A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE

By Mark Daniell
May 4th, 2008

If you had to choose only one, which would you rather: Champions’ League or Premier League? It’s a straightforward question with a seemingly straightforward answer: Champions’ League, but last night, once we’d drunk more than was necessary, it was a topic of hot debate.

As far as i can make it, here are the arguments on either side;

Champions’ League: It’s the most important trophy in club football. Any club that wins it joins an elite group and can have justification in claiming to be the best in the world. It has global presence and significantly improves the international standing of a club. Chelsea have yet to win it.

Premier League: It’s a league. Say what you like about Europe, it remains a knock-out tournament and as such is subject to all the accompanying luck and frivolities. The Premiership is a hard fought, week-in week-out competition that determines the best team in the country.

Any team can get lucky in a cup tie, but the league tells you who’s really the best. It would establish Chelsea as the dominant force in English football with three titles in four years, and eliminate the suggestion that our back to back titles were nothing but a blip in history. It would cap a remarkable comeback weeks after everyone had given up the title as Manchester United’s.

And that I think is the main issue. Since both titles are going to be contested with Manchester United, the importance can be deduced by asking: which one would Fergie least like to lose? The Champions’ League is the icing on the cake, but the Premiership is the cake itself.

So even though at first the Champions’ League seems like the obvious answer, to win the Premier League would be a greater achievement. Or would it? I know it’s a redundant debate, but then, that’s pub talk.

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