The Longest Most Pointless Post About Football In The World Of All Time… Ever!

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Greetings, Glancers! We interrupt our usual programming to bring you this mouthful. Y’all should know by now that I spend about 95% of the day inside my own head – it’s a great place to be and it leads to such nonsense as this. If you’re a football fan, and even if you’re not, you probably heard about the Sport-shattering shenanigans of this past week involving 12 European Clubs signing up to join a breakaway ‘Super League’ as an alternative to the longstanding Premier European Club Tournament – The Champions League. While on the surface, some of the reasons for this were sound, noble even, and perhaps inspired by a want for improvement. The Champions League format will be changing soon, creating even more matches for those who qualify, further congesting a packed calendar which will naturally make success more difficult and injuries more likely. I don’t like it. No-one likes it. It’s all about money. Somehow though, the Super League is worse.

The Super League got it wrong from the start – offering inclusion to a series of clubs seen as ‘the best’ in Europe. There are easy ways to gauge ‘the best’ – UEFA (the governing body) has been running a point coefficient system for years, to show the current ranking of every team on the Continent. That wasn’t used though, because the Billionaires in charge want the most profitable, famous, and richest teams involved who also have a bit of a European pedigree (apparently). Out of the 12 clubs, 6 were from England, including my beloved Liverpool. Liverpool is one of the most successful clubs in European history. Man Utd have won everything. Chelsea have had successes in recent years. Man City have won nothing, but are one of the richest clubs in the world. Arsenal used to be good, but are a joke now. Tottenham…. the less said the better. The club selection was one of the many farces surrounding this.

The next, and perhaps most egregious, is the fact that it was designed to be a closed competition. These 12 teams would always be there, and each would always earn 350 million for being involved each year. Rather than the yearly scramble for wins to get into the top few positions in the league required to qualify for the elite European competitions, for these 12 teams it wouldn’t matter where they finished – Tottenham could finish 15th in the League and they would still get in. For that money, why bother even trying to finish high in the League? What about the other teams who finish higher? They don’t get in, they don’t get the money or the ‘big matches’? It’s a mess. Thankfully, due to immense fan pressure, most clubs have since pulled out of the system and apologised to fans and staff. Worst of all for me, is that the people who made the decision just went ahead and did it – zero consultation with managers, staff, players, or fans. They tried to force through the biggest change in European football for decades, without letting the bill payers or performers have any say. Every single one of these scumbags should be held to account – the frothing media claiming clubs should be suspended, removed from leagues, docked points – that is all useless scaremongering. If clubs had been involved in the decision beyond the owners, by all means they should be punished.

But all this got me thinking. While I enjoy the current European set up with the Champions League and Europa League, I don’t think it’s perfect. There should be more involvement from other nations and smaller clubs. Elitists will point to the fact that they don’t want to watch small teams play and inevitably be smashed by the big boys. I do, and what’s more, it’s fair. Now I’m under no illusion that it would be unfair to have a Champions League which only features the winners of each League – teams may miss out on winning their league by a single point, a single goal, a single VAR mistake. The biggest leagues simply are more deserving of having more teams involved in the top competitions. But all leagues should be represented. It gives a chance for smaller teams to earn more money and actually improve, it gives them a once in a lifetime opportunity to play against the best, and it increases the opportunity for those ‘giant-killer’ matches the media loves so much.

Personally, I’m not a fan of massive qualifying rounds like you see before the Champions League and Europa League. They’re pointless, they’re almost never televised, and when they are nobody watches them anyway. Likewise, I’m not a fan of play-offs. If you spend an entire season winning points and reach a certain position, that position should be rewarded. I’m also all for less games on the calendar for individual teams, but more games in total. What that means is a revamp to the two existing European tournaments, and a ‘new’ third one. Read on to hear about my proposed changes.

First up, there should be three European club tournaments. Over the decades there have been instances of three tournaments – the Inter Toto cup, the Cup Winners Cup etc. While each of the three Tournaments are classed as Elite Club Championships, there is a tiering system with the Champions League being the best of the best, the Europa League for the Runner Up type teams, and the Third Cup being for… well I may as well say it now… it’s basically a revamped Cup Winners Cup. Obviously money and all of that crap comes into it, but basically the better the tier the more money, but ultimately each competition affords all entrants the chance and ability to earn for income, success, and respect.

My next revamp is to the format of the existing competitions; no more league/group stages but each competition should be a two-leg knockout cup. My third revamp involves increasing the number of teams involved in each competition – from 32 to 64. Next, I’ll be removing seeding because that is too much of an elitist invention to protect the bigger clubs and ensure they last the longest in each tournament – in my competition anyone can play anyone at any time, so cry me a river. My final revamp involves scrapping the qualification rounds altogether – qualification will be based on League and Cup success in each respective Domestic competition. So that’s it – simple yeah? Let me know your thoughts in the…. wait wait wait. You didn’t actually think I was done yet, did you? Oh no, we’re only getting started. When you spend time in my head, you don’t get to simply walk away.

I’m going through each of these proposed new tournaments, talking about the set-up and qualification process, then I’m going to cover each of the 55 Countries who make up European football and how their qualification process should work, then I’m going to look at who should have qualified for each competition based on last season’s results, then I’m going to assign each team a numeric value from 1-64, and finally I’m going to make my own Cup draw for each competition and show you the proposed first round fixtures for each. Why. Why. Why.

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The Champions League – the best of the best, formally known as The European Cup. There are just too many matches and even if you get knocked out in the first round you still have to play six matches. You can keep the name, though the ‘league part’ doesn’t really make sense if we’re abandoning the group stages, so lets call it The European Champions Cup. We’re increasing the number of teams who qualify from 32 to 64. Each round, except for the final, would feature a Home and an Away leg. Therefore finalists would play maximum of eleven matches. Money lost by having less matches in the group stages would be offset by the gains made in having 64 matches in the first round. These would obviously be spread over a number of weeks so the Telly channels get maximum bang for their buck. Who should qualify?

There are currently 55 independent nations in Europe, and 54 of those have their own Football Leagues. The winner of each Top Level League in each Country automatically qualifies. Qualification is based on League Results only, Cups are not considered. This gives 54 teams with a wide range of quality and leaves 10 spots remaining. I’m torn on this next piece, because I originally thought there were only 50 countries which left 14 remaining spots, which gave a bit more freedom about the next teams to qualify. I’m left with two options. Either those ten spots are made up the 2nd and 3rd place finishers from Europe’s Top 5 Leagues: England, Spain, Germany, France, Italy. Or, the first five spots are completed by the 2nd place finisher in the first five leagues, and the final five are from the 2nd place finisher from the next five Top Leagues in Europe. Rather than the current flawed coefficient points system, the Top Leagues will be scored on points table based on team finishes within the 3 Cup Tournaments. Winner = 20 Points. Runner Up = 15 Points. Semi = 10 Points. Quarter = 8 Points.  3rd Round = 4 points. 2nd Round = 2 points. 1st Round = 1 point. The most likely final 5 spots would be from Greece, Russia, Portugal, Holland… Denmark/Ukraine/Belgium etc. The first option is probably more favourable to the money men as it brings more of the big names, plus it’s easier, so lets go with that for now.

The Second competition would be a revised Europa League. Lets call it The Europa Cup. Similar to the above set up, the current 48 teams would become 64, and it would be another Knockout tournament only. Finalists would play maximum of eleven matches. There would be no more of the teams kicked out of the Champions League dropping into the Europa League and there would be no Group Stages or Qualifying rounds. Qualification is based on League Results only. Qualifiers are made up of the next highest finisher from each of the Top 54 Leagues who did not qualify for Champions Cup, so based on Option 1 above it would be the 4th place finisher from England, Spain etc, and the second place finisher from Sweden, Poland, Scotland etc. 10 Spots Remaining – these would be made up of next highest finisher from the Top 10 Leagues in Europe, using same pointing system outlined above. The Top Ten Leagues based on the UEFA coefficient for last season are England, Spain, Italy, Germany, France, Portugal, Holland, Russia, Belgium, and Ukraine so for the sake of this post I’m going to pick those rather than trying to use my own points system – I haven’t got all day.

