RICK JACKSON: Not something for English football to be proud of...

Nothing can eclipse what the Liverpool of old achieved in Europe

England's Raheem Sterling during a training session. Picture PA
England's Raheem Sterling during a training session. Picture PA

I’m afraid I couldn’t get that excited by the all-English Champions League quarter final between Liverpool and Manchester City.

Whether one of those teams goes on to win the Champions League or not, for me this won’t be something for English football to be proud of.

Although the traditional names of Liverpool and Manchester City could not be more English, with their fine histories, these clubs are anything but English.

Owned by Americans or Arabs, managed by a German and a Spaniard, with their most exciting players being South American, Egyptian or African.

When you look at both team-sheets, they are very much international teams, built on the mega-money generated by being top performers in the Premier League, but also by very wealthy foreign owners.

It’s great for players like Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jordan Henderson, Kyle Walker and Raheem Sterling, but they, and where the clubs are based, are the only real English things about them.

This in turn, harms our national team and our chances of winning a major tournament. Sadly, not enough English players are playing in the top teams of Europe.

The fact that hardly any English players ply their trade anywhere else is testament to the fact, whether we like it or not, English players are over-priced for the talent they have.

Nothing can eclipse what the Liverpool of old achieved in Europe. An English manager, British players playing the game the English way and winning.

The real European wonder story is that of Nottingham Forest. A team with no real heritage of winning leagues or tournaments, their English manager put together a squad of seasoned pro’s enjoying a swan song and young English talent, they won not only the English league, but the European Cup two years in a row.

The Premier League may have the biggest world audience, but it has come at the expense of British talent with far fewer chances for players or managers to make it in the top flight.

So we will have an English team in the Champions League semi-final. I’d only be excited if most of them are in fact English.


Iwonder how amused the Queen was when she heard that the Duchess of Cambridge was photographed shopping in Waitrose this week?

She’s only a few weeks from giving birth, but this didn’t stop her popping out to buy some groceries, some in the discount section.

I’ve certainly not seen any royalty in my Waitrose in Gosport, although I’ve seen our MP in there a couple of times.

I was delighted to see she was using recycled shopping bags and took advantage of the free coffee we Waitrose shoppers get.

My only concern was the protection officer, who stood by as the heavily-pregnant Duchess loaded all the shopping into her Range Rover.

That’s not very chivalrous at all.


Well that’s the last time my dogs get their own little gift this Easter.

After our Sunday roast leg of lamb, I divided the bones up between them.

Off they excitedly trotted into the garden, pleased as punch.

They were gone for hours, gnawing away. I’m not too sure what happened to those bones, but a couple of days later, I found out.

Harvey our Golden Retriever left his by the back door, poor boy couldn’t get outside quick enough.

Ruby our Jack Russell, left her parcel in the lounge by the wood burning stove.

Luckily that came out of the front, not the back, so easier to clean.

With shards of bones evident, I won’t be doing that again.