During this Sunday's Carling Cup Final, I was cheering for Arsenal. Me, Kevin McCauley, guy who is the manager of a Tottenham Hotspur fan blog on a large network of fan-oriented websites, was cheering for Arsenal to defeat Birmingham City in the Carling Cup Final. When Laurent Kosceilny's dumb ass ran into Wojciech Szczęsny, allowing Obafemi Martins to score the winner, I threw up in my mouth a little bit.
Why? Because Birmingham City winning trophies is bad for football. I don't want teams to be able to win trophies putting 10 men behind the ball, hacking at everything in sight, and just generally playing crap football. Obviously I have love for Stephen Carr, and Ben Foster deserved to lift both the man of the match and Carling Cup trophies after his blinder of a match, but it really sucked to see dirty players like Lee Bowyer, Barry Ferguson, and Roger Johnson lift the cup. Disgusting, even.
Oh, and Alex McLeish. Don't get me started on him. He has an owner who gives him a ton of money for a team of his stature. He goes and buys Jean Beausejour and Alex Hleb. And still, his team plays boring, dirty, and just generally crappy football.
I'm not one of those people who thinks that football is necessarily better one way or another. I thoroughly enjoy teams that play a defensive brand of football, provided a few conditions. Obviously, I like defensive football that has a fair bit of tactical sophistication. If you're going to play a very basic defensive setup, just camping bodies behind the ball, you should have an excuse. Say, for instance, a slew of injuries, or just being a generally shit football team. A team that has Beausejour, Hleb, Seb Larsson, Keith Fahey, etc, is not inherently bad at football. Also, even if you meet these conditions, I'd prefer that you don't kick and elbow the hell out of people, then bitch at the ref when he cards you.
I wasn't particularly pleased to root for Arsenal, but I did. If you like teams with some degree of skill and intelligence, you should have been rooting for Arsenal as well. If you're a fan of the English national team, you should have been rooting for the team who developed Jack Wilshere (the best player on the pitch Sunday) and Theo Walcott to defeat a team that doesn't have an English midfielder with a shred of creativity.
I don't know a lot of Birmingham fans, so this isn't a commentary on them. The couple that I have interacted with seem like nice people, and I'm happy they got to see their team win something. I obviously don't know Carson Yueng or any of the board members, so it might be a well run club. I don't know Alex McLeish, so he might actually be a nice guy. But, I know how he has his teams play. I see how they show very little ambition, kick, elbow, and jaw at the officials. And I think it's awful.
Portsmouth was a good underdog story. Barnsley was a good underdog story. Birmingham City? Hardly the same thing. It's not my kind of underdog story.
But, uh, congratulations?