Our final, newest competition may be the most interesting in terms of qualification, and maybe in terms of teams involved. It’s the revamped Cup Winners Cup, so lets just call it the Cup Winners Cup. Many of the big nations have more than one domestic Cup competition. The winner of each domestic cup competition automatically qualifies. If a team wins a Cup and finishes high enough in the league to qualify for one of the other two European competitions, they can either choose to also play in the Cup Winners Cup, or offer their place to the Runner Up. Similarly, if the Runner Up has already qualified, they would pass their position over to the 3rd place team within said Cup. To spice things up, most domestic cups don’t bother with a 3rd place play-off, so the 3rd and 4th team may need to play a qualifying match against each other. This is a great opportunity for the smaller teams in the bigger leagues to get some travel, new fans, and bonus money. Just to ensure teams don’t start randomly creating 2nd Domestic Cup competitions for the sole purpose of getting into Europe, lets place a ten year limit on new Cups – it has to exist for 10 Seasons before a team is eligible to qualify for Europe. If it does ever reach that point, I’m happy expanding this (somehow) to a 128 team knockout, because that would be fucking ridiculous. For the sake of this post, if the winner of the Cup has already qualified, I’ll try to pick the next club. Sadly, no system is perfect and by my count this gives me only 60 teams, leaving 4 open spots. The Dutch Cup Final was called off so I’m going to just add both finalists which means 3 open spots. There’s no good way of assigning those – most goals scored, best Nations runner up again? Random? Just be like Eurovision and invite Australia and some other Countries? Lets go the Runner up route in Top 10 Countries, who haven’t qualified for some other competition.

I did spend a couple of minutes wondering if the Current Champions League format should simply be retained, except only the Top 4 teams from the Top 8 Countries qualify. Then there would be some slight modifications to my plans for the Europa League, and I pondered having a 4th Cup which would allow the runners up from smaller leagues and a few smaller teams from bigger leagues their chance for silverware. But balls to that.

Before going through each Country, let me deal with some of the criticisms you’ve likely been spouting:

‘You’re an idiot’ – never said I wasn’t. In any case, settle down, none of this will ever happen (even though it clearly should).

‘I only want to see the best teams’ – then only watch those matches. People will watch what they want. There is a high chance for many Crap Unknown Team versus Crap Unknown team matches, but those still happen now in the Champions League. How about we give the Crap Unknown Teams a chance to get better and become known?

‘Half of these teams are semi-professional and don’t have adequate Stadium facilities’ – to me, that’s fantastic. Teams may qualify with a shared stadium, or a pitch with only 1000 capacity, and they may get Real Madrid in the first round. That’s hilarious to me. It happens currently in the FA Cup and it’s a great way for the multi-millionaires to show that it’s about the game, the fans, and not the money. If the big boys don’t want to field their best players, that’s fine. They risk being knocked out. The potential rewards for the smaller teams getting on this world stage far outweigh the grumblings of the elite.

‘I don’t like football’ – get a job, hippy.

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Countries By Loose Ascending Ranking (and their most recent qualifiers):

Liechenstein: Only has 7 teams, and these teams play in the Swiss Football League. Therefore there is a high chance that no team from Liechenstein will ever qualify for any of the three European Club competitions.

San Marino: Famously one of the worst National teams in the world (perhaps unfair because they compete in Europe), San Marino nevertheless has its own league with 15 teams.

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: Tre Fiori

Europa Cup Qualifier: Folgore (with their awesome 700 capacity stadium)

Cup Winners Cup Qualifier: Tre Fiori

Malta: For a country with a population of around half a million, Malta has a fully fledged League and Cup football system. Its Premier League contains 16 teams.

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: Floriana

Europa Cup Qualifier: Valletta

Cup Winners Cup Qualifier: Balzan (whose Ground is part of a School)

Andorra: With a population lower than 80000, Andorra is unsurprisingly not a European Football powerhouse. Their position between the powerhouses of France and Spain does mean they know a thing or two about the game.

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: Inter Escaldes

Europa Cup Qualifier: FC Santa Coloma

Cup Winners Cup Qualifier: Inter Escaldes

Latvia: Perennial competitors against my own Northern Ireland, Latvia have a regular League and Cup system.

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: Riga FC

Europa Cup Qualifier: RFS

Cup Winners Cup Qualifier: FK RFS

Faroe Islands: Another Country which acts as the whipping boys for everyone else, they have been better in recent years.

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: Havnar Boltfelag

Europa Cup Qualifier: NSI Runavik

Cup Winners Cup Qualifier: HB or Vikingur

Gibraltar: This is where things get silly, as ‘The Rock’ has a population of less than 35000 – less than the capacity of most Premier League stadiums. Being a British territory, it has one of the longest histories of football in the world and they somehow have a domestic cup and multiple leagues.

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: Europa

Europa Cup Qualifier: ST Joseph’s

Cup Winners Cup Qualifier: Europa

Moldova: One of the more recent Countries, and one of several forming from the collapse of the USSR, Moldova still has a Cup and set of Leagues.

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: Sheriff Teraspol

Europa Cup Qualifier: Sfintul Gheorghe

Cup Winners Cup Qualifier: Petrocub Hincesti

Kazakhstan: Until recently the Kazakhstan Premier League was quite competitive, with 9 different Champions in its 29 year history – though Astana has dominated recently with 6 Titles in a row.

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: Kairat

Europa Cup Qualifier: Tobol

Cup Winners Cup Qualifier: Kaisar

Azerbaijan: Sadly the most famous piece of football history in Azerbaijan was that they were banned for 2 years by UEFA due to fraud.

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: Qarabag

Europa Cup Qualifier: Neftki Baku

Cup Winners Cup Qualifier: Gabala

Armenia: Another recent Eastern Bloc country, like others, Armenia has failed to qualify for any major national tournament. Also like other, their stadium sizes are fairly small and my be interesting if the big boys come to play.

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: Ararat Armenia

Europa Cup Qualifier: Lori

Cup Winners Cup Qualifier: Noah

Luxembourg: At the risk of sounding repetitive – another small nation with leagues and cup.

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: F91 Dudelange

Europa Cup Qualifier: Fola Esch

Cup Winners Cup Qualifier: Etzella Ettelbruck

Belarus: We’re getting to the more interesting countries now. Another former Soviet Union State, Belarus has only been around since the early 90s, but one of their teams has appeared numerous times in the Champion’s League, and two teams have been regulars in the Europa League (famously BATE was knocked out on goal difference by PSG in 2010-2011). At least this way they won’t have the long slog of qualifying rounds.

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: Shakhtyor Soligorsk

Europa Cup Qualifier: BATE

Cup Winners Cup Qualifier: BATE Borisov or Dynamo Brest

Kosovo: For a Country you probably know nothing about (beyond War) it has an impressive number of clubs and competitions.

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: Drita

Europa Cup Qualifier: Gjilani

Cup Winners Cup Qualifier: Prishtina

North Macedonia: The Country seems to be on an upward cycle, having narrowly missed out on winning Eurovision (if you’re into that sort of thing) and having qualified for Euro 2020 (or 2021 as it’s now called).

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: Vardar

Europa Cup Qualifier: Sileks

Cup Winners Cup Qualifier: Akademija Pandev

Georgia: You know the story – former USSR – fairly new.

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: Dinamo Tblisi

Europa Cup Qualifier: Dinamo Batumi

Cup Winners Cup Qualifier: Saburtalo

Lithuania: See above.

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: Zalgiris Vilnius

Europa Cup Qualifier: Sudova

Cup Winners Cup Qualifier: FK Panevezys

Slovenia: See above, but replace USSR with Yugoslavia.

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: Celja

Europa Cup Qualifier: Maribor

Cup Winners Cup Qualifier: Mura

Estonia: Estonia is one of those countries which looks set to finally begin qualifying for one of the major International competitions one of these years as those in charge change the rules to be more inclusive and expansive. As yet, the country has qualified for nowt.

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: Flora

Europa Cup Qualifier: Paide Linnameedskonde

Cup Winners Cup Qualifier: Narva Trans.

Cyprus: As a separate entity from Greece, Cyprus deserves its own representation. APOEL famously made it to the Quarter Finals of The Champions League in 2012 and has qualified on three other occasions. They also pop up in the Europa League from time to time, so they are not to be taken lightly.

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: APOEL

Europa Cup Qualifier: Apollon Limassol

Cup Winners Cup Qualifier: AEL Limassol

Montenegro: Splitting from Serbia in 2006, Montenegro is one of the most recent independent nations. As such the domestic league system has only been around for a couple of decades.

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: Budocnost

Europa Cup Qualifier: Sutjeska

Cup Winners Cup Qualifier: Lovcen (member of third league!)

Albania: We’re getting into the lower tier of nations who do actually qualify for major Championships.

