

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  • 77. At 5:27pm on 18 Sep 2009, TommyO wrote:

    LMAO - i mean the CL !!!

    ffs - time to go

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  • 78. At 5:34pm on 18 Sep 2009, Jimmy2Times wrote:

    'We're making millions! *!?@!* millions!'

    Brilliant!!! Just Brilliant Robbo!!!

    Great blog as always mate

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  • 79. At 5:37pm on 18 Sep 2009, The Loner wrote:

    I agree that the group stages have become somewhat banal in recent years, but the grinding nature of the group stage tests a teams concentration and mental toughness. This is a key facet in any quality side. The games are attractive from a tactical perspective; perhaps it sorts the fans from the fair-weather? It acts as a great filter for the knockout stages and I certainly would hate to see it abandoned.

    With regard to you wanting to see different winner of the Champions League other than the English clubs or Barcelona or Real, I'm not sure what you want? If we look at the Premiership for comparison, in 16 years there has been 4 winners, in 16 years of the Champions League there has been 11. I think perhaps this article is based more on the author’s mid-life boredom more than anything else.

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  • 80. At 5:37pm on 18 Sep 2009, BarnsleyOffside wrote:

    I totally agree about the group stages.

    They is just a money making exercise. If they were to jump staright into a larger amount of knockout rounds, I would be much happier.

    However, I do think that the Champions League as a whole is still the greatest club cup in the world. The latter stages are thrilling, and as well as Barca, Real and the 'Big 4' I'd give Inter, Juventus and Bayern Munich a good chance this year.




    http://barnsleyfc.wordpress.com/

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  • 81. At 5:59pm on 18 Sep 2009, Liverpole wrote:

    That's a ridiculous arguement right there. What your actually doing is criticising the English teams for being too good. The Champions League hasn't got easier, we've just improved, with Liverpool proving just how hard it can be in 2007, where one slip can put you in jeapardy. It's easy for non-top four supporters to say its easy, but when its your team you feel the pressure.

    This weeks football, which you've based your article on, opposes rather than supports your article. All 4 English teams came very close to loosing, with Arsenal being 2 - 0 down to one of the "Minows", and the other teams scrapping 1-0 victories, which could have swung either way.

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  • 82. At 5:59pm on 18 Sep 2009, JoeDavisRoach wrote:

    I dont really understand (not for the first time) what the argument of this blog is. Just a general moan about the fact the champions league makes money?

    As far as I can see nearly everyones a winner. Clubs make more money, fans get more football, the smaller sides get a few good European nights - so what if it makes lots of money? Again if your not particularly interested in the group stages you dont have to watch. Ive no problem in not tuning in to see teams like FC Cluj or Anorthasi Famagusta play.

    Yes you could probably come up with a better format - A European superleague probably being the holy grail but the author doesnt really suggest any alternative to his bizzare complaint. He just seems irratated by the fact the current format is the most financially prosperous.



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  • 83. At 6:02pm on 18 Sep 2009, AnubisUK wrote:

    That's a ridiculous arguement right there. What your actually doing is criticising the English teams for being too good. The Champions League hasn't got easier, we've just improved, with Liverpool proving just how hard it can be in 2007, where one slip can put you in jeapardy. It's easy for non-top four supporters to say its easy, but when its your team you feel the pressure.

    This weeks football, which you've based your article on, opposes rather than supports your article. All 4 English teams came very close to loosing, with Arsenal being 2 - 0 down to one of the "Minows", and the other teams scrapping 1-0 victories, which could have swung either way.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    But matches like that are very much in the minority. You can go through each group and say with a high degree of certainty who is going to come out of it and get into the next round, which is what I object to - it's going to be the same big teams in the end. If seeing was scrapped, and teams could draw anyone, you might get a group made entirely of smaller teams, so at least a couple of them will get to the next stage.

    I'm not saying they'd then have any real chance of winning, but at least it's a step towards evening things up and spreading the champions league cash around!

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  • 84. At 6:02pm on 18 Sep 2009, pittowl wrote:

    I'd have to agree with everyone else for the most part. Did anyone see the second half of Milan vs Marseille? OM produced some Arsenal-esque stuff (honestly breathtaking at times) going forward but ended up losing to an Inzaghi poach, point proven I suppose

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  • 85. At 6:02pm on 18 Sep 2009, AnubisUK wrote:

    If seeing was scrapped
    -------------------------
    Seeding, not seeing!!

    Is there no way to edit posts after they've been submitted???

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  • 86. At 6:05pm on 18 Sep 2009, TrotterUSA wrote:

    Heidi Hi, thought provoking Robbo. Now we have Davies, Davis and Davies at Bolton I'll have to double check all names that end with either version and begin with the initials JD. If it is you, good show but for the last jab!

    Anyway, for those of us in the far flung corners of the globe that pay at every opportunity to see whatever footy they put on, the powers that be will leave things as they are or expand the qualifying groups to 20 teams each. A million distant dopes paying 20 quid for each game on PPV generates a lot of dosh and it's all about the dosh.

    If, it were about the sport and especially in a World Cup year, I'd like to see a seeding system like Wimbledon, even with a few wild cards (Bolton, Aldershot and Whitley Bay could represent England) thrown in.

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  • 87. At 6:07pm on 18 Sep 2009, AnubisUK wrote:

    I dont really understand (not for the first time) what the argument of this blog is. Just a general moan about the fact the champions league makes money?

    As far as I can see nearly everyones a winner. Clubs make more money, fans get more football, the smaller sides get a few good European nights - so what if it makes lots of money? Again if your not particularly interested in the group stages you dont have to watch. Ive no problem in not tuning in to see teams like FC Cluj or Anorthasi Famagusta play.

    Yes you could probably come up with a better format - A European superleague probably being the holy grail but the author doesnt really suggest any alternative to his bizzare complaint. He just seems irratated by the fact the current format is the most financially prosperous.
    -------------------------
    I think the argument of this blog is aimed more at the fact that the same teams are dominating the Champions League over and over, and the reason UEFA don't want to change things is because of the money aspect.

    So I think the monetary aspect is secondary in this argument, with the overall integrity of the competition being the main argument. That's how I've understood it at least!

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  • 88. At 6:10pm on 18 Sep 2009, Ripinho wrote:

    Great blog Robbo, I used to love the Champions League when it seemed to be less of a procession.

    Its all very well saying we want a English team Vs Spanish or italian team in the final each year, but then that gets boring seeing the same 8 or so teams every year. If thats what we all want why dont we just scrap the group stages and just invite 8-16 of our 'favourite' teams to play in the tournament each year and save us the bother of the group stages.

    I for one would not care if we had lesser teams get to the final, you can call it undervalued but the truth would be one of those teams would have knocked out a big team fair and square. Lesser teams winning the competition undervalues it no more than a team winning it who is not even champions of their own country.

    Best Final for me is still the Borussia Dortmund V Juventus one back in 1997, absolute quality final where the champions of europe did not have to be decided on those dreaded spot kicks.

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  • 89. At 6:14pm on 18 Sep 2009, AnubisUK wrote:

    I for one would not care if we had lesser teams get to the final, you can call it undervalued but the truth would be one of those teams would have knocked out a big team fair and square. Lesser teams winning the competition undervalues it no more than a team winning it who is not even champions of their own country.

    Best Final for me is still the Borussia Dortmund V Juventus one back in 1997, absolute quality final where the champions of europe did not have to be decided on those dreaded spot kicks.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------
    And quite often the finals between two big teams get hyped so much, and they can often turn out absolutely mince!! The FA cup final between Chelsea and Man United (where Drogba got the winner) was one of the worst games I've ever seen!! (I know that was a domestic final but a Chelsea v Man United Europeran final could happen again).

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  • 90. At 6:15pm on 18 Sep 2009, JoeDavisRoach wrote:

    87. At 6:07pm on 18 Sep 2009, AnubisUK wrote:

    Do you really think re jigging the format is going to stop the same teams winning it? The author hasnt bothered to outline what would make it better and if his problem is with 6 odd teams only being capable of winning it then I can understand how the Premier League or any other football competition for that matter would interest him.

    The bottom line is changing the format may result in a few bigger teams going out earlier but ultimately one of the same big teams will end up winning it 99% of the time. I agree that plenty of the group fixtures at the start arent exactly awe inspiring but it makes sense to try and maximise the financial aspect of it and theres also more football available to fans.

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  • 91. At 6:20pm on 18 Sep 2009, AnubisUK wrote:

    Do you really think re jigging the format is going to stop the same teams winning it?
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Unfortunately not, no :(

    I think part of the problem is that it's come so far now that it's going to take a long, long time to get it back to a more even playing field. So scrapping the seeds now wouldn't see these smaller teams winning it as yet (and not for a long time) but hopefully, eventually, they would be able to catch up a bit with their increased revenue, and at least challenge for it in the future.

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  • 92. At 6:31pm on 18 Sep 2009, Nada wrote:

    The reason the players are paid so well is purely economical. If we did not consume football so avidly, they wouldn't be paid so much. People never complain that Coca Cola just make drinks, why should they be paid so much? It's because people are not paid by how much they contribute to society, but how much money they make for their employers.

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  • 93. At 6:36pm on 18 Sep 2009, JoeDavisRoach wrote:

    91. At 6:20pm on 18 Sep 2009, AnubisUK wrote:

    I cant really see that ever happening under any format anyway. The last time a "surprise" team won the champions league was probably Porto and regardless their team was pillaged by the big 3 leagues not to mention their manager aswell. This will always be the case with Bayern Munich being probably the only non big 3 league that can hold its own to an extent. Lyon had fairly decent success in the champion league aswell and suffered similar pillaging on a yearly basis destroying any genuine attempt to win it.

    In order for the teams like Porto, the Old Firm, Lyon, Ajax etc (Big clubs but financially nowhere near the top European teams) to compete the money has to start domestically in order to become serious challengers.

    I cant understand how saying 6 teams capable of winning it can be boring? Its still probably the most open major football competition out there - and itsarguably more than 6 teams for starters. The group stages are a tad predictable but this serves to set up a really good later stage of the competition whereby the fixtures are ultra competitive and include the best teams. The group stages allow smaller teams some big matches and some good money, fans get to see more football and the money generated overall make the whole competition more lucrative.

    There wont be a return to the days where Steau, Red Star, Malmo, Vojvadina etc are competitve sides in Europe as football as a whole has moved on completely. Trying to shoehorn the Champions League to somehow fit this bgone era simply wont work either in theory or in practice.

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  • 94. At 6:43pm on 18 Sep 2009, AnubisUK wrote:

    I cant really see that ever happening under any format anyway. The last time a "surprise" team won the champions league was probably Porto and regardless their team was pillaged by the big 3 leagues not to mention their manager aswell. This will always be the case with Bayern Munich being probably the only non big 3 league that can hold its own to an extent. Lyon had fairly decent success in the champion league aswell and suffered similar pillaging on a yearly basis destroying any genuine attempt to win it.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------
    I wasn't insinuating that they would win it soon, but that after time they might be able to, but I hadn't even thought about what you brought up there which is that any time a team DOES do surprisingly well, the usual suspects come knocking and strip the team bare!

