Things I’ve learned this week: I can’t cook cheese sauces without it burning the pan, Jamie Redknapp is a bit of a numpty and that, above everything, that the Europa League is secretly loved by all teams who participate in it. But they will never admit it.
There aren’t as many taboo subject as there used to be. Anal sex is discussed freely, sex in general is the most common topic of conversation, wages are openly discussed and everything is pretty much subject to debate in the modern world. We’re free to discuss what we like and there are many various opinions on every subject, which is great. Apart from one subject that is: The Europa League.
Nobody likes the Europa League and qualification to it is seen as the short straw. In the early rounds, you have to travel to Estonia for away matches and every other horrible little crevice in the world. Teams rest their best players, play the kids, dismiss the competition as a mere hindrance and try to get on with the important matter of doing well domestically and look to progress in the FA Cup and Capital One Cup competitions.
But, when the youth sides inevitably sweep aside FC Wooden Hut, the mindset changes. Teams like Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool pack their young kids away, forcing them to play in the reserves, and so out come Gareth Bale, Luis Suarez, Moussa Dembele and Steven Gerrard to take care of Lyon and Zenit St Petersburg respectively.
It isn’t cool to act as if you care about the Europa League in the early rounds. If you play your best players, it makes you look desperate, so you send out the kids to look fashionable. “The Europa League? It’s just a pain in the arse mate. Couldn’t care less if we lose.”
The further into the competition you get, the cooler it becomes and you try harder and suddenly it’s a massive tournament and it would be an honour to win it. It’s not cool to be seen to want to win the Europa League in the early rounds, so you simple don’t try, almost as if you’ve reached the final by accident. “We’ve reached the final, but we’re not that bothered. Might bring Jay Spearing back for a laugh.”
Last night was a classic example of snobbery towards the Europa League. Liverpool couldn’t have cared less about the competition at the start of the season, but found themselves playing their best players in an effort to beat Zenit. Luis Suarez looked broken at the end when, after all his effort, Liverpool were knocked out. People do care about the Europa League, in fact I’d go as far to say it’s jolly good fun as a fan travelling to different cities where you wouldn’t normally visit if it weren’t for the Europa League.
But when I say that, please Arsenal, don’t settle for your current Europa League spot and secure fourth. I don’t like the Europa League, it’s crap and I couldn’t care less about winning it. The Europa League sucks.
Saying that, you can win it a little bit, I guess. Just make it look cool.
Play Sebastien Squillaci.
Right, that’s all from me this morning. The above is a more bizarre article than usual. I attribute that to the fact I’m writing at 4 0′clock in the morning to get this article sorted. Off to a funeral in Scunthorpe at quarter past 7, so I’m writing on a horribly strong mug of coffee.
Enjoy your weekend!