Mid-Week Rants: Not Taking Cup Competitions Seriously

As Manchester United fielded a weakened starting eleven last night against MK Dons and crashed to a disastrous 4-0 defeat, I found myself reflecting again on how the big clubs don't take the cup competitions seriously anymore.

When I was growing up here in Canada, one of the few live domestic matches we would get to see each season was the FA Cup Final. I used to look forward to it for months, and would always get behind the underdog if my club wasn't involved.

Unfortunately the FA Cup, and it's neglected step-child the Capital One Cup, are now viewed as secondary prizes for the top clubs in England. In the early rounds clubs will field youngsters and reserves while giving their top stars a break.

The argument is that the players have too many competitive matches on the calendar and they need a rest. Ignoring for a moment the ludicrous of multi-million pound footballers not being fit enough to play football twice a week, the clubs that aren't in European competition really can't make that excuse.

But sadly even sides who finished out of the European slots in the previous season field undermanned sides in the domestic cups. It seems that qualifying for Europe for the following season or finishing clear of the relegation dog fight is more important than a cup run.

Although those things are important, I tend to agree with the late Spurs legend Danny Blanchflower in that "football is about glory". Why do teams pass up on the opportunity for a little bit of silverware?

Fans of larger clubs, in terms of support, like Sunderland, Newcastle or Aston Villa have gone years without winning anything of note, and how would their fans feel about a good cup run, followed by a day at Wembley with a chance to win a cup?

Ask the Swansea fans who saw their club win the Capital One Cup back in 2013 what it meant to them to see their club win a major trophy.

It's about pride as well. Some teams very much give off the appearance of not caring about these competitions and it seemingly translates down to pitch level at times. Regardless of what competition you're playing in, when you put on your clubs kit and step on the pitch you should have something to prove. You should be showing your fans that you're willing to do whatever it takes to win for the club, that you're proud of the city you represent and at the very least you are worth your generous paycheck.

Giant killings in football don't seem as seismic when the big clubs field a second string and/or the players they have on the pitch don't give a shit. That not only cheats the bigger clubs fans, but it cheats the smaller club as well.


Post a Comment