01.07.06

A Fun Assignment

Posted in Blogged Down, Football, Will Leitch Sucks at 2:47 pm by

If anyone would like to explain to Will Leitch’s understudy that the F.A. Cup and the Scottish Cup are not the same tournament, please, be my guest. That’s presuming you can deal with a comments section that’s by invitation-only.

5 Responses to “A Fun Assignment”

  1. Doug says:

    Maybe you could give him credit for trying to introduce the sport to American guys.

  2. CSTB says:

    I think you’ve identified part of the problem — the presumption that the readership is exclusively “American” or “guys”. Last time I looked, the internet was available all over the planet. I realize that honing in on a specific demographic is important when selling ads (especially when you’re reducing to bragging about advertisers you don’t actually have), but the worldview over at d.s. is nothing short of W-like sometimes.

    But if MMJD can attempt to do a public service, so can I. In light of the fact CSTB garners some traffic from other parts of the world, I’ll do my best to educate our non-US readers about a uniquely American game that Will and MMJD are amongst the most desperate practicioners of…it’s called Pandering To Fratboys, Shitheads and Xenophobes.

  3. mike says:

    As an ugly American who really would like to understand this better, tell me if I have it straight.

    The Premiership is like MLB, where the top teams all play each other, but with no playoffs, and the worst finishers are relegated or demoted to a lesser league.

    The F.A. Cup is like the NCAA tournament. Single elimination, and all English teams participate.

    The Champions Cup is like the World Baseball Classic, if the WBC wasn’t an exhibition, didn’t stink, and used actual teams (Yankees, Chiba Lotte Marines, etc.).

    Is one more prestigious than the others? Is there one that a team’s fans would most like to win?

  4. CSTB says:

    “The Premiership is like MLB, where the top teams all play each other, but with no playoffs, and the worst finishers are relegated or demoted to a lesser league.”

    Pretty much. The bottom 3 (places 18-20) are relegated to the Coca-Cola Championship, formerly known as Division One (and prior to that, Division Two). The top two finishers in The Championship are automatically promoted. The clubs that finish in places 3-6 battle each other in two rounds of playoffs for the right to be promoted. Meanwhile, the clubs that finish 22nd-24th in the Championship are relegated to League One (formerly known as Division Two, prior to that Division Three before the marketing geniuses named the old Divison One “The Premier League”)

    “The F.A. Cup is like the NCAA tournament. Single elimination, and all English teams participate.”

    Kind of. The NCAA analogy is a good one because the potential for upsets and/or a lightly regarded minnow making a run is a big part of the competition’s appeal. But the teams in the Premiership and the Championship get a bye until the 3rd round.

    The other point worth making is that these various cup competitions take place during the same time as the league campaign — not afterwards like the NFL or NBA playoffs or beforehand like, say the WBC. Depending on fixture congestion, injuries or how well a team is doing in the league, they might decide to prioritize one competition over another. It is not unusual, for example, for a top Premiership club to essentially field their reserve team when facing lightly regarded competition in a Carling Cup match. Why risk injury or greater fatigue in a game they might not care about? (conversely, if said Premiership team was in 15th place, winning the League Cup would be a very big deal…and a ticket to UEFA Cup qualification).

    “The Champions Cup is like the World Baseball Classic, if the WBC wasn’t an exhibition, didn’t stink, and used actual teams (Yankees, Chiba Lotte Marines, etc.).”

    By Champions Cup i assume you mean the Champions League (as opposed to the UEFA Cup). And no, it isn’t like the WBC. The WBC is more akin to football’s World Cup, only without the history or nearly as many countries participating (or having to qualify). The Champions League is limited to those clubs from the UEFA territories (ie. Europe) and the champions of the top leagues qualify, along with the winners of the major domestic cups. Entry qualification is weighted in such a way that for instance, a 2nd place finish in the Premiership qualfies, but 2nd place from a lesser football power (cough) might mean having to play a qualifying round.

    “Is one more prestigious than the others?”

    This is all a matter of perspective. While winning the Champions League is probably the most prestigious of all, there’s tremendous pride associated with a smaller club going deep in the FA Cup, usually a club that can’t see the day they’ll ever qualify for the Champions League. Winning the UEFA Cup (kind of like the Champions League except the qualification is extended to clubs that finished lower in the standings, along with winners of smaller domestic trophies) much less so…and domestic cup competitions like the League Cup (aka the Carling Cup, formerly the Worthington aka Worthless Cup, the Coca-Cola Cup before that )or the LDV Vans Trophy are taken more or less seriously depending on whether or not your team has anything else to play for.

    For current Chelsea supporters, I suppose they’d like to think that winning the Premiership, the FA Cup and the Champions League are all within reach. By and large, I think the domestic competitions (league stadings, FA Cup, etc.) have greater resonance with the fans than the continental tournaments. Of course, I wouldn’t want to tell Liverpool supporters that their wild victory in Istanbul last May was some kind of consolation prize after a poor domestic campaign.

    However, the Champions League is a huge cash windfall thanks to the TV money (big rights fees, games played in prime time to a pretty big audience, especially the final). The minimum amount a club receives for qualifying for the Champions League is such that it can make a huge difference in a publicly traded company’s annual results.

  5. mike says:

    Thanks, that was exactly what I was looking for.

Leave a Reply