Often Partisan

Why the Europa League isn’t just a distraction

As Chris Hughton has started to get himself comfy in the St Andrews hot-seat, the press have been grilling him about his targets for next season, and it’s basically come down to one thing: Promotion. Even the Europa League is secondary to getting us back up. As much as I agree that financially we need to be top flight, I think Mr Hughton needs to think carefully about Europe.

As I guess many Blues fans also feel, I’m ecstatic we’re in Europe next season. I always dreamed of heady nights where the cream of continental talent would come to St Andrews to play against Birmingham City. Whilst relegation took the gloss off qualifying for the Europa League a little, I think it’s important that Hughton knows that the Blues fans don’t quite see things the same way.

It looks like we may well be seeded for the play off round. What this means is we’re essentially two games away from the group stage, and those games could well end up being against someone of the ilk of FC Vaslui of Romania or FC Zestafoni of Georgia; ie a team that is in all likelihood not as good as us. We actually have a good chance of making it through to the Europa League proper.

In fairness, it’s not that money-spinning getting through to the group stages, despite possibly gracing ITV4 or Channel 5 on a Thursday night. However, it’s lucrative for the fans; despite the chance we’d probably get hideously beaten I’d love to see us face against teams like Lazio or Roma. It’s what qualifying for Europe is all about for teams like us, the chance to try your hand against teams from differing schools of football, to travel to massive amphitheatres like the Parc des Prince or the Stadio Olimpico in Rome.

The other thing is our brethren across the expressway. You only have to look at the stick we gave them when for two years on the bounce, they failed at the first hurdle to Rapid Vienna. Getting past the playoff stage into the competition proper would really stick in the craw of the pink and baby blue lot, and that has to be worth it alone. I’m not one for caring much about what they do, but I’m very happy when they get all pissy because we’ve achieved something. We may not be in the top flight but it would be another chance to have something to brag about to the team from Witton.

So Mr Hughton, this Blues fan implores you; please, please try and win the playoff round tie. Don’t look at it as a distraction; look at it as the chance for the team to give something back to the fans they let down by getting relegated last season. Look at it as a chance for some of the new players to show what they can do on a continental stage, and as a selling point for people to come to the club. If we get to the group stage I don’t give a toss what happens next; all I want is for us to get there.

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7 Responses to “Why the Europa League isn’t just a distraction”

  • Billy Blue says:

    The League Cup cost us Premier survival last season. Are you suggesting that we should give the Europa Cup a level of importance that could cost us promotion this season?

    Many last year said they would be happy to trade Premier status in order to win the League Cup. The cost is that we are having to sell the majority of our best players and relegation has accenuated the financial problems of CY et al. They have no money and Hughton is our only hope of creating a stability and having a stab at promotion. The Europa Cup group stage would take another 6-8 games – not a happy prospect unless utilising those games to keep squad players match fit, alongside League/FA Cup games.

    If Hughton says Europa Cup is not a priority, that is good enough for me; he knows more about football in his little finger than we know in totality. We have 46 League games to get through, with probably having a fairly limited squad number wise as well as injuries and suspensions – that’s more than enough games for our squad, which even if we get knocked out farly early in Cup games will still amount to well over 50 games! More than last season, and just look how knackered our limited squad was for the last month of the season.

    Europa League is fine and good if a club has a large squad it can utilise to play in those matches. Blues at present do not appear to be that type of club. Hughton will have limited number of players and resources and needs to manage those as well as he possibly can. If that means the Europa Cup taking a back seat, then so be it.


    • Sparky says:

      The Championship MUST come first. A Euro run would be great but I would settle for the group stages as an achievement, some revenue from TV. It should be treated as great experience for the likes of Mutch, Asante, Redmond,etc.


  • Wingman Blue says:

    Spot on BillyBlue. Europa is a distraction to our main job – promotion. If there’s something left after that, if we are so far ahead we can afford the sideshow, then maybe a cup run. Last season we took our eye off the ball, and where did that leave us?

  • mark says:

    last year i was asked Carling cup or survival i choose the cup so if your asking Europa league or promotion i will take the cup again but i think we will get promotion i don’t think meany of the three promoted teams players would get in brums team and thats without the likes of gardner,dann,and foster

  • flashbevan says:

    i must admit, i would love to see blues make it past the group stages, not just for bragging rights but i believe it would open the door for a better quality of player, which we are yet to see at st Andrews,
    it would also be a great opportunity to see some youth enter the fray, other cubs manage to capitalse on a decent youth policy, which im certain exists at our club.
    i have every belief hughton will not go out without a fight, he is the new messiah KRO

  • Carl says:

    Play the kids in the Lge and FA cups but have some fun by trying to win games in Europe. It could be a long time coming again!

    If you give up on the cups and the league doesn’t work out as planned despite this then the season will have been a complete waste.

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