9th October 2012
By TOM KIRK
I want to care. Who’s with me?
My father loves football, nearly as much as I. However, he unfortunately is in denial of many of the negative aspects of the modern game. Sat down together to watch Man United play Newcastle in the Capital One Cup, he cannot wait, while I have taken great offence to team sheets I’ve just seen.
We begin to argue. “What do mean ‘the reserves’ Tom, they’ve got Anderson playing!” My father’s naivety aside, my points stem from the front that both managers put up at pre-match interview. Messrs Ferguson and Pardew stress their desire to win and progress, despite changing their XIs almost entirely – i.e. playing the ressies, aka B-team, aka the stiffs, aka an eleven who could all get injured without causing a club crisis.
I liken this to modern business culture; an acceptance of big companies with mission statements focused on “striving for quality” or “passion for service”. You know, that blue-sky-thinking-butter-wouldn’t-melt-sappy fob-off which nobody seems to doubt. No. A company wants to report profits to its owners, and customer service isn’t anything more than a tool to achieve that.
Now I admire honesty and would value more of it, but I would imagine I’m in the minority. I would love – literally love – to gauge Man United fans’ reactions if Sir Alex’s pre-match interview went something like: “I’ve selected fringe players because the prize money for this competition has been too low for too long, whilst the European place up for grabs is also worthless. This, combined with lower attendances on weeknights, means I am not going to be sacked for losing in this competition and thus I will concentrate on Saturday’s match, where the over-expecting fans will be calling for me to retire if we so much as draw”.
I doubt that would go down well.
However, it’s going to take a massive culture change. If I know that neither Man United nor Newcastle don’t care whether they win or lose, then I don’t want to watch their training exercise, and I certainly don’t want to pay for it. And the more people who think like me, the less attractive the Capital One cup becomes. Folks, we are stuck in a rut, it’s Catch 22, somebody help us! Any suggestions how to add value to the League Cup are welcome.
On another note, I am currently watching my own team play in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy. This tournament is wonderful and has definitely not been subject to any impairment.