It Just Ain’t The Same

Saturday, 4 August 2001, 0:00
3 mins read
As if the potential of Rangers and Celtic being invited to join the Worthington Cup we hear today that Peter Nicholas has declared that Barry Town would be quite interested as well. Anyone else fancy a crack at it?
Let’s first off remember that The Worthington Cup still carries a UEFA cup place, albeit one that we can’t get even if we win the competition but it is still the 2nd domestic cup for English teams but the FA seem hell bent on devaluing it as much as they can.
I just about stomached it when they felt sorry for the Premiership players who have to play a couple of extra games a season so they let them off until the 3rd round. Then it was the 4th round. Then the top teams started playing their reserve teams anyway but did that make a difference? Nope, the FA continued to bow to their every whim.
Then the Premiership said ‘we don’t want the scots in our league’ so the FA thought that maybe we could invite them into the Worhington Cup at the 4th round stage. How does that make you feel as a Swansea fan? Granted, Glasgow Rangers are undoubtedly a class or several above us but we have to work to get that far (and we don’t do it that often) and then they just Swan (no pun intended there) and take over when the ‘glory matches’ start to take effect.
Why should they be allowed to and Peter Nicholas’ comments are just laughable – I am sure that even if you agree, the idea of playing (and losing to?) Barry again doesn’t exactly whet the old appetite too much?
Football is in severe danger of growing too big for it’s boots. This season there are fewer and fewer matches on a Saturday afternoon. Remember the good old days? You got up on a Saturday, did whatever you did in the morning and at around 12.35 you sat down and watched Football Focus on the BBC (or maybe Saint and Greavsie on ITV) when that finished, a quick bit to eat, into town, a pint or several and then at 3pm the whole country kicked off and 46 league matches were played.
And then they invented the Premiership. Sky took a chunk of it and all but own the thing these days. We have matches on Saturday mornings, Sunday lunchtimes, Sunday afternoons and Monday evenings. If a club plays in Europe they are allowed an extra day off. Did it used to be like that when English clubs won the European Cup (as it was in those days when it was purely for Champions) all the time? Nope. Did Liverpool get dispensation from the FA for being in Europe? Nope. Did they play the reserves in the league cup? Nope.
It’s just not the same anymore in the Premiership. And now, with the ITV digital deal, it’s not the same in the Football League either. As Swansea fans we are lucky, that’s right lucky!, we watch football at the basement levels of the league and, as much as I would like us to compete with Manchester United et al, I like football on a Saturday afternoon or a Tuesday night. That’s where it started why change it?
Let’s face it, the only reason, and it is the only reason, why clubs are happy to let it change is that the ‘glory boy’ teams know that if they allow matches to be televised live on a Saturday afternoon, half their supporters will stay at home and watch it. That is how fickle they are. Would you choose to stay at home on a Saturday afternoon and watch Man Utd v Chelsea if the Swans were at home at the same time? Doubtful.
Now if Rangers and Celtic are so keen on the idea of playing in English competition, then invite them into the Worthington Cup. But do it at the first round stage. Let them experience the joys of a trip to Plymouth Argyle or Exeter City. They wouldn’t be so keen then would they? And while we’re at it, get the likes of Manchester United in at the stage when the Charlton Athletic’s join. That is what the lower clubs want to see, the biggest teams in at the earliest stage possible – they are our cup finals, our pay days, it is our game.
There is an old saying "If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it" Football worked for 120-odd years, why change it, just because it suits some corporate freeloaders? Things just ain’t what they used to be my friend.

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