Monday, January 6, 2014

Win the Cup or stay in the League?

Would you rather your team stayed in the Premier League every year or won a trophy?

It's a tough decision due to the money generated from the Premier League's TV contract, but finishing 6th to 15th every year isn't a very exciting way to follow your club. There are only certain teams who can win the League, and apart from Arsenal (and to some degree Manchester United), they are owned by people who pump money into the club with no expectation of return.

Teams like Stoke, West Ham, Swansea and Everton can't compete. Yes, Everton are having a great year, but their best players are on loan. They can't sustain a challenge over a few years, unless they make the Champions League for at least three consecutive years. And there haven't been any that have been able to do that. Spurs made it one year, Everton were fourth once and even Liverpool have struggled to keep up now they don't have consistent money from UEFA.

So why not go for the Cups? Wigan won the FA Cup last year, West Ham and Sunderland are in the League Cup semi this week - it's the best chance to win something. I've been a fan almost 35 years and have never seen my team win anything (promotion and Intertoto don't count). I'd love to see a win at Wembley and be able to say "I was there."

Who are you going to tell that you were there when your team finished 8th in 2015? No one cares. Yeah you can remember a great win against the eventual champions or when they avoided relegation on the last day, but memories are built around great players and the success they had.

Or average players are remembered for moments. Ben Watson isn't a household name now, but Wigan fans will remember his FA Cup winner forever, despite them being relegated the same season.

So I can't understand why owners and managers don't go for it. Aston Villa fans are not happy that Paul Lambert didn't - and so it's another trophy-less season for them. The best they can hope for is 10th (maybe) - and that's not success.

Not everyone can be owned by a billionaire who treats football clubs like video games - and those that aren't should really target the Cups - you know it makes sense.