Thursday, 8 May 2014


The FA's proposal to introduce "B sides", for teams currently residing in the Premier League is quite simply ridiculous. The league, currently ear-marked for introduction in 2016, would see ten Premier League sides develop "B sides", which would then go on to compete in a newly formed "League Three", between the Conference and League Two alongside ten Conference clubs. Understandably there has already been vehement opposition to the decision from large sections of the English game, specifically those involved towards the bottom end of the Football League. 

There are many, extensive reasons as to why this proposal is totally ludicrous. The fact it has been put forward based on no fan representation on the FA Commission, the fact it has "worked" in Spain so it must surely work here, and most importantly the fact that the lower leagues have been totally disregarded in favour of supporting Premier League clubs, and England we're supposed to believe. The introduction of B sides would be a disaster for English football and its heritage. We, as a nation, are the envy of the world for our approach to club football and the football pyramid. To destroy that would be a disgrace, and one that simply isn't worth it for the estimated prospects of the England team.

The main impact of course, as always, would fall on the shoulders of the lower leagues. League One, League Two, the Conference and beyond would all suffer beyond doubt. Attendances would drop, fan interest would die and ultimately it is not totally ridiculous to suggest that some clubs would cease to exist.  Did Morecambe supporters wait 87 years to get into the Football League to face Stoke City B? Did AFC Wimbledon fans reform and achieve five promotions in eight seasons in order to take on Aston Villa B? Did Carlisle complete that famous final day escape from relegation to the Conference so their supporters could have a local derby with Sunderland B? The answer is clear, and if the FA let this happen, it would surely be a dereliction of their duty to English football to let such a change go through.

Quite simply, League One, Two and the Conference would become devalued. What happens if six 'B' sides fill up the six promotion and play-off spots in League One? They can't go up to the Championship, so surely lower league football has no point in this new system? We will become a reserve league for the bigwigs to try out their young talent. The Elite Player Performance Plan, incited by the Premier League, already attempts to hoover up the best young English talent and stockpile it for the future. Despite some of the arguably benefits it brings, clubs are effectively cheated out of transfer fees by bigger, more powerful clubs. EPPP in conjunction with "B sides", would simply repeat the cycle of players going on loan to lower league clubs, by sending them to their first teams B side. 

Unsurprisingly the football clubs that this change would undoubtedly benefit are the Premier League bigwigs. Your Manchester United's, your Liverpool's, your Arsenal's and even Stoke City would you believe. The fact that a club such as Stoke supports it, a club that were in League One as recently as 2002, really is a travesty. The FA seemingly have no idea of what our local clubs mean to us. While Premier League clubs have become globalised, so many football clubs towards the bottom end remain at the heart of the community. The introduction of 'B' sides would destroy that completely. The organisation that claims to protect our clubs, is now threatening to kill them off. 

If the FA wants talent to develop, restrict the number of youngsters allowed at Premier League academies, don't punish us honest football fans for supporting our local clubs. So many players have been lost down the years due to the stockpiling of players, from John Bostock to Nick Powell, the latter of whom would arguably have developed further by remaining at Crewe rather than joining and stagnating in his first year at Manchester United. 

What's more, the FA intend to advise the Premier League to give lower league clubs "back-handers", for use of a better term, to accept the proposed changes. If the whole situation didn't stink of desperation and elitist views beforehand, it certainly does now.

We are the foundation of football Mr Dyke, and while this may be something of a ramble given my absolute disgust at your proposals, lower league clubs and lower league supporters do not deserve this. We are the lifeblood of the English game, and we do not deserve to be treated like this. If this is what is required for England to be successful, then quite frankly, the FA can shove it.

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  1. Agree with every word. Hopefully the FA will listen to the supporters of the other 72 league clubs


  3. I stopped at the second paragraph. English club football the envy of the World? Jesus, the World doesn't care how strong our third tier is compared to theirs, when they are busy laughing at our terrible national side.

  4. Envy of the world in terms of the league pyramid and how it's structured. Not necessarily the quality of our sides, but the structuring of our system and the way it functions alongside the clubs within it.

  5. A better solution to help the national team would be to stop the foreign imports that deny local talent a chance.