I can't help but give a wider focus to today's entry in light of the events in Athens, because what took place there surely effects, or should effect, all football fans, and in particular those who attend games across Europe. Namely, the problem that is Uefa's inability to properly organise show-piece European football matches.
As far as I can tell, this was the situation. An 80,000 capacity stadium was reduced to 63,000, partly due to certain rows being affected by large advertising hoardings. Of the remaining tickets, only 34,000 were given to supporters of the two clubs. Of these, only 11,000 were put on something resembling general sale to Liverpool supporters.
At least 40,000 Liverpool supporters descended on Athens and were faced with a stadium with no turnstiles, with inadequate ticket checks, and with, yet again, a police force who seemed only too happy to fire tear gas and bash people over the head, with the slightest, or even without, any provocation.
Thousands of ticket-holding supporters were locked out of the ground and understandably angry; thankfully the Liverpool end was shut before it became dangerously overcrowded. In short, we should all be grateful that a disaster was averted.
Now Liverpool and its fans must share some culpability. Fans who rushed gates and got into the stadium were endangering themselves and their fellow fans and the club should have put more tickets on sale to its supporters.
But Uefa must take the lions share of the blame.
Firstly, and in a move reminiscent of the allocation in our final last year, taking over half the ground for corporate supporters or 'neutrals' is obscene. Ok, it's their competition; but clubs and their supporters should always come first. Not the prawn sandwich brigade. If you give out ludicrously small allocations to massive fan bases, don't protest innocence when all hell breaks loose.
Secondly, when will Uefa learn that regardless of their desire to give as many countries as possible the chance to host these occasions, put simply, many are not able to properly host games such as these. Their stewards aren't good enough; their police are overly heavy handed; their grounds can't deal with the requirements of thousands of ticketless fans descending upon them.
So, while Uefa are undoubtedly correct to criticise the behaviour of Liverpool fans, what did they expect to happen in the circumstances? 30,000 ticketless fans to play nice?
Increase ticket allocations to fans; train stewards and riot police to a general European standard of how to monitor and police these games; ensure stadiums are adequate to control the movement of fans in and out of them. That really shouldn't be too much to ask in the early 21st century. I say this because next year, when we hopefully reach the final, the game is at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, and I have fears about how the Russian police will deal with a situation like the one that arose in Athens. Uefa have to note and deal with the crowd problems that have arisen in this year's competition, not just lash out and blame fans for the organisation's own shortcomings.
Anyway, rant over.
Bits and bobs continue to float about regarding us, some more concrete than others. It would seem that the Mart 'Poomenator' Poom will be leaving this summer, with Watford as a possible destination. Lest we forget, Mart has been a very loyal servant of the club, and technically has a 100% clean sheet record in the Premiership. 1 out of 1 to be precise. heh.
Elsewhere, the first ludicrous swap deal of the summer has emerged, with Tribal Football contending that Hleb and Ljunberg + cash = Fernando Torres. While I would dearly love for us to get hold of a player of Torres's quality, it's pretty unlikely that this is going to happen. Hleb, even if you're a Hleb-hater, is not going anywhere this summer. And even if Freddie should be, and Reyes was used a makeweight in such a deal, I'm not holding my breath.
Finally, as Ade has had his supension from the Togolese national team lifted, we seem to be resigned to losing him for all of next January. Why they have to hold the ACoN every 2 years is beyond me. Something Arsene should consider more when signing players?