Date:Monday November 27 2006
Blackburn Rovers' UEFA Cup group E goalless draw with Feyenoord on Thursday assured us a place in the last 32, now we and our fellow Brits face another difficult challenge!
With Rovers having worked so hard to even get into this seasons UEFA Cup we've worked equally as hard (especially when you take into account our appalling European record in previous years!) to assure our place in the latter knockout stages. We now have to win against Nancy as we look to avoid facing a team in the last 32 dropping out of one tournament, the Champions League, as they weren't good enough!
I'd like to echo the thought's of my colleague at vital Newcastle (Related Article: Most Ridiculous Competition Ever! - click here to view) and say how unfair it is on not only Rovers but also Newcastle United (arguably more so due to the route they took to get in - via the Intertoto Cup), Tottenham Hotspur and Glasgow Rangers that these Champions League teams are being given yet another chance at European glory!
Teams who get knocked out of pre-qualifying for the Champions League can get the chance of still getting into the UEFA Cup in the first place but then the eight third placed team in each Champions League Group then walks straight into the UEFA Cup last 32, how can this be fair…or even right!
All teams originally in the UEFA Cup worked very hard to gain entry, they've earned a place via the respective League finishes or Cup wins much the same as the people in the Champions League have. But having failed to advance in the Champions League how is it fair or even right that they then enter a tournament at its latter stages with a VERY good chance of winning it, it makes a mockery of the UEFA Cup tournament to say the least.
I can understand to a degree the teams missing out in early Champions League qualification coming into the UEFA Cup as they deserve something for their previous seasons efforts plus most were probably closer to UEFA Cup qualification than Champions League anyway but those playing so many game in one European competition then getting another bite at the cherry in the "lesser" just isn't fair. Sure the clubs benefit from extra income but the footballing bodies are the real winners as they reap the benefits from their extra income, how much of which is really ploughed back into the game though…
Call me old-fashioned but the way the Champions League is set-up anyway with some teams as far as 30-points behind the Champions of a country getting in already makes the tournament more of a European League and not "Champions" League anyway but with those basically not good enough for that tournament then getting another chance in the UEFA Cup is unfair to say the least on those that have worked so hard already…
One saving grace, if you can call it that when you look at the teams that will, or could join us in the UEFA Cup with all due respect not too many will fill us with too much fear!
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Date:Monday November 27 2006
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