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Old 21st September 2017, 14:46   #1
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Default Is Jose Mourinho right? Should the League Cup be scrapped?

Is Jose Mourinho right? Should the League Cup be scrapped?

Charlie Eccleshare
21 September 2017 • 10:20am

After watching his Manchester United side sweep past Burton Albion in the Carabao Cup third round on Wednesday night, Jose Mourinho suggested that he would not be averse to the competition being scrapped.

Mourinho has always taken the League Cup seriously - he has won it four times after all - but he argued that English teams would be fresher for European matches without a second domestic cup competition.

So, does he have a point?

Let me nail my colours to the mast. I wrote a piece last January arguing that the League Cup should be abolished.

My main arguments were:
  • The competition is not taken seriously by anyone in the top two divisions - teams throughout the Premier League and Championship routinely make wholesale changes for League Cup matches;
  • This has created a situation whereby the big clubs hoover up the League Cup because they have the deepest squads (the competition has been won by a member of the Premier League's 'Big Six' in 11 out of the last 13 years);
  • Those clubs, and even more unlikely winners like Swansea and Birmingham do not value the competition - between 2007 and 2016, seven of the 10 managers who won the League Cup were sacked within a year;
  • The League Cup is not even a place to see exciting young players anymore - most clubs use it more as a vehicle to give fringe players 'minutes';
  • The two-legged semi-finals in January are the main obstacle to a much-needed winter break in this country;
  • We already have one domestic cup competition - why when we routinely complain about English players being knackered for major tournaments do we need one more than all of Europe's major leagues except for France?

The piece caused debate, and I was met with a sharp rebuke from the Accrington Stanley chairman Andy Holt, who said on Twitter that I should be fired.

Mr Holt wrote a response for Telegraph Sport, in which he argued that:
  • The League Cup is a major revenue stream for lower-league clubs like Accrington Stanley;
  • Without the cup revenue, such clubs will make even worse losses and could go out of business;
  • More money has to pass down through the divisions from the Premier League or the skill ladder is broken, and the League Cup helps in this regard;
  • There is also the unquantifiable buzz that is created by hosting Premier League teams, and travelling to their stadiums. Whole towns and communities are gripped by those matches.
Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. Martin Luther King
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