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‘Um… I did win the Carabao Cup’

OPINION: The fact that matches go straight to penalty kicks is a huge clue as to how insignificant this competition is

23 September, 2021 — By Richard Osley

Harry Kane wasn’t rested for Spurs’ midweek win at Wolves

AS his colleagues contrived to take some of the worst penalties of the season, rewind and take a look at Wolves’ Joao Moutinho’s reaction. There he is, offering encouraging applause as they crashed their shots over the bar, into the keeper’s mid stretch and against the crossbar.

Don’t worry boys. Good show.

Most will read this as solidarity with those who had the guts to take a penalty in the third round of the [checks notes] Carabao Cup. I like to think his good cheer was the embodiment of a man who understands the charade.

No Wolves fan woke up on Thursday – surely – sore with disappointment. If anything, they will be stitching their eyeballs back together after having to watch 90 minutes of Tottenham in their mauve and seagull poo away strip; in trying to design a football shirt that Baz might also wear when he’s getting the breezers in down Manhattan Lights on Saturday night, they’ve created a leisurewear monstrosity. It was hard to tell whether Harry Kane’s sheepish glances were because the captain of England wasn’t rested for such a naff competition – like Ronaldo and, um, Aubameyang were – or that he was being made to wear something left on the rails at TK Maxx.

Anyhow, Moutinho knew.

The fact that matches go straight to penalty kicks is a huge clue as to how insignificant the whole shebang is; that’s the kind of thing that happens in pre-season tour friendlies when the American hosts demand a winner.

You may say that advocating for this cup to be abandoned and filed in Room 101 with the Zenith Data Systems Cup and the Anglo-Italian Cup is unfair on smaller teams, but even Oldham seemed to want to get their fixture at Premier League Brentford done and dusted as soon as possible – a league season fighting relegation is of greater concern.

And what fun is it really, down the divisions, to see the big teams’ reserves still being too good.

In the end, Kane isn’t lusting after a medal for this; in fact it would be almost more embarrassing if when he hangs up his boots it said under his name “Carabao Cup Winner 2021” and nothing else.

If anything, it would draw attention to the problem.

And yet if we all agree that this tournament hasn’t been relevant since Rumbelows disappeared, there is also an unpalatable truth that must be accepted, as rude as it feels to point it out: We’d have to scrap the idea that Spurs “last won a trophy in 2008” and be more accurate: Spurs last won a trophy of any importance in 1991.

That’s 30 [THIRTY] years ago.

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