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Jun 042012
 

Yet another degrading company-sponsored cup...yay...

Old news I know, but it’s once again annoyed me that the Football League Cup is changing sponsor from Carling to Capital One, a Credit Card company.

The Football League Cup has gone through a tonne of names since its inception:

Period                 Sponsor                                          Name

1960–1982 No main sponsor                Football League Cup
1982–1986 Dairy Crest                                         Milk Cup
1986–1990 Littlewoods                        Littlewoods Challenge Cup
1990–1992 Rumbelows                                 Rumbelows Cup
1992–1998 Coca-Cola                                      Coca-Cola Cup
1998–2003 Worthington’s                         Worthington Cup
2003–2012 Molson Coors                               Carling Cup
                                                                          Mickey Mouse Cup*
                                                                                 Tin Pot Cup*
2012–2016  Capital One                               Capital One Cup

*2008 – Present: Informally known to fans by either of those two names. Both widely accepted names
amongst Premier League fanbases. Rumoured to be re-named ‘Crapital One Cup’,
‘Capital Fuck-Cup’, ‘Two Teams One Cup’ or even the ‘Ballina Cup’.

What kind of sales increase are Capital One expecting to achieve by acting like another faceless corporation – desperate for customers who, if they bothered to realise, are trying to pay off their LAST credit card anyway – plastering their logo all over a trophy, which five of the top six premiership teams don’t care about anymore (unless of course they get knocked out of the FA Cup and Premier League title race where all of a sudden it’s worth-winning again) and in truth, was only established as an excuse to test new floodlights in football stadia??

The name ‘[Insert company] Cup’ doesn’t roll off the tongue properly (say each one out loud without cringing and I’ll buy you a pint) and yet those companies’ ideals behind it remain just as cynical as they’ve always been about customers suddenly dropping everything else to buy their products/services. I even got annoyed when presenters of FA Cup coverage had to say ‘The FA Cup…’ and then add on ‘sponsored by E-ON’ and then later ‘with Budweiser’ (which isn’t that good anyway, so no wonder they were desperate to plaster it over anything and everything they could!).

What sponsors of sports events think we think:
WOW, COOL, SUPER, SMASHIN’, GREAT – Capital One are sponsoring the cup now. I’m going to cancel ALL my other credit cards with MasterCard and Visa just so I can sign up to Capital One. They really do connect to me and speak to me now that they’ve plastered their name all over this cup in football, the sport I love so much and watch so often while drinking my Carling Lager and betting on the score at ESPN‘s sponsor Bet365 [as William Hill‘s odds didn’t come on until about 45 seconds before kick-off and by then it would have been too late!] with the money stored in my Barclays bank account, which I maintain at the bank I drive to using the Ford car sponsoring Sky Sports’ live coverage which will be reported in scoreline form on Sky Sports News, by which time I’ll be back at home, sitting in my armchair watching it while sniffing my armpits which have been sprayed with Sure For Men deodorant!

What we REALLY think:
What an absolute fookin joke this trophy is. Bloody corporate advertising vehicle is all it is now. Go buy advertising space in the paper, on the god-awful banners stuck around the edges of our stadiums or on TV like everyone else. Stop ramming it in our faces when we’re trying to escape into the world of watching the footy, drinking and celebrating in a homoerotic fashion when our team scores. Sod off, sports sponsors and sod off, Capital One! Leave these once credible trophies alone. Invest money in another form of advertising. Or better still, form a company football team and WIN the damn thing. You can then have your company name engraved on it for nothing!

BTW, One isn’t even a capital! It’s a number not a letter. Jeez.

“With the glory of cup competitions dying out. Its hard to find high octane gambling at all points through the season. At www.jackpotcity.co.uk its cup final day every day with big stakes gaames taking place around the clock”

Feb 142011
 

So this is the Big Game. It seems that with the current injury list, Harry will not have a selection dilemma, but will simply have to put out those that are left. Hopefully we can rely on Dawson and Gallas at centre back. That is of course if Gallas decides to wear the right boots.

Our players unavailable for this game include: Bale (back), Modric (appendix op), Van der Vaart (calf), Jenas (suspended), King (groin), Huddlestone (ankle) and Kaboul (knee) with Woodgate (fitness) and Crouch (back) a doubt. Sandro is now eligible after we decided it might be a good idea to name him on the 25 man squad for the knockout stages.

So to the team selection. This is not normally the case but for Europe, Peter Crouch would be one of the first men on the team sheet for me. No matter what people may think about him in the domestic competitions, in Europe he is fantastic and a weapon that European teams just don’t seem to be able to deal with. I would have to consider starting Crouch as the lone striker with a 5 man midfield.

In midfield then, Kranjcar should be an automatic choice. His technical ability and goal scoring prowess should warrant his starting place, especially in the absence of Modric, Bale and VDV. Lennon no doubt will play right wing and should look to take on players where possible, using his speed and agility to beat the aging forces of AC Milan. After an impressive game for us on Saturday, Sandro, now included in the 25 man squad, may get the nod. I would certainly favour this decision as Sandro showed some ability going forward against Sunderland as well as making some good tackles and losing the ball a lot less than our Honduran usually does. With Jenas missing through suspension, Pienaar will most probably start. The South African has not set the world alight in a Tottenham shirt but has been decent and fairly consistent, keeping some pace within the team. With all the injuries and suspensions the next midfield place becomes a bit tricky, however I can see Harry starting Wilson in the final midfield slot alongside Sandro, to try and keep a strong central midfield and look to attack through the flanks with Lennon, Kranjcar and Pienaar.

At the back, providing we get no fresh injury problems and they can decide on the correct boots to play in before we start, I would presume our fairly sturdy centre back duo of Gallas and Dawson will remain. Left back will doubtlessly go to Benny, and Corluka may well keep his place at right back. The Croat is not as good going forward but instead utilises Lennon far better than Hutton does and is better at defending than Hutton. However with our current injury crisis we could well see Hutton pushed into midfield.

AC Milan will be without the services of new signings Antonio Cassano, Mark van Bommel and Urby Emanuelson. Milan are also without the influential Pirlo as well as Massimo Ambrosini. Although this would seem like a good time to play AC Milan, I would have felt much more confident facing their full strength side and us fielding ours.

This is as good a time as any for some of our squad players to shine, and they will need to be at their best to overcome this strong AC Milan side. I don’t want to see us play for a loss and damage limitation, but I don’t want to see us go gung ho either. We need to get this one tactically right. Hold strong, keep possession and attack on the break. Use our speed as our strength, especially against aging, albeit experienced side.

If you offered me a high scoring draw now I’d happily accept, regroup with our full team and play what will still be near enough the same AC Milan side at The Lane. But realistically, even a 2-1 defeat wouldn’t be the end of the world. Because at WHL we are a savage beast that cannot be tamed, even by the likes of AC Milan’s flat mate, Inter. I say play it careful on Tuesday night, try not to make mistakes; But when we get the opportunity, run at them. We need to make sure they know that Bale isn’t the only fantastic player for us.

So who would you play with so few choices in such a massive game for us; and how?

P.s  Van der Vaart has recently twittered: “Good news. Back on the pitch tomorrow, can’t wait to put on my shirt again!”  This would be fantastic news if he is fit. Even one of the holy trinity (Bale, Modric, VDV) is a major boost for us.

Written by Davyid