Is it ever right to root against your team? That must be the question nagging many Foxes fan’s thoughts. Does the greater good apply? Should we hope for a post-match interview from Nigel Pearson featuring the time old cliché “concentrate on the League”?
Lacking any true credentials, the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy demands respect, literally. Each team must field at least 6 regular first team players in its starting line-up, no exceptions. It’s the kind of rule which conveys exactly the opposite of what the Football League hopes to project. Instead of creating a tournament of willing contenders, we have a competition of coerced clubs. It is a distraction few fans want and even fewer attend. Unsurprisingly, no broadcaster has seen fit to buy TV rights for anything but the final.
Below is a list of finals Football League Trophy Finals in the 21st Century with the final league positions of the finalists.
1999/00 – Stoke City (6th L1) vs Bristol City (9th L1)
2000/01 – Port Vale (11th L1) vs Brentford (14th L1)
2001/02 – Blackpool (15th L1) vs Cambridge Utd (24th L1)
2002/03 – Bristol City (3rd L1) vs Carlisle Utd (22nd L2)
2003/04 – Blackpool (14th L1) vs Southend Utd (17th L2)
2004/05 – Wrexham (22nd L1) vs Southend Utd (4th L2)
2005/06 – Swansea City (6th L1) vs Carlisle Utd (1st L1)
2006/07 – Doncaster Rovers (11th L1) vs Bristol Rovers (6th L2)
2007/08 – MK Dons (1st L2) vs Grimsby Town (16th L2)
No finalist in the Football League Trophy has been promoted to the Championship this century.
Defeat is an option, in fact it is the option. It might be the only time City fans can hedge their bets by backing Leicester.
Hartlepool – 2/1 (Totesport)
Draw – 12/5 (Bet365)
Leicester – 13/10 (William Hill)