    I agree that it looks like the days of the less fancied teams winning it are gone, which personally I find really, really sad :( (nostalgia creeping in here!!)

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  • 95. At 6:47pm on 18 Sep 2009, TommyB wrote:

    If we're to be honest, it is the avarice of the modern age that has created the Champions League as we see it today. This has been slowly building since Franco persuaded Puskas to defect and bought the European Cup for Real Madrid 5 times in a row in the 50's. It's more indicative these days of society as a whole than of any particular fault of UEFA or the domestic leagues, and is far too much to tackle on a bbc footy blog (no offence, Robbo).

    However, the idea of a 3-team group stage (seedings or not) is pretty appealing, and would make for much more fascinating autumn viewing. As a Liverpool fan, I do find the groups tense and gripping, but (as someone said earlier) that is because my team is involved in it. However I see no reason not to make it a bit more interesting for the neutral.

    And by the way, Porto v Monaco 2004. Not exactly minnows, I'll grant you, but not a Spanish, English or Italian club in sight!

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  • 96. At 6:47pm on 18 Sep 2009, TommyB wrote:

    Damn it, beaten to the Porto thing by JDR. You're on fire, mate!

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  • 97. At 7:02pm on 18 Sep 2009, SimplyZola wrote:

    You be right, we get such exotically named teams that are just there for people like me to have a laugh at their names and make jokes! But who knows if these teams can get a constant run in the Champions League they can attract bigger names and perhaps be a force to be reckoned with.

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  • 98. At 7:10pm on 18 Sep 2009, bluenose in salisbury wrote:

    Money hasn't hasn't ruined the game but it has changed it, whether for
    better or worse is for each of us to have an opinion on. However we cannot look back at football from the 70's and 80's era and critise it. It was what is was for many reasons such as fitness, diet and training techniques, but still entertained just as much then as football does today.
    You know that in 10 years time they will be laughing at the likes of Torres and Ronaldo alike and commenting on how slow they were and how a defender fell for all those step-overs! The truth of the matter is the game will always get better technically and thus will be a greater viewing spectical. It's a shame that the money they are paid is paid because if the going rate was half of what they get the quality would still be the same. The only difference is that true home grown supporters (map and ruler to your nearest ground) would be able to afford to see there hero's on a regular basis.
    As for the CL, I think this format is ok, puts a bit of pressure on the fourth place in the EPL by having to pre-qualify. The only problem is that these obscure teams that have qualified this year will receive money that could possibly turn them into a 'Chelsea' of a few years back leaving no other team in their league with a chance of qualifying again, maybe only time will tell.

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  • 99. At 7:13pm on 18 Sep 2009, AnubisUK wrote:

    The only problem is that these obscure teams that have qualified this year will receive money that could possibly turn them into a 'Chelsea' of a few years back leaving no other team in their league with a chance of qualifying again, maybe only time will tell.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    I was going to write something similar, as we have this very scenario in Scotland! When will Celtic or Rangers NOT win the league next???? So the idea of giving the smaller teams more money is good for european competitions, but maybe not so good for the domestic leagues!

    Catch 22 it seems :(

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  • 100. At 7:19pm on 18 Sep 2009, whatbill wrote:

    The idea of the champions league is that it pits the elite of europe against eachother - the current group stages don't provide that, it doesn't hot up until the last 16 and even then most of the classic games are saved for the quarter finals onwards.

    I'd sitck in an extra round before the league stage to get it down to the best 16 clubs, who would then be split into groups of 4. That would increase the level of competition aand therefore excitement levels. At the moment its dull, dull, dull. The premiership teams even rest players for the weekend these days, a few years ago it was the other way ound...

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  • 101. At 7:21pm on 18 Sep 2009, DenistheGenius wrote:

    Robbo - have you considering that these CL dog days may be a blessing in disguise for footy addicts like us?
    i mean, if every round were must-see from Aug. to May, in what state would our home lives/relationships be?

    haven't we learned anything from Nick Hornby's masterpiece? following one team is alarmingly all-consuming as it is... if we were glued to every minute of CL football, we'd all end up looking like the Simpson's "comic book guy."
    OK, well most bloggers here probably already do, but you get my point!

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  • 102. At 7:21pm on 18 Sep 2009, JoeDavisRoach wrote:

    97. At 7:02pm on 18 Sep 2009, SimpreZola wrote:
    You be right, we get such exotically named teams that are just there for people like me to have a laugh at their names and make jokes! But who knows if these teams can get a constant run in the Champions League they can attract bigger names and perhaps be a force to be reckoned with.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The answer to that is no - European minnows such as Anorthasi, Debrecen,Unirea, Nicosia etc will never be competitive.The challenge is getting teams like The Old Firm, Ajax, Sporting,Benfica, Porto, Lyon and other big clubs outside the top 3 leagues to become more competitve. As the Champions league has shown,in the rare event these teams have any sort of success they will be stripped of their best players and managers. Lyon made it out of the group stages fairly consistenly and were in the champion league for almost a decade. The result meant that they could attact the best french/african players but were powerless in Europe to keep their top players. This is down to their own domestic league being way below the top 3 in terms of quality and finance. Theres no short or medium term way of solving this.






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  • 103. At 7:24pm on 18 Sep 2009, northernsuperspur wrote:

    I do feel to a certain extent that the champions league is the wrong competition to be having a pop at when it comes to pointless fixture. Consider the UEFA cup (rip) last year where we saw both Spurs and Villa pretty much abandon their campaigns in favour of working on the domestic league. What does that say for the prestige of a competition when two clubs that should be considered amongst the top contenders for winning it dont even bother?

    At least in the CL, the teams entered dont even think about giving up to concentrate on the domestic league. Granted, the @^&%£$& millions might have something to do with that.

    On the other hand, I do miss the old days where you could actually see your team drawn against new opponents that would present a challenge. Nowadays people look at the draw and say "boring, Mourinho isnt up against Chelsea, Ronaldo isnt going back to Manchester".

    Comment #34 wrote : And what do you mean no suprise? 2005 final anybody?

    - How does a final between Liverpool and AC Milan (which happened twice in three years) reinforce an argument that the CL isnt predictable?

    Comment #81 wrote : This weeks football, which you've based your article on, opposes rather than supports your article. All 4 English teams came very close to loosing, with Arsenal being 2 - 0 down to one of the "Minows", and the other teams scrapping 1-0 victories, which could have swung either way.

    - Three of the English teams didnt concede a goal. How is that "very close to loosing" (sic). Arsenal beat Standard Liege 3 - 0 over the final 85 minutes of their game. Standard Liege are a fairly sizable "minow" (sic). As a Spurs fan, I dont praise the gooners more than I have to, but you need to have a bit of perspective on what they did.

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  • 104. At 7:28pm on 18 Sep 2009, JoeDavisRoach wrote:

    99. At 7:13pm on 18 Sep 2009, AnubisUK wrote:
    The only problem is that these obscure teams that have qualified this year will receive money that could possibly turn them into a 'Chelsea' of a few years back leaving no other team in their league with a chance of qualifying again, maybe only time will tell.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    I was going to write something similar, as we have this very scenario in Scotland! When will Celtic or Rangers NOT win the league next???? So the idea of giving the smaller teams more money is good for european competitions, but maybe not so good for the domestic leagues!

    Catch 22 it seems :(
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    This problem is the same in every leage though not just with smaller leagues. When will a non big 4 side win the league next? In fact lately its been a big 2 league with Man U and Chelsea taking turns. In every league there are probably only 4 sides at most that can win it.

    What the smaller sides should be doing is following the example of the likes of Lyon and Ajax - invest their champion league revenue in expanding their scouting systems and developing youth structures. This ensures a reasonably steady supply of good players rather than trying to compete on overpriced transfer markets. However this results in them essentially becoming european feeder teams for the big clubs.

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  • 105. At 7:36pm on 18 Sep 2009, northernsuperspur wrote:

    Actually I'm amazed that some of these super rich investor/owners dont buy a club in the middle reaches of the Champions League instead of Mid-Table Premier League clubs. Surely teams such as Ajax or Lyon would be a promising starting point to launch a cash-fuelled assault on the Champions League crown. With the financial muscle we see at the likes of Manchester City, an Ajax or Lyon would completely dominate their domestic league, guarantee CL football every year along with the fact that taking the CL title outside the "big 3" leagues would be a major marketing boon for more revenue.

    I know the argument would probably be that the EPL generates far more domestic revenue, but when you have that much cash to spare, who really cares? Many of these clubs seem to be getting bought out as toys anyway.

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  • 106. At 7:42pm on 18 Sep 2009, MarkB2 wrote:

    First of all, top blog Mr Robson. I don't always like your stuff, but this is great.

    The CL is pants. It is not a credible competition in any understandable form of the word. It is the shop window for a cartel of massive clubs who have conspired with UEFA over the past 20 years to rid themselves of the pesky smaller clubs who used to beat them on a regular basis (Nottm Forest, Malmo, etc etc). The enormous and immoral concentration of wealth in the G14 or whatever they style themselves as, aided and abetted by the media and football authorities has destroyed the European Cup as a spectacle - probably forever. On top of that, it is mainly boring in the extreme - the odd match notwithstanding - with the same teams playing each other year on year on year on year....Even more sickeningly, when any club dares to trespass on this boys' club - Man City, for example (even though their activities hardly warm the heart), the cartel threatens to change the rules and try and bar the pretenders from the never ending party with the same guests (and playing the same rubbish music).

    How anyone can argue seriously that football is the best it has ever been obviously does not go out much, has a very short memory (after all, football was only invented in August 1992) or is seriously deluded (and a fan of one of the 'big four' - Tim Lovejoy anyone?) A sport without serious competition will surely die eventually - it may take a long time, but, like you say Robbo, it is eating itself. The day will come when the crowds turn away; the smaller clubs die (and even some of the medium or even bigger clubs) and Sky goes to play somewhere else. What then? Will Man Utd be the last remaining club with no one to play against?

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  • 107. At 7:45pm on 18 Sep 2009, Starburst_995 wrote:

    #103 In Spurs's defence, they were too busy digging themselves out of the relegation mire last year to be too bothered about Europe. I know what I'd rather have had at the time, and anyway, our youngsters did all right against the team who eventually won it. What was Villa's excuse?

    Besides, at the time we had a shot of returning the following year because we were in the Carling cup final.

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  • 108. At 7:49pm on 18 Sep 2009, JoeDavisRoach wrote:

    105. At 7:36pm on 18 Sep 2009, northernsuperspur wrote:

    The league doesnt have enough potential though. They might acheive financial parity with the top European times (for the duration of their stay) but they wont be able to compete in terms of prestige. Unless they took wages and transfers to an unseen level - 300k a week etc they still couldnt attract the top players from the Big 3 leagues. These guys wont want to play in the Dutch or French league when they can earn simialr amounts in the big 3 leagues.

    As far as I know a number of smaller clubs in Europe are backed by fairly rich investors and spend heavily but it cant take them to the highest level. For instance I think Shaktar have invested something like 200 million in the club in the last few years - granted they improved massively but nowhere near enough to compete with the mega clubs.

