The Football Association Commission today revealed their plans to boost English football. One of their points was to introduce the creation of a new tier within the Football League to accommodate Premier League B teams.
What a farce that would be for everyone involved. The panel are trying to boost the amount of home grown players coming through Premier League teams so that the national team manager has a wider net to choose from playing at the top level. Just 32% of starters in the Premier League last season qualified to play for England. Obviously there is a problem, and that problem lies within the Premier League. So therefore, why punish the Football League and the Non League?
The proposal would see a new League Three being established in 2016-17, made up of 10 Premier League B teams and 10 Conference sides.
The B team squads would require 20 out of 25 players to qualify for the home-grown rule and no non-EU players would be allowed. Nineteen players would have to be under 21.
However most clubs in the Premier League already use the loan system to their advantage, loaning out some of their younger players to Football League clubs. Many clubs in the Championship have English Premier League players on loan and they can develop their skills at a very competitive level.
Nick Powell has thrived at Wigan Athletic, Jesse Lingard has had great spells at Birmingham City and Brighton & Hove Albion, and in League One Declan Rudd has gained valuable experience from playing in every league match for Preston North End this season.
Would they gain more experience from playing in a new League Three? The FA seems to think so, but playing at that level is hardly going to turn youngsters into international superstars. It is already hard enough even with loan spells in the second tier and even in the top flight.
Take Josh McEachran and Nathaniel Chalobah for example. McEachran was once highly rated by Chelsea and in the 2010-2011 season he made nine Premier League appearances for the club. Since then he has played just twice. He has had loan spells at Swansea City in the Premier League and Watford, Middlesbrough, and Wigan Athletic in the Championship. Is he any nearer the first team at Stamford Bridge? Not at all, because Chelsea will carry on buying players in such as Nemanja Matic.
Playing in League Three at a much lower standard than the Championship isn't going to give McEachran a better chance. Chalobah has played for Watford, Nottingham Forest and Middlesbrough in the Championship and has become key players for them. The experience at that level is great, due to the competitiveness of the league and he is also playing in front of large crowds.
However playing against '10 Conference clubs' would hinder his progress surely? These 10 sides will also be playing for much different reasons compared to the Premier League B sides. Bury 'keeper Reice Charles-Cook hit the nail on the head with his tweet today.
Playing against a man who has to put food on the table for his wife and kids, is no joke.— Cookie (@MrReiceCook) May 8, 2014
Charles-Cook used to be on the books at Arsenal and will know all too well that there is a huge difference between the level of football, and it would be a huge shock to Under-21 players.
Non-League football is tough and you can't possibly compare it to the current Under 21's league. John Still's Luton Town side that have just stormed to the Conference title would be a tough match for a bunch of Premier League kids. You have to work extremely hard at that level, and it would be unfair for a team like Luton to be suddenly paired with some B' teams.
Clubs at that level want to carry on progressing up the Football League ladder, and placing another tier in the pyramid isn't helping them at all. All the Non-League club's would now have to negotiate an extra league before they can enter the real Football League level.
Look at teams like Yeovil Town, Crawley Town, Doncaster Rovers and Fleetwood Town who have all come from obscurity to mixing it with the best of them. Non League club's and players find it hard to make it professional and this would make it even harder. Sticking B teams down there would be unfair. Conference would want to play other real clubs fighting for everything, not some overpaid youngsters who arrive to the game in their Ferrari's.
Not many people would attend the 'home' fixtures for the B teams because they will be focusing on the first team. It would just have a friendly-type atmosphere to the game, which the Conference and League Two clubs deserve more than that.
The decision shows a total lack of respect for the Football League and Non-League, and there isn't a chance it would help England achieve their goal of winning the 2022 World Cup.