by guest-blogger Tricky
*please not that the identities of the clubs in question have been protected to stop it becoming an automatic game-saying from opposition fans, or as they are fast becoming known 'the lowest common denominator'.
As a caveat to the question of ‘4th or Cup’, Spooky asked a genuine question, but inadvertently in doing so has attracted some watching opposing fans.
It is an interesting question and one that naturally draws a comparative, it is emotive because of the comparison and the need to be honest about ‘what really matters in the game’. Accordingly it is subjective depending on the individual fans own views on whether or not football is about the trophies and days out to cup finals, or whether the business side and progression to recognition amongst Europe’s elite is of a greater long term consequence. Ostensibly ‘live for the here and now’, or ‘Jam tomorrow’.
But let me cast my mind back to the year 2005 and the month of May (as per Tony’s question of ‘who remembers the final’)
Well I for one remember well the FA cup in 2005. One team from the south (let's call them 'Farcenal'* for argument sake as it doesn't actually matter who it was) played 'anti-football' for 120 minutes whilst a team from the North West (let's call them Glazer United*) dominated possession, and did everything but score (Farcenal having 'parked the bus at the millennium stadium on the pitch'). Farcenal won on penalties, and it was to be their only piece of silverware for 5 years.
The manager of Farcenal then went on complain at every possible opportunity, for the next five years, when teams set themselves up to play a 'certain way' in break down his team, and yet no reporter has had the temerity to point out that 'well didn't your last piece of silverware come from exactly that scenario?'.
So yeah I remember it as it was two hours of my life wasted by negative play, and the 'wrong team' won (purely from a neutrals perspective as I have no love for either team) and football was the loser that day. The highlights were limited to a 10 minute analysis of defensive play by farcenal, and the penalty shoot out, accordingly MOTD was only 16 minutes long that day, the shortest in recorded history for the National Game’s ‘blue ribbon event’.
Of course since that day their fans don't like being reminded of that each time they start chanting the 'Farcenal mantras':
- Thou shalt not tackle thyne 'farcenal players'
- Thou shalt not defend only at the home of the effeminates
- Thy manager knows best, for he is Le God and accordingly is never contradictory, myopic or wrong.
Since then the question has been posed to ‘Farcenal’ which would they prefer 4th place or a cup, and each year the answer has been the same ‘Champions League is vital to the attraction and financial stability of the club’. So that’s their view, money over trophies in recent time.
As I said this is just an aside, as I remember 2005 and it added to the extensive list of reasons to ‘dislike Farcenal’.
'Farcenal' also finished 2nd in the league that year, and was to be the last time in same five year period of finishing in top 2 in the league. Just thought I’d mention it, may come in handy during ‘discussions’ with the opposing fans later on in the season.