On the face of it maybe no one really cares if we lose the EFL Cup. It always seems to be regarded as a distraction and people only wake up to it in the semi-finals. But is that really it then, no one cares so lets get rid of it. I don’t know if that is true.
The season before last Bristol City showed they cared putting four top flight sides out before narrowly losing both semi-final legs in extra time to all conquering eventual winners Manchester City. It included putting a Manchester United side including Zlatan Ibrahimovic to the sward at a packed out Ashton Gate. Burton Albion fans no doubt enjoyed their run to the same stage last season. Indeed Bolton Wanderers fans will remember their journey to the fruitless final against Middlesborough.
Not only do the fans enjoy such days, the games against the big boys are money spinners for the smaller sides looking to get by. A nice draw against the likes of Liverpool and all that.
So really it is not that no one cares but more that the big teams do not care until the business end of the tournament. And we only ever talk about the big boys.
So why exactly is the tournament under threat? Well because UEFA want to expand their competitions and the big teams won’t have time for it. OK, so am I the only one missing precisely why that means the entire tournament is at risk. After all the teams that won’t have time for it are Premier League sides, not sids from the EFL who run the actual tournament.
There are 92 teams which enter the EFL Cup each year. Currently there are only seven or eight teams who arguably don’t have enough time for the EFL Cup, and maybe one or two more once UEFA extend their reach. And when we say they don’t have time for it they are almost always the teams that make the latter stages and win the tournament. For example, last season Manchester City picked up a domestic treble as well as making it to the quarter finals of the Champions League. Having said that, the idea is that they would have to play more games in Europe so in the future time may be at a premium.
Well that still leaves half of the Premier League, some of whom may want a cup run in the hope of blagging a European spot of their own, in addition to the football league clubs who all play more games anyway but lets not care about those clubs with smaller squads playing a lot now.
Just because the big boys don’t want it does not mean the others do not. If the Premier League sides really do not want it then why don’t we make the EFL Cup and EFL competition? Well not having any Premier League teams in there would reduce the value of the competition but there are still plenty of big teams in the EFL these days, especially in the Championship with the likes of Leeds United, West Bromwich Albion and Sunderland, so some value would remain.
Having said that, why do we need to go as far as removing all Premier League teams? Those who are not in Europe have enough time for the competition surely? That would still create some big games with the likes of Everton, Newcastle United and Leicester City not in Europe this season. Value would still be maintained, albeit not to the same extent.
Thought the value may drop in terms of the big teams not being there it would create an opportunity to win silverware for a whole new group of teams. A lot of Championship sides and the Premier League teams involved would all fancy a crack at this surely? Yes, it would not be as valuable as before, but who would care if they still get a big game every now and again along with a shot at something silver?