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: KF Tirana

Europa Cup Qualifier: Kukesi

Cup Winners Cup Qualifier: Tueta

Greece: Greek teams have been a mainstay of top tier European competition for decades, but in recent years they’ve fallen away a bit not least due to their economy crisis. Nevertheless, there’s always at least couple of Greek Teams in the major tournaments – this new system will ensure they keep up the trend.

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: Olympiacos

Europa Cup Qualifier: PAOK

Cup Winners Cup Qualifier: Olympiacos or AEK.

Romania: Romania had a Golden Age when I was growing up in the 90s, but they haven’t quite kept up in the decades since, remaining a periphery nation.  Romania has had two major domestic competitions over the years, but their League Cup was recently abolished again leaving a solo Cup. Currently the League winners qualify for the 3rd Qualifying round of the Champion’s League, with the Cup Winner and 2nd and 3rd place League finishers making it to the Europa League qualification rounds. With my system, teams would be guaranteed a spot. Two teams have dominated Romanian football since the beginning, but recently those two teams have been outwitted and been much less successful on their own turf.

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: CFR Cluj

Europa Cup Qualifier: Universitatea Craiova

Cup Winners Cup Qualifier: Steaua Bucuresti

Hungary: Once a European powerhouse with one of the most successful teams in history, Hungary dipped into a deep decline for several decades. All points suggest a bit of a recent resurgence, though domestic teams have never had much success on the bigger stages. 4 teams make it to the qualifying rounds of the Euro Competitions currently, similar to Romania.

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: Ferencvarosi

Europa Cup Qualifier: Fehervar

Cup Winners Cup Qualifier: Budapest Honved

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Israel: I’m not sure why Israel football is ranked so highly, given they have not really achieved anything. They do compete on some of those other Cups that no-one cares about, but they’ve only appeared in a single World Cup and their domestic teams have not achieved much. Recent years have seen an impressive run list of appearances though. Current qualification is much the same as Hungary, however Israel does have two domestic Cups.

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: Maccabi Tel Aviv

Europa Cup Qualifier: Maccabi Haifa

Cup Winners Cup Qualifiers: Hapoel Be’er Sheva and Beitar Jerusalem

Bulgaria: Like Romania, these boys had a Golden Age in the 90s, but not much since. A number of domestic teams are mainstays in the Europa League currently.

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: Ludogorets Razgrad

Europa Cup Qualifier: Locomotiv Plovdiv

Cup Winners Cup Qualifier: Locomotiv Plovdiv or CSKA Sofia

Finland: The least successful of the major Nordic nations, Finnish domestic football isn’t exactly known for setting the continent on fire, with their biggest stars moving to bigger leagues.

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: HJK

Europa Cup Qualifier: FC Inter Turku

Cup Winners Cup Qualifier: HJK or FC Inter Turku.

Serbia: Now on its own after Montenegro split, Serbia still has a decent enough record in National and Domestic spaces, including memorably beating Germany in the World Cup (though followed up by losing to Australia). On the domestic front, teams from Serbia have been both finalists and winner in the major European competitions, though those days seem to be long gone.

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: Red Star Belgrade

Europa Cup Qualifier: Partizan

Cup Winners Cup Qualifier: Vojvodina

Norway: Norway has competed at the highest levels a few times in their history, but are not exactly a regular. Domestically quite competitive, with 17 League winners in less than 100 years, those clubs are not overly successful on the European front.

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: Bodo

Europa Cup Qualifier: Molde

Cup Winners Cup Qualifier: Viking

Scotland: While Scotland has produced a few all time great players and managers, their International form is poor compared with their neighbours, and their domestic League is dominated by two teams. Those teams do have a fairly decent record in Europe (along with a few notable exceptions in previous decades from other teams), and with my system we’re basically guaranteeing that Rangers and/or Celtic will be there every year. Plus we have genuinely big stadiums to host big teams. Scotland also has two Domestic Cups.

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: Celtic

Europa Cup Qualifier: Rangers

Cup Winners Cup Qualifiers: Hearts

Northern Ireland: As a Northern Ireland bloke, I have no qualms about saying our football is terrible. Sub-standard. Awful. But then again I’m not a patriot and couldn’t name a single player from our current squad. Billy Balaclava? Jonty Spud? George Best? The domestic front is a farce, with little or no dent on European football, but the National Team has improved in recent years to reaching the point of almost qualifying for things rather than being the laughing stock of the home nations. It amuses me no end imaging the likes of Barcelona and Liverpool possibly playing against Glentoran in the Champions League.  We do have two cups, so it increases the chances of glory/hilarity.

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: Linfield

Europa Cup Qualifier: Crusaders

Cup Winners Cup Qualifiers: Glentoran and Coleraine

Republic Of Ireland: Heading South of the border and things are only marginally better. The national team has had a fair go at things one or two times, but domestically there isn’t a huge history of success. At least my system guarantees a couple of clubs will be showcased worldwide.

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: Shamrock Rovers

Europa Cup Qualifier: Bohemians

Cup Winners Cup Qualifiers: Dundalk and Derry City

Turkey: Every so often Turkey sees a spike in performance both domestically and on the national side, though their domestic football teams see more consistently good results, with the same handful of teams outperforming the rest of the Turkish clubs.

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: Istanbul Basaksehir

Europa Cup Qualifier: Beziktas

Cup Winners Cup Qualifier: Trabzonspor

Slovakia: Slovakia have done well since splitting from the Czechs, and as a new independent nation they have had plenty of success – historically of course Czechoslovakia was a middling force in World football for 50 years.

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: Slovan Bratislava

Europa Cup Qualifier: Zilina

Cup Winners Cup Qualifier: Slovan Bratislava or MFK Ruzomberok.

Czech Republic: We’re getting into the big boys now. The Czech Republic had one of the best National teams I’ve ever seen for a period in the late 90s to early 2000s. It just so happened that other teams had their own brilliant individual players. A couple of the domestic clubs have real European heritage, though the lack of wins and finalists keeps them lower down the pecking order.

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: Slavia Prague

Europa Cup Qualifier: Viktoria Plzen

Cup Winners Cup Qualifier: Sparta Prague

Wales: The least successful of the home nations historically, with Wales being more of a Rugby country, Wales has seen one of the largest jumps in quality and success of any Country recently. On the domestic front, their best teams play in the English Leagues instead, but they do still have their own league and cups giving teams a better, but still small, chance of playing in Europe. Under my system, a couple will be guaranteed.

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: Connah’s Quay Nomads

Europa Cup Qualifier: The New Saints

Cup Winners Cup Qualifier: The New Saints and Connah’s Quay Nomads or STM Sports

Austria: Austria is one of those Countries which surprises me when they are so high in the rankings. Sure they’ve been in plenty of World Cups, but haven’t achieved much. Domestically, it is only in recent years that a small number of clubs have been making waves in Europe, typically feeding bigger teams with great players, yet still achieving.

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: RB Salzburg

Europa Cup Qualifier: LASK

Cup Winners Cup Qualifier: RB Salzburg or SC Austria Lustenau

Russia (Top 10 Nation): The dissolution of the Soviet Union had the impact of creating a bunch of independent nations with their own teams, but didn’t really slow or change Russia’s progress or quality. Russia either always qualifies or almost qualifies, and a few of their domestic teams have a rich history in Europe.

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: Zenit St Petersburg

Europa Cup Qualifier: Lokomotive Moscow and Krasnodar

Cup Winners Cup Qualifier: Zenit St Petersburg or Khimki.

Sweden: Sweden have been so close to winning a number of times, and as such they are a significant European force. The domestic league is less impressive, with most if not all of the best players quickly being snapped up elsewhere.

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: Malmo

Europa Cup Qualifier: IF Elsborg

Cup Winners Cup Qualifier: IFK Goteborg

Denmark: The most successful Nordic nation, Denmark’s fame is largely down to winning the Euros in 1992. Since then, their appearances and successes have been average. On the Domestic front, Danish teams tend to fare better in the Europa League but have had various impacts within the Champions League.

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: FC Midtjylland

Europa Cup Qualifier: Copenhagen

Cup Winners Cup Qualifier: Sonderjyske

Ukraine (Top 10 Nation): The biggest success since splitting from the USSR, Ukraine have had a number of high performing players leading to impressive appearances on the World and European stages, though they have been on a downward slide. Domestically two clubs dominate, and both clubs have a strong history in Europe, including Championship wins.

