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A Total Disgrace
Member Name: Carrow Road Canary
Date: 29/11/00, updated on 29/11/00 (75 review reads)
Disadvantages: See opinion (it would take too long to rewrite them all)
The Worthington Cup is the worst cup competition in the whole of English football. Although the idea of having a cup for all the teams in the Premier League down to Division Three is quite good, it has in recent years descended into anarchy.
The top teams, and some smaller clubs, in the Premier League see the Worthington Cup as an opportunity to rest key players and play a reserve/youth team. An example of this is tonight - I have just stopped watching Sunderland v Man Utd as they are fielding players such as Jonathon Greening, Luke Chadwick and Michael Clegg. They are good players but normally would not get anywhere near the first team.
Another problem is that the winners of the Worthington Cup win a place in the UEFA Cup. I would have no problem with this if teams played their first choice line-ups. However, with no offence to teams like Leicester and Tottenham, recent winners of this competition have all been pretty average teams. The teams who gain this UEFA Cup spot never seem to do well, so why not give the European place to somebody who finishes high in the league.
The final problem, though not so large, is that supporters of lower division clubs don't bother going to Worthington Cup matches, even against bigger teams, as the competition has been degraded by the likes of Arsenal and Man Utd. What used to be a chance for Third Division strugglers to play world-class stars has turned into matches like Macclesfield v Liverpool Reserves.
One thing that could be done would be to remove all Premier League clubs from the competition. The old Auto-Windscreens Trophy would also be scrapped, and a Nationwide League Cup for Divisions 1, 2 and 3 could be created. This would have a lot of advantages. Obviously the European spot would be allowed to go to a highly placed Premier League team. Also it would help to stop the massive fixture congestion that faces many top-flight clubs.
It would also give the lower division clubs a trophy which they would have a realistic opportunity of winning.
Another option, my favourite, would be to merge the English and Scottish League Cups to create a massive British Cup, with the winner winning a spot in the UEFA Cup. The problem of top clubs fielding weakened teams would surely go away as teams like Man Utd, Arsenal, Rangers and Celtic would have too much pride to give the reserves a chance. Can you really imagine Man Utd going to Ibrox and not playing a full strength side.
The final option, which is surely never going to happen, would be to get rid of the competition completely.
It is clear that something needs to be done before we get matches like Plymouth Argyle Reserves v Liverpool U13 played in front of crowds of less than 1000.