Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Fingers crossed for some real fantasy football

FOR fans of fantasy football, and I’m not talking about the internet-based game, the good news is that the Uefa Champions League is back on our screens, starting tomorrow, with games on both SBS and ESPN.

While it’s a bit of a money spinner for the big clubs that just continue to get bigger on the back of the television revenue, there’s little doubt that it often provides some of the most open and interesting football doing the rounds, with many of the matches often turning into giant games of chess as some of the world’s shrewdest football minds get to work.

Couple that with the collection of the world’s best players, and it’s easy to why the recipe is so appetising. Watching the Vicente Del Bosque and Zinedine Zidane inspired Real Madrid side of the turn of the century still ranks among my most pleasing football experiences, the football simply out of the world. Ditto the Barcelona side of two seasons ago.

While the competition is almost inevitably won by one of the European heavyweights, it generally throws up the odd surprise packet, and opportunity for the lesser lights to not only line the coffers, but for the club, the players and the manager to make a name for themselves.

Cast you mind back a couple of seasons and it was the yellow submarines of the El Madrigal, Villarreal, marching all the way to the semis on the back of Juan Riquelme’s gifts and Diego Forlan’s goals. Go back a year earlier and it was Guus Hiddink’s unheralded PSV that made a name for themselves.

A year before that was a wonderful story, with both Porto and Monaco going all the way to the final and unearthing such names at Deco, Maniche, Paulo Ferreira, Ricardo Carvalho, Patrice Evra, Jose Mourinho and Ludovic Guily.

Sadly, last season, there were few such surprises, and the competition, for my liking, suffered as a result, with the quarter finals occupied by the usual suspects - Milan, Bayern, PSV, Liverpool, Roma, ManU, Chelsea and Valencia – and the competition rewarding the ‘stiflers’, the likes of Milan and Liverpool making it to the final.

For the romantics, it was the end of a disappointing European season, which followed a disappointing World Cup.

So, as we fast forward to this season’s version, the hope is that the establishment is not only upset by an upstart, but that the teams making the waves at the business end are playing open, attractive and attacking football.

The reality is that pragmatism often wins out in the end, but wouldn’t it be nice to see an artist back in the ascendancy.

If you want to combine the internet-based Fantasy Football with your interest in the champions league, then pop a team into the official UCL fantasy comp and register it in the TRBA Fanasty UCL private league, via the following code; 48-28. Enjoy it all.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Tony,

As much as I love watching football, the Champions League is for me becoming very robotic. The home team tries to win, the away team tries to get a draw by in most cases wasting time.

The same faces appearing each year, except the only difference is some change clubs.

How can some of the smaller clubs progress in the football world when they are being starved of money by the big 3 or 4 clubs in each country.

Hence, why last year's World Cup was such a let down. It was like watching the Champions League, except with a bunch of physically and mentally exhausted players.

World Cup, European Cup or Champions League, no difference any more. Where I used to get up and watch it and tape it, now I just tape it. Especially when the Italian clubs play. Unfortunately they are a good remedy for insomniacs.


Wed. Sep. 19, 04:19:00 pm AEST  
Blogger The Round Ball Analyst said...

Macka, it's hard to argue with any of that, especially after last season.

That's why i often look forward to watching the teams that feature less prominently, even if it's just to see some 'new' players.

Again, this morning, I watched Porto v Liverpool (because of my support of the latter), and it started nice and open, but after an early goal apiece it descended into the robotic style that you describe, both sides cancelling each other out as the stiflers took over.

But, as a bit of a romantic, I live in hope of the odd 'wow' moment, something slighty out of the norm, something that can't be strategised or isn't about playing the percentages, something that is just totally spontaneous and felt...am I asking for too much?

Wed. Sep. 19, 08:05:00 pm AEST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


The best answer for this is to get rid of the qualifying rounds and make all games sudden death FA Cup style and also do away with "seeded" teams. Why should they be seeded, the "lesser" teams have made it into the Champions League on their merit, why then penalise them.

The final can only be made up of 2 teams anyway, so if Barca draw Liverpool, and Real draw AC Milan in round 1 of sudden death so be it.

I find more enjoyment watching the UEFA Cup these days.


Thu. Sep. 20, 09:51:00 am AEST  
Anonymous Chris said...

The jab at Italian clubs is harsh, roma are playing like arenal, and if you think the arse are robots your standards are too high. But i agree that home/away format is a cash cow and not conducive to attractive open play.

Sun. Sep. 23, 12:17:00 am AEST  

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