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  • 109. At 7:55pm on 18 Sep 2009, Einveldi wrote:

    "Wing Commander Taupe"... Priceless, Robbo. Priceless.

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  • 110. At 8:05pm on 18 Sep 2009, northernsuperspur wrote:

    #108 JDR - They might acheive financial parity with the top European times (for the duration of their stay) but they wont be able to compete in terms of prestige.

    ---------------------

    Define "prestige"? Ajax Amsterdamn have won the CL/European Cup something like 4 times (without looking it up). To me thats a major european name that would sell a lot of shirts and generate revenue, especially if they were still up contending for the major honours. Also they would have the domestic merchandising market tied up perhaps even more than they currently do.

    Surely in the long term that would be a more productive investment than buying into a Portsmouth or Manchester City?

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  • 111. At 8:05pm on 18 Sep 2009, hudjer wrote:


    For anyone without Sky, the Champions League offers some World class teams and world class players.


    The group stage tends to show up the weaker teams, but from the last 16 onwards it is football from the top table.

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  • 112. At 8:06pm on 18 Sep 2009, JoeDavisRoach wrote:

    106. At 7:42pm on 18 Sep 2009, tonygreeeg wrote:

    This is just nonsense. Since when have Malmo and Notts Forest beaten the big teams on a regular basis? Notts Forest had something of a golden era under Clough and Malmo had a reasonable period of success but if you go back through the champions League winners you will still find the giants of Europe being successful more often than not. Notts Forest winning a single European Cup hardly qualifies them as beating the top sides in Europe regularly.

    The CL is the most talent rich football competition on the planet where the best teams in the world square off against each other. This is simply a fact. No one can deny they teams that have won the competition in recent years are anything other than extremelly good teams.

    I fail to see how the Champions Leaue has been ruined as a spectacle simply because the likes of Forest and Malmo are now inneviteably uncompetitive.

    As someone else pointed out - money has change the game but hardly ruined it.

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  • 113. At 8:11pm on 18 Sep 2009, Lucky_C wrote:

    Agree Robbo - the Champions League generally shows the most tedious football around. I would much rather watch a League 2 match than any of the prima donnas.

    A knockout round would make it more fun, but less matches and TV revenues...

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  • 114. At 8:14pm on 18 Sep 2009, yajustdonsavethose wrote:

    the only thing that is more boring than the champions league is watching richard keys pretend that the game he is presenting is more important than world poverty or climate change....and as for that smug little oik andy gray, can't he fall off a gantry?

    ps who remembers arsenal playing fc tuna a couple of years back.

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  • 115. At 8:15pm on 18 Sep 2009, JoeDavisRoach wrote:

    110. At 8:05pm on 18 Sep 2009, northernsuperspur wrote:

    No I think Man City has more potential to be honest simply because they play in one of the top 3 leagues in the world.

    Take a team like Celtic - a massive club, first ever non Latin winners of the European Cup. But they play in Scotland against teams like St Mirren on a regular basis. Even if they could offer wages thesame as the biggest teams in Europe would the top players go thee? Probably not. And if they did they get to play in a low standard league which isnt going to make them any better.

    In theory its possible to take over a club with a next to limitless amount of financial resources and be successful but Man Citys placing in the Premier League affords them more potential than Ajax/Porto/Celtic who are all former winners of the cup. The domestic League would have top improve first and foremost.

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  • 116. At 8:30pm on 18 Sep 2009, Zootmac wrote:

    Hang on! Don't knock St Mirren - the team which sacked Alex Ferguson because he wasn't good enough.

    Famously, Celtic were the first British club to win the European Cup, in 1967, and they did it with a team, none of whom was born further than 30 miles from Celtic Park in Glasgow. The average player's wage was significantly less than 100 pounds per week.

    That was a different world, and I can't see it returning.

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  • 117. At 8:33pm on 18 Sep 2009, Robbo Robson wrote:

    JDR
    Good Gad, sir! What sense you talk. Point of the blog is that biggies versus littlies (in most cases) for six games is a way of stopping the littlies from getting any further. And it's dull to watch 'em scrap away for the solace of Europa Cup place. Knock-out from day one would even things up a tad and at least hold out the prospect of a shock exit by some big potato or other.
    I've got no problem with seeding the knock-outs if needs be to avoid the wholly unlikely Nicosia v Urinea final Gaz so ludicrously suggests might happen. Porto won the CL - yes I know! A freak result.

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  • 118. At 8:34pm on 18 Sep 2009, Macca wrote:

    The champions league really should be the clubs that won something. I would see the winners of the Prem, the FA Cup and League Cup go in to the Champions League then the Europa League features the three/four teams that finished highest and haven't already qualified.

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  • 119. At 8:52pm on 18 Sep 2009, onlytwoandygorams wrote:

    To be honest, i have to agree with the spirit of the blog, that the Champions Legaue in its current format is bloated and excessively long (I also think the same of the Europa League which seems to have expanded to ludicrous lengths in the last few seasons). However, have to agree with the running point made by JDR as well that the major clubs of the past (Panathanikos, FC Bruges, Benfica, the Dutch clubs, Celtic, Steaua, Red Star) who all reached or won the European Cup final simply couldn't compete anymore even if the tournament reverted to its original knockout form.

    Anytime a team not from a "Big 3" league reaches the higher echelons of European club competition nowadays, they're instantly raped and pillaged by those clubs for anything they can get and I think the freedom of movement now afforded by the expanded EU prevents those clubs from ever regaining a stranglehold again (just look at the recent proliferation of Hungarian youngsters moving abroad).

    As far as I can see, the only way of offering any respite for these clubs as to tighten the regulations on home-grown players to state that maybe 10 players out of a squad of 25 are born in or possess citizenship of the country their club is representing. This may encourage a more insular approach by clubs to signing players and possibly raise the levels of some of these clubs (i.e the Dutch and Portugese).

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  • 120. At 8:54pm on 18 Sep 2009, rjgilhome wrote:

    Why do English clubs bother with the Champions League or Europe at all for that matter. It is my belief most fans would rather their team win the EPL or win promotion. For most it is an impossible dream and glory from the FA Cup is far more realistic. Europe need us more than we need them.
    The world follows EPL where football is fast and exciting and not so much diving. If Barcelona, Real Madrid, A C Milan and Inter were in the EPL they might start ok but I doubt if any would finish in the top 6.

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  • 121. At 8:55pm on 18 Sep 2009, JoeDavisRoach wrote:

    117. At 8:33pm on 18 Sep 2009, Robbo Robson wrote:

    I take the base point that there are a good number of games in the group stages where the minnows are just outmatched and the overall context of the group is a foregone conclusion. However there are other elemnts to be considered.

    Are we to call the premier league a pointless competitions - by January/February its at best a 3 horse race between the same teams. Do we argue not bothering to play matches between Man Utd and West Ham because in the grand scheme of things nothing will change?

    Naturally, the champions league has evolved to try and maximise its financial earnings and broaden its appeal. Its not really the fault of the champions league that many teams in Europe such as the Steau's, Malmos and Red Stars have become uncompetitve. The overall point of the champions league is to match Europes finest whilst producing a financially lucrative package with a broad appeal. Post Christmas you are generally left with the serious teams and some quality ties.

    Another point to consider in the KO system is the "home and away system". This can often lead to equally if not more boring matches. Think Chelsea v Barcelona in the Nou Camp last year. One team going ultra defensive in the hope of snatching an away draw. This overly defensive away leg policy can result in some poor ties aswell. Surel if pure excitementand level playing fields were the order of the day then neutral venues and one tie only games would serve best and just let two teams go at it without away goals being in the back of teams minds.

    Theres potential room to tweak with the structure of the champions league but I cant see any room for drastic change and more importantly I cant see how tweaking it will result in a diferent conclusion to the one that your gripe seems to be with. At the end of the day the best teams are going to win it. Atthe moment the package is financially and commercially successful so I can see why the dont fix it if it isnt broken mentality is there.



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  • 122. At 9:30pm on 18 Sep 2009, creativeMinority wrote:

    hehe... i guess it would be pretty natural for anyone to expect a shock. It is possible that after gazillion times of trying to get into the semis, or quaters for that matter, the smaller clubs will just say "No thank you!" and went their way, signifying the need to ditch the group stages, starting the competition from a stage where there are a couple of slots open for two or three of lower sides to fill (which also happens right now after long group stage). I would have opted for directly going to semis with england's two best sides vs spain's two best sides but that would've been harsh on the french, portuguese and italians (everyone has dreams)

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  • 123. At 9:34pm on 18 Sep 2009, DB Cooper wrote:

    to Gaz Utd

    Football is being destroyed as competitiveness is being destroyed. Smaller countries can no longer compete. Even some big clubs in big countries can no longer compete, as they werent in a good period at the right time. The vast majority of money in the game goes to a select few clubs.

    Money has become the be all and end all. The example you give, Barcelona, have one of the largest turnovers in world football - regardless of who "owns" them. The also have some of the highest ticket prices in the world.

    The money in the game has incredibly driven ticket prices up - taking the game out of the reach of the working man. Working men being priced out of going to the working mans game..... if that isnt "destroyed" then I dont know what is mate.

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  • 124. At 9:49pm on 18 Sep 2009, DenistheGenius wrote:

    have we forgotten about Greece 2004 - the last great world-beaters?

    wish we could bottle that bit o lightning

    -------------------------------------------------------------------

    "The money in the game has incredibly driven ticket prices up - taking the game out of the reach of the working man. Working men being priced out of going to the working mans game..... if that isnt "destroyed" then I dont know what is mate."

    ouch. the truth can really hurt sometimes.

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  • 125. At 9:49pm on 18 Sep 2009, rjaggar wrote:

    Most of us thought Arsenal got out of jail this week. Next time they might not be so lucky.......Liverpool weren't much Kop either......I'm sure the Debreceni keeper will be on Rafa's Christmas card list for his tee up to Kuyt though.....

    Didn't see any of the rest of it. Apparently it's worth backing Ronaldo to score first for Real......

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  • 126. At 9:55pm on 18 Sep 2009, 5europeancups05 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 127. At 10:03pm on 18 Sep 2009, adampsb wrote:

    Only allowing the winners to enter would bring us back to the days of 3 competitions where we had teh Cup Winners Cup as well as the European Cup and Uefa Cup. A return to all 3 competitions strictly on a knockout basis would be interesting but wouldn't really change much given that the same few clubs win their respective leagues every season.

