Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The League Cup - why not win a trophy?

Ask West Ham fans, Stoke, Leicester, Sunderland or Southampton fans - they want to win it. Swansea won it last year and are enjoying themselves against teams like Valencia (and hammering them to boot).

It may not be much to Chelsea or Man United fans, but I don't see why Spurs, Liverpool or Arsenal don't go all out to win it.

It's the Capital One Cup now, but has been the Milk Cup, Littlewoods Cup, Rumbelows Cup (or something like that), but let's call it the League Cup.

It's a trophy. A piece of silverware.

You don't get one for 14th in the league, or 2nd, 3rd or 4th for that matter. The Champions League is great and staying in the Premier League pays a fortune, but fans don't remember teams unless they won something.

I bet Birmingham fans love the fact they beat Arsenal in the final in 2011, and hate that they got relegated and are struggling in the Championship now. Wigan won the FA Cup last year and got relegated, and also don't look like coming straight back up. But they won a trophy, and they will get back to the top flight - as will Leeds, Sheffield United, Wednesday and Burnley. Fans have short memories, but most would take a win at Wembley even if it means playing Scunthorpe away next season.

Those teams have history and the way to measure that is trophies. Playing in the top flight is great, but will Stoke fans look back in 10 years and say how great the Premier League was, or would they love to have a Cup win to remember this (relatively) successful period in their history?

Arsene Wenger has got Arsenal into Europe for 15 or so consecutive seasons, but they haven't won anything for a while. Fans want to win, not qualify for Europe again just to lose in the quarter-finals. I can't guarantee it, but I think most Arsenal fans would take a League Cup win over bowing out of the Group stages of the Champions League this year. Playing Napoli, Dortmund, Barca or Bayern is huge, but winning something/anything (except the Emirates Cup) is huge.

So go all out to win everything, fielding weaker teams isn't the way to go - any trophy is better than playing for mid-table every year.