With 13 of the 16 Champions League group qualifiers already
decided, Early Doors suggests some ways to liven up the final round of matches.
ED has spent enough time slagging off the Champions League
and thinks it is time to give something back, so get a pen and paper ready,
Monsieur Platini, the following 600 words could be the key to your re-election
as UEFA president.
As things stand, all Matchday 6 will be good for is the
formality of Chelsea, Roma and Panathinaikos booking their places in the
The group stage anti-climaxes on December 10 when Groups E
to H play their final matches.
What is at stake? Nothing. All four groups have been
decided, rendering the games completely and utterly irrelevant, unless you care
about the odd UEFA Cup place or who finishes top - and you almost certainly do
In the days before satellite TV, broadcasters would have
been in a right pickle deciding which blockbuster to show - Manchester United's
dead rubber against Aalborg, Arsenal's dead rubber against Porto
or Celtic's dead rubber against Villarreal.
Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, viewers can
watch all three. Or, thanks to the wonders of locating the 'off' button and
going down the boozer, none.
Big Phil Scolari has added some spice to Chelsea's
routine victory against Cluj by saying that he will go back to Brazil
"and stay there" if his side don't win.
Which got Early Doors thinking - why don't his fellow
managers attempt to liven up the drudgery by introducing forfeits to their games?
Arsenal have already got the pouting, self-obsessed stars
and the in-fighting, so why not go the whole I'm A Celebrity hog and turn their
trip to Porto into a Bushtucker Trial?
They should be required to play while thousands of
cockroaches, snakes and spiders rain down on the pitch, while each goal scored
represents one post-match meal for the squad.
The public can phone in to vote for the worst performer,
whose punishment will be to sit between William Gallas and Timmy Mallett on the
Liverpool could indulge in
a spot of role reversal, turning the usual midweek routine on its head.
They could round up the city's burglars, villains and
scoundrels and pack them off to Eindhoven to play PSV, while the Liverpool
players break into their homes and help themselves to the contents - most of
which probably belonged to them in the first place.
Gordon Strachan, meanwhile, should be banned from shaving
until Celtic win away in the Champions League.
Given their winless streak now stretches to 18 games over
seven years, there is a very real chance Strachan will end up looking like
Manchester United would be better off abandoning their game
altogether and entering their players instead for a special edition of Hole In The Wall.
For those not familiar with this magnificent waste of
licence-payers' money, here's how the game works:
A minor celebrity stands in front of a swimming pool while a
moving wall hurtles towards them.
The wall has a strategically-shaped hole in it, meaning the
only way our plucky D-lister can avoid going in the drink is to contort their
body into an amusing shape.
Here is a clip of Vanessa Feltz getting hit on the head and falling into the water with all the grace of a harpooned seal.
Rather than let Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney run yet
another gauntlet of sly prods, kicks and taunts, surely Fergie would rather see
them clamber into some skin-tight lycra and face the rather less intimidating
challenge of Dale Winton and Anton Du Beke.
Ronaldo is a master of contortion and gesticulation, and
would have no trouble getting through any hole shaped like a man brandishing an
imaginary yellow card, clasping his hands together in mock prayer or rolling around
pre-emptively berating the ref.
Rooney could take part in a group challenge with Steven
Gerrard and special guest Tom Daley, with the trio required to shape their
bodies into a variety of pikes, tucks and twists as they fling themselves
through the wall.
- - -
QUOTE OF THE DAY: "You can say
the last six months have been the worst in my career. It's been really tough
for me. But I've been through difficult moments before so I know how to get
myself out of these." Didier Drogba reveals that his share portfolio
consists entirely of stock in Woolworths, XL travel, Lehman Brothers and
several Icelandic banks.
INJURY OF THE DAY: Tour de France ace and rare Olympic cycling
flop Mark Cavendish, who has injured his calf falling off his Wii balance board
attempting to snowboard. "I may have to get it sorted out, rather than
heading for Tuscany
as I'd planned," Cavendish said.
RINGTONE OF THE DAY: Spain's hottest ringtone is a flamenco
version of You'll Never Walk Alone, as arranged by one Ezequiel Benitez (no
relation). If you speak Spanish, you can read his interview with our Spanish
If you don't speak Spanish, just know that he is actually a Real Madrid fan.
FOREIGN VIEW: Marca reports that four Spanish girls slept in
the street on Tuesday night in order to have their picture taken with Cristiano
Ronaldo as he came out of the team hotel. The good news: they got their man.
The bad: he's got a face like a smacked backside in the photo.