    The only realistic changes that could be made is abolish seeding and stop the 3rd place teams going into the Europa league. They've had their chance and it isn't fair on the other competition fine for teh qualifying round losers but not the group stage

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  • 128. At 10:14pm on 18 Sep 2009, davidgilmourthe3rd wrote:

    amuseing lil blogg.

    someone has mentioned the snooze fest where Chelsea parked the bus against Barca in the hope of snatching a winner in doing so of course setting a very good example of exciting footy for the paying fans etc not!

    anyhows along with a revamp of the groups perhaps this nonsense of 3 points for a win could be abolished in favour of points for goals scored, in this way teams that have just nicked a 1-0 ( like Chelsea) could not be guaranteed progression to the the next stages by either playing for a draw , or the 1-0( which incidently the former should be nil poir or is points )

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  • 129. At 10:21pm on 18 Sep 2009, davidgilmourthe3rd wrote:

    A: 1 point for each goal scored
    B: Bonus Points for 3 goals+
    C: zero points for 0-0

    abolish the stupid away goals rule
    abolish Penalty Shoot outs in favour of a Golden Goal

    should at the close teams are level then yellow/red cards could come into play, as in the team/s with less go through due to thier sporting behaviour etc etc. ( if this option was to be adopted then i suppose the CL would not be so predictable as Chelsea would never make it past the group stages ever )

    just a thought.

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  • 130. At 10:29pm on 18 Sep 2009, GazUtd wrote:


    Wow, what seriousness we have this week. A few points to pick up on.

    Robbo, my "ludicrous" suggestion of the 2 minnows playing a final was simply pointing out that if there is no seeding then this 'could' happen and if it did the CL would suffer as a result of it.

    To the guy who wrote the following..

    "How anyone can argue seriously that football is the best it has ever been obviously does not go out much, has a very short memory or is seriously deluded "

    Where are your points that prove football is not the best it ever has been? Simply calling people names etc doesn't prove a point. Today's footballers are fitter, faster and more skilfull than ever. Only the greats like Best from the past could compete with them.

    #123

    "The money in the game has incredibly driven ticket prices up - taking the game out of the reach of the working man. Working men being priced out of going to the working mans game..... if that isnt "destroyed" then I dont know what is mate."

    I would have to disagree. I would in fact say that more people than ever before get to see matches. You may say that these are not "real" fans or whatever but just because they may only go to a few matches a year may only mean that that is only what they can afford.

    For instance in the 1980s I, as a United fan in Ireland, could very rarely get to a match. Air travel was way to expensive and infrequent and the tickets were unbelievably hard to get. Now I can get to a few matches a season, even an away one once in a while, because there are way more tickets available (still not easy though) and transport is so much cheaper. Plus just look at the stadiums, these days they are great, 20 years ago they were complete rubbish. Of course you can't stand any more which you may say is a bad thing but that is nothing to do with money, it is for safety's sake.

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  • 131. At 10:38pm on 18 Sep 2009, jbe wrote:

    Robbo, if you're going to nick my material, you might at least have the courtesy to credit it.

    http://plymouth.theoffside.com/team-news/the-champions-league-is-killing-football.html

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  • 132. At 10:46pm on 18 Sep 2009, davidgilmourthe3rd wrote:

    extending my example a lil further.

    if we take the Arsenal v Standard Leige

    Arsenal would now have 4 points ( 1 bonus for scoring 3 )

    Standard Leige would have 2 points

    as it seems to me the punters got good value for money as 5 goals in total were scored in the game and as Standard felt a lil aggrieved about loosing they would not end up pointless for putting on a good display.

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  • 133. At 10:53pm on 18 Sep 2009, Fun_n_Games wrote:

    I’m happy today; we’re all getting along, apart from the odd bit of sniping. It’s like we’ve all become one big happy-ish family:
    Robbo: Great blog
    JDR: Spot on (good to see you entering in the spirit of things, even if you have some gripes about the blog. If you can make so many salient points, it lifts the overall quality of the blog anyway. You might accept that the comments are as much a feature of the blog as Robbo’s column is, and this blog and the last one had some great comments)
    Gaz: As prolifically opinionated as always, and always good for a chuckle
    Zoot: Perfect every time
    Trotter: Keeping it real
    TommyO: Your blood runs Red and I respect you for that
    Ira_abu: Good points (you made some excellent points in the previous blog, but let yourself down at the last minute by slagging everyone off. No one likes this. Stay on topic and you’ll be heard much more clearly and loudly, because you talk some sense)

    See, we are fam-il-y . . . I feel a song coming on . . .

    My opinion is: it is only right and proper that the CL be structured such that the teams who are there on merit, i.e. those that won their respective leagues, should be allowed to dominate the latter stages. Blaming the CL for the disparity in the wealth of clubs isn’t valid. UEFA has to address the disparity that has been allowed to build up in the leagues. This is where the problem lies. Like, we could be jokey and say what chance Bolton ever to be in the CL (sorry Trotter)? But then again, what realistic chance Everton (my team, God help me), or Villa? Not much, when you look at the example of one of Everton’s and Villa’s few decent players being recently poached away to hoover up part of the billions being pumped into the previously hopeless MC. Chelsea were able to get JT to stay on (and even Chelsea haters would have to agree he’s gold to that team) simply because they’ve got the dosh to hang on to him. You can’t have a situation where you have MC and Real buying up a team of superstars and blame the CL for what happens next. Not that MC has featured in the CL to date, but it’s only a matter of time, isn’t it. Once they get rid of Hughes and bring in someone decent, of course ;-)

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  • 134. At 11:23pm on 18 Sep 2009, TommyB wrote:

    The problem with the Champions League is that it does genuinely filter out the lesser sides by the very nature of its structure, groups stages followed by two-legged knockouts. This means that the only truly random match is the final in a neutral venue when the usual suspects are generally present.

    JDR, you mentioned the home-away tedium e.g. Chelsea in Camp Nou last season. How about an FA Cup-style draw after a 3 team group stage, rather than, as you suggested, the level playing field of one-off games in a neutral venue? Half of football is about atmosphere, and it would add that extra variable of home advantage, enabling teams like Malmo to add that element of romance to the European Cup which several people seem to feel is missing.

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  • 135. At 11:47pm on 18 Sep 2009, Auqakuh wrote:

    You'd rather watch "The Choir" than football, and there's too much football on the telly?

    You, sir, are suffering from Stockholm Syndrome. And the hostage-taker is your missus.

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  • 136. At 11:57pm on 18 Sep 2009, Auqakuh wrote:

    Also might I note that the top clubs in Europe are, with the exception of Real Madrid and Chelsea, all there by merit? Those clubs are the ones who've been best run for many years, and been the most thrifty, equally, for many years. They've earned their money while others have faffed about and wasted and whinged and whined about how someone else is winning everything all the bleedin' time. They've bought well. They've hired managers (or coaches) capable of doing the job. What they've not done is paid stupid amounts of money to primadonnas who don't turn up when Saturday (or Wednesday) comes.

    Look at the Premier League, right. United have been the best run sporting business in England since the 70s. They were buying up the land around Old Trafford when everyone else didn't think of it. And then once they had the funds, they expanded the ground.

    Liverpool, meanwhile, who were once prancing around at the top of Europe and should've been flippin' rolling in cash to invest for the future, have to build a new ground 'cos they ain't got room despite the fact all the houses around Anfield are, if Google Streetview is anything to go by, bleedin' derelicts.

    Take a look at the football league, too. All those clubs with silly chairmen who think tomorrow is what counts when in fact it's the year after the next decade. They spend stupid amounts of money on a -special push- to get up a flight, then go "oops, we need to sell half the team now, sorry... it's the economy by the way, not the fact that we bought players better suited to the league above us, and no, that tropical tank was a wise investment, I swear, because it impresses all the investors who won't touch us with a barge pole now we're nearly insolvent, ha, ha, ha."

    Arsenal, Manchester United, Barcelona, AC Milan, Bayern Munich - all of these teams are examples of well-run football clubs. They're all also pretty filthy stinking rich when it comes to income. Why? Because they deserve to be, that's why.

    Now, when you're whinging and whining about your rich clubs winning everything, I think it's best to say it more carefully. Chelsea are rich because some Russian bloke fancied a plaything. Real Madrid are rich because banks give them huge wads of cash for no obvious reason. Man City are now rich because a bunch of Arabs want to show people that they're really, really, really rich, and because nobody in their right mind wants to play in the Middle East - Middle Eastlands is a better bet than Qatar, amirite?

    So let's hope some of those "plucky" little teams make the most of their time in the Champions League and put some dosh aside for the days in the future. Let's hope they buy up the cheap land around their grounds. Let's hope they invest in youth development and flog off some great youngsters to Milan and Barca and Real and whatnot. Then, in 15 years time, we can all meet back here and half of you can complain about how unfair it is that they're rich and have good players when Portsmouth aren't and don't.

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  • 137. At 00:00am on 19 Sep 2009, Ilicipolero wrote:

    Back in the day the whole thing was contested by the winners of the individual European leagues. None of this seeding, avoiding teams from the same country malarkey. A bit like a huge FA Cup without the non-league teams, although I suppose because of the draw format of the whole thing, Man U or Chelsea wouldn't mind a couple of matches in the first round against the champions of, say, Iceland.
    Why ever not guarantee each team a big wedge which increases the further into the competition they progress? The only exception should be the previous season's winners earn an exemption, thus, the maximum number of clubs you'd have from the same country, assuming the current holders weren't also their own league champions, would be two.
    European Cup Winners Cup was always crap, except for 1980 when Graham Rix had his spot kick saved and Nayim, in 1995, spanked it in from yards out, so why not let the also rans in enter a mega, mega UEFA Cup?

    I realise you can't guarantee a top notch final, Chris Waddle's Marseille and Red Star Belgrade in about 1990 comes to mind but only because Red Star played for penalties, (or pelanties as Chrissy would say). Thing of the fun you'd have along the way though with a couple of European giants drawn against each other in a winner take all tie.



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  • 138. At 00:01am on 19 Sep 2009, oldstafford wrote:

    Great Blog…
    #133 Echo the sentiments (especially on JDR...Crikey, is that really you?) and agree with the point about it's not the competition's fault that some teams are better than others because of the money they have. They are there for being the best teams in their leagues and who wouldn't want to see them? The money argument could be used for any league in any competition and any sport.
    Greater distribution of wealth by UEFA, especially from the lucrative CL would certainly help the less well off clubs and revenue from advertising could be better spread (never going to happen) and it would, over time, narrow the gap but even then I think only marginally. No matter what, you will still get different levels in competitions. Players want to play for the higher profile teams and the higher profile teams want the best players.
    It’s hard to think of a fair way to give the ‘minnows’ a better chance with this in mind.

    As for too much football Robbo?! I spent the summer watching far too many period dramas, as a bargaining tool with the girlfriend, so that I could watch the PL and the CL, so I’m not complaining.
    Right, I’m off to clean up the tea I spat out after reading JDR’s posts!

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  • 139. At 00:11am on 19 Sep 2009, TommyB wrote:

    136

    The houses around Anfield are far from derelict, mate. If you want to see a waste of European CoC 08 money, check out Kensington (not the London one). Those L4 terraces go pretty far back (chronologically and physically), and are built of sterner stuff than any Barrett Homes hole you care to mention.

    Sorry, small burst of civic pride there. Maybe it's because I don't have a car for the little scallies to mind for 50p!

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  • 140. At 01:10am on 19 Sep 2009, uncleandbarbara wrote:

    I'm sorry but it IS because you are a Boro fan!

