Not to rain on the day for Liverpool and Cardiff fans, but even the excitement surrounding the weekend’s match, and the celebrations that will follow, can’t disguise the fact that the League cup is at a low. To be honest it’s been ther for many years now. How many of the last 5 winners can you name?
The public are losing, if not already have lost, interest in the cup. Despite this being the case for many years, the FA have yet to tackle the problem. So what are some of the ideas for changing the cup, and could they help ad some glamour to this rainy Monday afternoon of a competition?
Make it a youth-orientated cup
Many teams already use the Cup to blood some of their youth players, and it has been a springboard for many to claim a place in the first team (or secure a move away). Perhaps the League cup needs to codify this in to an actual policy. Some have suggested making the whole cup and under-23 endeavor, but perhaps a mid-way point would be best. All teams must field at least 5 under-23 players during the match?
All teams must have a certain amount of ‘homegrown’ players? This summer’s Olympics may show us just how exciting (or not) under-23 games can be. Fans would have a much clearer vision of why they should watch the cup, it provides a glimpse at future stars.
A British cup
The recent discussions over a united British Olympic team have highlighted the division between the countries FAs, and this prospect seems less realistic than say 5 years ago, when Celtic and Rangers were discussing joining the EPL. However, with the Scottish league cup no more exciting than its British counter-part, then perhaps they should join together.
Undoubtedly the Northern Irish and Welsh teams would have no real impact, however seeing plucky underdogs from Belfast to Barry Island fight the likes of Chelsea and United would raise interest, as would the chances for Rangers, Celtic, or perhaps even another SPL team getting through to the final rounds. Rangers executive Ali Russel is certainly in favour, but SFL’s Chief David Longmuir is still very much opposed, saying “I’m not going to give anyone a hard time for thinking outside the box but this isn’t something we’re even contemplating for a variety of reasons.
For one thing our own competition is in good shape. It’s been a very healthy competition this season and I see no reason to believe that will change in the immediate future.” So maybe just a pipe dream for now.
Play games abroad
The FA has been keen on the whole ‘a meaningful game abroad’ idea for a few years. It would expand the leagues image, and most importantly raise revenue. However fans show widespread opposition to the idea and it was quickly and quietly abandoned.
However fans are much less likely to be bothered about missing a fifth round tie between their team and a lower league minnow, than missing out on a top flight game. Then again foreign fans may be less excited to watch, if it can’t be guaranteed the game will feature top teams. Still foreign fans are desperate to catch a glimpse of the likes of Rooney, RVP and Torres, even if they are playing against Leyton Orient.
Lots of logistical problems would need to be resolved (schedule? Where? Could home fans attend? Who would play?), but it may be an idea that teams, players, and the FA will support, but will fans?
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