The Squill is mightier than the board

Good morning from the tail end of a blogless week. My main dilemma these last seven days has been: Barbeque – gas or charcoal? I’m leaning towards the former for ease of use but to the latter for guaranteeing the proper whiff.

I did, however, crank up the phone for the annual jamboree that is the Champions League draw.

Cup draws have certainly taken on a new ‘importance’ since the FA Cup draws of my youth, when someone would be glued to their radio in double maths on a Monday morning, but I know which kind I prefer. What purpose does all the farting about serve? It’s monumentally dull, even if it does give the country’s media the excuse they need to crank up the live text coverage.

This year’s draw gives us a relatively benign group – again. From a footballing perspective there are some interesting ties against teams we have not got a lot of previous with, and I’m all for playing new teams. But in terms of avoiding one of Europe’s heavyweights, we’ve done it again. We drew Inter Milan in the 2003-4 group stage (heh – remember the away leg!). Since then, we’ve had Porto and Seville and a host of tricky away ties, but no group of death as far as I remember. This is, I suppose, what seeding does. Seeding might make the bigger clubs happy, but does it make the competition more interesting?

So Partizan, Braga and Donetsk it is. I must say, I’ve always fancied a far-flung Champions League journey and Donetsk would fit that bill. Hmmm… how am I going to get this one past Control?

A look at the group stages from the Guardian here and Telegraph here.

Elsewhere, the news is good on the squad strengthening front, with the arrival of the ‘ancient’ Sebestien Squillaci. It appears the Squillster has got himself a three-year deal and cost a much more plausible fee of £3.3m.

And come on, let’s be honest – the relaxing of the over-30 rule is long overdue. Letting Pires go because he had hit 30 seems as nonsensical today as it did back in 2006. A defender at 30 is nothing – look at Sol Campbell.

“He is a real defender and is good in the one-against-one, good in the air, and can score goals on set-pieces as well. I believe he will be suited to the English game. He will train with us tomorrow morning, but will not be involved on Saturday [against Blackburn Rovers].”

Now just the one position left to fill, by my reckoning – and it’s D-Day -4.

Reckon it’ll still happen?

Right, that’s me tuning out for a few more days.

Gas or charcoal, gas or charcoal. Hmm.