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: Shakhtar Donetsk

Europa Cup Qualifier: Dynamo Kyiv and Zorya Luhansk

Cup Winners Cup Qualifier: Dynamo Kyiv or Vorskla Poltava

Bosnia & Herzogovina: The breakaways from Yugoslavia with the second most success, even if success is a bit of a stretch given they’ve only qualified for a single World Cup.

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: Sarajevo

Europa Cup Qualifier: Zeljeznicar

Cup Winners Cup Qualifier: Sarajevo or Siroki Brijeg

Iceland: These guys came from nowhere, then took the world by storm in the 2010s. Like many of the nations above I’m sure this success or hype won’t last, but it has been enjoyable watching a bunch of unknowns from a Country known more for being ‘oh so quiet (sssh…. sssssh)’ topple the big boys.

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: Valur

Europa Cup Qualifier: Breioablik

Cup Winners Cup Qualifiers: KR, FH, and Vikingur Reykjavik

Germany (Top 5 Nation): I don’t know Germany is ranked so low on this coefficient list, but there you go. It’s Germany – you know them, you know their clubs.

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, RB Leipzig.

Europa Cup Qualifier: Borussia Monchengladbach, Bayern Leverkusen

Cup Winners Cup Qualifier: Bayern Leverkusen or Bayerm Munich

Poland: Winners once at the Olympics (which no-one really cares about, but should) and fairly frequent also-rans at the World Cup and the Euros, I don’t think anyone considers Poland or the Polish league as better than, or even on par with Germany. But there you go.

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: Legia Warsaw

Europa Cup Qualifier: Piast Gliwice

Cup Winners Cup Qualifier: Cracovia and Lechia Gdasnk

Croatia: The biggest success story of the Yugoslavia split, Croatia have been more successful than the likes of England in the last 30 years, finishing 3rd and 2nd in World Cups. Their domestic competitions don’t match the success of their international team as once again the best players move to the big leagues.

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: Dinamo Zagreb

Europa Cup Qualifier: Lokomotiva

Cup Winners Cup Qualifier: Rijeka

Italy (Top 5 Nation): You know the Country, the teams, the players.

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: Juventus. Inter Milan. Atalanta.

Europa Cup Qualifier: Lazio. Roma.

Cup Winners Cup Qualifier: Napoli and Juventus.

Spain: (Top 5 Nation): You know the Country, the teams, the players.

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: Real Madrid. Barcelona. Athletico Madrid.

Europa Cup Qualifier: Sevilla. Villareal.

Cup Winners Cup Qualifier: Real Sociodad and Athletic Bilbao.

Belgium (Top 10 Nation): Belgium was a nothing team for decades, then had a Golden Age in the 80s -90s, and then in the early Noughties the odd very good player would pop up and there were whisperings of a new power rising in the East. Suddenly a batch of very very good players came at the same time, propelling Belgium into the big time. Will it last? Domestically the nation has a hit and miss history, with a few sides notable for their successes.

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: Club Brugge.

Europa Cup Qualifier: Gent. Charleroi.

Cup Winners Cup Qualifier: Antwerp

France (Top 5 Nation): You know the Country, the teams, the players.

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: PSG. Marseille. Rennes.

Europa Cup Qualifier: Lille. Nice

Cup Winners Cup Qualifier: PSG or St Etienne and Lyon.

Portugal (Top 10 Country): The underperformer when rated alongside neighbours Spain, Portugal have nevertheless had a lot of success domestically, and recently as a Country.

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: Porto

Europa Cup Qualifier: Benfica and Braga.

Cup Winners Cup Qualifier: Porto or Benfica or Academico de Viseu or Famalicao

Netherlands (Top 10 Country): Neither the force they had been in recent eras nationally or domestically, Netherlands still manages to produce some of the best players in the world and you can’t write the Nation or their teams off.

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: Ajax

Europa Cup Qualifier: Alkmaar and Feyenoord

Cup Winners Cup Qualifier: Utrecht and Feyenoord (Cancelled due to Covid)

England (Top 5 Country): It’s the biggest, most successful, richest, most competitive, and best league in the world. Or at least it was till they started making changes and employed shockingly bad referees.

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: Liverpool. Man City. Man Utd.

Europa Cup Qualifier: Chelsea. Leicester.

Cup Winners Cup Qualifier: Arsenal and Man City or Tottenham

Switzerland: No idea why they are so high, but they’re the last time on the list, thank thy Lord.

Champion’s Cup Qualifier: Young Boys.

Europa Cup Qualifier: St Gallen

Cup Winners Cup Qualifier: Young Boys or Basel

FIFA Club World Cup 2019 - News - Firmino writes Liverpool into Club World  Cup history -

So if we take the 2019 – 2020 Season as an example, below is what this season’s imaginary competitions could have looked like. Just look at the amount of unnecessary effort I put into this! For the Cup Winners Cup, in those instances where the Cup Winner had already qualified, I’ve just gone with the easiest route and let the runner up qualify.

Champions Cup First Round

Sheriff Teraspol VS RB Salzburg     Bodo VS Marseille                Zenit St Petersberg VS Qarabag

Juventus VS Budocnost                 Drita VS Istanbul Basaksehir  APOEL VS Barcelona

Liverpool VS PSG                           HJK VS Maccabi Tel Aviv        Borussia Dortmund VS Ararat Armenia

KF Tirana VS Sarajevo                    Malmo VS FC Midtyjlland      Ajax VS Porto

Slavia Prague VS Connah’s Quay Nomads                                   Kairat VS Shamrock Rovers

Riga FC VS Shakhtyor Soligorsk    Atalanta VS Vardar                 Athletico Madrid VS Man City

Ferencvarosi VS Red Star                                                              Shaktar Donestsk VS Inter Escalades

Rennes VS Inter Milan                   Celja VS Zalgiris Vilnius          RB Leipzig VS F91 Dudelange

Ludogorets VS Flora                     Dinamo Tblisi VS Tre Fiori       Man UTD VS Dinamo Zagreb

Floriana VS Linfield                                                                       Havnar Boltfelag VS Olympiacos

Young Boys VS Legia Warsaw      CFR Clug VS Valur                    Real Madrid VS Slovan Bratislava

Bayern Munich VS Club Brugge                                                   Celtic VS Europa

Okay, so the money men may not be happy with that draw given that a couple of the favourites will be knocked out at the first hurdle. Liverpool VS PSG is the pick of the bunch. PSG are multi time Billionaires, but haven’t won much in Europe, versus 6 time winners Liverpool. One of them will be going home with nothing. Ajax and Porto could be interesting – both former winners but both shadows of their former selves. Man City’s plastic billionaires could slip up against an always tricky Athletico Madrid but elsewhere the big teams should pass through – Brugge shouldn’t have enough to stop Munich, Madrid should get past Bratislava, while Utd could have a tricky enough time against Dinamo Zagreb. Barcelona, Inter, Dortmund, Juventus all go through untroubled. Plenty of tiny and middling teams will therefore progress to the next round and get more of that sweet sweet qualifying and viewer cash. Ironically, Floriana and Linfield met last year in the Europa Qualifiers, with Floriana winning so the Northern Ireland champions will be out for revenge. Eventually some of the minnows are bound to meet up with the big boys – and probably be destroyed – but it all raises their profile and could help them become true competitors in the future. At the very least – something to tell the grandkids.

Europa Cup First Round

Dynamo Kiev VS Benfica                Sutjeska VS Breioablik          Lazio VS Universitatea Craiova

Lille VS Sfintul Gheorghe               Partizan VS Krasnodar          Maribor VS FC Inter Turku

FK RFS VS St Josephs                     Maccabi Haifa VS BATE        LASK VS The New Saints

Lokomotiv Moscow VS PAOK        Kukesi VS Apollon Limassol  Chelsea VS Braga

Piast Gliwice VS St Gallen              Besiktas VS Viktoria Plzen    Crusaders VS AZ Alkmaar

IF Elsborg VS Gent                        Nice VS Neftki Baku              Paide Linnameeskond VS Feyonoord

Roma VS Lokomotiv Plovdiv        Sevilla VS Zorya Luhansk       Tobol VS Folgore

Dinamo Batumi VS Sileks             Molde VS FC Santa Coloma   Fola Esch VS Villareal

Fehervar VS Lokomotiva              Bohemians VS Gjilani             Charleroi VS Bayern Leverkusen

Leicester VS NSI Runavik             Zilina VS Valetta                      Sudova VS Rangers

Zeljeznicar VS Lori                       Copenhagen VS Borussia Monchengladbach

Lets take a look at the pick of this round – the first match out of the hat is the tastiest, two decent teams and only one can go through – no matter who loses, most other teams’ chances go up by one. Chelsea VS Braga could be interesting, on paper Chelsea should have no problems but Braga won’t lie down. Crusaders get a tough tie against Alkmaar, Europa League specialists should knock out Zorya, Leicester will enjoy a trip to the Faroe Islands. A few other tight contests and always the slight chance of an upset.

