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Old 05-09-2010, 11:30 AM
 
Location: England
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Chelsea beat Wigan 8.0 & are premiership champions.
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Old 05-10-2010, 11:38 AM
 
Location: NYC & NJ
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Quote:
Originally Posted by albion View Post
I think It shows just how strong the EPL is when Fulham, currently 12th in the league can reach a European final. It's a massive achievment.
They finished behind Birmingham, Blackburn and even Stoke which just goes to show how much they under-achieved in the league. Perhaps they focused a bit too much on the Europa League, after all any kind of 'final' or silverware makes for a better headline/soundbite than whether you finished 10th, 11th or 12th.

I don't think "European Final" has the same cache it once did. Back in the day, you had the strongest teams from across Europe spread out over the European Cup, the UEFA Cup and the Cup Winners' Cup. The former would get all the league champions, meaning even the 2nd, 3rd or 4th strongest teams from Serie A, La Liga, the Bundesliga (historically the stronger leagues in the '80s and 90s) and the EPL would play the UEFA Cup. Meanwhile, the winners of the FA Cup, Coppa Italia, Copa del Ray, etc. would play the CWC.

The CWC and especially the UEFA Cup had some serious prestige back then. It was seriously a close 2nd to what is now the CL. You look at the winners and finalists of the UEFA Cup back then and it was the big teams like Juve, Real Madrid, Inter, Bayern, etc.

Since the CL changed formats and monopolized all the big teams, the 'new' Europa League has just become a consolation prize for mid-level teams (no disrespect to Fulham intended). PS: The fact that Liverpool couldn't get to the final of even this diluted version just proves how poor their season has been.
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Old 05-10-2010, 12:27 PM
 
Location: Brighton, UK
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To George; I agree with what you say about the Europa league not being as prestigious a competition as it once was, but to say Fulham want to win it because it makes a better headline/soundbite is a bit insulting. They want to win it for many reasons, not least because that's why they exist as a football clubs - they want to win it for the fans and for themselves. The board may well have tried to push Roy towards it more as a money-making endeavour but seriously a club would never want to win the second trophy in Europe so they could make the papers.
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Old 05-10-2010, 09:14 PM
 
Location: NYC & NJ
747 posts, read 2,282,494 times
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My wording could have been better. Yes, they would definitely want to win it for many reasons. A club wants to win every game it plays, but in a tight schedule priorities have to be defined. I would estimate that making the EL final yet finishing 12th in the EPL is indicative of prioritizing the former. And there's nothing wrong with that - a professional club exists, in part, to win silverware. I think that is saying the same thing as "not least because that's why they exist as a football clubs - they want to win it for the fans and for themselves"

I don't think it's too cynical to suggest that winning a cup is more important than finishing a couple places higher in an otherwise ordinary (mid-table) league campaign. It's not just Fulham or the Europa League, it's been rare for even the biggest teams in Europe to achieve a domestic league, domestic cup & UEFA Champions League treble. With injuries inevitable over such a prolonged season playing twice a week, hardly anyone can have the depth to mount a successful campaign on three fronts.
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Old 05-11-2010, 01:55 AM
 
Location: Brighton, UK
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Yes I think you're right about that, and money also definitely enters into it - Fulham clearly would be willing to sacrifice a few league spots for the cup (and have shown they are by playing weakened teams before big European matches), partly because winning the Europa League brings in far more money to be spent on players than finishing a little higher in the table.
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