Mickey Mouse cup

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"Mickey Mouse Cup" is a subjective term used in football, particularly in English football, to negatively describe a cup, league, or other competition as being of a lower standard, importance or significance to a football club or manager relative to other competitions.[1][2] The term was first coined by fans of Manchester United as a way of disparaging their rivals Liverpool's achievements and success in the League Cup. The term has been applied to lesser Confederation competitions such as the UEFA Super Cup.[2][3] "Mickey Mouser" itself originated as rhyming slang for Scouser, a person from Liverpool.

The English Football League Cup is often referred to as the "Mickey Mouse Cup" by larger Premier League clubs.[4] The perception of a cup as "Mickey Mouse" may not be universal, since smaller and lower standard competitions give a chance for lower league clubs to win silverware, and additionally gain extra revenue from playing a much larger club.[4]

Often, a club that perceives a competition as a "Mickey Mouse Cup" – usually a stronger Premier League side – will field a weakened, reserve or youth team in the competition, resting more high-profile players and further weakening the perception of the competition.[5] However, this often has the effect of giving chances to play to developing players, who may progress into the first team.[6]

The term may also be applied to a competition to intentionally disparage the winning of it by a rival side, or to minimize the importance of the competition to a club if knocked out. This may be done as part of a mind game with rival clubs in other competitions, or for reasons to maintain team morale.[7][8]

Since 2010, the term has been used as a nickname for the Walt Disney World Pro Soccer Classic, a preseason tournament played by teams in the Major League Soccer, a league that itself has been called a "Mickey Mouse League".[9][10]

Other uses[edit]

The terms Mickey Mouse Treble and Mickey Mouse Double have been used subjectively to disparage the winning of what are perceived as multiple lesser trophies by larger clubs in a single season, in comparison to the European treble and the Double. Such terms are usually applied by a rival club. The term 'Mickey Mouse Treble' along with 'plastic treble'[11] has been used by fans of Manchester United to describe Liverpool's 2001 win of the Football League Cup, UEFA Cup and FA Cup, compared to United's win of the Premier League, FA Cup and UEFA Champions League in 1999.[12]

The term has also been used to undermine football referees. After a questionable decision by an official in a Newcastle United match, manager Joe Kinnear reacted by criticising the quality of refereeing, saying: "It was a blatant foul, a blatant push prior to the penalty, and he ignores it...it was just a Mickey Mouse ref doing nothing."[13]

In recent years the term has also become popular amongst Australian Football League fans when referring to the fruitless and seldom taken seriously NAB Cup.


  1. ^ Collins, Roy (2000-03-20). "Home and away: a tale of the divide between rich and poor". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2008-11-08. 
  2. ^ a b "Wenger breakaway threat". London: The Times. 2003-01-05. Retrieved 2008-11-08. 
  3. ^ "Edwards derides 'no win' situation". BBC. 1999-06-28. Retrieved 2008-11-10. 
  4. ^ a b Dale, Michael (2008-09-24). "League Cup: Blackburn vs. Everton Preview". Daily Mirror. Retrieved 2008-11-08. 
  5. ^ Reade, Brian (2004-10-30). "Sorry Kev should just walk away ...While he can cling to his sanity". Daily Mirror. Retrieved 2008-11-08. 
  6. ^ Reade, Brian (2004-11-13). "Big two should stop their mind games and start worrying about Chelsea". Daily Mirror. Retrieved 2008-11-08. 
  7. ^ Tyldesley, Clive (2003-02-28). "League Cup takes its chance to shine". London: The Times. Retrieved 2008-11-08. 
  8. ^ Maddock, David (2006-02-20). "Fading Alex Cup". Daily Mirror. Retrieved 2008-11-08. 
  9. ^ http://www.wakingthered.com/2013/2/22/4018924/torsten-frings-to-say-farewell
  10. ^ http://gay4soccer.wordpress.com/2012/02/14/a-mickey-mouse-cup-disney-soccer-classic-preview/
  11. ^ Smith, Rory (2009-12-09). "Michael Owen: career highs and lows". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 2010-05-12. 
  12. ^ Winter, Henry (2002-01-22). "Liverpool's spirits lifted by Murphy". London: The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2008-11-08. 
  13. ^ Fifield, Dominic (2008-11-10). "Kinnear rant at referee trashes respect agenda". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2008-11-10.