Let’s jazz up the Carabao Cup!

Andy Dawson gives us his best ways to jazz up the nation's favourite cup. And you're going to love it.


Aside from West Ham’s eye-popping Wembley comeback, this week’s Carabao Cup offerings have been very thin gruel indeed (and don’t tell me you were genuinely stunned by Crystal Palace getting battered at Bristol City – no one was).

I tried my best with Channel 5’s highlights last night, but once Swansea v Manchester United loomed into view,

I strayed over to Challenge for their late-night quadruple bill of Bullseye repeats. No guilt whatsoever. You’d have done the same.

It’s time to rework the cup and so, fuelled by five cans of Carabao (turns out it ISN’T an engine oil after all), I knocked out a blueprint for a brilliant future for it…


Of the eight teams left in the competition this season, four of them are in the top five of the Premier League right now, and it would have been five out of five if Spurs hadn’t self-destructed against West Ham.

What do those four teams have in common? They all got to skip the second round because of their European commitments. Fuck this, frankly. What does it say about us as a nation if we meekly tug our forelocks at the sides that are raking in SQUILLIONS OF QUIDS in the Champions League, saying to them ‘here, have an advantage in this other, lesser competition that we’re running back in England.’

In whose interests is it that these cash-hoovering behemoths get the red carpet treatment in a cup that they’ve got very little interest in?

They all put a second string out anyway so it’s time to get them reinstated in the second round and see how well their kids fare in a draw that is already biased in their favour by being seeded. Manchester City, Chelsea and Spurs have all entered their under-21s in the Checkatrade Trophy so let them have a go against teams of a similar standing in round two of the Carabao.

And if they get knocked out… GOOD. European football is a decent consolation prize for them, to be fair.


Bear with me because I’m not sure this makes sense as I’m typing it. Keep the draw a secret – just tell a team if they’re home or away but not who they’ll be playing against. If away, no travelling fans are allowed, sorry.

On match day, the away team has to travel on a bus with blacked-out windows, with no idea where they’re headed or who they’re playing. Similarly, the home team have got no idea who is turning up on the night. Managers pick their best XI and hope it’ll be Southend rather than Manchester United who are coming.

Imagine the excitement as you sit in your seat ahead of kick off, with rumours about who your opponent might be buzzing in the air – and the rush of adrenaline as their identity is announced only as they come out of the tunnel on to the pitch.

It’d be utter chaos and if there’s one thing football (and indeed, life) in 2017 needs more of, it’s utter chaos.


Not only was the quarter final draw hampered by technical difficulties, it was also marred by the inexplicable inclusion of a rugby player and a cricketer, both long since retired. It’s time to rethink the latter stages of the draw – just get a pair of horses in a field, paint the numbers on some apples and get the horses to pull the apples out of a trough.

Better or worse than getting Donald Trump to do the draw in 1991? Exactly…


For the 60th anniversary of the EFL Cup in 2020, penalty shoot-outs should be scrapped and drawn matches should be decided by a drink-off between the two opposing managers. But which drink?

Why, a blended concoction of all the competition’s previous sponsors of course. Milk, Coca-Cola, assorted beers and lovely, lovely Carabao all mixed in together and served up in a pint glass. First boss to down the lot goes through to the next round. Spewing up afterwards means instant disqualification. If he’s still managing, place your bets on Sam Allardyce…


I don’t know how feasible this is, but after her glorious stage-fail this week, I’ve decided that there’s no occasion that can’t be enhanced with the sight of Gemma Collins falling down a hole.

I’m just an ideas man – someone else can make this one a reality…

Ooh Ahh Carabao! See the latest odds on PaddyPower.com

What do you think?