New format will see academy teams competing against League clubs
15 June ~ Last Friday the Football League voted to include Premier League under-21 teams into the Football League Trophy. The competitions new, expanded format, which has been announced just a few weeks after the League suggested they needed to cut fixture congestion, will begin with a group stage and include 16 category one academy sides alongside the usual clubs from League One and Two. It will initially be trialled for one season, but the change hasn’t gone down well with fans, who were not consulted on the new format.
Peter Anderson, of Grimsby Town fanzine Cod Almighty, has urged supporters to resist the move. “Boycotting the team that you support is a drastic, and to some unpalatable, step to take. It must be done in the case of the B team fixtures,” he wrote, before going on: “B teams playing against Football League sides is supposed to relieve bottlenecks in player development. But that is a problem of the Premier League’s own making. Chelsea’s astonishing 82-player retained list is indicative of the stockpiling that the clubs are guilty of. Rather than deal with the problem themselves with sensible limits on squad numbers, they are looking for help from the very organisation that they wish to destroy.”