    Look, I don't claim to have particularly enjoyed this weeks CL action, as it goes it was rather poor fayre indeed. And yes, even as a Liverpool fan, I would like to see an unseeded competition. However, the groups do add both longevity and a few surprises to the competition, delicately whetting our appetites for, not only the final games of the group stages, (which you have to admit, always throw up some extraordinary and thrilling matches,) but also the rest of the competition. A competition which, when it reaches the knockout stages, conjures up the most exciting football in the 4-year world calendar. European Championships and World Cup included. And the competition to fans involved, which unfortunately Robbo you know little about, means pitting yourself not only against the premier league teams (and some of the dross up-field-lumping we came accustomed to from the Boro over the past few years,) but some of the best teams in Europe. Furthermore, it brings about a national pride that we have one of, if not THE best league in the world on our very doorsteps, if you judge by the fact that we have 2 or 3 teams consistently making the semi-final stage. You may point out that we never seem to do so well in the UEFA Cup or, as we should now call it, the Europa League, but let's be fair Robbo. Our Europa League teams field 2nd string teams in the second string European competition because: 1)The Premier League is so competitive that you cannot afford to take your eye off the ball, so to speak, for a second in case you are relegated such is the fierce competition and: 2) Just what is the incentive? I mean where are the millions in prize money? And, furthermore, why are the winners not drafted directly into next year's Champions League group stages? Surely it is time that such an ammendment was made. But then, surely the Champions League is still the world's best inter-national competition there is for fans to enjoy. So why not enjoy the fact that we in Europe have the pleasure of enjoying this luxury instead of bemoaning the fact that we support Middlesborough and start getting behind the English clubs that are involved in it!

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  • 141. At 01:30am on 19 Sep 2009, redwillhunted7 wrote:

    Robbo, who's your tip to win the CL this year? Think carefully, as i don't want it to be a Spurs-like bid being tendered :-)

    Chelsea for me, with Real hot on their tails.

    By the way, what's all the "i want the English teams to stuff up this year about? I've written to Mr Hargreaves (not Owen) and advised you can become his new Mr Patriotic.

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  • 142. At 01:38am on 19 Sep 2009, Spitfire wrote:

    Why so serious?

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  • 143. At 02:18am on 19 Sep 2009, TrotterUSA wrote:

    133
    Ok, you've got me humming along with 'We are Family'! If Bolton ever get into the Champions League I'll hope to have all your sisters with me! Now that'd be fun 'n' games!

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  • 144. At 02:19am on 19 Sep 2009, redwillhunted7 wrote:

    #133

    Agree, some great comments on here from the regulars and particularly from JDR, who righlty deserves the plaudits after rightly receiving plenty of stick. I'm just hoping no-one's reading The Strange case of Dr Jeckyll and Mr Hyde.

    Some great games this weekend to look forward to.

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  • 145. At 02:29am on 19 Sep 2009, Spitfire wrote:

    143:

    Now c'mon Trott! His sisters are now your cousins.



    No more cliques please. Robbo gets enough slag as it is.

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  • 146. At 04:36am on 19 Sep 2009, Fun_n_Games wrote:

    #143
    You should be so lucky Trotter. I've got 7 of 'em, God help me. Don't know if you'd be able for that many ;-)

    #144
    Oh yes, and I can't wait. The EPL is still fantastic, I don't care what anyone says. I see that fantastic Lawro has got a 2 - 1 result for both the home teams in the big derby matches. Have to say that I think SAF will have his team fired-up to the max, and I'd say he'll want to stick it to Mark Hughes big time, so might expect at least one more out of ManU (and I'm not a MUFC fan by any stretch). As for the Chelsea-Spurs game, who knows what that score could be, depending on which Spurs team shows up, but hard to look past a home win there also.
    I think Lawro's being a bit pessimistic that 'Pool won't get all the points from their game - maybe he's taken too much to heart the criticisms of various bloggers that he usually has them down for a win regardless? He's got my lowly Toffees down for a win, so here's hoping . . .

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  • 147. At 07:14am on 19 Sep 2009, DenistheGenius wrote:

    this blog is full of barking dogs...yawn.

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  • 148. At 08:25am on 19 Sep 2009, EeesyP wrote:

    Sorry Robbo, you're on a hiding to nothing here. These kids are obviously too young to remember the shock and excitment of a Celtic or Forest or Ajax European Cup Final win. Or even the Manc's winning it for the first time. Any team winning it for the first time isn't going to happen again, any time soon. Not much money in it but, &**$ me, it was brilliant for football.

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  • 149. At 09:28am on 19 Sep 2009, bluenose wrote:

    No doubt about it the greedy leauge it should change its name to. It is probably the closest thing we will ever see to a european super leauge and since its introduction talk of this has all but dissapeared. Apart from some of the liverpool games which have been very good i dont feel the quality of football comes close to that of the premier leauge. Has anybody ever got to the end of a champions leauge game between two european clubs without reaching for the remote? I believe in tradition and dont think there was a problem with the old format of european cup, euefa cup and european cup winners cup but as i say earlier we may have seen the big clubs breaking away if they weren't bankrolled by the phoney greedy champions leauge. This is were business has ruined football, yes all club boards want whats best for there club but do they realy believe that by finishing second, third and fourth they should be entitled to the same riches and prestige has the club who has over a full season proved they are the best in there country? In the champions leauge the winners are not always the best team in europe win your own championship and you are definetely the best team in your country.

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  • 150. At 09:54am on 19 Sep 2009, Mistern wrote:

    I might point out one thing, however. For all their riches and their galaticoes, when was the last time that Real Madrid actually won the Champions League?

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  • 151. At 10:09am on 19 Sep 2009, youngblueblood wrote:

    Holly Bellamy! why all these seriousness, people? this blog's sounding more or a stock exchange load of rants than a normal Robbo blog. this is supposed to be a damn funny blog. what have u fed these numpties Robbo? even JDR?? maybe it's high time Simpletruth09 popped up and tell us all what a racist we all are.he's as bitter as gall, that bloke "Simple", but i'ld rather taste gall than these senseless rants..keep it funny guys.

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  • 152. At 12:24pm on 19 Sep 2009, Zootmac wrote:

    148 EeesyP

    I remember those three finals. I was actually at the San Siro in 1970 when Feyenoord defeated Celtic. I was based in Lugano, in the Swiss Ticino, and Milan was an hour away by rail.

    The broad expectation was that Celtic, as previous winners, and the team which defeated Don Revie's Leeds machine home and away in the 1970 semis, would defeat this unknown Dutch mob with ease. Holland was viewed as a very modest footballing nation.

    I was initially astounded by the vast numbers of Feyenoord supporters, with their repertoire of songs and chants. I was then even more astounded by the quality of the Feyenoord players.

    After the impressive Feyenoord victory, I wondered if this was merely a freak event. Within a few months, Cruyff's Ajax hit the radar.

    I quite agree with your overall point. That kind of wonderful emergence seems to be far off in the current climate.

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  • 153. At 12:29pm on 19 Sep 2009, Zootmac wrote:

    151 youngblueblood

    It IS a bit more serious this time, isn't it? Mind you, I'm still chuckling at the vision of the nipper RedBlue's Jack Russell making off with his Scalextric cars.

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  • 154. At 12:47pm on 19 Sep 2009, finnharpsman wrote:

    good blog. There is a problem with the champions league because most of the group games are very boring. This is mostly because the 2 strong teams can get the points they need against the 2 weak teams without too much effort and the 2 good teams do not have to push too hard against each other as they pick up the points against the 2 weak teams. Nonetheless, I think it is a good idea to have the group stages to allow those teams which have qualified from reasonable leagues a chance to play against the big boys. After all, the champions from the small leagues like Ireland, Estonia, Malta etc get knocked out long before the final 32 is decided for the group stages.
    The thing that really gets to me is that every summer we hear about players who want to get a transfer to a team playing in the champions league. Why? Do these guys ever watch the group matches on telly? Do they see the half empty stadiums? (some notable exceptions such as Besiktas which was wonderful) Do they see the matches played at snail's pace? How could they possibly think that playing at Debrecini is a bigger challenge than playing at Wigan for example? Above all, how could Aston Villa (and other teams) think that it is worth passing up a realistic chance of winning the UEFA cup for a chance of playing in the group stages of the champions league?

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  • 155. At 1:16pm on 19 Sep 2009, TrotterUSA wrote:

    146

    Seven sisters? Good grief. Can you come up with a different song?

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  • 156. At 1:30pm on 19 Sep 2009, GazUtd wrote:


    See what happens when it gets all serious. 155 comments in a day compared to 500 odd when people are calling eachother names. It's like the blog was about cricket or something.

    I blame JDR.

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  • 157. At 1:32pm on 19 Sep 2009, Zootmac wrote:

    Fun_n_Games may well be a Mother Superior. Check the time of the posting: she and the seven sisters are just back from Matins.

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  • 158. At 1:39pm on 19 Sep 2009, TrotterUSA wrote:

    eh up, the lads are clockin' in, it must be half time in the early game!

    Zoot, if he doesn't get up at 4.30am he won't get in the bathroom 'til noon!

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  • 159. At 1:43pm on 19 Sep 2009, Zootmac wrote:

    So the Mother Superior theory is redundant? Pity. I was going to ask her if she gave up the toffees for lent.

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  • 160. At 1:50pm on 19 Sep 2009, TrotterUSA wrote:

    Well, all our questions are answered....

    http://forgirlswhocantdofootball.blogspot.com/2009/04/nuns-eat-your-heart-out.html

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  • 161. At 2:00pm on 19 Sep 2009, Zootmac wrote:

    Trotter - I know that bloggers occasionally put "lol", but I want you to know that I really DID laugh out loud at that.

    Superb, my man.

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  • 162. At 2:03pm on 19 Sep 2009, TrotterUSA wrote:

    Zoot, it was a good find that one, had me chuckling too! 7 of them and a nice little song relevant to previous Robbo blogs. Even better, she's a Toffee!

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  • 163. At 4:07pm on 19 Sep 2009, ZEUSFC wrote:

    As a Cyprus resident, i can safely say you really haven't seen anything like the pre-match hype of the forthcoming visits of Chelsea, Atletico Madrid and Porto!
    To supporters of Apoel and the like, the seeding system means that we get to see the big boys playing here... just because EPL fans don't want to see a 5-0 drubbing in a ground with 20000 capacity, doesn't mean we don't want to! It's a European Competition for all of Europe, not just for England, Spain and Italy.

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  • 164. At 6:15pm on 19 Sep 2009, GazUtd wrote:


    I just had another thought. Worrying I know but bear with me.

    The Turkish fans have gotten a bad rap lately, rightly so in some cases, but did you see and hear them in the stadium against United the other night. They could teach fans in the Prem a thing or two on how to cheer and sing, even when you are the underdogs. So you can't say that the 'lesser' teams bring nothing to the group stages.

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  • 165. At 8:18pm on 19 Sep 2009, TommyB wrote:

    Gaz, when I was in Istanbul for CL 05 I found that the Turks were great. We even had Galatasaray and Fenerbache fans singing and waving flags together the day after the game (a special occasion, to be fair, but not a hint of any trouble).

