Many, many years ago, contrary to popular belief, I did actually receive an education. Well, when I say received, I mean a group of well meaning, committed and very able teachers attempted to impart their knowledge to me, in the hope that I may progress in the world and make a positive contribution to society. The subjects for study were many and various, some of which I understood implicitly, however, most failed to capture my enthusiasm and subsequently short cuts had to be found to enable me to achieve the required standard.
I quickly worked out that in all subjects, I was good in parts, but hopeless in others. For example, Maths gave me the opportunity to show my ability in Trigonometry, but also highlighted my complete and absolute inability to grasp any part of Algebra. If however, I achieved 100% in the former, I could ignore the latter and still pass!! Masterstroke.
And so it was in English language. Comprehension, Grammar, Spelling.no problem. Descriptive writing, forget it. However, on every exam paper, there was always an essay option that gave the opportunity to offer an opinion and table a considered argument on a given subject. At the end of the topic, the word DISCUSS was always inserted. These were always the paths that I chose, so here we go.
When it comes to the latter stages of the group phase of the Champions League, DO MOST PEOPLE JUST NOT CARE? Discuss
Now before you stop reading, and write me off as a Man United, Chelsea, Man City or Arsenal hater, which I am not, take some time to consider the facts.
According to official figures 1,403,432 people attended professional games last weekend.Of those, 223,710 attended games involving our Champions league representatives.That leaves 1,179,722 people who followed teams not in the Champions league!!
Are we seriously to believe the propaganda that the offering of the meaningless Man Utd v Shahktar DontAsk is worthy of our attention, or more importantly, worthy of what is proclaimed as the best club competition on the planet.
We are constantly reminded that the best players will only go to teams in the ECL, but surely a competition that often renders 20-30% of the games meaningless, is at best a sham, and at worst a cynical way of screwing the last available Pound note from punters and advertisers alike.
No doubt, with Christmas looming, we will soon hear the festive choruses, not of yuletide carols, but of bleating managers calling for a winter break, yet still happy to pack themselves off to the darkest recesses of Europe to play second rate teams, in fixtures that simply don't matter. Take a look at the impact that the bottom two in Man Citys' group made. Laughable.
This is a competition that in its pomp captured the imagination of of partisan and neutral fans alike, and gloriously allowed history to be made. Celtic, The Busby Babes, Paisleys Liverpool, Forest at al, all bask wonderfully in the glow of what this competition once was.
Now, approx 1,179,722 don't care, and were probably watching Masterchef!!!