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The pros and cons of Manchester United ending up in the Europa League

The Europa League is where Manchester United look increasingly likely to end up thanks to the hopeless travails of Tim Sherwood and his merry band. Is it what we should be hoping for?

Dean Mouhtaropoulos


It's a nothing tournament

The Europa League? That's for your Tottenhams, your Evertons. Blackburn Rovers versus Panathinaikos, a new fresh hell sent to taunt us in the post-Fergie era. It's not for Manchester United, where we'll only be embarrassed to haul ourselves through a series of games where we gain no glory if we win and gain plenty of shame if we don't. We shouldn't concern ourselves with this nonsense.

League form

As Liverpool can attest, no European distractions can greatly aid us in our league campaign for next year, perhaps enough to mount a serious title challenge from the off. It's certainly not worth sacrificing that for the chance to hold aloft a competition that carries about as much prestige as a restraining order from Rachel Riley.

We might be tempted to keep the dross

Tom Cleverley for ten million, you say, Roberto? Hmm... nah, we need the numbers for the two legs against Lyon, we'll keep hold of him.


European aways

A European away is a European away, and the football is only a small part of that. There are some great cities in the Europa League that the Champions League simply can't offer. Vienna, Prague, Sofia, Bucharest, Aberdeen, Lyon, Montpellier, Florence, and rather oddly, but such are the barbarous ways of our epoch, Milan are all exotic locales we could get to visit that we wouldn't ordinarily have the chance to. We might also end up in Dnipropetrovsk, or one of the many romantic flat-pack stadia named after energy companies in a soulless Ruhrland urban sprawl that make up about 90% of the greatest league in the world, but that's why god invented hooligans.

Think of the children

While we might keep some dross, we might also be less tempted to farm out the likes of Nick Powell, Wilfried Zaha, Jesse Lingard, James Wilson, Will Keane, Michael Keane, Andreas Pereira, Tom Thorpe, and so on and so on. It could be a fascinating opportunity for the youth to get a proper go of life at United, as they sit on the bench watching plainly inferior players get picked ahead of them to go in the shop window for January.

The alternative

If we don't qualify for European competition, the Glazers are allegedly planning a series of mid-season European friendlies, the prospect of which should fill any man with horror and dread. They possess none of the pros here, all of the cons, and have the added bonus of being a series of soulless, commercialised affairs built specifically to line the Glazers pockets. Moreso than a normal Manchester United game, yes. We believe that's what's known as 'the clincher.'

VERDICT: Come to us, Braga, Vitesse, Aberdeen and Trabzonspor. We long to feel your sweet embrace.