We're on our way to Accrington

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The Independent Online
I SOMETIMES get letters from confused readers who can't remember the differences between the many football trophies now being competed for. 'My local team,' writes one correspondent, 'recently won the first leg of their second-round match in the Colt 45 Volvo Conference Anglo-Italian League Cup. I'd like to know whether to celebrate or be indifferent. Or perhaps even to hope that they lose the second leg and get out of what may be an unimportant sideshow so they can go for the cup and league double.'

Well, in fact, that particular trophy is a fairly unimportant one, as it is not even watched by a live audience (its matches go out on closed circuit to Scandinavian TV audiences only). But it does serve as an example of the confusion which the authorities have allowed to come about. So here, for that reader and others like him, is a cut-out-and- stick-up checklist of all the main new football trophies which you may have to deal with.

European Cup Losers' Cup

Open to all teams that lost in the final of their own national cup competition. It is the only competition in which the losing finalists from the previous year qualify automatically, but the winners do not.

The European Vase

Open to all those teams who were at the top of their country's Premier League until midwinter last season, then fell away disappointingly in the last few months to finish mid-table. 'Well, at least we've got the Vase to look forward to before we start rebuilding for next season,' is what their managers usually say, but it convinces nobody.

The XXXXXXXX Trophy

Not, as you might think, a trophy endowed by a couple of Australian lager firms, but a football trophy organised by the big pools companies, in which the points gained by the teams are the same as those awarded to pools entrants - in other words, a score draw scores higher than a win. In the event of a draw, both teams go through to the next round. An interesting idea which has not yet been fully worked out.

The Scrumpy Cup

Open to all West Country teams not qualifying for any other cup, and that usually means all West Country teams.

The European Fruit Cup

One of the few breakthroughs of unisex football on the European scene, this competition is open only to gay teams. It is almost always won by Sporting Nancy or Gay Anorak FC.

The League Memorial Cup

This is for all teams that used to be in the Football League but have been either relegated or made bankrupt or both. It is usually won in convincing fashion by Accrington Stanley (Old Boys).

Skol/Coca-Cola Cup

A new Anglo-Scottish cup designed to increase the popularity of mixing lager 50/50 with cola. A hopeful replacement for last year's Snakebite Trophy, which, somewhat disastrously, tried to popularise the mixing of lager and scrumpy and led to many sendings off.

The Anglo-Sicilian Cup

An attempt to get international experience for lower division teams who normally do not travel outside their own league and, indeed, normally do not have 11 fit men come Saturday. The peculiarity of the Anglo-Sicilian Cup is that all the English teams play one another, and all the Sicilian teams play one another, but they never seem to get to meet each other, not even in the final.

The World Boxing Association

Heavyweight Soccer

Championship

An unfortunate attempt by one of the American boxing syndicates to get in on the act. They only recognise American teams on their payrolls, so the current world soccer champion club, according to them, is Brooklyn Albion. Brooklyn Albion are not recognised as world champions by anyone else, or indeed as a football team by anyone else.

The Maastricht Cup

A cup for the few European teams which have not qualified for any other cup.

The Manager-of-the-Month

Poisoned Chalice

A sudden-death cup in which the losing manager in each round has to resign.

The European Spoon

Open to teams banned from all other competitions.

The Booker Cup

Awarded to the match which, in the opinion of the judges, has shown the most thoughtful invention, the most interesting character development and the most stylishness. It is almost invariably given to some interminable foreign match.

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