Thursday, September 17, 2009

The return of the Champions League group stages this week has done little to excite the footballing tastebuds here at AFTN.

Having a look at the televised football fare that was to be served up this week, I was left feeling a little flat and very much unexcited. Then after taking in a few of the games, even more so.

I have to ask. How many people still actually get a buzz out of watching these games, aside from fans of the teams taking part? Does a Dynamo Kiev-Rubin Kazan match up really get your juices going? Ironically, this was one of the better games of the week.

I ended up just flicking aimlessly between the matches shown and having the games on in the background. The one match that had really caught my eye, Inter Milan-Barcelona, turned out to be a massive, no scoring disappointment. At least the FC Zurich-Real Madrid and the Standard Liege-Arsenal games served up a little bit of excitement and potential shocks, before it was back to the same old, same old.

UEFA have tinkered about with the European Cup/Champions League so much now that what they have left is a borefest until the later rounds and even then the continued domination by certain sides has blighted the competition.

Clubs, on the whole, are terrified to lose points early on. The money at stake is too much for many to take any gambles and that's just all wrong. I've ranted before about the amount of different clubs each country is allowed to have in the competition. The whole farcical advancement in the Europa League for the losers just devalues the whole competition too.

And don't even get me started on the complete waste of time and effort the Europa League is itself.

Nothing's going to change any time soon, as long as the sponsors keep ploughing their money in to it, so all that I have left to hope for this season is that some big clubs will fall at the first hurdle, allowing some romantic team to carry the banner for true football fans. Add to this a semi final line up devoid of English Premiership involvement and Rangers falling flat on their faces and then perhaps I'll have taken something out of this year's competition.

I can't really see me devoting much of my time on Tuesdays and Wednesdays to watching any of this transpire though and that in itself saddens me most. All I want is a valued European Cup back. Is that really too much to ask?

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