Is a Great British Cup the Way to Revamp the Flagging League Cup?
After seeing his side get knocked out of the League Cup this season, QPR manager Neil Warnock claimed he was happy his side were no longer in the competition.
This vocalised what some mangers have been hinting at for years by playing significantly weakened teams.
Yet I find it hard to believe that Birmingham fans, starting their first season outside the top flight since 2006, aren’t buoyed by their European adventures after their League cup win last season.
So, with the prize of European football dangling in sight, it’s surprising that Warnock is so relieved that one of only two (the other being the FA Cup) realistic routes into Europe have gone.
On the other hand, staying in the Premier League is financially much more valuable, so perhaps it’s an understandable opinion to have.
With managers giving it less and less respect and attendances dwindling, some form of revamp need to be at least considered to inject some life into the competition.
Something that could work would be the introduction of a Great British Cup, competed for by league teams from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The teams likely to make an impact on this kind of competition are almost certainly the top English clubs, but it has several advantages for the other nations too.
Celtic and Rangers would have a way of competing against the best English teams. This may help to alleviate the argument that occasionally rises up about them transferring to the Premier League.
With the right sponsorship and TV rights the new competition could bring about some much-needed money into the relative minor leagues of Northern Ireland and Wales. A match between Donegal Celtic and Chelsea could keep the Irish club financially secure for years to come.
And finally, it would allow fans to visit a whole host of new grounds that they have previously never been to.
There are, however, some problems that would need to be overcome. Not least would be what happens to the European places of the league cups that are scrapped. Scotland would not allow one of their European places to be taken by an English team. Would that place then go to the highest placed Scottish team?
Though the obstacles are there none are too difficult to overcome if there was cooperation from the relevant Football Associations. The main problem would be the willingness from those authorities.
If the difficulty in creating the Great British team for the Olympics is anything to go by, a Great British Cup is a long way from being a reality.
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