e.g. "the winner of this tournament a) hasn't beaten Joe or Rob, b) isn't Joe or Rob" so can't be UK champion. So what you're saying is, you're both not coming, so it's meaningless.
That's actually not what I'm saying. I'm sorry if you think that I'm the kind of person who thinks the UK foos scene should revolve around Rob and myself. I'm really not.
I'm saying that this tournaments primary function, like it or not, is to qualify players for France. There will be players that either cannot make France, or are restricted from entering the 'mens' singles and doubles categories (due to playing in another category). Assuming there has been a number of tournaments already in the year, if you are one of the better players in the country, this tournament isn't that appealing if you aren't going to France.
Fair enough. So how would we have a meaningful UKC then?
If you are asking me how would we have a meaningful UK Champion, then my first suggestion would be to award it to the winner of a tournament that is not what is currently known as 'The UKC'. Obviously right now there are not many tournaments so this is not easy, but I'm sure things will pick up again. There are too many people in the UK who love foosball to let it die completely.
I think initially the UKC winner was named UK champion because that's how it was listed in the ITSF qualified list. This is why we associate the UKC with the National Champion I think. I see no reason why we can't just rename the UKC the 'UK qualifiers' and then attach the title of UK champion to a different tournament. If its not multi table, then call it the UK (insert table name here) championships. We had a UK Tornado championship for a while, and I'm sure a UK Garlando championship also.
If you wish to continue to attach the name of UK Champion to the UKC tournament, then I suggest running a points race throughout the year (again, I'm sure tournaments will happen again soon), and then make the UKC exclusive to the top 16.
Allow players to compete in whichever events they qualify for. Example: Rob Davey makes the top 16 in the points race, he should be allowed to play in the mens events and the senior events. Make it one of the better paid tournaments for the year (don't know how much its paying out this time).
The winner then would have consistently shown throughout the year that they are one of the top players, and then beat only other top players on the day. They deserve the title of UK Champion. Whether that's Rob Atha or Will Hawkes doesn't make a blind bit of difference to me.
I can fully relate to your enthusiasm and passion for the game and the UK scene, as it wasn't long ago I was at a similar stage to you. A national champion means something to you, and it does to me to! This tournament however is not the right one to use to crown him/her.
Fair enough. So how would we have a meaningful UKC then?
If you're asking me how can we make the UKC tournament more meaningful, then I don't think you need to. It determines who qualifies for France. That's meaningful enough.
Or even in that situation, is Rob not still not UK champion because it's only been played on Garlando? Or in the (unlikely but not impossible) event a Jon May or Tom Burdett (or me - oops the dreams again) beats Rob, they're still not UK champion?
It's my belief that the title of UK Champion / National Champion should go to the best player on the table(s) played on in that country.
In Austria, they only play on Garlando so its easy to attach the title of national champion to their biggest tournament.
In the UK however, we play on numerous tables. It wouldn't matter so much that it was on Garlando only, if the other tables player bases were clearly inferior to the Garlando player base. Its not that simple though. There are some great tornado/fireball specialists, as well as Bonzini specialists. A Garlando only tournament would greatly harm the Tornado/Fireball/Bonzini specialist's chances of winning.
So in answer to your question, no. I don't think Rob should be called UK champion if he won a Garlando only tournament.
Following this line of argument a bit further, the way to decide the UK champion would then be to get Rob and Joe to play a straight first-to-five, best-of-five multi-table decider, on the first-choice tables of both players. But if both players chose Fireball (nominally the "home table" of both?), it wouldn't be multi-table so it is still meaningless?
You're clearly being silly here, but just to play along, I think it would be fine because we each would be given the choice of our home table. If the UKC had the 3 main tables available and everyone chose Garlando, then thats clearly what our best players prefer to play on. So you can make a valid claim to the winner being labelled UK champion. Its obviously not this way currently.
I get the impression you think I'm laying into the current state of the game and rubbishing everything to do with the UKC as well. I'm not. Its a thankless task running tournaments, and I greatly appreciate the work that these volunteers do for us. I think that the UKC is a fun, exciting way to decide who qualifies for France and I'm in favour of it for qualifying one of the two spots available. I am in favour of some kind of points race to determine the other spot, but I wont go into that here.
Does it mean I think the title of UK Champion holds as much value as it could, given the way its selected currently? No I don't. I would crown it differently. That's all I'm trying to say.
At the end of the day it comes down to what your perception of a UK Champion is. We clearly have different perceptions.