Cup Winners Cup First Round

Sonderjyske VS Gabala                    Hearts VS Basel                    Steaua Bucuresti VS FK Panevezys

Antwerp VS MFK Ruzomberok        Khimki VS FK RFS                 Prishtina VS Etzella Ettelbruck

Noah VS Arsenal                             Vojvodina VS Viking              Lechia Gdansk VS Inter Escalada

Budapest Honved VS Feyenoord    HJK VS Sparta Prague           Coleraine VS Siroki Brijeg

Lovcen VS Derry City                                                                     Vikingur Reykjavik VS Narva Trans

Balzan VS Hapoel Be’er Sheva        Lyon VS The New Saints        KR VS Tueta

Kaisar VS IFK Goterborg                                                                Tottenham VS Dynamo Brest

Athletic Bilbao VS Tre Fiori              Cracovia VS St Etienne          Akademija Pandev VS AEK

Bayern Munich VS CSKA Sofia        Europa VS Vikingur               Mura VS Glentoran

Dundalk VS Academico De Viseu   Rijeka VS Utrecht                   FH VS Trabzonspor

SC Austria Lustenau VS AEL Limassol                                           Saburtalo VS Napoli

STM Sports VS Petrocab Hincesti                                                 Beitar Jerusalem VS Vorskla Poltava

I admit than on the surface that’s a crappy line-up, and not a lot for the purists to enjoy. But that’s always been the case for these competitions and it’ll be the fans tuning in rather than the general public/fans of other teams. Still, a few matches stand out – Bayern Munich should easily be winning this competition (assuming they don’t play a B Team) but they have a tough first tie against CSKA Sofia. Elsewhere there’s little chance of giant killing – Spurs should comfortably beat Dynamo Brest, Arsenal should destroy NOAH (who have only existed for a couple of years), and Napoli should have no problems. Hearts VS Basel could be interesting, and for selfish reasons (given that I’m friendly with their manager and his wife) Coleraine travel to Bosnia.

Finally. There you have it. What do you think? What is your preferred format for elite European football? Do you like the current set up of the Champions League and Europa League? Would you like to see a third Competition created/reinstated to give other clubs that extra shot of money? Let us know in the comments!

Nightman Gets Excited About Liverpool Goals – Part One!

Liverpool F.C. - Wikipedia

Greetings, Glancers! I don’t typically write about Sport much here – I’ve tried in the past but have given up because I gave up caring and because nobody else did. Also, given the amount of genuine Sports blogs and Journalism out there, why would I bother throwing my balls onto the pitch too? To be fair, the same can be said for any topic, and as this is something I currently feel like writing about, hopefully the people who come here to laugh at my crap will get something out of this too. Probably not, I know.

Given Liverpool’s recent title win and groundbreaking season, I thought I would go back and revisit the best goals we’ve scored. I usually do this at the end of the Season when some kind soul on Youtube creates a compilation video, but this time I thought I’d do a bit of a write-along. First I was going to do a list of my favourite goals, then I thought I’d just do them all. These aren’t going to be match reviews necessarily, just my thoughts on the silky skills. I’m only including Premiership goals here, no other competitions. So let us begin!

Liverpool 4 – Norwich 1

Our first game of the Season saw us in terrifying form. Our Pre-Season wasn’t the most exciting but we got off to a flying start here, putting four past lowly Norwich. It’s perhaps amusing that the first goal scored this Season was an OG by Norwich’s hapless Hanley. Good work down the wing by Origi and a simple ball played into the six yard box saw Hanley stick a leg out in hope, inadvertently sticking into his own net – if it was any consolation, Firmino and Salah were lurking behind him and may have slotted home. Salah got the second goal, his first of another superb season, and there was a touch of luck involved with the ball bobbing around the box and dropping favourably twice to Liverpool boots – though the hunger to reach these balls first was clearly greater than the frightened Norwich defence. Salah picks it up after a Firmino pass, and side foots it into the net – simple. Salah turned provider for the third goal of the first half, swinging in a simple corner for the beast Van Dijk to rise above everyone else to power home a trademark header through the keeper’s legs. Making it 4 in the first half was my favourite of the bunch – the first of many floating crosses by TAA this Season, cutting the defence in two and allowing Origi to head in his first goal. Firmino should have made it five in the second half – a goal which would have been the best of the game after Henderson saw a shot touched on to the crossbar, followed by some silky Salah and TAA interplay leading to Firmino getting the balls caught under his feet.

Southampton 1 – Liverpool 2

A tighter affair didn’t see many chances for The Reds in the first half, and we could have been behind but for Adrian. In injury time in the first half, Sadio Mane channelled his inner Coutinho, coming in from the left after some swift triangle work, and unleashes an absolute belter into the top corner. Poor Bobby fluffed his lines again after a blistering counter attack, putting his chance narrowly past the wrong side of the post but made up for his miss by skipping a couple of challenges and hitting home from just outside the box. Former Red Danny Ings got a consolation goal, but it was Mane’s rocket which gets my vote for Goal Of The Game.

Liverpool 3 – Arsenal 1

Arsenal have been on a downward spiral since Arsene Venger departed, similar to The Scum once Red Nose retired. If there was any single reason why those two teams had such success in the 90s and 2000s, it was because of their two managers – taking sometimes average teams and making them consistent winners. Without that consistency, that same lack of consistency which Liverpool had in the 90s, those two teams have fallen on hilarious hard times. This game had some comedy defending from both teams before TAA’s corner and Joel Matip’s head broke the deadlock. Weekly mistake-maker David Luiz gifted Liverpool a second goal, tugging back Salah who looked clear to score and giving away a Penalty. Salah battered it into the top corner. As if that wasn’t enough, Salah destroyed Luiz on the halfway line and proceeded to sprint towards the quivering Arsenal goal before slotting home in my choice of Goal Of The Game.

Burnley 0 – Liverpool 3

Our final game of August was of course another win, with Salah almost scoring another screamer after Mane passed out wide allowing Mo to crash one into the post. Trent… he’ll say it was a goal but of course it was supposed to be a cross – in any case his 30 plus yard lob found Pope off his line and the ball swinging over his head and in. If there’s any lesson teams have learned this year – it’s if you make a mistake, Liverpool will make you pay. A ball given away near the centre circle saw Firmino race away, play it Mane, and Mane bang it in for the second. Bobby wrapped up the third after some persistence from Salah, the ball sneaking away from him but into the path of Firmino. Goal Of The Game to TAA.

Are you a Liverpool fan? A bitter Manc? Someone who has no clue what I’m talking about? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

My Blog – July 2020

We only went and did it! 30 years. 30 Years of near misses and nowhere nears. 30 Years since Liverpool Football Club was last crowned Champions Of England. Last Season of course, we were Champions Of Europe (6 times) and even after a club record of 97 points in the League, we still missed out on winning it by a single point. Most clubs would shatter after doing everything possible to win, beating records left and right, and still not winning, but the never give up mentality which has always been a part of the club and the city, and which has been rejuvenated and solidified under the guidance of Jurgen Klopp meant we simply pulled up our socks and went one better this year. With a 25 point lead at the top before the outbreak of COV-ID halted things, it was always inevitable that this was finally our year. I for one wasn’t taking anything for granted until it was mathematically impossible for anyone to catch us – which it now is, even with seven games remaining. Being 37 years old, I don’t really remember the last time we won. I remember us being Champions but none of the details. In the years between, we’ve seen some of our greatest players and managers come and go without getting their hands on the biggest price in British football, and the running joke from critics and naysayers was ‘maybe next year’. The jibes are no more. The critics and naysayers have been soundly destroyed on and off the pitch. As the clock ran down, at the poignant 96th minute in the match between rivals Man City and Chelsea, we knew that anything less than a City win would have crowned us Champions. Of course it would have been nice to have done the job ourselves – beating Everton and then Crystal Palace to have the celebrations on our own turf, but you don’t always get everything your own way. No matter – we got over the line in style – like no other club in history, and no have a claim to being the greatest football squad the Country has ever seen.

