For the second time in two years and three seasons, a Premier League club has won a cup and been relegated – Birmingham won the League Cup for the first time two years ago and were relegated, and now Wigan have won the FA Cup for the first time, and have been relegated – finally.
The FA Cup – we can win it
Of course that’s the beauty of the knockout cups in England, and Championship side Cardiff reached the final of the League Cup last year, before being beaten by Liverpool.
As we said it’s always happened with the cups in England, but things are now a little different.
With the Premier League worth a lot of money these days, and that will increase by around 70% for three seasons starting next season, the top clubs field their second teams in the competition, and always prioritize the Premier League and Europe.
But teams like Birmingham and Wigan field their first team – which explains a little bit why poor Premier League sides are winning the cups recently – and remember Bradford City reached the final of the League Cup this year before being beaten 5-0 by Swansea.
Newcastle always field a weakened side, and certainly this season in the FA Cup at Brighton in January, we fielded a strange side indeed, mainly due to injuries.
Newcastle United (4-2-3-1): Rob Elliot; James Tavernier, Mike Williamson, James Perch (Paul Dummett 46), Davide Santon; Gael Bigirimana, Vurnon Anita; Sammy Ameobi, Mehdi Abeid (Nile Ranger 46), Gabriel Obertan (Sylvain Marveaux 71); Shola Ameobi (c)
And for the second season in a row we were beaten by Brighton – a Championship side.
Newcastle will have played 54 games this season – 38 in the league, 14 in the Europa League and one game in each of the local Cup competitions – we lost in the first round we competed in the FA Cup and League Cup – you cannot do worse than that.
We have to start playing our top side in both Cup competitions next season, and we’ll play a lot fewer games too, and we should have a much stronger squad.
And the FA Cup rounds are on weekends so it’s not like we are even playing two games a week at that time.
If we can play 14 games in Europe on Thursday nights, we should be able to play top sides in both the local Cup competitions this coming season.
So surely a decent target for this coming season is a top six position in the league and win the FA (Budweiser) Cup and/or League (Capital One) Cup.
If Wigan and Birmingham can win a Cup surely Newcastle United can, and of course that will also get us back into Europe.
We need to think like a small club next season, and maybe we can win something for the first time in 45 years.
What do you think?
You can also reach Ed at firstname.lastname@example.org