The Carling Cup, a legacy restored?
The Carling Cup for me has often been derided (even by me) as a second rate, mickey mouse trophy which is only any good for smaller sides who want silverware & bigger teams to give their kids a run out, but this year (2011/2012) it seems different. I’m not just saying this as the team I love (Liverpool FC for suckas who want to know) are preparing to contest a Final with Championship side Cardiff City, but I say this in the aftermath of what has been a great week for Liverpool FC considering the week looked potentially gloomy to some after we lost to Bolton in the way we did, not so much in terms of the 3-1 score line at the Reebok, but the limp, lifeless and defensively inept performance that the world saw on a Saturday evening, which I had a pleasure of spending the rest of with my team mates at the Amateur league side I play for Ibis FC after our 4th league win in a row (at the time). But I digress, and as previously stated, for me the mood has changed in relation to the Carling cup. Via my personal twitter account @sslja (feel free to follow me) & the @pitchtalk twitter account me & my Pitch Talk show co-hosts (@dagman84 & @apparentlyrich) jump on to do our match updates etc, I saw not laughter or derision of the Carling Cup, but a pride in getting to the Final of the competition after a hard fought 2 legged tie with Manchester City. The reason why I feel the mood has changed & the Carling Cup seems to have got a lot of credibility back is largely down to the manner in which the Semi-Finals were played. Both Semi’s had intrigue & passion laced into a must-win attitude that not only permeated the psyche of the fans, but also the mentalities of the players, especially in the case of Liverpool & Manchester City who both put out their strongest teams available over both legs, thus showing their intent & signalling that the Carling Cup matters again. Both teams could easily have put out shadow teams but both clubs chose to play their strongest teams possible. There could be many reasons why it mattered so much to both teams, Man City wanting to win every trophy & do an unprecedented Quadruple, Liverpool wanting to try & guarantee European football next season (even if it is Europa League), King Kenny wanting to win another trophy for a club he so dearly loves, whilst interrupting a six year gap of no trophies. It’s also interesting considering last year’s final that it’s a Championship side, Cardiff City this time (as opposed to Birmingham City last year) versus a Premier League side again in the form of my beloved Liverpool fc, as opposed to serial capitulators Arsenal, (Gman if you read this, I had to take the swipe) but the Championship v Premiership final does give a bit more intrigue to it and the potential of an upset will be an interesting reason to watch the game. The motives/reasons for teams wanting to win the Carling Cup in 2011/2012 could be and probably are numerous but one thing’s for sure, in my mind & maybe many others, the Carling Cup may have its credibility back, or at least some of it.
I’ve been Straight Shootin’ LJA & that’s my opinion