League Cup: a great day for the beautiful game
Sections of the media and TV companies may not be happy – afterall it’s not the attraction a Manchester United verses Liverpool would draw – but Bradford Chairman, Mark Lawn, has told me that he’s done press in Russia, Senegal and Hong Kong. So the domestic coverage might not be as vast, but internationally, there’s a desire to see the League Cup, regardless of the finalists.
Without being romantic, it is good for the domestic game that less fashionable clubs have made it to the final. Unlike the Spanish league where you can predict the winners of cups and the league (Real, Barca, Valencia or Athletico Madrid), the beauty of football in this country is that the quality is spread throughout the leagues.
I’ve heard the old phrase David v Goliath being used a lot. But I’ve deliberately avoided using it, because I don’t think that description is accurate. This isn’t Manchester United v Millwall as it was in the FA Cup 2004. Swansea are a Premiership side, but they’re not a Liverpool or Chelsea. Bradford can win this game, and I actually think they will.
The rewards of lifting the cup is a Europa League spot next season. This season in the Europa League, European giants likes Athletic Madrid, Liverpool, Ajax and Champions League winners, Chelsea are in the mix. But Lawn has said if the club feel they can’t sustain their domestic season with European participation, they won’t enter it, which is the correct decision.
Swansea will feel they deserve this cup. The smallest club in the Premier League, yet they’re comfortably inside the top half and have made the signing of the season in Spanish forward, Michu. Let’s not forget Swansea were in the lower divisions less than a decade ago.
So, if Swansea win this afternoon, that could be a big message for teams in the lower divisions about how to climb the leagues, balance the books and bring silverware. Either way a great story is going to be written today.