Champions Of Europe

Champions Of The World

Champions Of England

Oh yeah – here’s what I originally wrote for this blog post last week –

School’s Out! Here in Northern Ireland, we finish School in the last week of June before taking the entirety of July and August out – eight weeks to bask in the glorious lack of sunshine in whatever passes for Summer over here. Most people head to the Costa Del Booze for some unbegotten Continental flings or assorted lilo shenanigans with the family, but it’s a little different this year. Instead, all the Northern Ireland coastal resorts are being filled to bursting with chip-eaters from the rest of the Country, leaving their junk strewn over the beaches before heading back to the big smoke with sand in their cracks and resentment in their hearts. On top of that, the kids have been home schooled for the last few months, and we’re not even sure they’ll be back in September – which is a complete shambles given my eldest is going into her Primary 6 year – the most important year of School.

But that’s not what you came to read about. Last time out I told you about my current enjoyment of specific reaction channels. I love the idea behind some Reaction Channels – Americans watching British Sitcoms or trying British Snacks etc – that’s mildly interesting to me – but unfortunately most of the reactors are so obnoxious/low budget/have apparently just snorted 100 metres of coke as to make their content unwatchable. I enjoy seeing people experience things I am familiar with for the first time, whether it be food, TV, Music, Movies, but it really only works if they are people I’d like to hang out with IRL – not the self-obsessed bin lids who have cloned and spread all over YouTube.

Which is partly why I find myself drawn to different perspectives – people, who don’t seem to be dicks, who I may not usually have the opportunity to meet IRL. People from other cultures and countries, people with experiences and lives which may be truly alien to me. Plus, this also aligns neatly with the Post-Colonialist part of me which I have an inkling resides in all of us. When I was young, I wanted to be an explorer. Not because I had a desire to conquer and enslave like our forefathers, but because I wanted to visit places I hadn’t been before, or that perhaps nobody had been before. I still imagine visiting new worlds, parallel worlds, and sharing our culture and history – not with a view of showing we’re superior or trying to take over – but because what we’ve achieved as a species is pretty damn cool. So, in some way watching these Reaction videos is a harmless, vicarious way of living out these fantasies.

There are few unexplored places in our planet anymore. Places like the North Sentinel Islands – we’re unlikely to get Reaction videos from there… but places like North Korea, people who live in South American, African, or otherwise distant tribes, people who have grown up shielded or sheltered from World wide or Western Culture, people indoctrinated by Cults who have since escaped – people who have had lives so wildly outside of ‘the norm’ that they may have never heard of The Beatles, The Simpsons, Disney, Pizza, Canada – things the rest of us know by heart. I enjoy hearing stories and watching Reaction videos by people who escaped North Korea, but there are not many of them. Recently, Reactistan has been scratching this itch perfectly, as it has been publishing a series of Reaction Videos by people from Tribes in Pakistan. Videos include ‘Tribals React to Super Mario’, Tribals Try Nutella For The First Time’, ‘Tribals Try Coffee For The First Time’ – you get the idea. These wonderful, Meme-ready men and women have honest, often hilarious reactions to some of our supposed greatest exports. from the Elder who doesnt’ trust any food which is put in front of him, calling ‘Only God knows what is in this’ and claims his village has better versions of whatever he is reacting to, to ladies favourite Peer who is much more outgoing and willing to give thoughtful critiques. From dropping truth bombs to being surprised, disgusted, amused, or bemused by what is put in front of them, every episode is gold and it’s probably the most addictive thing I’ve watched in months.

When I first started watching the channel, they had under 20K subs, but at time of writing it’s over 100K – obviously I’m not the only one watching and enjoying. Plenty of people are commenting and creating their own memes in the comments so the community is growing, and fans are being asked for ideas for future episodes. Now’s the time to join in if it sounds like this is your sort of thing. If anyone reading this knows of any similar channels or wants to promote their own channels – feel free to share those here. I’m always interested to catch up with these, and it’s something I’d like to see more of online – less of the Buzzfeed type crap, more of the natural, truthful first time reactions. With that, kind of in mind, here are ten more TV shows I’d love to see individual Reactors React to.

Top Ten Shows NOBODY Is Reacting To (or probably are but just in vastly diminished numbers).

  1. Party Of Five

Party Of Five was one of my original personal obsessions. For early teen me, it had the hottest cast imaginable, with Neve Campbell, Jennifer Love Hewitt, and Lacey Chabert giving me special loin feelings, and Matthew Fox and Scott Wolf for the ladies. On top of that, it was such a wonderfully acted and written emotional show. While my brother and others were still stuck on shite like 90210, I was dining in the mire of the Salinger family’s trials and tribulations. Every episode featured some sort of MAJOR DRAMA and it’s one of those shows which made me yearn to be in the USA at the time – when Grunge was still on a high and where the beautiful people were not vacuous. It’s probably wouldn’t make for the most entertaining of Reactions – it’s not a show which relies on cliffhangers or outlandish plots or has a lot of comedy or surprises. Instead, it’s a powerful, authentic drama which will probably rip your emotions asunder. NOTE: I’m aware there has been a Latino focused remake of the series featuring an all new cast, and that it has Reactors. I’m going to assume the show has not done well as I have heard zero people talk about it, which sucks.

2. Medium

Medium is a show I only started watching after it ended, buying the boxset because I love Patricia Arquette and the plot sounded like a neat merging of Supernatural, Cop drama, and balancing family life. And that’s exactly what it is. I haven’t finished the show yet, but it didn’t take me long to fall in love with these characters, thanks to excellent all round performances and the chemistry the cast has. Special mention must go to the chid actors here – they’re excellent. Again, not the most exciting show to watch others react to, but it’s a sweet show with a touch of horror, romance, humour, and mystery, and it is absolutely littered with guest stars who happen to be some of my favourite performers. No-one else is doing it, so go for those Blue Sky views.

3. Shooting Stars

This is where things get interesting; Shooting Stars was unlike anything else at the time, and while celeb based panel shows are all the rage in the UK now, they still haven’t come close to matching the majesty of Vic and Bob’s unholy spawn. I heard that panel shows aren’t really a thing in the US – I’ve no idea if that’s true or not. Basically, they are (typically) Quiz shows which feature celebrity guests. There’s no real prize on offer, beyond the honour of beating your opposing Team Captain. Typically there are Two Teams headed by an unchanging Team Captain, each week each team has one or two additional celebrity guests, and the show is hosted by an unchanging Quiz master. Sometimes the shows are based around Music, Sports, or Politics, but in the case of Shooting Stars, the subject matter was of course giant doves, True Or False questions (William Shatner’s real name is Bill Schitz?), and surreal video clips. There are a small number of, truly cringeworthy clips out there, of young US big-mouths watching the show uncomfortably and laughing at all the wrong parts, but I fell there are plenty of US viewers who would ‘get it’ and love it. The humour is both very British, and very Vic and Bob – you’ll either be a fan or you won’t, but it’s certainly their most accessible work with the bizarre tempered by the celebrity guests and the presence of Lamar, Jonsson, and Georgie Dawes. It’s one of my all time favourite shows, I used to regularly annoy people in school with my skits from it, and it’s one of those shows where you instantly have a sacred affinity and kinship with someone else who appreciates it.

4. The Outer Limits

Another seminal Anthology show, The Outer Limits is possibly seen as the little brother of The Twilight Zone. Honestly, I think the 90s version of the show may fare better with Reactors than the original. Maybe that’s because I grew up with the 90s one. A little more focused on horror, and on sci-fi, and with a touch more sex and violence, The Outer Limits is prime fodder for Reactors, mainly because not too many Reactors are watching Anthology shows (outside of Black Mirror) yet they offer provocative quick thrills and twists which the viewer will be anticipating – wondering if the Reactor will work it all out or be shocked.

5. Inside Number 9

I’ve talked about it multiple times before, it’s another Anthology show, but it is so clever, funny, scary, and offers something different with each episode while rarely dipping in quality, that I’m going to keep mentioning it until everyone has seen it. There are some Reactors doing bits and bobs of Inside Number 9, but we need some more dedicated Reactors following through and giving their Reactions to the whole thing.

6. Beavis And Butthead

Yes yes, it’s another personal favourite. Now, this is never going to happen due to licensing balls – the sort of which mean we’ll probably never get a good official Beavis And Butthead TV release on DVD/Blu Ray. Yes, I have the Mike Judge Collection, but it doesn’t have every episode, and it doesn’t have any of the music, which was 50% of what made the show appealing. Beavis And Butthead were the original Reactors, giving their beatdowns on MTv videos while slapping the bejesus out of each other, then going on anarchic adventures. In an ideal world, it would be Reactors watching every episode of the show, giving their thoughts not only on the humour, stories, and antics, but on the music. The 90s were a different time, it would be interesting to get some insight on how both people who were there, like me, and all you young cubs who weren’t born.

