Rob Fielding says a statement about youth development from the Football League is hypocritical…
Rob Fielding writes…
The latest statement from Football League bosses could hardly have been more poorly timed.
The latest statement from Football League bosses could hardly have been more poorly timed…
It came just 24 hours after another controversial round of Checkatrade Trophy clashes with poor attendances and hostility to the presence of top-flight Academy teams in what had previously been a tournament purely for Football League clubs. But what made the Football League statement even worse was the the sanctions potentially awaiting League Two side Luton Town.
The statement contained the usual grandiose promises – including plans to inject a £2.25million financial incentive into the Football League pyramid to encourage the 72 member clubs to place more of a focus on young, homegrown talent.
Yes, the Football League are offering member clubs a total sum of £750,000 per season for the next three years as a direct reward for taking talented youngsters from their own Academies and progressing them through into their first team.
The statement also directly referenced the Checkatrade Trophy claimed that it “has provided an opportunity for over 200 under-21 players to be involved in competitive football.”
That’s all well and good but what about Luton Town? Manager Nathan Jones made eleven changes to his side for their Checkatrade game against West Brom B – with eight of the Luton starting eleven being under the age of 21.
Surely the Football League would applaud the “opportunity” for so many Luton youngsters to be involved in the Checkatrade Trophy? Sadly, far from it. Football League clubs are only allowed to make six changes from their previous matchday squad and Luton now face a fine – simply for putting their faith in youth.