Woooooooooooaaaaaaaaaah there ‘Arry, what’s all this about? The most striking thing about Old Twitchy’s post-match comments yesterday was his seeming assertion that he rather wished we weren’t involved in the Uefa Cup! It involves too many games, apparently! To quote some of my punctuation-and-text-obsessed lady-friends: “OMG!!!???!?!?!?!?”
Now the guy has made a massive, positive impact upon the club, there can be no doubt – but that is not what I as a fan want to hear. We want to win this cup. We want to win every competition in which we’re entered. We have a fine tradition in Europe. Well, that probably needs some qualification – our European history isn’t exactly trophy-laden, but still, we do have some history: first British team to win a European trophy, back in the ’60s. We’ve twice won the Uefa Cup, particularly memorably so in ’84, and we’ve only lost twice at home in the competition.
Plus, a trophy is a trophy – winning one is important and fantastic. Just ask l’arse, who’s barren run is partly to blame for the current rumblings of discontent. Winning the Carling Cup back in March was one of the greatest footballing days (and nights) of my life.
And playing every season in Europe is important – it’s what we strive for for nine months! Would ‘Arry really prefer us not to qualify next season, just so that the fixture list is less congested? European football helps attract big players, excites the fans, improves the team, brings an added avenue for silverware and presumably swells the coffers.
However, there is a basis to ‘Arry’s argument, and it’s only fair to consider it. From his point of view, the priority is to avoid relegation. Personally I think that’s nailed on, and with such a congested table we’re practically pushing for European qualification (much to ‘Arry’s chagrin, presumably). Nevertheless, it’s an understandable attitude from the boss.
He also presumably wants to avoid injuries in such games, as the squad has already taken a few hits (Hutton’s broken foot, Ledly’s balsa-wood physique, Modric’s tissue-paper frame), and two games a week will only exacerbate niggles, especially on dodgy pitches like that of last night.
Maybe he was quibbling about the slightly drawn-out league format, in which three of five teams progress anyway, and which therefore barely even succeeds in separating wheat from chaff.
However, whatever his reasoning, I as a fan heard him say words to the effect that he doesn’t like playing in the Uefa Cup because it involves too many games. I firmly disagree, and I strongly hope that come next May Ledley lifts that funky mis-shaped silver badboy.