How have you been since Arsenal crashed out of the League Cup, losing 2-1 to Premier League team Southampton? Did you drink too much that night and wake up the next morning to the sound of your wife dropping frying pans into the sink in the kitchen? Did you carry on drinking into the next day? Do you know why they call it “hair of the dog” instead of “scale of the snake”? Has anyone ever been poisoned by a dog bite? Did you know that drinking to excess causes your liver to work extra hard and as a result it’s unable to properly burn the calories you consume when you inevitably have that drunken fry-up at two in the morning, the drunken fry up that your wife is now noisily tossing into the sink as you mutter “bollocks” and try to get out of bed?
Do you know why the British use “bollocks” to mean that something is both good and bad? And when someone says the phrase “load of bollocks” do you imagine a red wheelbarrow, beside the white chickens, overflowing with cartoon sized bollocks? And why are “dogs bollocks” synonymous with “bees knees”?
Did you see that Tottenham beat Nottingham Forest 3-1 in the League Cup? Did you know that Nottingham Forest is top of the League Championship and that their manager, Stuart Pearce, rested nine of their starters including their star striker Britt Assombolonga for this match and despite that, Forest still took the lead in the game and that Spurs couldn’t score until the 62nd minute?
Can you imagine a manager prioritizing League position over a cup competition? Doesn’t winning breed a winning mentality? Do you know how much it is worth to Forest if they win the League Championship? What if I told you it is worth £120m? Would that make Pearce’s decision to rest nine players understandable? If you were a Forest fan would you rather win promotion to the Premier League or win the League Cup? What if Forest finish fourth but win promotion to the Premier League via a playoff system, would that win be looked upon like a “fourth place trophy?” Which trophy would their fans celebrate more, the League Cup or the “fourth place trophy?”
Do you know the difference between a trophy and an achievement? Would it make sense to you if I described finishing fourth in the Premier League not as a trophy but instead as an achievement? Like when you’re playing a video game and you collect a certain number of points and the game spits out “Champions League Achievement Unlocked!” would you high five your friends if you won that?
And what about Tottenham? Which trophy would their fans most celebrate? If they could have their choice between winning the League Cup or winning fourth place in the Premier League and unlocking a chance to get into the Champions League would they laugh at their manager for getting them into fourth place? Did the Liverpool fans mock their manager for getting them into the Champions League? Did they ridicule him for inculcating a “losing mentality” for getting his team on the cusp of winning the Premier League and then faltering at the last minute? How many trophies has Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers ever won? How many trophies has Tottenham’s manager, Mauricio Pochettino ever won? How many trophies has Arsene Wenger won in the last ten years?
Would your team have an open top bus parade if they won the League Cup? Will any team ever have an open top bus parade for winning the League Cup? Is it because the League Cup isn’t considered a major trophy? Is winning the League Cup a bigger achievement than securing 4th place in the Premier League? Has any team ever spent £200m, like Liverpool and Tottenham have trying to get fourth place in the Premier League, in order to win the League Cup? Or the FA Cup? Have you ever heard the phrase “follow the money?”
If the League Cup isn’t a major trophy and the Charity Shield isn’t considered a major trophy then how many major trophies can a team in the Premier League win in a season? Two? And does that mean that a team could only win three major trophies, max, in a single season if they are a “top” club and have Champions League football to play? And don’t they have to qualify for the Champions League to win it? If there are 20 teams in the Premier League, and lets say 3 trophies that matter, then how many trophies should a manager win in a season? Would nine major trophies in 18 years be a good return?
Would you be happy if your team won just one major trophy in the last year, especially if they were rebuilding the team and adding a bunch of new superstar players?
Apologies to Padgett Powel for borrowing from the Interrogative Mood, a book written entirely in questions, for this post.