These articles are published in the Slough Town FC programme. The Rebels play in the Southern Premier - just seven leagues below the Premier League. I’ve been supporting Slough since the beginning of time despite now living in Brighton. After nearly 14 nomadic years we finally have a brand spanking new home in Slough.

Friday, February 22, 2013

LEAGUE CUP, YOUR HAVING A LAUGH


Printed in the Red Insure Cup Quarter Final game v Northwood Thursday 21st February 2013. We won 2-1 in front of just 61 people. A trip away to Frome Town on a Wednesday evening awaits.

What’s not to love about the League Cup. We’re not talking about the one where Swansea take on Bradford in a final which the sponsors are no doubt wondering how the top clubs have missed out and are thinking of ways of changing the rules so it never happens again.
I’m talking about the cup that really sets the Slough Town players and supporters pulses running. The Red Insure League Cup.
These pulses are quickened even more, when I found out that rather than the usual one off cup final game, this is a cup final that is played over two legs. Hello? Who dreamt up that one?
There are rules that you must play 7 out of your starting 11 from the last two games, which is bloody ridiculous. Surely if these games are to have any value, that at least give managers the chance to try out players who’ve been warming the bench or give youth team players a taste of adult football. Playing a team of youth players is hardly going to devalue a cup which already commands no respect from anyone. You must also produce a full programme as if programme editors don’t have enough work to do as it is.
Can someone also tell me why these games take precedent over League games? I don’t mind that gates are shared 50-50 but unlike the FA Cup or Trophy you get no prize money for winning a game. So in Sloughs case after they’ve paid Beaconsfield, the officials and the players, you’d be lucky to have money left for a cup of tea.
Well I’m sorry, unless Premiership clubs are forced to shell out to give every non league club the opportunity to install 3G pitches, then the League and County Cups are just an annoying distraction. No one likes them, no one cares. Worse they cost clubs money to be in. And for what? A two bloody leagued league cup final. Who thought that was a good idea? We all enjoyed our League Cup victory at Staines a few years back. But it was an anything can happen one off great night out. Not over two bloody legs.
So unfortunately grass is not the way forward. Pitches are a clubs biggest asset and they need to be used. We’ve seen so many games called off this is not to just massive financial cost but in Sloughs case could cost us the league title.
I’m all for tradition when it comes to say keeping local boozers open and supporting local shops but I’m also a realist that you have to change with the times. Pubs have got to be more than just pubs to attract punters; local shops have to work doubly hard just to keep up with the rat burgers being offered in the supermarket ready meals.
At the moment, it feels like we are being punished for a cup run that did matter. The FA Cup where lower league clubs do want to do well in.  
Our players are part time, we play 8 leagues below the premiership, the people who work hard behind the scenes to make sure the games are played are volunteers. The last thing you want to do is burn them out.
The play offs has also introduced a cup competition that does what the League cup doesn’t. It pulls in the punters, it makes you feel sick to the stomach and the prize is something Slough have been trying to win for the last three seasons unsuccessfully. I bloody hate the play offs as well but I understand why we need them! I just hope that all this cup glory doesn’t jeopardize promotion for another season. 

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