The system is leaving players behind

The system is leaving players behind

The system is leaving players behind

First published in Sport Worcester News: Photograph of the Author by

AS both a fan of and reporter on lower league football, the contempt Greg Dyke's FA commission has shown for those not at the top table is quite staggering.

By suggesting a new tier is crow-barred in between League Two and the Conference to accommodate Premier League 'B' teams, Dyke is sticking two fingers up at all concerned.

He is running rough-shod over years of tradition without a moment's thought for how his grand plan to increase the number of English players in the Premier League would impact further down the pyramid. Assuming he even cares.

Why would Kidderminster Harriers, for example, be happy with effective relegation if they weren't among the 10 Conference clubs chosen to join the 'B' teams in this new division.

Why would they want to play the equivalent of Arsenal's youth team every week if they were selected?

Come to that, why would Arsenal's reserves want to play Harriers if they have aspirations of playing at the highest level?

What would happen to the 14 Conference teams left over and those in the leagues below, like Worcester City? The whole non-league structure would need to be revamped.

Dyke's lofty endgame is for England to win the World Cup in 2022.

Yet he, and the rest of the commission, have spectacularly missed the point.

While everyone is in agreement that the numbers of English players in the top-flight are down, it is not the main reason for under-achievement at international level.

In 1994, there was almost double the amount of English players in the Premier League and we didn't even qualify for the World Cup.

The best players will always come to the fore, English or otherwise.

It is the system in this country that is holding them back - a bit like in tennis. Spain have almost 10 times the amount of UEFA qualified coaches than we do.

The answer is to make those courses more accessible and affordable and invest in grassroots facilities, such as 3G pitches, for juniors.

Dyke should start with that before meddling with something that works perfectly well.

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