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Super Cup Heartbreak – Why can’t Manchester United win this prize?

It is 26 years since Manchester United held the UEFA Super Cup, and defeat on Tuesday means this record continues. How important a trophy is this? The biggest in football as it’s so hard to qualify for? Or is just a glorified European Community Shield?

The main problem with this trophy is that it’s not been taken seriously over the years and at the time of year that it’s contested. Often viewed as a pain as Managers who seek to prepare for the coming season. Why it’s a problem, is that although it carries a “flaky/not that bothered” feel at the time, it looks great on the Roll of Honours afterwards. I can scarcely remember the 1991 Super Cup which should come as no surprise, as even though it was held at Old Trafford, it attracted a meagre attendance of 22,000 and due to the opposition’s (Red Star Belgrade) political/war-torn problems at the time meant that rather than been played as a two-legged home and away fair, as it was supposed to be at the time, it was a single match at Old Trafford, which meant that Manchester United were granted home advantage. However, the fact it’s a trophy we’ve won is vital if you want to be considered one of the best clubs in the World. There should be more than one silhouette of that trophy on the honours list and it’s disappointing to have missed a good chance to add to that earlier this week.

Teams don’t always know what importance to attach to these competitions which are dreamed up by UEFA and FIFA in the hope of striking gold with a big and exciting new tournament. They can simply be viewed as little more than Exhibition matches at best or just half-baked ideas. Take the controversial World Club Cup of 2000. Manchester United jetted off to Brazil to take part in what transpired to be a “Mickey Mouse” tournament which only really succeeded in devaluing the FA Cup after Manchester United took the scandalous decision to not defend the 1999 FA Cup in order to participate in what turned out to be a competition which never took off, let alone gained any prestige and under pressure from a Government who was led to believe that the inclusion of glamorous Manchester United would create a positive impression in trying to secure hosting of a World Cup on British shores.

It was a decision which, if given again would surely have precipitated a different choice. Hindsight is 20/20 though.

So in summary, no-one really knows which UEFA and FIFA contests will go on to be important honours or simple showpiece matches. The Super Cup has actually, through the recent course of history become a valuable bauble, so the best antidote to missing out this year is simple. Go and win the Champions League this season and lift the Super Cup as Champions League Holders next season. That’s an outcome that will please every Manchester United supporter, Exhibition match or not!

Written by Paul Young

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