Learning to Love the Cups

Learning to Love the Cups
January 20, 2016 Chris Rowland

By TTT Subscriber Neil Mundy.

There’s a strange cognitive dissonance that goes on in my head whenever Liverpool play in a cup game these days (which, it has to be said, is quite a lot this season). Before the game starts, I think Cup games are an unnecessary distraction, a chance for players to get injured, tire themselves out or simply lose form. It’s been proven that too many cup games can damage your league health, and I don’t dispute any part of the analysis. I know I’m right.

And then the game starts, and all of a sudden I’m spectacularly wrong. I’m in the thick of it, shouting at the pitch or screen – usually the screen. I’m the archetypal dickhead fan, kicking every ball, swearing at the ref, clapping our players when they do something well and moaning in frustration when they don’t. Football – it makes fools of us all. I know, in my head, that cup games don’t matter, that since roughly the turn of the century both domestic cups are useless baubles and the secondary European competition only got more interesting when a Champions League place became the prize, that the Premier League and the aforementioned European behemoth are the only competitions that carry any significance.

I know all this, and accept it, and yet for want of a better phrase, my heart (or more accurately and less mushily, the part of my brain that controls emotions) refuses to let go of the cup competitions. I care about them, sometimes more than I do the humdrum league games. I can’t help it. I just can’t dismiss cup games. In fact, I actively enjoy them. I’ve been trying to make sense of this, and the only conclusion I have come to is the following: human beings are irrational creatures.

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