Image from: freelargeimages.com
I have to say based on last night’s UEFA Champions League match, I am very concerned about the future of European football? Where does it go from here?
This has been the worst Champions League campaign of my lifetime. No drama, no exciting games, City are about to win the entire competition without breaking sweat and my worst fear will be confirmed. Once they get their first one, the floodgates will open.
I remember growing up in the mid 2000s, and this was the best show on Earth. You could probably reel off 10-15 teams who had a genuine chance of winning the competition, world class players dotted all over the place and you’d always get an underdog like PSV Eindhoven, Deoprtivo or Valencia threatening to win it (or Porto actually doing it) .
Truth is, there was only ever two teams capable of winning the competition this year, and they both played each other last night. It looks like the same again last year and the fall off of the big clubs has been dramatic. Who else is there?
Barcelona – it’s a long road back for them. They’ve done well to win the league, but they’re still in a mess and Lewandowski isn’t getting any younger. They might get out of the groups this time, but that will be their lot.
Bayern Munich – currently paying the price for destroying competition in their own domestic league, not quite the same, but a similar situation to what happened to Celtic when Rangers collapsed. They have allowed their own standards to slip and the Bundesliga is no longer a destination for top players.
PSG – a finished project, complete waste of everyone’s time. They’re a fashion label, not a football club.
Chelsea – always a dark horse, but the way Boehly is running things, there is every chance they never play in it again.
Manchester United – make no mistake, this season is another 20/21 false dawn. They’ve been poor, and won’t be closing the gap anytime soon.
Liverpool – we always have a chance in Europe. But I don’t trust the ownership to invest the funds needed to take us back to the level we were at. Will we improve? Certainly. But I’m not sure we bridge the gap anytime soon. Dark horses, not favourites.
The whole of Italy – People may think having two clubs in the semi-final this year would be a sign of Italian football being on its way back. Truth is, that side of the draw was a who’s who of bang average sides and Inter happened to be the best of a Europa League level bunch. The league is still a retirement home and this will be a flash in the pan.
Portuguese, Dutch, other clubs – a sad state of affairs, but they have been destroyed by the greed of the big European Leagues. Increasing from 3 to 4 qualification spots was one of the worst things ever to happen to competitive European football. Wealth and power concentrated in a couple of leagues while the clubs in the smaller leagues are forced to become shops to keep themselves afloat. The likes of Ajax and Benfica losing their best players to clubs like Tottenham Hotspur should not be happening, but here we are.
Newcastle – the most realistic long-term challenger. One simple reason. Premier League money + ownership money.
The biggest thing for me is I have fallen out of love with the game as a neutral, I used to get excited for any game. Nowadays I wonder what the point is
Back to Liverpool, I am desperate for a few more great nights before football inevitably implodes. All of the above leads to a super league, the day we become a franchise and start playing random home games in Dubai and Texas will arrive one day whether we like it or not. The game is ruled by billionaires now and in some ways, I have made my peace with it. I just want one thing, I want to see us win a couple more European Cups and a couple more League titles before that day arrives, whenever it may be, please.
Written by thomas194 May 18 2023 12:53:57