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English perception of the UEFA Europa League? watch

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    Some comments on another thread got me thinking so I thought I'd turn this into a debate. Why is the perception of the UEFA Europa League so poor in this country? It seems like the competition is generally treated as a joke by most fans and even clubs playing in it at times, despite it's history and standing as Europe's second most prestigious club tournament.

    Personally I enjoyed the Europa League when we played in it last season and wanted to win it, but we fielded a reserve style team. A lot of our fans couldn't be bothered attending the games either, resulting in gates of less than 60k against Athletic Club and Ajax. Both those clubs were well up for it and made it feel like a huge deal in their countries, this disregard for the cup seems to be an English thing. City didn't take it seriously either, as both teams were battling for the league. This year Spurs and Chelsea have treated it properly but it still isn't getting much respect.

    Since the abolition of the Cup Winners' Cup in 1999, the UEFA Cup has been the second biggest tournament in Europe. I think the presentation of it is poor the way losers from the European cup are entered into it at various stages, making it seem inferior. The fact it's aired on secondary TV networks with generally poor coverage probably doesn't help either, or the fact that so many teams go into the Champions League now. Maybe with every CL game being on live we're just oversaturated by the time Thursday night rolls around but still, this tournament is a big deal in other countries. The teams in this years UEFA Cup have several European Cups between them, some are the biggest clubs in their countries.

    Isn't it about time we all started treating the Europa League properly? We used to have the European Cup and the Cup Winners' Cup and managed to respect both as a big deal, why can't we do it now?
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    This year has definielty been an exciting season in the Europa League with the domestic involvement getting far which I think is due to AVB and Rafa having more respect for the competition than others. The final in Amsterdam should also see a lot of Chelsea fans in attendance than if it was held in Bucharest.
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    Maybe because English clubs haven't done too well in it over the past decade, and we've been spoiled by doing so well in the champions league.
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    The fact that two Champions league failures are in the final shows the competition is a sham. Yes, Chelsea have earned the right to be in the final. Yes, Chelsea being in there increases attention towards the competition but Chelsea are in it for all the wrong reasons. They failed in the CL so why should they play in a competition where they have a better squad than the rest of the teams. The EL would have been so much more interesting if Spurs, Liverpool or Newcastle got to the final, battling teams their own size in team strength, Chelsea have hardly broken a sweat compared to what they did last season.

    Maybe I could have alot more respect for the Europa League as soon as CL failures stop going down into it and they change the name back to the UEFA Cup and they make the competition alot smaller.
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    Both tournaments have the same format, which is quite bloated and not particularly exciting until the knockout stage. In the Champions' League, this is fine because it means that the viewers get to see the best teams in Europe compete on a regular basis. The Europa League can't compete with this, since by design, the CL is generally superior in quality.

    In my opinion, the solution for the EL is to go straight to a knockout stage (or at least have a smaller group stage). This would make every game exciting and worth watching.

    I like to watch football matches either for their quality or their excitement. The CL wins on the former, so the EL has to try and go for the latter.

    I also think that each tournament should be self-contained. Having the third-placed teams from the CL group stage dropping down into the EL makes a mockery of the competition.

    (Original post by IanDangerously)
    We used to have the European Cup and the Cup Winners' Cup and managed to respect both as a big deal, why can't we do it now?
    Putting the Cup Winners' Cup alongside the Europa League isn't really a fair comparison. The CWC had a status alongside the main European tournament (since the teams participating were champions of their countries, albeit in a different format), whereas the EL's status is directly below that of the CL because it admits the teams that didn't do well enough to qualify.
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    (Original post by Fusion)
    This year has definielty been an exciting season in the Europa League with the domestic involvement getting far which I think is due to AVB and Rafa having more respect for the competition than others. The final in Amsterdam should also see a lot of Chelsea fans in attendance than if it was held in Bucharest.
    Yeah it has been pretty good, I'm glad Chelsea and Spurs have had a real go at it. The fact ITV have started showing the later stages of the tournament on their main channel rather than being hidden away on ITV4 has helped the perception a bit too. It's ridiculous both sides only get 10k tickets for the final but Chelsea will take more than that over I reckon. Which is funny because even though it's not as glamourous, Bucharest last year would've actually been a much better place for a euro away than "The Dam".

