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The Premier League Continues To Degenerate The Domestic Cup Format
Footytubeblog (Blog) 2 years ago
Silverware. It does in some way, constitute the lifeblood of footballing success. Be it a trophy, a vase or most poignantly a cup, the chance for any team to actually win a competition, should surely be at the very fulcrum of every team’s burgeoning desire.

It perhaps speaks volumes that today; such a view would be deemed to be one of an eternal romanticist. The English cup competitions continue to offer clubs a viable opportunity to add some silverware to a spectrum of contrastingly full trophy cabinets.

Of course, you don’t exactly need to resemble Poirot to figure out quite why not all clubs are particularly keen to go all guns blazing into our domestic cup format.

In English football’s world of wealth and riches, the Barclays Premier League supersedes all. The prize money that comes with it, the outrageous international exposure that it affords clubs and really quite exceeding amount of resources it takes to prosper within it, demand all heads a craned towards the league front. Football is now run as a business and we shouldn’t be naïve to what makes perfect business sense. But let’s not forget that the best team always wins the league, but won’t necessarily always win the cup. On a sporting level too, league success will always be top priority.

But it feels as if there is only so far this argument can really stretch out – to the romanticists, anyway. The likes of Manchester United and Arsenal have used the league cup as a blooding ground for their youngsters for what seems like an eternity now.

But there was something a little bit bleak it seeing Steve Clarke make five changes for his side’s game against Liverpool last week. Some will point to the looming trip to Villa Park that awaited the Baggies on the weekend as justification. Indeed, maybe Clarke simply felt the side needed a bit of rotation and freshening up.

Although surely the League Cup offered his side a genuine crack at glory and winning a bit of silverware? Excluding their Football League Championship winning season in 2009-10 and a play off victory in the old Division Two in 1993, the Baggies’ last major trophy came with an FA Cup win in 1968. Brendan Rodgers made his intention to field such a youthful side more than apparent in the days leading up to last weeks’ tie. You can debate about the strength of the West Brom side – one that included the in-form Romelu Lukaku – but ultimately, the further seven changes that Clarke made for the Villa game on the weekend, suggested this was indeed a weakened side.

Clarke cannot be singled out for fielding a few of the fringe players and he was by no means the only one to do so in the League Cup. But his sides offer an interesting example. A League Cup win might not offer as much money as say, an eighth placed league finish, but a cup victory is remembered in the annals of history forever. A mid-table league finish isn’t.

Has the doomed fate of Birmingham City’s 2010-11 season fended mid-table teams off from gunning for domestic cup success? Alex McLeish’s side reached the sixth round of the FA Cup and famously beat Arsenal 2-1 to lift the League Cup in 2011. Unfortunately, this wasn’t enough to inspire resurgence in form in the Premier League and after relegation; the Blues continue to find themselves plying their trade in English football’s second tier. We’ll leave you to decide whether cup success was quite worth the gauntlet of financial implications that comes with relegation.

But what chance does the League Cup bestow of success, if its supposed big brother is being treated with a similar level of respect – and not just by the clubs, either.

The FA Cup final was once something of a showpiece event, something intertwined with not just football fans, but also the wider British society. How are fans and clubs supposed to treat it, when it’s been relegated to an early evening kick-off and played on the same day as other Premier League games? Part of the allure of the FA Cup was the knowledge that come cup final day, all eyes in the footballing world were transfixed solely on the showpiece event. It sends out the wrong message.

Former Manchester United midfielder Lou Macari controversially suggested that football would be perhaps better off if the League Cup was indeed scrapped all together- his argument was that such was the level of respect the cup now has from Premier League managers, even lower-league clubs can’t rely on a big pay day, as fans know they won’t see the likes of Sergio Aguero if say Manchester City come calling. But that’s not strictly true.

Such is the strength of Premier League squads, the likes of Mario Balotelli, Carlos Tevez and Wayne Rooney (albeit under varying circumstance) all received run-outs in the cup. Carlisle United’s average attendance for the whole of last term was 5,247. Over 12,000 came to Brunton Park to see the visit of Tottenham Hotspur in their Capital One Cup tie.

Changing attitudes towards the cup is extremely difficult and it’s hard to see how the current Premier League climate is ever going to relent in both a sporting and a financial sense for clubs to focus more attention on it. But whatever anyone says, it remains a trophy by right and the chance to compete at Wembley and lift genuine silverware. The Football League needs fresh ideas and perhaps a bit of fresh investment in terms of some prize money. But the League Cup remains an asset to the English game- it just needs a bit of polishing, that’s all.

Written By Sam Antrobus




This blog does not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of footytube or its partners.
Paugi (HJK Helsinki) 2 years ago
Awkwardly written throughout :/

"The English cup competitions continue to offer clubs a viable opportunity to add some silverware to a spectrum of contrastingly full trophy cabinets. "

Sentences like that just make this a pain to follow. "Spectrum of contrastingly full cabinets"? As much as you'd like that to be a logical sentence, it really isn't.

Good content but tone it down with the use of 'clever' phrasings and 'smart' words.

My 2c
TruthBomb (Central Jersey Spartans) 2 years ago
Forget the silverware for a minute. Consider this....

A club is guaranteed 19 home games in the league, so why not prioritize cup runs to get as many home games as possible, and maximize profits?

Glory > Business in the world of football, which is why so many clubs deservedly go into administration and beyond.



   
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