7. Eurotrash

What the hell was Eurotrash? If I’m honest I still don’t really know. A mixture of soft core pornography, reality, news stories with Europe’s sex oddities, and strange camp skits? Running for a marvellous 153 episodes, it was mainly helmed by the deadpan Antoine De Caunes, ably backed up on occasion by the likes of Jean-Paul Gaultier, Melinda Messenger, Graham Norton, Lolo Ferrari, and a host of others, and each episode featured segments where the crew would visit some strange European festival or couple or group and see what sort of sex escapades they would get up to, from orgies to painting to fetishes. The segments would consist of amusing voice-over translations of what was being said and side voice-over anecdotes a la Come Dine With Me. Back in the studio, usually garishly adorned to make it look like some Deee-Lite video, De Caunes would offer up random thoughts, speak with guests, introduce regular features, and be past of surreal skits involving giraffes or nuns or French people. All of this would surely cause the average ‘I’m like, low-key, not gonna lie, but I have like, oh my god, like no frickin idea what is going on’ spouting Youtuber’s fragile ego to disintegrate. And that can only be a good thing.

8. The Fast Show

Like last time around, you may be sensing a theme here. This time, it’s the surreal – something which I have always enjoyed from as long as I remember. I don’t know why I like it or how I got hooked on it, but you know what they say? ARRRRRSSSSSSE. The Fast Show was a sketch show born out of the charred corpses of Harry Enfield And Chums and Monty Python’s Flying Circus. Looking back, it is very dependent on catchphrases, with short sketches sometimes a build-up to a single one-liner that the audience has anticipated. But the key to The Fast Show was that there were hundreds of characters – some appearing only once or twice, some appearing for maybe 10 seconds, while others were given more screen time and back story. It would almost certainly be a case of your average US Youtuber being bewildered and not getting half of the humour, and waiting for that one strange soul that it would click with. Still, people reacting negatively can sometimes be as entertaining as people reacting and loving it.

9. Look Around You

Taking the bizarre to the next level was both glorious seasons of Look Around You – possibly the greatest unseen show ever made. The show took different approaches in each Season, but ostensibly was a spoof of 70s and 80s British Education TV shows for Children. The first Season was the sort of crap they used to show me in Primary school, while the Second was a longer form show which reminded me of several post-School ITV educational fare. The first season was made up of very short – less than 10 minute epsisodes focusing on a single topic, such as MATHS or GERMS, or GHOSTS. Most of the humour is dialogue based and I’ve heard several stories of people channel hopping, stumbling upon it and thinking it was a genuine educational show only to do a ‘wtf’ did he just say when one of the more bizarre turn of phrases was unleashed. The second season is more akin to something like Blue Peter or Tomorrow’s World and saw show creators Peter Serafinowicz and Robert Popper joining Olivia Colman and Josie D’Arby as hosts. Once again, each show centered on a a specific topic – Music, Sport, Computers, and featured a special guest with an invention hoping to be crowned Inventor Of The Year. Many cameos abound, from Simon Pegg to Edgar Wright, and the amount of detail and content puts other shows to shame – there’s so much here from visual gags to the script to the performances, that you’ll find something new each time. Primarily I want Reactors to watch this, because nobody ever talks about it and I fail to see how anyone wouldn’t laugh their nuts off at it.

10. Sliders

Sliders was one of the first non-kids shows I considered mine. In that nobody else in my family watched it, and none of my friends seemed to watch it. This was never a popular show at all in the circles I travelled in, and I kind of liked it that way. I think my brother caught on or two episodes and called it a cheap copy of Quantum Leap. That’s partly true, but equally unfair. It was a show about travelling to parallel worlds in an attempt to make it home – while Quantum Leap saw one man travelling in time in a roughly 50 year period, Sliders saw (initially) four people ‘slide’ through a wormhole to a parallel version of San Fransisco – some very similar to what they already knew, some very futuristic, some very technologically backwards. They had to stay in this place for a defined amount of time before moving on to the next randomly generated world, hoping they would make it back to their world. While it was very much an episodic show, it did have that overall Story Arc about Quinn, Wade, Arturo, and Brown getting home, and there would be smaller arcs involving double episodes or recurring threats such as the Kromaggs. It all went severely belly up after the third season, with cast changes and a loss of what made the first seasons so interesting, but it’s still the sort of show sci-fi fan Reactors should be watching while we wait for TV schedules and new shows to pick up again.

So that’s that. Oh wait, I did say there were two types of Reaction I wanted to talk about, didn’t I? Maybe I’ll save that for next month as this post is long enough already and I kind of want to make my own ‘Ten Shows Reactors NEED To React to Video’ now for Youtube. Yeah, there’s this channel called Reactistan – it has been going for a while now, but really found its niche recently when they began posting a series where ‘Tribal People’ react to common place Western shit. The link to their channel is above, but seriously go watch those – it’s gold. There are so many future memes, from ‘Only God Knows what it’s made of’ to ‘Well it’s free so I’ll take another bite’. Yeah, I guess I’ll talk about why I love those Reaction videos so much next time – by that point their channel will prob have a million subs.

Oh yeah, I actually went and made that Youtube video alluded to earlier, between the time I wrote the post and now (about an hour) – so here it is. It’s every bit as terrible as all my other videos, but it does feature some stellar original music so whack on the headset and max out the volume (seriously, DON’T).

Do you like Reaction videos? Why not – why do you hate them so? What would you like Reactors reacting to? What would you rather the youth of today spend their time doing? Let us know in the comments, and until next time, check around my site for more incoherent rambling!

Reminder on blog links:

A-Z Reviews: This category is a single post with links to all my movie, music, and book reviews. It’s the best place to start and you can check it via THIS LINK. I try to update it regularly.

Amazon Vine: I’m a member of Amazon Vine, a program where Amazon’s best reviewers are provided with free products for reviewing purposes in order to drum up publicity before the product is released to the general public. You can find links to the Products I have received here.

Book Reviews: Something I don’t really do anymore, even though I still read plenty. I need to get back into this, but movies are so much easier to review. Maybe I’ll come up with a different format.

Blogging: A new category! This is where I’m going to put this exact post, and the others like it to follow.

Changing The Past: This category is where I go back through every Oscars since 1960 and pick my winners from almost every category. I pick my winners from the official choices, and then I add my own personal list of who I feel should have been nominated. It’s based on personal preference, but it’s also not based on any of the usual Academy political nonsense and I bypass most of their archaic rules. It’s not quite me just picking my favourite films, but it’s close.

DVD Reviews: I should probably just change this to Movie Reviews. It’s what you would expect – reviews of the movies I’ve watched. I’m not a big fan of reviewing every new film which comes out – there are a billion other blogs out there all doing the same thing. I don’t often watch new movies as they release, unless they’re streaming, so instead you’ll be getting reviews of those films a few years later, once I get around to them. Here you will find horror, actions, classics, foreign, indie, sci-fi, comedy, drama – everything. A word of warning – I frequently post reviews that I wrote almost twenty years ago when I didn’t have a clue – they’re crap, but I add them here in all of their badly written glory.

Essential Movies: I’ve only published an intro post for this category, but I have written some other posts for the future. I’m basically questioning what actually makes a film Essential, because it cannot be a definitive statement. What’s essential for you, may not be for me, so I’ve broken down the definition into a few generic user types, then gone through some lists of the best movies of each year to see which ones are essential for each viewer. It’s pretty boring, and I already regret starting it, but that’s me.

Foreign Cinema Introduction: This category hasn’t been published yet, but once again it exists and I’ve written a bunch of posts for the future. The idea came from my many years of hearing people I know IRL or on the internet dismissing anything not mass-produced by Hollywood. If you only watch movies made in the USA – you’re not a movie fan, it’s as simple as that. I follow a few Facebook fan pages and blogs on WordPress which completely dismiss foreign movies – it’s ridiculous as you are missing out on many of the best films ever made. More than that, you are missing out on films which I know for a fact you will adore. So, this is me breaking down all that bullshit about subtitles, about foreign stuff being boring and every other excuse you’ve ever heard, while giving some very basic thoughts and introductions of the various countries of the world from a film perspective.

