Wednesday, August 5, 2020

the funeral oration of the League Cup

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“Come in here, Coupe de la Ligue, with your terrible procession of ugly sponsors. And, above all, never go out again. Because we can say that it is the end of you, we are not quiet: French football has never rejected an idea on the grounds that it was bad – that’s how you was born and survived for twenty-five years.

Difficult to pass after you, because you knew how to pronounce yourself the best funeral orations with this final aimless final, boring to death, as it should be. We even thought the shots on goal would drag on, but you breathed your last at the same time as ours, at midnight. Goodbye, pumpkin.

Title replacement

You are the illegitimate child of French football, and this is not a metaphor since you were the counterpart to the passage of Ligue 1 from twenty to eighteen clubs, disowned in 2002. You have nevertheless continued to ballast the calendars, even if it means buying you reprieve by granting privileges to the big clubs.

You didn’t just offer them a shortcut to Europe, to the detriment of the championship. Your worst forfeit will have been to devalue the glorious Coupe de France by competing with an “elitist” version, which earned us two half-empty cups.

Even public television, which could afford your rights at a discount and honor you with its rough commentators, ended up snubbing you. You still had a sponsor, but no longer a broadcaster. No one wanted to see you anymore, and Fort Boyard had priority in the France 2 grid.

The five poor thousands of spectators allowed in the stands on Friday evening were a tribute to your starving fill rates and your audiences at half mast. Only your final aroused some interest, and again, mainly among the supporters concerned, with the prospect of an ersatz title.

Apotheosis in 2008

On your tombstone, we only engraved “1994-2020”, out of a duty to remember the mistakes of the past. We should erase your record, conceding an exception: the victory of FC Gueugnon in 2000 against PSG. The disappearance of the valiant Alex Dupont, then trainer of Blacksmiths playing in Ligue 2, has just eclipsed yours.

He knew how to respect one of the traditions of French football, which wants Paris Saint-Germain to make people laugh at its expense, while you, you served as a consolation prize (1995, 1998, 2008) before appearing as a obligation for him. He picked up six of your last seven editions, as if not to let you drag on the floor.

With a little indulgence, we would remember the pretty goals of your goleadors Pedro Pauleta and Edinson Cavani (15 goals each), but the gesture that you bequeath to history is the panenka failed by Mickaël Landreau in 2004. Your apotheosis is the “anti-Ch’tis banner” (PSG-Lens, 2008). The whole of France had then applied itself to surpassing the said banner in stupidity.

Come on, let’s say your trophy wasn’t that ugly, with its original design, immediately identifiable. But he said too well that you were a plastic competition.

Inflatable monstrosities

The fairies who leaned over you did not benefit you. Frédéric Thiriez, the ex-president of the League, gave you his mustache – well, your nickname “Mustache Cup”. He defended you with his own words but, although bombastic and hollow, they had little echo.

It also afflicted you with pre-final festivities based on short-clothed cheerleaders, parachute jumps, jeanmicheljarresque lasers, painful DJs and inflatable monstrosities that set new standards of dismay in the field of ceremonies. sports.

I see you protesting in your sarcophagus (sealed, as a precaution). Do you think that the trauma of the 2012 ceremony (OL-OM), with these balloons of giant legs pushed by extras made up with a trowel, has been forgotten?

Another fairy, another Fred: Godard, your official director, the one who persisted in grafting psychedelia on football despite the rejections. It is besides him who films during these funeral in camera. In low angle, after having planted a corner post, his favorite object, and framing the moon – which he has always preferred to the ball.

You will therefore rest here, in the square of useless inventions (the golden goal, the nostril spreader, Évian Thonon Gaillard) and not in the pantheon of competitions which have disappeared like the Cup Winners’ Cup. You’ll be out of our memories faster than your annoying TV jingle.

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