Date: 27th August 2009 at 7:06pm
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Is there anything worse than the Champions League Draw?

I have just finished watching them all. A bunch of stuffed shirts scribbling frenetically as a bemused footballer plucks balls from a bowl attended to by what looks to be a former member of the Waffen SS. In between this breath-taking drama, awards are given out to a goalkeeper, a defender, a midfielder and (wait for it) a forward. It should be like the bleedin’ Oscars – it’s not. The suspense is somewhat ruined by the fact that although three nominees are read out for each category, the eventual winner is the only one sitting in the audience. And when they go up to accept their little trinket, they invariably have a look on their face that says nothing but ‘this is my only feckin’ day off this week and I have to spend it doing this shit?!?’

Next to the draw itself. I swear to you, Stephen Hawking and and hand picked team from MIT couldn’t figure out what the hell is going on with the collection of bowls and balls. ‘The next team to be drawn is Real Madrid, who of course cannot go into any of the red groups due to their political status during the Spanish civil war, nor can they go into groups A or E due to club president Florentino Pérez’s pathological fear of vowels. They will therefore be placed in blue group B as that guarantees the greatest revenue from televis . . . or rather ladies and gentlemen, the greatest fairness and transparency.’ — My left one!

Any questions so far? Come on, lets not always see the same hands. Leaving all that behind us, it has emerged that we have been drawn against AZ Alcohol, Olympia Dukakis and Standardly Enraged, which on the face of it looks a fairly handy group, particularly since Olympia Dukakis’ best work is definitely behind her (she never recovered from ‘Look who’s talking now’).

There is nothing better than just hearing the result of the draw on the radio. I was off work today, so apart from cleaning the en suite and generally slobbing around, my main focus was on who we would get in today’s draw. Invariably I ended up watching it from start to finish and am now realising that that is an hour in my life I will never get back and I could see from the look on Kenny Dalglish’s face, who was part of the Liverpool contingent in the audience that he was thinking exactly the same frickin’ thing. I can only think Liverpool decided to send him in an attempt to decipher the gibberish (something that Professor Dalglish holds a Ph.D in). Anyway, it’s done, the trauma over, there is nothing now but to wait and see what the continent can throw at us and hopefully this will be the year that Wengerball finally conquers Europe!

Up the Arsenal!

PS – I think the real reason I tune in every year is to see if that woman who kept fainting a couple of years back makes a comeback. At least she acted like we all felt!