Kevin Bell: I won't be bothered when Sunderland are knocked out of Checkatrade Trophy

I think it fair to say the public response to the Checkatrade Trophy has been mixed.

Wednesday, 14th September 2016, 1:39 pm
Updated Thursday, 15th September 2016, 3:37 pm

Attendances alone would suggest the competition, like Harry Kane eating a bowl of cereal, is not something any of us want to see.

Chief among a host concerns about the decision to parachute in Premier League and Championship Academy teams is that the choice to do so is a means to smooth the way for academy teams to compete in the league in the future.

In order to stop holding my nose about the trophy I have turned to Venables for help.

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Bernard Venables, author of the classic Mr Crabtree fishing books, had a theory about catching fish which is equally applicable to a football club’s pursuit of silverware.

Venables said that there were three stages to an angler’s evolution.

Initially you just want to catch a fish - any fish. This accomplished regularly, you then want to catch a big fish. This waypoint met, you finally reach a point where it’s the style of the catch that counts.

Barcelona is, probably, the only club so successful that they have reached the third stage of Venables’ theory and how they win a trophy is an issue.

Sunderland, for most of my time as a supporter, have not so much been stuck at stage one desperate to catch any fish as absent-mindedly dragging some fluorescent mesh attached to the end of a cane through a municipal boating lake.

When Cup success is so rare I even still recall how thrilled I was when the club won the 1979 Daily Express 5-a-side trophy, best Sportsnight ever.

The Checkatrade Trophy is a welcome opportunity to participate in a competition which should not impinge on the task of performing in the Premier League.

I will, like everyone else, still swear I wasn’t really bothered anyway when Sunderland is knocked out.