Congratulations to Sunderland on reaching their first Wembley cup final in twenty years. For some reason, and deep down most United supporters did too with the type of season their suffering, we all knew this was going to happen. But one thing has made me stop and think. I heard numerous Black Cats fans getting majorly over-excited on several social media sites last night (who could blame them? I think I’d be running around where I live in my pants for days in a bout of temporary insanity brought on by the euphoria, if my Coventry ever made it to the F.A Cup final again), looking forward to competing in next season’s Europa League – it doesn’t matter if they win the trophy, they’re in Europe – guaranteed.
Not meaning to piss on your chips, but er….no. You’re not. Under League Cup rules, if the winning team also qualify for European competition via the F.A Cup or Champion’s League places, the League Cup winners spot in the Europa League goes to sixth place in the Premier League. Effectively, this means if Manchester City win the trophy (barring a major miracle of biblical proportions they should, on current form) and they qualify for next season’s Champion League, they may well have gifted their accursed neighbours a life line. Manchester United will then only have to finish in sixth to qualify for Euro land. Oh, the irony.
This now causes a huge amount of mixed feelings for all Manchester City supporters. They obviously want to become the very first English team to win all four competitions they are competing in. And at this very juncture, who would bet against them (I’m sorry to say my tip of Liverpool for the title might not occur as I initially anticipated). However, I’m sure there are many of them who will not want to help or assist United whatsoever, not for a moment. I’ve heard them say during the last few months as United have stumbled from one crisis to another, “They’ve had their day – now it’s our turn”. They might not get any choice in this one.
Fate is a marvellous thing, and the twists and turns it injects into football every season are unbelievable at times. As the old saying goes, you couldn’t have wrote this one. Lady Luck, you are one warped sporting mistress, but we still love you.