I'm so looking forward to the Euro 2004 finals in Portugal this summer, except I'm worried about the breathalyser tests. Fans will be randomly sampled by the Portuguese authorities and those over the limit will not be allowed into the grounds. The European Commission in Brussels has now decreed that the system will be extended to those watching at home on telly. It would be unfair, so the commission says, just to penalise fans who are in the grounds.
I'll have to be so careful. I can get through a whole bottle of Safeway's Beaujolais during a really tense match. If they raid our front room as I'm slumped there, I could be off, red-carded. The only hope is that we'll be in the Lake District in June. Our house is very remote and my television room is at the back. Surely they won't send random testers that far. Though you never know. Perhaps they'll be disguised as sheep.
Meanwhile, I am so enjoying the Uefa Champions League. All the games have thrown up something of interest, such as the Valencia bench. It consists of dead plush, airline-type seats instead of the bare, hard benches we have in British grounds. Not, of course, that our native managers do a lot of bench sitting. Many stay up in the stands first half, then come down to rant and rave on the touchline second half. So they never actually use the bench.
European managers tend to be more sedentary and impassive, though I noticed that the Porto coach stood during their whole game with Man Utd, but at an angle, sideways against the dugout, showing no emotion, as if totally bored or spaced out.
Watching Lokomotiv Moscow, I spotted many of their fans with mobile phones, the sort you take photos with, indicating just how wealthy Russians have become. Well, some Russians. The team's shirt sponsor, written on the front, is "Russian Railways", which is apt, because of their background, but also interesting because it's written in English. These top European games get seen around the Continent, if not the globe, so they must be hoping all English-speaking fans will take the train next time they are in Russia.
Real Madrid were dead jammy against Bayern Munich. Beckham looked knackered and I've always thought Raul Gonzalez, the love heart of all Spanish fans, is overrated.
As usual, there have been far too many good games on telly at the same time on different channels, so it's been hellish difficult, either flicking back and forward or trying to set our lousy video machine to work properly. Each morning, I've been rushing downstairs - then screaming and shouting because I've taped some stupid late-night Hollywood film. Next week, I'll be watching a Champions League game in the flesh, going to Highbury for Arsenal's second leg against Celta de Vigo. They can't possibly not win now, after their 3-2 first-leg lead, but like all English teams this season, they can be rubbish at the back.
In Arsenal's case, Sol Campbell, who was never much good at passing the ball anyway, is not at his best and Gilberto is not proving one of Arsene Wenger's greatest buys. I can sense the Arsenal fans turning against Gilberto, thereby ruining his confidence.
As for Man Utd, their whole defence is dodgy. Strange how John O'Shea did so brilliantly last season, got better with every game - and now he's lost it. I think his lack of form is a vital factor, just as much as Rio Ferdinand's absence.
Chelsea, our other big hope, seem to have mucked up their midfield. Last season, their player who had a sudden dramatic improvement was Frank Lampard. But buying Scott Parker, an excellent player in his own right, seems to have cancelled out rather than augmented Lampard's strengths, denying him space, stifling his skills, making him peripheral.
All the same, I expect Arsenal and Chelsea to get through - but not Man Utd. It's Fergie's job to sort out that defence, if he can. Has he lost it as well? He's been looking even redder in the face in the past few weeks. Could it be with all the shouting at his team playing so poorly? Or something else? I do hope, for all Man Utd fans, he doesn't get breathalysed on the bench . . .