In light of the recent results by English clubs in the Champions League, I have seen various different reactions by fellow football fans. Fans of the teams themselves are a mixture of distraught, angry, blasé (Classic ‘didn’t hurt’ merchants that lot) or deluded (that’s right, some Gooners believe they’ll still qualify, most likely by completing a double over Bayern Munich….I know).
Fans of other teams are also split in their reaction, which amazes me. To be fair most are enjoying watching their foes being vanquished by swarthy foreigners (most of whom would probably love to get into the UK just to claim the unemployment benefit, apparently), yet some are almost as anguished as the fans of the beaten clubs themselves. ‘THE COEFFICIENT’ I hear them cry. Yes, actual real-life football fans are crying about fecking coefficient points and rankings. A number of things rankle with me about this
Firstly, they are factually incorrect (at this stage). The gap between the English and Italian teams (Serie A being the next league in line to get an additional CL place) is widening. In fact, it has widened by 0.959 points this season. That I had to research this fact makes me hate these ‘fans’ even more – fecking dull, inaccurate nerds, clearly incapable of satisfying a woman (or man), with questionable body odour and a penchant for cyber-stalking that lady from the pub who smiled at them once. Flutes.
Secondly, this is football. Unless you are a professional player, manager, or work for one of the clubs involved, then none of this really matters. It’s a pastime. It’s fun. A laugh. Or at least, it’s supposed to be. So when one of your major rivals loses a game, be it a meaningless league tie, a Cup Final or even a Champions League group game, you’re supposed to ENJOY IT. I won’t hear any arguments on this. If you feel differently, you’re doing football wrong, and you need to start again. If you are cheering on Arsenal against Rapid Whoever, Chelsea against Real GoneKid or Manchester United against FC Thingamyjig, then you’re a fan of those clubs. You know what? That’s ok too. There are plenty of ‘Timmy Two-Teams’ out there. In fact, their numbers are growing by the hour. (How else do you explain the notion of ‘half and half’ scarves?). You’re not alone, so you should embrace this fact. Good for you. Now, if you don’t mind, please F*CK OFF AND LEAVE US REAL FOOTBALL FANS TO IT, AYE? Thank you.
Thirdly, if my beloved Liverpool Football Club have to finish 3rd or 2nd or even 1st in the Premier League, to qualify for the Champions League, then so be it. I won’t ever ‘celebrate’ finishing 3rd, 4th or wherever. I might nod sagely that we have a Champions League campaign ahead of us, and look forward to it, but I won’t celebrate that fact. I want Liverpool to win the league, and I have done for 25 years now. If and when we do (shurrup), then I’ll celebrate like it’s 1999….scratch that, I’ll celebrate like it’s 1990…anyone have a copy of MC Hammers ‘You can’t touch this’ on tape?
On a side note, the reason for the lack of success of English clubs in the Champions League is the growing strength of the other 16 sides taking part in the Premier League. It’s a good thing for the majority of fans who can’t see their sides in the Champions League regularly. The Premier League now has far more depth to it than it did just 5 – 10 years ago, when English clubs were regularly in the last four of the CL (sometimes having 2 or even 3 teams at that stage). Back then, you had some godawful Premier League teams such as Derby County (lowest PL points total in 07-08 with 11 points. Yes 11. Even Sunderland will beat that out of sight…probably). We’ve seen from the array of results already this season that on any given weekend, any team (except Sunderland, sorry Mackems), can beat any other team. In fact, we are starting to see managers (yes, I’m talking about you Arsene), playing stronger teams in the Premier League fixtures than in the Champions League ties. They’re gambling that their slightly weaker teams will be able to overcome the Top 2 or 3 team from Germany/France, and playing their stronger team against the 13th place Watford (yes, they are currently 13th, I looked it up so you don’t have to). Petr Cech was not injured last night. Don’t believe everything you read Gooners. Arsene wanted him fit and in top condition for the weekend. Top 4 qualification for next years Champions League is hard work you know…Oh, hang on.
So there you have it. In summary, cheer for your own team. Don’t you dare cheer for your rivals so that you might avoid having one less place in the CL to qualify for. This is especially pertinent for all Liverpool fans, because, well, you know…this season will either be a heart-wrenching 2nd place, or a heart-wrenching 8th place. Come to peace with this and enjoy the rest of the season.