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Monday, March 01, 2010

The Glass Ceiling of English Football

Here we go, here we go.. Again.

Underdog team takes early lead in Cup final. The favourites equalise before half-time. They then win the match with a moment of star quality, from a very expensively bought player with around 15/20mins remaining.

That’s what occurred in yesterday’s League Cup final, and its also what occurred in last year’s FA Cup final.

Despite the fact that both Aston Villa and Everton gave it everything they had, once again a team from the Big Four has won one of English football’s three main trophies. And once again the underdog has lost in a final. There used to be a time when any old Wimbledon, Coventry, Ipswich or QPR could win a Wembley Cup final. Not any more it seems.

The facts speak for themselves: in the last five years only two teams from outside the top four have won a major trophy (Spurs, 2008 League Cup and Portsmouth, 2008 FA Cup).

How long is this boring monopolisation of the domestic game by a tiny handful of clubs going to continue?


olching said...

You know what: I couldn't remember last year's FA Cup final until I clicked on your link. I suppose it's a sign of the tedium that has set in in football.

I agree with you on the way neoliberalism has had a negative impact on football etc etc.

I also think, however, that the record of 'smaller' clubs losing consistently in finals has also had some psychological impact on the way these teams approach these finals. They do assume that they will lose. It's a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Villa was a classic example yesterday. They could have won the match, but the real conviction was lacking.

I agree that the money floating around the top end of football is too large to compete with, but once in a final it is a matter of grinding out a result (no matter how expensive the team, there is no reason for Dunne to fuck up so badly).

Talking of Richard Dunne: The most overrated defender in the last 20 years. I've been saying this since he first started. I'm quite sure he's scored the most own goals (or thereabouts) in the Premier League and he always fucks up, but for some reason the pundits always applaud his performances. I've been baffled by this mismatch of media perception and reality for about 9 years now. A dreadful player.

MSFiR said...

I don't think the last couple of finals have even been shown on Polish TV. I think Liverpool-West Ham was the last one I watched.

Now that NUFC are in divsion 2, I root for Villa and Everton in the Prem. but especially for the Toffees. They are the closest thing to 'good guys' in the top division.

David Moyes-- top manager.

PS: Why is Roy Hodgson so under-rated?

Neil Clark said...

Hi Olching,
good to hear from you. agree that Villa lacked conviction- the fact that 'smaller' clubs keep losing in the finals nowadays has undoubtedly had a psychological impact. Back in the 60s and 70s, the example of QPR and Swindon winning the League Cup inspired other underdogs- such as Sunderland in 73, Southampton in 76, Ipswich in 78, West Ham in 1980 and so on. We got to the stage by 1980 that it was the favourites, and not the underdogs who had the psychological barrier to break through. Happy days.
fair point re Richard Dunne. I think the reason he gets such a good press is that he is always whole-hearted and seems a really nice guy in post-match interviews. but he certainly had a real stinker on Sunday.

MSFir: You haben't missed much in the last few FA Cup finals. The much-hyped 2007 final betwen Chelsea and Man U was the worst of the lot- probably the most boring Final of all time.

You're right- Roy Hodgson is incredibly under-rated. I think the reason could be that he's not at all big-headed and doesn't shout the odds. He doesn't make silly post-match comments or whinge when his team gets beaten.

Douglas said...

On our side of the little pond, an unholy alliance formed between President Obama and Senator Orrin Hatch, to meddle in the existing system for determining a national champion of American college football. It didn't go anywhere.

Are you proposing that the government intervene in how much a team can spend on a player, or on total payrolls?

Is there anything keeping a wealthy individual from purchasing a smaller team, and making it a better team?

My Minnesota Twins baseball team has a much smaller payroll than the New York Yankees, but if the Yankees (or any other team) spend over a certain amount, the money is distributed to teams in smaller cities. They call it the "luxury tax."

Robin Carmody said...

I think another reason (re. Hodgson) is the inverted snobbery of many within English football, and the belief that a thoughtful, well-read man is somehow "not to be trusted" ... also the nasty Anglocentricity which dismisses anyone who succeeds on multiple fronts rather than simply shoots mediocre fish in a barrel in The Best League In The World (TM) ...

Anonymous said...

It is all about money, why would anybody any more allow some Red Star or Steaua to win European Champions League? Really?
This is just waste of money so let's us prevent that kind of crap.