Vital Football

Latest Aston Villa News

The Big Issue - (1)

The Big Issue - (1)
"The Big Issue" - The first offering in a new regular contribution by Villa4Europe, discussing the weeks major talking point.

UEFA Cup - A step up, or the new Carling Cup? - By Chris Hazeldine

I remember the days, that Inter Milan match which ended on penalties, the tension at the end of the 1998 tie against Athletico Madrid. But are those days gone? Will the UEFA Cup ever be the same?

With Martin O`Neill`s team selection for the away leg of the CSKA Moscow game under severe scrutiny, it has made many consider what our priorities should be. I have always been a fan of European nights, indeed I had been to all of our home European ties in the last 15 years before this season (as I live abroad now it has become a tad more difficult this season!), and that says a lot in itself...every fan out there knows there is something special about a European night.
So what`s changed? Well there is no denying a significant swing in football over the last ten years - the impact of the Champions League, not just in spectacle but also the financial impact which has quite simply dwarfed the UEFA Cup.

The Champions League, in its current format began in 1992, but it wasn`t until 1997 that anyone apart from the Champions of each league were allowed entry. Although it`s hard to run through all the other contributing factors, adding a significant amount of non-champions into the mix increased the status, romance and spectacle of the competition. To me, the effect on the UEFA Cup that this had is clear, a competition not involving the top 4 teams from England, Spain and Italy becomes massively devalued. All of a sudden, without UEFA realising it, the UEFA Cup is Europe`s version of the League Cup...the 'Not quite good enough cup`, a cup for the 'other teams`.

From a personal perspective, I want to see Aston Villa in the Champions League, who wouldn`t? The UEFA Cup had some romance at the start of the season, the match against Ajax felt like a return to the heady heights of those games in the nineties. Then I realised Ajax weren`t quite the team they have been in the past, the truth was, with the exception of Hamburg we were in a pool of 5 with a handful of teams who were still wearing arm bands and rubber rings to keep them afloat - Not the kind of quality I remember from the UEFA Cup in days gone by.

It is no surprise that some teams in the UEFA Cup prioritise their domestic leagues, and Platini`s decision to criticise Tottenham and Aston Villa for doing this, is idiocy, because at the end of the day the UEFA Cup in its current depleted status is a construction of his own organisation. Platini has himself shown his understanding of this situation by rebranding the UEFA Cup for next season, to become the Europa League - but this will do little to hide its inadequacies. His decision to criticise teams for fielding weaker teams, when he can clearly see the competition struggling for profile is in some ways expected, but he must have realised that his complaining will only get calls of 'hypocrisy!` from anyone who pays attention to UEFA and their shortcomings.

Similarly the FA Cup has become an unnecessary competition for many teams in other battles in the Premier League. There are two sides to the story, one at the top and one at the bottom. You can`t expect a team competing for such significant financial rewards which come with staying in the Premier League or qualifying for the Champions League to show priority to the FA Cup. Or can you? The history and the heritage of the FA Cup is unique to the competition, it contains something special, but could it be that in twenty years time we are putting in the youngsters in the FA Cup to save the first team for the more important competitions? I hope not.

I was disappointed when we dropped out of the UEFA Cup, but more so about the loss to Everton in the FA Cup. For that loss I was disappointed and had nothing to fall back on, the FA Cup is something special. However with the UEFA Cup, the disappointment was quickly removed and replaced by confusion and realisation...confusion because Europe didn`t seem to matter, and the realisation came shortly after...that I felt the UEFA Cup has become Europe`s version of the League Cup...and I wasn`t particularly bothered.

Writer:Villa4Europe
Date:Sunday March 1 2009
Time: 10:25AM

Comments

0
Great contribution, happy to have another columist on board!
The Fear
01/03/2009 10:26:00
0
:)
Blitz
01/03/2009 11:54:00
0
UEFA Cup has become Europe`s version of the League Cup and if we have no intention of playing till the end we should have bailed at the INter toto or not bothered in the first place, I remember a time when Aston Villa showed Cup's the respect they rightly deserve. Sad but a face of life the Champions League has become the be all and end all of football. Villa4 or V4E nice to have yoou here.
col8
02/03/2009 03:24:00
Page 1/1
  1. 1

Login to post a comment

Recent Aston Villa Articles

Stats: Aston Villa v Norwich

All the stats from Aston Villa (2) vs (0) Norwich, Villa Park, 6/2/16 Att: 32,472

Something For The Weekend (521)

Their priorities are clear but their vision is myopic.

An Open Letter To The FA Over Kalinic

An excellent, in depth, letter to the FA over our failed attempt to buy Lovre Kalinic

The Aston Villa Injury Table... Updated

Our weekly update looking at the injury table for Aston Villa and also comparing with all our competitors in the Premier League.

Archived Vital Villa Articles

Vital Villa articles from

Site Journalists

J P Fear
Profile
Mike Field
Profile
Steve Wade
Profile
Villa_Grizzly
Profile
Turkish Penguin
Profile
Glensider
Profile
Chris Heath
Profile
M Calucar
Profile
JuanPablo Angel
Profile

Current Poll (see more polls)

Norwich MotM
Suggested By: Site Staff
Bunn3%
Richards0%
Okore11%
Lescott14%
Cissokho0%
Bacuna0%
Gana37%
Westwood0%
Gil5%
Agbonlahor25%
Veretout5%
Sub - Clark0%
ScoopDragon Premier League Network Sites

League Table

# Team P W D L Pts. GD
1 Leicester City 25 15 8 2 53 20
2 Spurs 25 13 9 3 48 26
3 Man City 25 14 5 6 47 21
4 Arsenal 24 13 6 5 45 15
5 Man Utd 24 11 7 6 40 10
6 West Ham 25 10 9 6 39 9
7 Southampton 25 10 7 8 37 9
8 Everton 25 8 11 6 35 12
9 Liverpool 25 9 8 8 35 -4
10 Watford 25 9 6 10 33 0
11 Stoke 25 9 6 10 33 -7
12 Crystal Palace 25 9 5 11 32 -4
13 Chelsea 24 7 8 9 29 -2
14 WBA 25 7 8 10 29 -9
15 AFC Bournemouth 24 7 7 10 28 -10
16 Swansea 25 6 9 10 27 -9
17 Newcastle 25 6 6 13 24 -18
18 Norwich 25 6 5 14 23 -20
19 Sunderland 25 5 5 15 20 -19
20 Aston Villa 25 3 7 15 16 -20
Write for Vital Football
Latest F1 News
Renault target podium finish by 2018
Latest Vital Boxing News
Dublin Promotion Postponed
The Vital Football Members League

Aston Villa Fixtures (view all)

Feb 14 2016 2:05PM : Liverpool (H)
Barclays Premier League
Feb 27 2016 3:00PM : Stoke City (a)
Barclays Premier League
Mar 1 2016 7:45PM : Everton (H)
Barclays Premier League
Mar 5 2016 3:00PM : Manchester City (a)
Barclays Premier League
Mar 12 2016 3:00PM : Tottenham Hotspur (H)
Barclays Premier League
Mar 19 2016 5:30PM : Swansea City (a)
Barclays Premier League

Recent Aston Villa Results (view all)

Vital Members League Table

RankNamePoints
1.Pride of Lions355
2.Fulford220
3.The Fear197
4.ClivetheVillan196
5.revdpete140
6.JuanPabloAngel139
7.sirdennis129
8.Wurzel110
9.DeanoVilla93
10.He'sBiggerThanMe&You67
Vital Football Comment