So this morning was the draw for the first knock-out stages of the Champions League. The 16 most talented football teams awaited their fate, to find which other titan they would be facing, in a selection of ties that would surely create history.
Oh yeah, and there was a draw for some other competition too. The UEFA League Cup or something, I can't really remember the name. But it seems most people didn't really give a shit about it.
Well I did. I understand now what it must be like to support a team outside the "big four". To have a team where there isn't media coverage of every single important aspect. I was eagerly awaiting live coverage of the Europa League draw only to find that all of the media would rather just discuss the Champions League draw than provide some breaking news.
And I was pissed. Not so much because they didn't bother showing it, because although I think that's a bit shit of them, it doesn't really surprise me. I was more annoyed that I'd bothered to sit through the entire fucking Champions League draw to see it, and then it wasn't shown.
Because jesus fucking christ do UEFA love to drag these fucking things out. It's ridiculous. You have 16 teams, which makes 8 fixtures. Sure, teams from the same countries can't play each other, and it adds a bit of complication to the process, but the fact is that all you're doing is drawing 16 balls out of pots at random, and it shouldn't be so fucking painstakingly slow. There doesn't need to be a fucking huge preamble before the draw itself.
Fair enough, a lot of people from the clubs involved had probably flown out to Switzerland to be at the draw, so UEFA were making it worthwhile for them, but they should have just given them a buffet or something. Even in the first round draw when Liverpool were in it, and things are a bit more complex, I still thought it went on way too fucking long. And they kept breaking it up and giving awards and shit in between each group of seedings.
Please UEFA, put all the extra shit you do into a separate thing to the draw and give people the ability to tune in for just the draw. Or, when you say the draw starts at 11am, make it so the actual draw itself starts then, not the whole ceremony and other bollocks. BBC have the decency to make it clear that while F1 coverage starts from 12:05 or whatever, the race itself starts at 1pm. You could have the decency to let people know that while all the pre-draw faff starts at 11am, the draw itself doesn't start until 11:35 and I could actually have done other things. Plus if you sped the whole fucking thing up a bit, maybe Sky Sports News wouldn't mind showing both the Champions League and Europa draws, because they wouldn't have to devote such a huge amount of time out of their schedule to show them both.
So as it is, Liverpool have Unirea Urziceni, a side I had to Google to find out how to spell. I'd honestly know nothing about them if it wasn't the fact that they gave Rangers a hard time in the Champions League groups stage. Fact is though, that it shouldn't really matter. Our squad should be good enough to challenge for the Champions League trophy, and really I don't think any of the teams in the Europa league should really be concerning us, with the exception maybe of Juventus. It's not a glamorous trophy, and if we were fighting for the title I think most fans would rather see us drop out and not have the extra fixtures (not that this plan worked out well for Aston Villa last season), but fact is that we're not really fighting for the league title any more, and aside from the FA Cup this is our only solid chance to get silverware this season, so it'd be nice to see us do well.