    As for the atmosphere at the grounds in Istanbul, a mate of mine is half-Turk, half-Scouse and he was saying that the reason for the continuous noise is that they have conductors who never watch the game and make sure everyone keeps singing, like chief whips. Anyone who stops gets a smack. Good enough reason to continue, I'd imagine, and puts the fear of God into visiting teams.

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  • 166. At 9:05pm on 19 Sep 2009, TrotterUSA wrote:

    Tommy, those conductors sound rather like the bus conductors of my youth. If you stood up, knelt on the seat, leaned out of the window or merely seemed as if you might do any of those things at any moment in the next 20 minutes of the ride, a whack was felt on one's ear!

    I've wondered for decades (not constantly but occasionally) why does the Rod Stewart song 'Young Turks' have that name? Perhaps this is exactly the forum where such a question can be posed and correctly answered?

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  • 167. At 9:07pm on 19 Sep 2009, GazUtd wrote:


    What happened in Istanbul in 05 that had you there Tommy? I seem to have part of May still in my memory from then but then it suddenly goes blank around 8:30 on a Wednesday nignt. It's weird, like I've repressed it or something.

    From your experiences then they could definitely teach us a thing or two on how to behave in grounds in the Prem. I am continually sickened by the stuff that goes on in OT sometimes. Away it's generally great, at St. James last season we were way louder than the Geordies, but then the great James support is in my mind a bit of a myth.

    Dunno if you have the same thing at Anfield but at OT there is something that really annoys me more than anything. We have some season ticket holders who style themselves as the best United fans around. These are the same guys who sell their tickets to the touts for the big games, where people like me if we are unlucky enough not to have got one end up paying a fortune. Then when they do come to games they both come in late and leave early both at half time and full time. It sickens me, I have never left a match early in my life, even when being beaten by you lot. Then they have the cheek to sit in the ground moaning about what they percieve as 'plastics' in the ground and how there isn't enough singing.

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  • 168. At 9:48pm on 19 Sep 2009, TommyB wrote:

    Ah, Istanbul! I would regale you with a joyous tale, but I fear you may need therapy afterwards.

    We certainly do have a few of the plastic fans, a lot of them in the Kemlyn Road (Centenary now) and you find that the visiting Norwegian fans ;) tend to put them to shame. I've never heard of them touting their tickets for big games, but I'm not naive enough to assume we are exempt from this shameful opportunism. As a rule though the bigger the game the louder the fans. The expectation of beating Stoke or Pompey for example, means it tends to send a massive wave of relief round the ground when we score rather than the sheer joy we get when we score against you lot or the Bluenoses. It was pretty stale when we drew with Fulham, West Ham, etc etc, last season. You're right about St James' as well. Only been once, and they made a right racket when Shearer scored but apart from that were pretty much silent. True of all home support I think.

    Trotter, when did the internal combustion engine get to Bolton? And did these conductors wear flat caps or top hats?

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  • 169. At 9:54pm on 19 Sep 2009, 59th_street wrote:

    i think the levels of pedantry have suffered as a result of the current love-in.
    is it true that no-one corrected cockRoach for saying Forest won the European Cup ONCE?

    i like the idea of an unseeded knock-out comp from the word go... much more interesting......

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  • 170. At 10:14pm on 19 Sep 2009, TrotterUSA wrote:

    Tommy, flat caps, stiffly peaked!

    The internal combustion engine was in Bolton in the 1500's, they just never told anybody else about it. In fact, it was only with the advent of modern media and the printing press that word finally got out. The first automobile left Bolton for Liverpool in 1706 but was lost for almost 3 centuries until it was spotted via Google earth, on breeze blocks, at the back of a pub in Huyton!

    59th Street - good catch! Cloughie was almost turning in his grave!

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  • 171. At 10:23pm on 19 Sep 2009, TommyB wrote:

    Stevie's great great great etc... grandad was responsible, I believe? Breeze blocks in 1706? At least we'd have upset Prince Charles (who was definitely alive in the 18th century) with our modern building techniques.

    Gaz, one for you:

    http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_JIdewq78yXA/RdDKCVco6jI/AAAAAAAAAGQ/UptNUTweqXg/s400/scouse1.jpg

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  • 172. At 10:51pm on 19 Sep 2009, GazUtd wrote:


    Ah the old one's are still great Tommy. That one has been in my Scouse folder of special pics for a long time, the Oxo one is my personal favourite. I'd post my favourite Liverpool joke too but the mods would have a heart attack even though there's no bad words in it.

    I did laugh at Trotters car missing it's wheels funny, stereotypes can be funny, even JDR seems to have cottoned on to this. At least being Irish there is nothing you could possibly joke about me.

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  • 173. At 11:24pm on 19 Sep 2009, oldstafford wrote:

    Why does every blog always end up like this, with the usual suspects having a bit of light banter? ...Carry on...
    Where is PaulMcLame anyway? Does this mean even he approves of Robbo’s blog? - I was hoping for some sort of conflict to restore the ying and yang.
    Oh yeah and West Brom how many??? Any comments Robbo?

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  • 174. At 11:38pm on 19 Sep 2009, TrotterUSA wrote:

    Gaz, the real reason Klinsman can't work at Anfield is that Stan Boardman would have to stop using his trademark "they bombed our chippy" joke. Love Stan Boardman. The scousers would win the CL of comedy in a landslide.

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  • 175. At 11:41pm on 19 Sep 2009, oldstafford wrote:

    #174 The Fokker joke is a classic!

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  • 176. At 11:43pm on 19 Sep 2009, oldstafford wrote:

    ...and didn't it get him banned from working in television for making it?

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  • 177. At 11:45pm on 19 Sep 2009, TrotterUSA wrote:

    oh yeah, a cracker, dunno if he got banned though, I'm a bit out of the loop on your tele news (amongst other things)!

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  • 178. At 11:55pm on 19 Sep 2009, GazUtd wrote:


    Stan Boardman!! I'll turn into PMS if you keep on saying that he is funny. For Pete's sake someone will be demanding that I laugh at anything Jimmy Tarbuck has ever said before. You can only cry at anything Tarbuck has produced, especially that talentless daughter of his.

    Dunno why it always ends up with us here OST, something to do with us having no life etc etc. I spent my Saturday night re-watching Casino Royale as it was on ITV, just to see if it really was as bad as I remembered. And do you know what - it's worse. They really have ruined Bond with that idiot Daniel Craig. But then again he is a Pool fan. I wanted Clive Owen to be Bond but he's a Pool fan too, you just can't win, they're everywhere!

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  • 179. At 00:14am on 20 Sep 2009, oldstafford wrote:

    Gaz, no-one would ever demand that, and I maybe mistaken (often happens) but I think Stan is an Evertonian. My mum (Liverpudlian) doesn't like him for that reason...I think.

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  • 180. At 03:17am on 20 Sep 2009, TrotterUSA wrote:

    OST....I reckon we end up here just like the last lads in the pub. The subject has been flogged to death, all angles covered, every last bit of argument, debate and opinion has been squeezed out of the drip mats and we're just there, the last stragglers, pondering how Gaz cleaned up at dominoes again, how the darts team were crap but what can you expect when three of them are blind drunk and two didn't get back from the match in time, how Zoot won the quiz for the fourth straight week, how good RBA was on his MOTD debut, then the lights are back on, somebody's brushing up sawdust and collecting empties, somebody else is offering to walk Gloria home but she's already got a taxi on the way and so we sit on the wall outside and offer some last thoughts on the CL qualifiers and anything else that pos up, just to prolong the evening. The doors get bolted and the lights go out, finally we stagger off towards the bus stop and then a loud voice calls out "NEW BLOG" ....... and this is the way of things!

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  • 181. At 10:11am on 20 Sep 2009, peterthepig wrote:

    If the posts are reactively moderated, what about the crossbar?

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  • 182. At 11:41am on 20 Sep 2009, gringo Loco wrote:

    Id rather get rid of the likes of Shakter, Werder Bremen, Sporting etc inthe group stages than have a champions league semi final of Barcelona vs Outmatched FC

    Instead we get it in the final!

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  • 183. At 12:08pm on 20 Sep 2009, gringo Loco wrote:

    Boro 0-5 WBA

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  • 184. At 12:20pm on 20 Sep 2009, GazUtd wrote:


    I think Platini heard about Robbo's criticism of the CL and he sent someone to inject the Boro players with valium while making it look like a drugs test. It's a conspiracy I tell you.

    What are the odds Robbo shows up tonight around 12 after he's been at the pub all day trying to drink away yesterdays result. Much philosiphising will then ensue!

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  • 185. At 12:22pm on 20 Sep 2009, gringo Loco wrote:

    The problem with the non-seeding format is that you could end up with a final of Debrecen vs Apoel Nicosia

    No you can't. you get either

    Debrecen v Barcelona

    or Barcelona v Apoel Nicosia

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  • 186. At 1:10pm on 20 Sep 2009, TrotterUSA wrote:


    Gaz, Are you all settled in the armchair, ready for the big one? This is a great way to start the day!

    That was just the kind of result Boro needed to give 'em a kick up the a$%* and march on to the title eh Robbo! Well, that's the positive spin but having got rid of three or four of their best players it might not be looking so rosy. Bolton on the other hand have improved their squad and look worse than ever and need to buck up or swap places with WBA. It could be a long season or a very long season for the Trotters. Still a point at home to Stoke, who look better than ever, moves us out of the bottom three, it could be worse, we've got 'em where we want 'em eh lads!

    A Berbatov winner would do him the world of good!

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  • 187. At 1:25pm on 20 Sep 2009, gringo Loco wrote:

    The balance of power won't change until the quota system is implemented.

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  • 188. At 1:35pm on 20 Sep 2009, TrotterUSA wrote:

    nice start!

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  • 189. At 1:37pm on 20 Sep 2009, gringo Loco wrote:

    Scotland has always been a 2 team league, the EPL has become a 4 team league, italy has become a 1 team leuge, spain a 2 team league, so the ECL has become a 6-8 team league.

    This will always be the case in whichever league.

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  • 190. At 1:48pm on 20 Sep 2009, gringo Loco wrote:

    If Barcelona, Real Madrid, A C Milan and Inter were in the EPL they might start ok but I doubt if any would finish in the top 6.

    what an inflated opinion you have of Villa, Everton, Man City etc. Or even of Man U, Liverpool, Chelski and Arsenal.

    Barcelona were without doubt the best team in europe last season and have been there or there abouts for a long time.

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  • 191. At 1:53pm on 20 Sep 2009, gringo Loco wrote:

    if SAF had treated tevez fairly and not verbally abused him it might still be Utd 1-0 City. Nice hustling by Tevez.

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  • 192. At 2:04pm on 20 Sep 2009, TrotterUSA wrote:

    If me Aunty had nuts she'd be me uncle.

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  • 193. At 2:49pm on 20 Sep 2009, gringo Loco wrote:

    It is probably the closest thing we will ever see to a european super leauge

    The ESL will happen as soon as they sort out promotion and relegation

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  • 194. At 3:09pm on 20 Sep 2009, gringo Loco wrote:

    I spent my Saturday night re-watching Casino Royale as it was on ITV

    Was that the David Niven version??

