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Scrap The Carling Cup For The Good Of The England Side

Mar 01, 2009 - London, England, UK - Carling Cup Final, Manchester United 0 (4) V 0 Photo via Newscom
After this weeks “enthralling” Carling Cup fixtures we are one step closer to knowing which club will be winning the lesser of the English trophies this season. But does anybody really care about the trophy which is rapidly losing its appeal.

I think the attendances of this weeks games tells a story about the demand for a secondary cup completion. Just over 33,000 turned up for Newcastle’s game with Arsenal, a match which had it been in the FA Cup would have attracted 50,000 plus to St James’ Park.

The Gaffer has already blogged where he discussed the need for the Carling Cup.  Personally I don’t think there is a need. The cup was brought in as an extra revenue stream for clubs in the days before the TV money of the Premier League, and in many ways has now served its purpose.

I write this as a fan of Crewe Alexandra, a League Two side that have had some brilliant nights out as a result of League Cup run. But even I see the tournament as a distraction in the bid for League success.

It’s not just individual sides that suffer because of the competition, the England national side is also at a disadvantage because of the insistence on sticking with two cup competitions, and I truly believe that should the cup be scrapped; the Three Lions would in a much better position to challenge for a major tournament.

Scrapping the Carling Cup would free up a whole host of midweek dates that could be utilised in order to give the country the much needed winter break. Without a mid season break, England will only fall further behind other nations.

The Premier League is played at such a pace that to not give players a couple of weeks off during the middle of the campaign is meaning that come May, burn-out strikes and ultimately the standard of football suffers. This means that when the World Cup comes around, in many ways it is impossible for England to challenge.

Scrapping the Carling Cup solves this problem, and while each club might lose a special cup-tie know and then, I think everybody would back the plan if it would give the England side a better chance of success.

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  1. Aaron

    October 29, 2010 at 12:54 pm

    How about keeping the Carling Cup which I enjoy greatly watching the up and coming Arsenal players get their opportunity. Instead, we give the players breaks by scrapping some of the needless (and tedious) interlulls. The number of international friendlies and qualifiers could be reduced easily. Fewer injuries would benefit the game.

  2. brn442

    October 29, 2010 at 12:42 pm

    What ? – following that logic, why not ban training, reserve matches and just stuff the England team in a cupboard with cotton balls and moth repellent until 2012, god forbid a player tweaks a hamstring, catches the flu or gets “tired” until then.

    Ironically, as the others have said, the league cup is the one competition where young English players can be blooded – leave it be.

  3. Ian Jenkins

    October 29, 2010 at 7:51 am

    I disagree completely. I think the League Cup is vital in the emergence of young or fringe players. Without this opportunity, how would these players break into the first team?

  4. JC

    October 28, 2010 at 9:33 pm

    At the very least they need to change what the League Cup is about. Make it a tournament for U-21s only, or drop the Premier League from the competition and have the winner gain promotion into the EPL. The latter is too valuable to be realistic, of course, but the cup could live on in some form or another.

    Also, the Community Shield should be the first Premier League match of the season. Both clubs get a bye where their original match was scheduled (loser of the shield gives up its home tie. Added incentive). In exchange, both clubs have to start the season a week earlier than every other side.

    • Robert

      October 28, 2010 at 10:37 pm

      I’m not certain I like your idea about the Community Shield. Although it is nearly impossible, what happens if a non-Prem team wins the FA cup? Had the recently relegated Portsmouth eked out a victory against Chelsea in the FA Cup last year, what would be the status of their game against Manchester United?

      Also, take Chelsea, who won the Double last year. Because they won the FA and the Prem, they gave their second spot to Manchester United, who beat them in the Shield. So now Chelsea, who, due to their stellar performances in two discrete competitions the previous seasons, forfeits a home game in the next season because of one unfortunate result? That doesn’t seem very fair at all. And starting a week early is already enough of a burden for two teams that will have played deep into the previous season. Given that the World Cup ended in July, the players had less than a month to recuperate for what would be, in your plan, a match that may make or break an entire season.

      It seems as if you want to lower the value of the Carling, by allowing only youth players to play (despite there being club competitions for academy sides), and elevating what is literally an exhibition to raise money for charities. The Community Shield is fine the way it is.