    (Original post by sharkgunner)
    Maybe because English clubs haven't done too well in it over the past decade, and we've been spoiled by doing so well in the champions league.
    That could be part of it, I think it's still pretty well recieved in Spain though despite their champions league success. It'd be good if we were able to keep both tournaments hyped up and popular but it doesn't seem to happen.

    (Original post by sevchenko)
    The fact that two Champions league failures are in the final shows the competition is a sham. Yes, Chelsea have earned the right to be in the final. Yes, Chelsea being in there increases attention towards the competition but Chelsea are in it for all the wrong reasons. They failed in the CL so why should they play in a competition where they have a better squad than the rest of the teams. The EL would have been so much more interesting if Spurs, Liverpool or Newcastle got to the final, battling teams their own size in team strength, Chelsea have hardly broken a sweat compared to what they did last season.

    Maybe I could have alot more respect for the Europa League as soon as CL failures stop going down into it and they change the name back to the UEFA Cup and they make the competition alot smaller.
    The UEFA Cup was a better name because the trophy is still called that anyway, Europa League sounds too much like it's trying to be the little brother of the Champions League. Mind you, it does now feature a group stage, and an anthem before kick-off with a flag over the centre circle before each game. Maybe they've branded it too much like their bigger tournament.

    I hate the whole relegation from the CL into the EL thing as well, because it does make it look inferior. In fairness though, if Chelsea were actually challenging for the league title in England they would've totally blown off the Europa League like United and City last year. It feels like this is the tournament that teams with nothing else to do at the end of the season have a go at and that's about it.
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    (Original post by tommm)
    Putting the Cup Winners' Cup alongside the Europa League isn't really a fair comparison. The CWC had a status alongside the main European tournament (since the teams participating were champions of their countries, albeit in a different format), whereas the EL's status is directly below that of the CL because it admits the teams that didn't do well enough to qualify.
    To an extent I guess although being domestic cup champion, whilst a big deal, has never been on par with winning the top league in any country. The Cup Winners' Cup is a cool concept but it had to go away when the unpredictability of the cups did IMO. When they realised most cup winners had already qualified for the Champions League in its extended format by virtue of league position, it wasn't relevant anymore.


    If they do eventually go ahead with expanding the format of the UEFA Champions League to 64 teams then I think the Europa League will have to go the way of the CWC and just sort of die off. At that point it'll be too stripped of credible teams to have any purpose at all because they'll all be in the Champions League.
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    Give an auto champions league spot to the winner and put them as at least second seeds. Should increase motivation (although you could argue it would further devalue the competition behind the champions league)

    I definitely think reducing the number of teams is a must. 48 is ridiculous, It should be nearer to half. I also think if the number of teams entering the Champions league was also reduced this should result in an increase in quality for the Europa league and perhaps as a result in an increase in the prestige of the trophy.

    Im not sure how I feel about the Champions league 3rd placed teams going into the Europa League. Although it arguably devalues the competition, it definitely increases the quality of the teams playing.

    Also in response to OP, perhaps the Ajax and Athletico fans are more excited by the competition because the Europa League represents the best trophy they can realistically get, wheres even if Man U won it, it would just be considered as the best of a bad situation.
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    Just make it a straight knock out tournament with no back door entry from the CL. Give more places to the bigger leagues to fill the gap from 3rd placing CL group teams. Also might be fascinating to give a CL place to the winner although that would mean stripping a place from somewhere else which is hard.

    So for example next year you could a straight up knockout with more quality teams like Tottenham, Everton, Liverpool, Swansea, Valencia, Malaga, Sevilla, Fiorentina, Inter Milan, Roma, Lazio, Hamburg, Monchengladbach, Frankfurt, Lille, St Etienne, Nice, PSV Eindhoven, Feijenoord, Porto, Braga, Celtic, Fernabache, Besiktas, Red Star Belgrade, Spartak Moscow, Lokamotiv Moscow, Anzhi. You'd also avoid having to watch CL dropouts being forced to play in it and so every game would actually matter.