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  • 195. At 3:29pm on 20 Sep 2009, TrotterUSA wrote:

    Oh my goodness, what an incredible game, congrats Gaz, great stuff!

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  • 196. At 3:58pm on 20 Sep 2009, GazUtd wrote:


    Holy ****!!!!

    Now that is what football is all about!!!

    Roll on all the conspiracy theorists moaning about added time, despite our best efforts to gift a load of billionaires an early Christmas present we do what United always seem to do - give me a heart attack. The dancing I did around the pub would have even had Craig Reville whatshisname looking on in admiration.

    Michael Owen - United Legend!!!!! hahahahahahahahahahahahaha

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  • 197. At 4:02pm on 20 Sep 2009, Zootmac wrote:

    Heart attack? Wot - your ticker not working either?

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  • 198. At 4:04pm on 20 Sep 2009, Zootmac wrote:

    Sorry about that. Just thought I'd try to feel what it's like to be Tommy.

    Quite fun, actually.

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  • 199. At 4:05pm on 20 Sep 2009, Zootmac wrote:

    181 Peter_the_red_pig

    Quite good, that. Drop in again.

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  • 200. At 4:06pm on 20 Sep 2009, GazUtd wrote:


    I think Fergie said it all...

    "We gave three goals away today. It could have been an embarrassment - we could have won 6-0 or 7-0 today. But in the end we still we won one of the best Manchester derbies. We have a neighbour, and sometimes neighbours are noisy, but we showed our power today and we get on with life"

    How an almost 70 year old sticks it I have no idea!!

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  • 201. At 4:12pm on 20 Sep 2009, GazUtd wrote:


    Carlos Tevez - Cost 30 odd million - On for 90 mins, 0 goals.

    Michael Owen - Cost NOTHING - On for 10 mins, match winning goal.

    SAF - Priceless!!

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  • 202. At 4:15pm on 20 Sep 2009, TrotterUSA wrote:

    Speaking of Man U gifts, Foster is so dodgy with anything crawling towards him, ok for Man U because EVDS will be back but he won't get the England job until he's ironed all that out. Just decision making which'll get better with experience. Rio on the other hand, what was that? He's only allowed two more of those before Cahill gets promoted (by me). Incredible entertainment though. Now I have an afternoon of American Football, I'm yawning already.

    199 He's on the rebound!

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  • 203. At 4:20pm on 20 Sep 2009, GazUtd wrote:


    Nevermind all the brilliance and heart attack material but today also gave en example of why England are never going to win the WC. Their maybe 1st choice keeper and definitely first choice defender were guilty of errors that I wouldn't even insult an 12yo by saying they were schoolboy.

    In case PMS or Ira or Onion are reading you may see me posting for quite a while :)

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  • 204. At 4:20pm on 20 Sep 2009, TrotterUSA wrote:

    You're right Gaz, that one goal is worth his wages for the year and until there's a more dramatic scenario it will be the most repeated goal this season and shown again and again for years to come! A weight of his back no doubt. Let's hope he can keep it up.

    Adam, sorry, I forgot about you, you must still be in the pub, congratulations!

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  • 205. At 4:29pm on 20 Sep 2009, GazUtd wrote:


    Trotter the winning goal also showed that class never ever deserts the greats. In the last minute you would have gotten a lesser player hoof the ball into the box and another lesser player trying s stupid header.

    Instead you get the genius of Giggs play a ball of sheer bliss to another genius like Owen who had peeled away instead of just standing like a statue waiting in the box. Football at its best.

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  • 206. At 4:35pm on 20 Sep 2009, GazUtd wrote:



    Some of the comments on the 606 boards are just sheer brilliance...


    "None of Uniteds titles have been won fairly"
    "Refs are completely bought"
    "City totally dominated the match and were robbed by a dodgy ref"
    "United ALWAYS get the decisions and every time have more added time, more penalties and more players sent off against them"


    Brilliant, just brilliant. It's amazing what jealousy does to some people!

    The amount of Pool/Arsenal/Chelsea fans that were dancing around at 3-3 and then complaining about consipracies at 4-3 is almost as good as the result!!

    (Just in case someone is wondering about the last comment above from 606, United in FACT did not have the most penalties last season, nor the most players sent off against them. But why let facts get in the way of a good rant eh?)

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  • 207. At 4:43pm on 20 Sep 2009, GazUtd wrote:


    Nevermind the comments from 606 above, someone has just out done the lot of them...

    "In a few years I doubt Utd will even be in the Premiership."

    There are no words.

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  • 208. At 4:48pm on 20 Sep 2009, 59th_street wrote:

    Gaz is right, and i'm no fan of ManUre, they deserved it today.
    People just get a little paranoid when trying to slate the Devils.
    Fortunately i'm not paranoid, it's just that everyone thinks i am...

    As a toon fan you can imagine my pleasure at watching Bellers get a couple and Owen score the winner....BAH!!

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  • 209. At 4:53pm on 20 Sep 2009, GazUtd wrote:


    59th_Street doesn't it just go to show how much a manager really does mean to a team, and that he must be given free reign to do as he sees fit.

    The Geordies had players who are still showing how good they are and yet they still managed to get relegated. Not just finish mid-table but actually get relegated. In fact I think they deserve a medal just for that. :)

    For anyone who is interested the biggest match in Ireland is currently on, the All-Ireland football final (the GAA type). It's Cork v Kerry which is a derby of sorts. Kerry are sort of the United of GAA and are currenlty winning with 8 minutes left. Just to prove to you all that it's not only footie that has idiot fans, last year when Kerry were winning the final, with about 5 mins to go there were actually Kerry fans who LEFT!! This is like fans leaving the CL final early cos their team is 4-0 up. Unbelievable! (PS, the wife is from Kerry!)

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  • 210. At 5:03pm on 20 Sep 2009, 59th_street wrote:

    medals for relegation?!
    surely we should get a trophy for being a relegated 'bigclub' no? ah well....

    as class is always a topic for discussion...who is the most over-rated player to have graced the PL in the last few years?
    (my choice is still playing!)

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  • 211. At 5:09pm on 20 Sep 2009, GazUtd wrote:


    My choice is surprise surprise a United player...

    The most over-rated player in history, step forward one Mrs. Gladys Neville.

    In every walk of life there is always someone in a job who no one has a clue how he got there. He is utterly useless at his job but for some reason he still has it. Probably something to do with his continual ars-licking and total poo talking. Why should football be any different. Neville's repetoire of defending over the years has consisted of 3 main things...

    1. Hold and pull the attacker for all you are worth
    2. Put your hand in the air at every opportunity
    3. If all else fails, blame somebody else.

    There are plenty more of course, surprisingly a lot of them are English, wonder why that is.

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  • 212. At 5:16pm on 20 Sep 2009, 59th_street wrote:

    That was a surprise choice... I can't choose a toon player, too many options makes my head spin (although I actually think Colicini(sp?) is a very good defender, just misunderstood)

    Giggs is my award winner...dribbling is good but his crossing/passing/shooting is consistently awful. He was kind enough to demonstrate this today a few times...lovely boy.

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  • 213. At 5:30pm on 20 Sep 2009, GazUtd wrote:


    Nah mate you can't pick Giggs. Where I have consistently joked with the opticians in my family that they need to test his eyes because of some unbelievable passing attempts, his moments of sheer brilliance make up for it.

    The FA Cup semi-final goal in 99 at the top, and even today's match-winning pass at the death to name but two.

    By the way the injury time according to the 606 sages is currently up to 98 mins. LOLOL.

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  • 214. At 5:32pm on 20 Sep 2009, GazUtd wrote:


    Meanwhile Chelsea are still powering ahead. It's theirs to lose.

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  • 215. At 6:01pm on 20 Sep 2009, 59th_street wrote:

    Why is it that Chelsea have many fine players, a good team spirit, are clearly a powerhouse in football terms and yet i find them interminably dull to watch?

    ...and thru the England squad revolving door, out goes Foster (Capello won't trust him now) and in comes Owen.

    Which reminds me, i once tried to slam a revolving door...perseverance got me nowhere.

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  • 216. At 6:44pm on 20 Sep 2009, magush wrote:

    5. At 2:57pm on 18 Sep 2009, sirrodneymarsh wrote:

    Agreed. These group games are nearly as pointless as the England v Australia one day cricket series.

    -------------------------------------------------------------

    I am sad to read this. Please folow my nick and read my post on the other blog titled "Liverpool hope for power surge"

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  • 217. At 7:09pm on 20 Sep 2009, magush wrote:

    23. Zootmac
    28. Bangforyourbuck

    Thanks for the positive feedback! I was thinking whether it is worth to address these issues on these blogs - but I got quite some reaction.

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  • 218. At 7:11pm on 20 Sep 2009, magush wrote:

    163. At 4:07pm on 19 Sep 2009, ZEUSFC wrote

    fully agree (as a Hungarian resident)

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  • 219. At 7:48pm on 20 Sep 2009, GazUtd wrote:


    Have to laugh at Hughes' comments after the match...

    "United were given a little more time than they should have been given to get the goal"

    Erm Mark, City got that extra time as well. It wasn't like the ref sent your team off and told United to score. Perhaps as your team was the last to score before that you could have pressed for the winner?

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  • 220. At 7:59pm on 20 Sep 2009, magush wrote:

    15. At 3:17pm on 18 Sep 2009, superNightshift82 wrote

    Some thoughts on this.

    As a Hungarian resident, basically I don't think if this would be a good idea (not letting the CL participant receiving the original money earned, but distribute 50% of it amongst the members of the Hungarian 1st league or whatever).

    It was an individual decision of the owners of the club to start investing into the club (something like 6-8 years ago) in order to have a team which is able to achieve sg in the European club scene, e.g. reaching the group stage of the CL. Even for a minnow team (as you call it) it takes conscious investment, selected players (at this level) and hard work to complete the qualifiers and reach the CL group stage, it is not a coincidence (with other words: normally the best minnows (based on the qualification series) are able to make it).
    In case of a succesful performance the owners of course claim their reward / profit from the proceeds. And as a simple rule of thumb the simple "laissez faire" theory also says that any money will be best used by the owners/managers/players who have acchieved to earn it.

    There is a high number of factors influencing the quality of a football league. Such money injections would of course benefit the league, but no one can be sure if the national association, or the other teams will always use the money for appropriate purposes, etc.

    Or: even if it sounds funny or theoretical, normally Debrecen should use these proceeds to improve and try to win the CL. In this case, they do need the whole amount in order to be as competitive as possible, and buying whoever players they can. Any distribution would hinder them.

    Several domestic and foreign investors, professionals and wealthy private personalities are active in the minor leagues as well, it is very typical in Eastern Europe. A couple of millions of euros could be and should be provided from predictable sources, there should be no need for these special injections, or we can also call it financial aid.