      • JC

        October 29, 2010 at 7:39 pm

        Your point about the non-premier league side is a very good one. I have no solution for that. As for Chelsea doing the double and losing a home game, it would only happen if they lost the Shield. If they won the match, the loser (Man United in your example) would lose their home game.

        Alternatively, you could move the community shield to whatever week the two teams are playing for the first time. I dunno. Just a suggestion and as you point out, far from perfect (but I still like it better than what they do now).

        Yes, I’d like to get rid of the League cup or if it sticks around, it will be devalued. I side with the author on that opinion, though I think it could stick around despite being devalued.

  5. Jay

    October 28, 2010 at 6:37 pm

    I don’t care one way or another about the Carling Cup. I watch the matches when Arsenal plays…

    As to your premise that England would be better if there were no Carling cup… well I just can’t see it. Especially in the case of teams like Arsenal, where the matches are often used to develop young talent.

    It seems like the Carling cup can only help get experience for English youngster.

  6. Jean-Christian

    October 28, 2010 at 5:07 pm

    I don’t want it gone, but I wouldn’t mind seeing it turned into a reserves / under-21 cup. There’s no glory for a Premiership side fielding a full-strength team and winning this cup anyway, so the FA might as well remove the stigma of playing youth by making it mandatory.

  7. farlieonfootie

    October 28, 2010 at 4:02 pm

    Of all the arguments in favor of ending the League Cup, the thesis that England would perform better if the Cup were to end is perhaps the most specious. Although I have debated the need for the cup on my own website, no one can deny the fact that last year’s semi-final ties between City and United produced some of the most thrilling and entertaining football of the entire year. I happen to like the Cup — it offers the fans who don’t get an opportunity to see some of their team’s most promising youngsters on a regular basis the chance to see them up close and under pressure. Nothing like a cup tie to blood the younger team members. While I will not argue that the League Cup stands last among English trophies, to use it as a scapegoat for England’s poor World Cup and European performances is barking up the wrong tree in my opinion.

  8. Brendon

    October 28, 2010 at 3:35 pm

    I’m just curious: why is the FA Cup considered more important than the Carling Cup? And has it always been this way? I’ve been following the English game for a few years now, and I’ve always wondered about this.

    • Dave C

      October 28, 2010 at 4:14 pm

      It’s simply a matter of prestige.

      The FA Cup has been around for 100+ years, where as I think the League Cup only came into being in the 1960s.

      The FA Cup has always been named simply the FA Cup, whereas the League Cup has tarnished itself by selling the naming rights to sponsors. That might sound trivial, but can you imagine the SuperBowl ever becoming the Budweiser Bowl? It just cheapens the whole thing.

      And lastly, the FA Cup has the special appeal of allowing teams all the way down the football pyramid (including amateur teams)to enter the competition.So local teams of brick-layers, mechanics and accountants can dream of the chance to play against Man Utd and Chelsea. The League cup on the other hand is only for teams from the four professional divisions.

  9. steven wade

    October 28, 2010 at 3:14 pm

    if you think the carling cup has anything to do with england not performing well at major tournaments then i might think you have been sniffing the touchline paint.

    i am not saying that i disagree that the carling cup is mostly pointless, but don’t tie it to england’s international woes. many of the top sides throw out a team of reserve players anyway, and it can be a chance for those players to get some action. the play of england internationally has nothing to do with these handful of extra games.

    • Robert

      October 28, 2010 at 8:17 pm

      Very well said! This article would have been greatly improved if the author had taken the time to display the minutes that players who have played for the English national team (or for the under-21 squad, or those who have been scouted by Capello) to explain the rigors of the Carling on these players. Otherwise, it’s a cloying attempt to explain the failures of England on the world stage.

      Also, the League Cup began in 1960…and England won the World Cup in 1966…maybe the extra practice was better for the England boys, eh?

  10. Brickthrower

    October 28, 2010 at 2:56 pm

    It’s not just an extra revenue stream, it’s broadcasting rights both domestic and international are a decent chunk. Not bad for having to play between 1-7 extra games. If you don’t care about it, then field an entire reserves squad. But believe me the men in ownership positions won’t let it go away.

  11. cory

    October 28, 2010 at 2:28 pm

    Definitely agree…I can’t honestly think of any other world league with an extra cup between its divisions. The stress/demands of the Prem’s schedule merits more of a break for each of these clubs.

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