My title above is a frequent chant of derision directed at teams in the premier seeking their place at the Euro top table. Arsenal have been dining there for 20 years albeit only tasting the final course once. They went out last night and if Manchester City do so too tonight then there is no English club left and aside from Gareth Bale I cannot think of any British interest. On the criterion of Champions League participation at the business end of the competition, the Premier ranks far behind la Primera Liga that supply 3 teams – Atletico Madrid, Barcelona and Real Madrid.
Arsenal played valiantly but must rue conceding that third goal at the Emirates in the dying embers of the game. Without that they would be through. I watched the game with an Arsenal fan who regretted the omission of Aaron Ramsay. Having spent a fortune on Ozil, Wenger feel obliged to play him but Ramsay, initially on the bench, was always the likelier scorer as proved the case.
Spare a thought for Brentford, playing their part in a competition far more exciting than anything in the top European leagues, the Championship. I thought with the extraordinary news that our manager Warburton is off for personal reasons we might slump but last night the Bees came back from a goal down twice to beat Blackburn 3-2. What happens if we get promoted? Speaking to Alan Tanner, I said Fulham could do worse than appoint him. Warburton’s pre managerial career was not as a player but running a desk in a financial trading institution.
Dear old John Pargiter was on the blower too for some betting tips in the Champions League. I reckoned Altelico Madrid and Juventus offered best value as each way winners and I hold by that. Atletico needed penalties to qualify but kept their nerve against a German side,Bayer Leverhausen. Watching the shoot out after the Arsenal game my friend and I predicted every successful and unsuccessful effort just by the body language of the kicker.