One of the most complaints that I receive about following football from non-football fans is that there are just too many competitions to follow. This makes it difficult to understand what they are even watching. I usually enjoying hearing this question, and politely explain the different competitions, the participants, and the overall meaning to the club. I feel like a shepard guiding the lost.
Then the Carling Cup enters the fourth round and the non-football fan is thrown straight back into the abyss of confusion.
Question: What is the Carling Cup?
Answer: It is another tournament style competition. Similar to the FA Cup.
Reply: Another competition? I hate soccer.
So, to try and find an answer to satisfy the non-football fan, and to give them an reason to the existence of the Carling Cup, I turned to Wikipedia for support. This is what I got:
“The Football League Cup, commonly known as the League Cup or for sponsorship reasons the Carling Cup, is an English football competition. Like the FA Cup, it is played on a knockout (single elimination) basis. Unlike the FA Cup where 762 teams entered in 2008–09 only 92 clubs can enter—the 20 clubs of the Premier League, and the 72 clubs of The Football League, which organises the competition. Unlike the FA Cup, the semi-finals are played over two legs. ”
Is the best definition for the Carling Cup saying how it is not like the FA Cup? Interesting. Non-football fans, I have no answer. My only hope for the Carling Cup is not victory, but rather no injuries.