Here’s a simple way to stop fixture fuming

January 4, 2009

Somebody must have bought Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger a calculator each for Christmas because both managers have done their sums and criticised the Premier League’s fixture programme.

After the United boss wondered aloud if the league was handicapping his club through their fixture list, his Arsenal counterpart crunched the numbers over the weekend

“I saw Ferguson made the case about fixtures,” Wenger said. “And we checked because we are always curious. And he has a case, and in this case so do we.

“If you take the international fixtures plus the Champions League, everybody has played ten games, six Champions League games and four internationals. And after those 10 games, we played eight away games and two at home. Manchester United played nine away games, Chelsea played six games at home and four away. And Liverpool played eight times at home and two away.”

With domestic fixtures necessarily organised before those in Europe, it’s difficult to completely follow their arguments but there’d certainly be one easy way to end the fixture problem in England.

It might be a bold suggestion in the current economic climate – and one which the Premier League would never accept – but never mind the 39th fixture, let’s cut the top flight down to 18 teams and why not scrap the League Cup while we’re at it.

In the Bundesliga (18 clubs) they get to put their feet up for six weeks every winter. And sure, there are 20 sides in the top divisions in Spain and Italy but they only have one domestic cup competition to distract them.

As for the League Cup, why not follow the German lead again and make it a pre-season tournament, an extension of the Community Shield. I doubt you’d hear a peep from Ferguson or Wenger.

Maybe then we could get down to tacking another tradition – the Boxing Day programme – and give these poor overworked players a few festive days off.

PHOTO: Arsene Wenger at Arsenal training, London Colney, Nov. 24, 2008. REUTERS/Eddie Keogh


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Spot on. The League Cup isn’t taken all that seriously and anything to stop Wenger and Ferguson harping on about fixture congestion.

If only players were paid a big enough wage and then their managers wouldn’t have to moan on their behalf about playing football matches…oh wait a minute, they are.

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I was thinking about the same thing about the League Cup, neil. The only way to cut short on the congested fixtures list happening in the Premier League…that to go.

Looking at how it is like in major football leagues, with the exception of France also having their own League Cup, it is like what Padraic Halpin is saying about the case in Spain, Italy and Germany.

Posted by diana | Report as abusive

Nor am I a fan of the League Cup, though if you put it in the summer surely that would get Fergie and Winger even more het up!!

Posted by Tom | Report as abusive

Hasn’t anyone thought to mention to King and Prince Moaner that if they had a lot of away games in the first half of the season then they must have a lot of home games in the second half – where’s the disadvantage?
If it was the other way round, with a bunch of road trips in the run-in to the title I wonder if they would think “now that’s just what I wanted, thank you FA computer?”

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