    Certainly better but it'll never be as good as the CL for the same reason as the Championship will never be as good as the Premiership. People want to watch the best teams and every team in one competition would ultimately much prefer to be in the other. Its not just an English problem. Ajax try very hard to win it as its their only realistic chance at European success but I think most fans would take a CL run to the QF over winning the Europa tbh...
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    There's been one thing that has changed my perception of the EL in the years that I've followed Spurs: attending an away game. Being part of 1500 Spurs fans marooned in a European town following your team.. amazing. Felt so rewarding to be part of it that my perception on the competition changed entirely.

    Redknapp had such disdain for the EL that he made 11 changes and threw a youth side on. Result: going out in the group stage. Now with AVB we had a serious challenge and I believe most of our fanbase has come round as well. Yeah CL gets you the players and the money, but EL gets you a European competition and a trophy if you win.

    Also, ticket prices are a pittance in the EL compared to the CL. All knockout games this year have been cheaper than the group stage CL two years ago. I'm certainly more inclined to go again and again if it's cheaper.
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    1. Success in the CL in previous years.

    2. Backdoor from CL into it.

    3. No one cares - little media interest, and managers don't take it 100%.

    Especially the last part is a shame, the EL can actually bring in quite a bit of money so why a team would not care about is beyond me. Plus a trophy is better than no trophy.

    The fact is, there are always in the top leagues a few teams who had a great season but couldn't quite cut the CL. I like the idea that these guys can compete in a different cup and be real contenders. And for all the "filler" teams from around Europe - they will never make it in the CL (or even into it), and it is a great way to see some European football with your club, not just on TV.
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    (Original post by sharkgunner)
    Maybe because English clubs haven't done too well in it over the past decade, and we've been spoiled by doing so well in the champions league.
    Taking UEFA Cup and Europa League there have been three finalists (Middlesbrough, Fulham, Chelsea) since 2005 is not a bad record, if not comparable to the Champions League over the same period. But equally you could say the reason why English sides haven't done as well in the competition is because they haven't taken it seriously. It becomes circular. The question being asked is why teams, as well as fans, don't take it as seriously. It's not like English teams are incapable of winning the tournament, if they are committed to it?

    I bet if you asked "average" football fans, a surprisingly high number would struggle to name these three teams who have reached the final. I suspect, but obviously don't know, that if you asked them to name English CL finalists over the same period (had there only been three seasons when an English team has reached a CL final) they wouldn't struggle to name the CL finalists.

    (Original post by IanDangerously)
    Yeah it has been pretty good, I'm glad Chelsea and Spurs have had a real go at it.
    Newcastle got as far as Spurs did :hmpf: Though Spurs have shown it more respect this season than they did last.

    Which beings me onto Newcastle, who have arguably helped to devalue it as they played weakened sides, at least in the group stages. That in itself is interesting, considering how long Newcastle have waited for the final and winning it, or at least getting to the final, was realistic. As well as the fact that it was a much anticipated return to Europe. Then they go and play the likes of Obertan, clearly stating that they see their priorities elsewhere.

    I do long for a return to a proper knock out system, and have never liked the rebranding of (what I still see as) the UEFA Cup. But ultimately this sort of thing was inevitable as the CL has become such a beast.
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    I can't be bothered to read the thread so these points may have already been made, but:

    Re-branding it as the Europa League was a mistake. It's basically Europe's 'Division 2' now, a poor man's CL. 2nd rate. It had more prestige as the UEFA Cup.

    Also, the winner should be given a place in the Champions League the following year, that would encourage teams to take it more seriously, especially English sides. I know it defeats the purpose of the winner being there to defend their crown but the sole reason for our teams not taking it seriously is because they worry it'll hamper their league form and they'll lose out on a CL place.

    UEFA have ballsed it up, basically.
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    (Original post by Wilfred Little)
    I can't be bothered to read the thread so these points may have already been made, but:

    Re-branding it as the Europa League was a mistake. It's basically Europe's 'Division 2' now, a poor man's CL. 2nd rate. It had more prestige as the UEFA Cup.

