The League Cup stinks. It’s superfluous and boring. It’s the FA Cup with neither the romance nor the tradition. It’s either meaningless adornment for big clubs or a delusion for teams not good enough to win a real trophy. Other countries have only one cup competition. The League Cup shows us why.
Seeing Arsenal’s academy kids is the most exciting part of the League Cup, but it’s also its greatest insult. Arsenal, a club entering its fifth season without a trophy, does not care about winning it.
Ideally, the League Cup would disappear. It may be a sacrifice for the eventual European Super League. But, until that reality comes, and it will, here are a couple suggestions to inject some spice.
First, let the Scottish teams participate. It would add some variety. The Scottish teams would be motivated. Celtic and Rangers mixing it up with the English teams would be far more captivating than less stressful versions of Premier League matchups.
There is also some intriguing historical precedent. Before International Federations hardened in the 19th Century, Scottish teams participated in the FA Cup. Britain has devolved back to its national identities without the Empire, but perhaps the Union Jack and fraternization once a year might be pleasurable.
Second, move the competition. Situated at the beginning of the season, it is pure fixture congestion. The League Cup is a distant fourth priority for players and fans concerned with the League, European Competition and Internationals.
It should be continuous rather than on sporadic weekends. It could be played in August, when fans starving for football would grasp onto it. It could also be played in May. This would give teams an incentive to keep playing once their league position is secure.
These two suggestions might not be a panacea for the League Cup’s ills, but they would make it more interesting.