Lists: Here I post lists – some with comments, some without. All sorts of lists – from monthly previews of the year’s upcoming movies, to my favourite movies by actor or director, to best horror anthologies, best Christmas songs and TV shows, best movies for Halloween, my favourite episodes of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, my ranking of Bond movies, songs, and girls, my favourite albums by decade, my favourite songs by artist, bands I’ve seen live etc. I love lists.

Manic Street Preachers Song By Song: One of the first reasons I started this blog was to try to spread the Gospel of my favourite band, especially as they are not well known outside of Britain. Defo not in the US. Then I found out there were other blogs doing it too. Ah well. These are my thoughts on each song. Don’t know them? They are a Welsh rock band who have been around since the late 80s, early 90s. They are highly political and intelligent, on the left wing, and they are probably the finest lyricists in the world. Their main lyricist suffered from various addictions and mental health issues and disappeared in 1995 – although there have been sightings, nobody has ever confirmed they have seen him and no body has ever been found, though the band, fans, and family are still looking. After three albums with him, they suddenly became commercially successful after his disappearance. If you like rock music… if you like music in general, please give them a try.

Music Reviews: This is the same as movies, except for music. Reviews of albums I’ve always loved, as reviews of albums as I’m listening as a virgin. I take a look at the Top Ten UK Charts from a random month in each year and review each song, while giving my own alternative ten songs from the same year, I am reviewing albums that I’ve never heard by artists I am familiar with – filling the gaps in those discographies. I’m listening to spin-offs of my favourite bands, I’m reviewing the Disney soundtracks. I was a metal and grunge kid, but also had a love for the best in 80 pop when I was young, so I like to listen to anything though since around the mid-noughties chart music has gone from extremely bad to entirely worthless.

The Nightman Scoring System ©: This is something I truly love, but something which nobody really pays attention to. You’ll notice in my reviews I don’t give a score. I just talk about the thing I’m reviewing. Scores are arbitrary and when given, people jump to the score and form a conclusion and a bias. If they read the content of the review, there will be a better discussion. That made me think, in a very unprofessional, semi-scientific, ill-examined way, to come up with a fair, universal scoring system which tries to avoid personal and systematic bias as much as possible. If you look at sites like Rotten Tomatoes which are stupidly becoming reference points for quality or to convince you to watch something, or used by advertisers, it’s a completely flawed system. Anyone can post whatever they like, and drag down or push up an average. The same used to happen on IMDb. There are a lot of posts online recently about the disparity between Critical and Audience consensus on RT and it leads to more worthless arguments, because if there’s something the world needs more of these days, it’s people fighting online about pointless stuff.

I devised two scoring systems – one for movies and one for music. To use it, you have to follow the guidelines and be honest. If you’re not honest, it will be obvious, and your review won’t be valid. For both music and and movies, I break down the scoring into twenty different categories of equal weighting – out of five, for a total out of 100. Categories include acting, directing, sales; or for music – charts, influence, musical ability etc. Say you hate the Marvel movies or The Beatles. You can’t score them a 1 out of five in the Sales category because both of those were factually monster hits – they can really only be 5 out of five. In other words, some of what is opinion and bias is removed from the equation. In the same vein, the disparity between critics and audiences is reduced – typically you may think that a movie or music critic care more about how arty or original or influential something is, while the audience might care how many boobs are seen or how catchy the melody is. I’m making sweeping assumptions – but you get the idea – each category is equally weighted so that influence is only worth five points, chart performance is only worth five points, directing, advertising, whatever – each is five points. I’d love to see people use this, and I’d love to run an experiment where a group of people each use the system to score the same thing, and see how similar or different the results are. I’m positive the average would be a more true reflection than anything on RT or IMDB or anywhere else. The only issue with it is, it’s more suited to scoring once something has been out there for a while rather than a pre-release or first week review.

Nightman’s Favourite Films By Year: Self-explanatory. I list my favourite ten films from every year since 1950, with no comment. Then I give a list of my top films from each decade once I’ve done each year, but this time share some comments. There’s also some stats in there, such as how many films I picked which were nominated for the Best Picture Oscar, which were top ten grossing movies etc.

Top 1000 Albums Of All Time: A journalist called Colin Larkin made several of those popular ‘Top 1000 Albums Ever’ books. I grabbed one of them, I removed the ones I had already heard, and in this series I go through the ones that I haven’t heard, give my virgin thoughts, and whether I think it deserves to be called one of the best ever. I want to sync up my Nightman Scoring System © with these. Just one word of warning – I don’t plan or put any thought into these ‘reviews’. I literally listen and type at the same time. Not the best way to give thoughts I know, but that’s the format.

The Shrine: People die. Famous people die. But they live on, in our hearts and minds and in the work they left behind. Here I offer the chance to remember and offer thanks.

The Spac Hole: Each Monday I post a random lyric from a random song. Every so often I write something which doesn’t fit in any other category. Usually it’s weird. That stuff all goes here. There are more semi-regular pieces like those posts where I use Google translate to change the lyrics of (s)hit songs or dreadful imaginings like what I would do if I owned my own Cinema.

The Spac Reviews: Carlos Nightman is my alter ego. Derek Carpet is his alter ego. He is an idiot. He likes movies. These are his reviews. They are…. different.

TV Reviews: I sometimes review TV too. I talk about my current shows and my all time favourites.

Unpublished Screenplays: Derek Carpet sometimes likes to pretend he’s a writer too. Here are some of his original works, based on other movies and TV shows.

Videogame Reviews: I do these sometimes too. Usually retro. Usually with a humourous bent.

Walk Of Fame: Hollywood has a Walk Of Fame. I have one too. Mine’s better, except I don’t update it anymore. Not only do my inductees get a star, but they get a statue too! And, in each post one lucky soul gets a special building concerning their work or life dedicated to them!

The Shelvey Show

Well, it’s been a long international break, but thankfully the real football is back. Liverpool travelled to Swansea in search of another 3 points but came away with only 1 in a thrilling 2-2 draw. Swansea are a difficult team to beat, especially at home, and last night’s encounter was a hard fought battle. Victor Moses got his first goal for us, while The Sturridge Machine bagged another. However, the headlines will go to JJ Shelley, the ex-red who had a hand in all four goals, scoring Swansea’s first early on, and setting up their equalizer late on. These things happen regularly in football, hopefully Torres won’t remember how to play any time soon.

3 wins out of 3!

Well, it has been a fantastic start to the season for Liverpool – 4 games, 4 wins, including 3 League wins. Today’s emphatic win, thanks to another Sturridge strike, was all the more satisfying as it came against the scum. We were unfortunate not to beat them last season, and today, like the other games we’ve played so far this campaign, we commanded the play for long periods. A frenetic start saw Sturridge pounce onto Agger’s flick, and the pace continued throughout a typically fiery derby. Both sides came close, with Coutinho, Sterling, Giggs, and Van Persie all coming close. Thankfully, it wasn’t a dirty game, with mostly fair tackles flying in.

The second half saw the scum having more of the ball as we backed off a little, but our defence held strong with Skrtel giving a fine comeback performance. It’s our best start to the League for some time, and we’re sitting where we should be – at the top. Long may it continue.

A dodgy Cup win, but a win nonetheless

Liverpool’s first foray into Cup football this season ended with a costly win, and 6 goals.Sturridge was the hero again, with another brace, but the headlines will be on the unfortunate injuries to Kolo Toure, Joe Allen, and Aly Cissokho on his debut. Considering Liverpool’s defensive woes at the moment, these are huge losses, just as we were looking like an impressive unit.

First half goals from Sturridge and Sterling and a host of chances made it look like an easy night at the office. However, as we have come to expect as Liverpool fans, the team never makes it easy for themselves, especially in Cup competitions. 2 goals in the 2nd 45 from Nott’ s meant extra time, but Sturridge and Henderson hit the back of the net to make certain that we’ll be in the third round.

Those injuries may be costly throughout the rest of the season so we’ll need a decent defender brought in quickly. Carragher, fancy a game?

A nervy 3 points

2 games, 2 wins, 6 points. 2 goals, 1 in each game. Today’s game had a nervy last 30 minutes with Liverpool making several silly mistakes and handing chances to a Villa team we controlled in the first half. This game them confidence to attack and try to sneak something, and they almost did. The story is almost the same as the last game in most respects – a goal from Sturridge, and late heroics. However, we created few clear chances today.  Once again, we are not killing games off when we are on top. Once again, our defence looks vulnerable and needs improvement. Like I said at the top though, it’s two games, two wins. Keep ’em coming.