League Cup Is Now Terminal In Fight For Interest

Posted: August 11, 2010 in Football
Tags: , ,

The doomsday bells have been tolling this week. The end is nigh and continuation of this farce seems relatively pointless.

No this is not in reference to the reign of Fabio Capello as England manager, even though this has claimed most of the headlines this week.

This is about the League Cup.

Currently sponsored by Carling, the League Cup has been the subject of discussion for a number of years, with debates raging about the necessity of it as teams have continued to put out weakened sides.

I have long been a supporter of the competition, as it has often seemed a great way for a lesser club to win a trophy and gain a passage into Europe.

But this is no longer the case, as it has descended into farce. Frequently the trophy still goes to one of the country’s major sides, even though they persist in sending out reserve team players alongside up-and-coming youngsters.

Teams in the bottom half of the Premier League tend to put out reserve sides themselves, as the competition proves an unnecessary distraction from their fight to survive relegation.

With football a business as it is, there are far more financial incentives to just stay in England’s top division than to win a trophy and qualify for the Europa League.

In fact, with the Europa League seemingly being devalued by the selection choices of some managers (Redknapp/O’Neill), qualification seems an addition of further unnecessary games when so many people are complaining about the amount of matches played a season.

With the majority of the top half already involved in Europe and focusing their attentions on that anyway, as well as maintaining a strong league finish, there is a collection of about three or four sides that might look at the League Cup as a realistic trophy to challenge for.

So surely this is a chance for maybe a Championship side to come through and claim a piece of silverware? Not if this week’s action is anything to go by.

Seven sides have exited before the Premier League teams join the party, with six of those being dumped out by opposition from League Two.

Is anybody disappointed or embarrassed by these defeats? Of course not! Again, the League Cup is just an aside from attempts at promotion/relegation.

Upsets in the League Cup are not seen as important as they are in the FA Cup. There is not so much prestige in knowing your opponent has put out a series of unwanted and untested players.

Ordinarily, throwing away a three-goal lead against a side a league below you could be cause for some supporter unrest. Yet a Charlton-supporting friend who suffered that fate merely offered “It’s only the League Cup,” as a retort.

Those League Two sides that have made it through to face a potential tie with Sunderland or Everton will only be granted the opportunity to play a mid-season friendly against a team that simply won’t care.

But what to do about it? Should the League Cup be scrapped altogether? As things stand, I would say it should, as all and sundry deem it an inconvenience.

Could it work that the Premier League sides no longer enter and the Football League unites the League Cup and the Football League Trophy for the remainder of the league sides to compete.

What to do about the clubs that use the competition to blood youngsters though? Will they give them more league opportunities or will this just result in more youngsters failing to make any breakthrough and being discarded quickly?

Perhaps a rule could be brought in specifically for the League Cup that a certain number of players in the starting eleven have to be under the age of 21. I’m not saying the whole side; otherwise it could turn into a more exaggerated version of the FA Youth Cup, but five or six.

This could give the League Cup the impetus it needs to regain the interest it once held, without sacrificing the desire to blood the youngsters against experienced professionals.

Whatever is done, something needs doing quickly. As it stands, the League Cup is circling the drain and it can’t be long before the plug is pulled on this doomed competition.

  1. Ash says:

    i agree with the age cap on maybe half the players. this is the way most of the top premiership sides play in the carling cup anyway, and it allows an evening up of the sides playing, as i dont think thered be as much disparity between the youth of teams from different leagues.

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Sam Parker, Sam Parker. Sam Parker said: League Cup Is Now Terminal In Fight For Interest: http://wp.me/pYxuQ-1a […]

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