    Also, the winner should be given a place in the Champions League the following year, that would encourage teams to take it more seriously, especially English sides. I know it defeats the purpose of the winner being there to defend their crown but the sole reason for our teams not taking it seriously is because they worry it'll hamper their league form and they'll lose out on a CL place.

    UEFA have ballsed it up, basically.
    This.
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    The obsession with getting into the top 4 curbs some teams interest in it because it is not a priority. Even though Tottenham made a good fist of it my mates who support them all wanted them to play the the B team rather than actually try and progress this season, you have to play close to 20 games to win it I think although the reviewed format with smaller groups might have reduced that slightly so there's not much arguing that it will impact your league form if you go on a long run unless you have got a great squad which most of these sides don't have especially come crunch time in the competition when injuries have occured. If you gave a CL spot to the winner it would change over night too.
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    (Original post by alexsong)
    The obsession with getting into the top 4 curbs some teams interest in it because it is not a priority. Even though Tottenham made a good fist of it my mates who support them all wanted them to play the the B team rather than actually try and progress this season, you have to play close to 20 games to win it I think although the reviewed format with smaller groups might have reduced that slightly so there's not much arguing that it will impact your league form if you go on a long run unless you have got a great squad which most of these sides don't have especially come crunch time in the competition when injuries have occured. If you gave a CL spot to the winner it would change over night too.
    Absolutely.

    Also teams who don't take the Europa League seriously, mean that when they're eliminated earlier, England loses coefficient points, which means over time we'll lose our 4th CL place. I don't blame the clubs, you do what's best for you, but it's not right how UEFA have gone about things.

    The way the Champions League is currently, big clubs are allowed to get bigger without even winning anything, when it goes back to being champion vs champion with 2nd place having to qualify, then it'll be better and clubs won't place priority on finishing 4th over winning what is a major trophy in European football.

    These allocations for the Champions League were given because UEFA wanted the glamour teams with the biggest crowds and most history in the competition being in it regularly and that was something that the teams themselves exploited by forming the G14 putting those other clubs at an even bigger disadvantage.

    You see a bunch of teams who over the past decade have had places literally handed to them creating a cartel of a handful of teams that's virtually impossible to break into now unless you have a spare half a billion quid in your back pocket, if you're in with a sniff of CL qualification or winning the Europa League, you'd take the former now, that's not right. The gap is getting bigger and bigger. Remember Ipswich finishing 4th in the late 90's I think it was? Would never happen now.

    But hey, at least those same 12/14 clubs are loaded with star players & quality :rolleyes:

    And all at the expense of the UEFA Cup/Europa League.
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    Some valid points already made, but I think money has a lot to do with it too. Look at the figures for example:

    Base fee for group stage: €1,300,000 (Europa League) - €8,600,000 (Champions League)
    Group match victory: €200,000 - €1,000,000
    Group match draw: €100,000 - €500,000
    Group winners: €400,000
    Group runners-up: €200,000
    Round of 32: €200,000
    Round of 16: €350,000 - €3,500,000
    Quarter-finals: €450,000 - €3,900,000
    Semi-finals: €1,000,000 - €4,900,000
    Losing finalist: €2,500,000 - €6,500,000
    Winners: €5,000,000 - €10,500,000

    So a club like Newcastle would have made what, £4/5m from the Europa League this season? Had they made the Champions League they would have made double that just by qualifying, even if they lost every game. It just isn't worth it until the semi finals. This isn't even taking into account the vast riches of the Premier League. Last season, Wolves earnt almost £40m even though they finished bottom.

    Everyone in the Europa League who qualifies from England is either fighting for the Champions League spots, or to avoid relegation. Both of which will obviously take priority as there is so much more at stake from a financial point of view.
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    (Original post by rockrunride)
    There's been one thing that has changed my perception of the EL in the years that I've followed Spurs: attending an away game. Being part of 1500 Spurs fans marooned in a European town following your team.. amazing. Felt so rewarding to be part of it that my perception on the competition changed entirely.

    Also, ticket prices are a pittance in the EL compared to the CL. All knockout games this year have been cheaper than the group stage CL two years ago. I'm certainly more inclined to go again and again if it's cheaper.
    It's the same experience as a UEFA Champions League away game just with different branding in the ground.

