SWINDON Town fans reacted with almost unanimous disdain yesterday as a Football Association commission released its suggestions for Premier League B sides to be incorporated into a new division between the Football League and the Conference.
Chairman Greg Dyke held a lunchtime press conference, at which he revealed the panel’s ideas of how to reinvogorate the English national side.
A four-point plan includes “strategic loan partnerships”, a ban on non-European Union players outside the top flight and a reduction in non-homegrown players in Premier League squads.
It is the suggestion of forming a new league, effectively League Three, in which 10 Premier League B sides would initially compete against 10 Conference teams, however, which has drawn mass criticism from all circles.
On Twitter, Swindon supporters were vociferous in their condemnation of the plans.
Alex Cooke wrote: “Three sensible points, ruined by one destructive, short-term one. Big club avarice created the problem, small clubs being punished.”
Joe Fields pointed to the lack of English coaches as a major problem, writing: “Spain doesnt have a great international team cause they use B teams, its cause they have 25,000-plus more trained coaches than us.
“It’s a system built for teams in the top six. Complete idiots. Just invest more in grass roots football.”
Interestingly, the cost of acquiring a UEFA A licence in England, at around £3,000, is much more expensive than in Spain or Germany, where the fees equate to below £1,000.
Chris Rowe brought up the example of Alex Pritchard at Town this season, suggesting that young Premier League starlets will not develop quickly enough at a Conference level, while loan arrangements with Football League clubs give them a much better platform.
Rowe wrote: “Would love to have seen the exposure Pritchard would’ve got playing for Spurs B team. I’m guessing not so much.”
Chris Barsby wrote: “Can see the idea and agree about the need for English players, but this isn’t the way to do it.”