    Monopolyzing the local championships? We should not worry about this at the very moment, but wait about 3-5 years. If we see significant tendencies evolving in a number of countries, then it is worth to approach this issue, otherwise not.
    Or we might check other Eastern minnow CL participants of the past few years like Artmedia of Slovakia or CFR of Romania. I have not heard about them starting to unquestionably dominate their local league after a group series in the CL.



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  • 221. At 8:33pm on 20 Sep 2009, Zootmac wrote:

    217 Magush

    I am happy to offer whatever support I can. Please do not underestimate the impact which your postings have on these blogs. Many people read them, and many of us are impressed by what you have to say.

    In many ways, we are spoiled by the quality of football which is available here. But we are keen to promote the development of high quality football in other countries.

    Some of us are old enough to remember the great Hungarian footballers, and wonderful Hungarian national teams, of earlier times. I am confident that Hungarian football can reattain that reputation.

    Good luck in the Champions League. I am very carefully watching how things develop with Debrecen. The team played commendably against Liverpool, and won many new friends.

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  • 222. At 10:41pm on 20 Sep 2009, oldstafford wrote:

    Trotter 180... good work and spot on.
    GazUtd - Giggs is by far the best player ever to grace the premiership and of course the hairiest (I was at villa park when he scored that goal against Arsenal and it was mesmerising - not the pace or skill to score it but how he managed to get all that hair tucked inside his shirt).
    Chelsea looking good but without Drogba possibly?...

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  • 223. At 10:00am on 21 Sep 2009, Ireland Brew wrote:

    209. At 4:53pm on 20 Sep 2009, GazUtd wrote:


    For anyone who is interested the biggest match in Ireland is currently on, the All-Ireland football final (the GAA type). It's Cork v Kerry which is a derby of sorts. Kerry are sort of the United of GAA and are currenlty winning with 8 minutes left. Just to prove to you all that it's not only footie that has idiot fans, last year when Kerry were winning the final, with about 5 mins to go there were actually Kerry fans who LEFT!! This is like fans leaving the CL final early cos their team is 4-0 up. Unbelievable! (PS, the wife is from Kerry!)
    _____________________________________________________________________

    It is not a derby of sorts. We are close neighbours, good friends but fierce rivals. The comparison with United is not one we would welcome. Our players do not get paid and were all born within the county. The closest comparison would be with the Celtic team of 1967.
    Our fans have to undertake the longest journey in Ireland to play in an All-Ireland final. This can mean journeys by car of up to 7 hours from the southernmost tip of the county. Kerry were actually losing last year with 5 minutes to go but were winning easily the previous year if that is what you are referring to. As anyone who is familiar with Dublin traffic it can take almost 2 hours just to get on the Kerry road from Dublin. Who could blame these fans for leaving when the game was won?

    Kindly confine your comments to something you believe you are familiar with. As for your "idiot football fans" comment - pot, kettle, black.
    (PS my wife is from Shangri La)

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  • 224. At 10:27am on 21 Sep 2009, Ireland Brew wrote:

    PS
    I find it funny that a person who only "supports" his team through the medium of television and this blog would slag off those supporters who actually attend a match with the cost and travelling that entails.

    Whilst I have had my disagreements with Trotter and RBA at least they support their local team. This is especially true of RBA who followed Aldershot through thick and thin and, I'm sure even he would admit, with little chance of glory. This shows that they are grounded people who have a love for their local place and not vicarious thrill seekers.

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  • 225. At 10:32am on 21 Sep 2009, TommyO wrote:

    Kindly confine your comments to something you believe you are familiar with.




    HAHA ! - good luck with that !

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  • 226. At 10:35am on 21 Sep 2009, RedBlueArmy92 wrote:

    Who do Shangri La play thier derby matches with?

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  • 227. At 10:37am on 21 Sep 2009, RedBlueArmy92 wrote:

    And IRA, it was mostly thin, i've followed them through... But little chance of glory, surely you forget us lifting the Setanta shield 2 seasons ago???

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  • 228. At 10:50am on 21 Sep 2009, GazUtd wrote:


    Ira you really do love to moan don't you. I should have realised you were from Kerry.

    It is a derby "of sorts", that's why I said "of sorts". The counties have one of the longest borders in Ireland.

    And yes it was the year before, how could I ever have made such a mistake, and imagine you of all people picking up on it. No matter what about the traffic it is still NO excuse for Kerry fans leaving early in the biggest match of the year when there is still a trophy to be presented. It is typical of the Kerry arrogance that you think it is ok to do this.

    And then you have the cheek to call me out on not being a 'real fan'. As you spend every waking hour nit-picking my posts you should have seen me talking to people about the games I have attended, including away matches. I would go to every match if I could afford it, unfortunately I can't, I'm not a millionaire Kerry farmer who counts his sheep 3 times to get treble the grant from the EU.

    You are the one who says he's not a football fan, well you did admit to having a liking for Leeds if memory serves me right, so that kind of proves you don't like football. So why are you here? Is it only to have a go at me at every opportunity? What time did you leave the final at yesterday by the way, if indeed you were actually there?

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  • 229. At 11:38am on 21 Sep 2009, Ireland Brew wrote:

    I have to laugh at any Man United supporter accusing Kerry supporters of being arrogant. You could only be from Dublin or the "Brits in Blue" as they are known around here.
    I didn't admit to a liking for Leeds. I said I followed their (mis)fortunes which meant looking up their result on the BBC website on a Monday morning.
    It is up to every individual supporter to leave at whatever time of their choosing. They have paid their money and have free will. It is not up to you to decide for them or to call them idiots for so doing. Only a clown would call anyone who leaves a match early as being an idiot.
    I have no wish to have a go at you at every opportunity. Only those times when you come on here and mouth off about things you know nothing about. Which, in your case, is everytime.
    In addition your comment about Kerry farmers is beneath contempt. Every farmer I know works seven days a week from the crack of dawn to twilight and are basically at subsistence levels as regards their income. For some student layabout to make that comment really takes the biscuit.

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  • 230. At 11:39am on 21 Sep 2009, Ireland Brew wrote:

    226. At 10:35am on 21 Sep 2009, RedBlueArmy92 wrote:
    Who do Shangri La play thier derby matches with?
    ________________________________________________________________

    Brigadoon!

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  • 231. At 11:46am on 21 Sep 2009, RedBlueArmy92 wrote:

    Thanks.... I'll update the Shanga La wiki page accordingly...

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  • 232. At 11:59am on 21 Sep 2009, GazUtd wrote:


    Ira, nevermind me taking the biscuit, you could work for McVities. You obviously have never read a newspaper if you don't think that Kerry farmers have ever abused grants. They have, it's as simple as that. It's FACT.

    If you for one second think that it is ok for any fan to leave a match early, the biggest match of the year, when they are winning, and when the trophy is still to be presented it shows how much weight can be given to your opinions on sport - absolutely none.

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  • 233. At 12:09pm on 21 Sep 2009, oldstafford wrote:

    #231 Ref: Brigadoon Village v Shangri La United –
    Unfortunately for Shangri La, Brigadoon always have home advantage but the match build up is immense with one game every hundred years. Luckily they have Utopia Island with their Russian millionaire in charge and the new rich kids on the block NeverNeverLand City to play against in the close season.

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  • 234. At 12:11pm on 21 Sep 2009, Andreisgiant wrote:

    Ira_abu 1
    GazUtd 0

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  • 235. At 12:26pm on 21 Sep 2009, RedBlueArmy92 wrote:

    I thought is was Shangri LA Galaxy, though i could have that wrong? Once every hundered years thats some wait alright!

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  • 236. At 12:27pm on 21 Sep 2009, RedBlueArmy92 wrote:

    I hear Atlantis have the team to watch though OldStaf, Ronaldo is keen on finishing his career there...

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  • 237. At 12:40pm on 21 Sep 2009, oldstafford wrote:

    RBA Yeah I've heard Atlantis' manager Patrick Duffy is keen on signing him too although price wise his preferred choice is Eduardo.

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  • 238. At 12:48pm on 21 Sep 2009, boomshakalak wrote:

    Robbo - i've just read this ... so no doubt comment 238 or whatever i am will not get read..

    but come on man - you are a disgrace!... an absolute gut-wrenching disgrace.

    i love football so much that i went to the Liverpool v Debrecen game - not because i support either side but because i could get a ticket... i didn't get home until 2:30am... i also sat through the Chelsea game and watched the Everton game as well....

    if you can't be bothered to watch the top teams play and would rather watch some programme that i don't even know what it is...then i suggest that you habd your notice in at the bbc - they can pay me 1/10th of what they pay you and i will do your job.

    absolute joke mate...

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  • 239. At 12:50pm on 21 Sep 2009, boomshakalak wrote:

    just to clarify - i live in bristol hence not getting home until 2:30 - as there where roadworks...not because i was on some sort of session.... and i was up for work at 6am...

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  • 240. At 1:02pm on 21 Sep 2009, TommyB wrote:

    Ira, how's Fungie?

    Magush, thanks for the different perspective! It reminded me of the Liverpool v Standard Liege game last year (120 mins of hard-fought football, followed by a Dirk Kuyt - or 'Dachau', as MOTD2 subtitles called him last night - far post winner). Afterwards I was drinking with the Liege fans and I got a similar reaction from them about coming to Liverpool. The doormen didn't want to let them into the Arkles (pub on the edge of Stanley Park) because they were away fans and it might cause trouble, but I explained to him that it was slightly different from the usual visit of English clubs. Then we chatted about our various fortunes, with people eventually swapping scarfs and shirts. They don't show that on Sky!

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  • 241. At 1:13pm on 21 Sep 2009, Ireland Brew wrote:

    234. At 12:11pm on 21 Sep 2009, Andreisgiant wrote:
    Ira_abu 1
    GazUtd 0
    _________________________________________________________________
    You obviously didn't see the destruction I visited upon him in our debate on Roy Keane.

    Tommyb,
    Fungi is fine. And he is a lot happier now that Kerry are once again All Ireland champions. For ours is the Kingdom (as our county is known) the Power and the Glory.

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  • 242. At 4:59pm on 21 Sep 2009, ZEUSFC wrote:

    179. At 00:14am on 20 Sep 2009, oldstafford wrote:
    Gaz, no-one would ever demand that, and I maybe mistaken (often happens) but I think Stan is an Evertonian. My mum (Liverpudlian) doesn't like him for that reason...I think.

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    I've just checked this with a mutual friend, who used to drink with Stan when he lived in Liverpool ( I think I can trust this is true, as when Stan did a couple of gigs here, he stayed at the guy's house) Stan Boardman is NOT an Everton fan, but a mad Liverpool fan! the confusion has occured as he was paid to do a turn on the Everton coach to Wembley for last Years FA Cup...
    oldstafford, your mum probably doesn't like him cos he's cr*p!

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  • 243. At 8:05pm on 21 Sep 2009, SnippetOfWhippet wrote:

    To quote the great Futurama: "That's not why people watch TV. Clever things make people feel stupid and unexpected things make them feel scared." Unfortunately, the Champions League embodies this as it has now become the footballing equivalent of a Big Mac i.e. Not very exciting but consistent and people know exactly what they will get year on year.

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