    Its always good when clubs offer cut price tickets especially if they're going to be fielding a weakened team. When we played in it last year the prices only went down by £5 which was better than nothing but on the price of an adult ticket didn't make much difference. We got stung on our two aways in it too and ended up paying £51 for Ajax and £79 for Bilbao, far higher than the Champions League ones. Some countries are sneaky with the "non-members price" rule and sting european away fans.

    (Original post by River85)
    Newcastle got as far as Spurs did :hmpf: Though Spurs have shown it more respect this season than they did last.

    Which beings me onto Newcastle, who have arguably helped to devalue it as they played weakened sides, at least in the group stages. That in itself is interesting, considering how long Newcastle have waited for the final and winning it, or at least getting to the final, was realistic. As well as the fact that it was a much anticipated return to Europe. Then they go and play the likes of Obertan, clearly stating that they see their priorities elsewhere.

    I do long for a return to a proper knock out system, and have never liked the rebranding of (what I still see as) the UEFA Cup. But ultimately this sort of thing was inevitable as the CL has become such a beast.
    I think Newcastle's league form this year has been affected by their run in Europe. They were good in the league last year but adding all the extra games with the Europa League has just stretched the squad too far beyond its means, it takes a very deep squad to do Europe and stay competitive in the league at the same time. Didn't Middlesborough and Man City slip down in the league when they had long runs in it too in recent years?

    (Original post by Wilfred Little)
    I can't be bothered to read the thread so these points may have already been made, but:

    Re-branding it as the Europa League was a mistake. It's basically Europe's 'Division 2' now, a poor man's CL. 2nd rate. It had more prestige as the UEFA Cup.

    Also, the winner should be given a place in the Champions League the following year, that would encourage teams to take it more seriously, especially English sides. I know it defeats the purpose of the winner being there to defend their crown but the sole reason for our teams not taking it seriously is because they worry it'll hamper their league form and they'll lose out on a CL place.

    UEFA have ballsed it up, basically.
    UEFA balls most things up, so that shouldn't surprise anyone. Wouldn't it make it look more inferior though if the winner got a place in the CL? I know it'd make teams try harder , and that'd be good, but it'd really become the 2nd division then officially. The winner getting a trophy and "promotion" to play in the tournament above the following season just like the Football League Championship in England?
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    (Original post by IanDangerously)
    UEFA balls most things up, so that shouldn't surprise anyone. Wouldn't it make it look more inferior though if the winner got a place in the CL? I know it'd make teams try harder , and that'd be good, but it'd really become the 2nd division then officially. The winner getting a trophy and "promotion" to play in the tournament above the following season just like the Football League Championship in England?
    It would but it's on it's last legs anyway, mark my words they'll merge both of these competitions within the next 5 years in UEFA's Grand Slam Mega Euro Super League.

    Let's be honest, teams want to win the CL over the Europa League, that's always been the case, of that there is no doubt. At least this way we could give teams incentive to try and win the thing because they aren't going to be upping the prize money any time soon, so there's no reason to win it right now unless you're a club like Fulham with no chance whatsoever of finishing near 4th.
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    (Original post by Wilfred Little)
    It would but it's on it's last legs anyway, mark my words they'll merge both of these competitions within the next 5 years in UEFA's Grand Slam Mega Euro Super League.

    Let's be honest, teams want to win the CL over the Europa League, that's always been the case, of that there is no doubt. At least this way we could give teams incentive to try and win the thing because they aren't going to be upping the prize money any time soon, so there's no reason to win it right now unless you're a club like Fulham with no chance whatsoever of finishing near 4th.
    I have a feeling that'll happen as well, Platini gave that weird interview a few months back where he basically said they're deciding what format the competitions will take after 2015.

    I wouldn't be shocked if they eventually end up doing the 64 team Champions League, and it'll be an absolute nightmare from a fixture congestion standpoint. Back to the dark days of 99-03 where two full group stages are rammed into a calendar that features a mandatory 8 week christmas vacation. It was bad enough then, it'd be even worse now. Only bright side is more choices of euro away destinations and (hopefully) all 52 domestic champions being automatically put into the Champions League.
 
 
 
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