SWANNY'S WORLD OF SPORT: No-one cares about football fans
Fans' views don't matter. That much is obvious from the changes to the Football League Trophy.
I haven’t yet encountered a supporter who is thrilled at the prospect of playing Chelsea Under 21s. Even if the match took place at Stamford Bridge, which it won’t.
Even the officials at clubs, who voted in favour of the changes, who I’ve spoken to, have defended their decision in a half-hearted, lukewarm fashion. I suspect they’ve chosen the lesser of two evils .
The Football League Trophy is unloved unless you get to the final at Wembley. It’s played out in front of tiny crowds, despite generous admission price reductions, which rather proves the apathy fans feel towards it.
The decision to add more of such games to the schedule seems rather ludicrous. This should be remembered if any clubs in Leagues One and Two start moaning about fixture congestion late in next season.
Anyone who seriously believes attendances will improve just by throwing a few famous club names into the competition is either deluded or fibbing.
The changes are about money for the lower division clubs and about Premier League clubs testing the water for their ambition to sneak B teams into the Football League.
They’ll deny it of course, but if the Premier League offer enough money to cash-strapped lower division clubs, it will happen soon enough.
The Premier League are an organisation used to getting their own way. And they are rich enough to make sure things happen in their favour.
It’s a sad state of affairs, but the truth. They’ll effectively bribe their way into the Football League.
A fans’ boycott of matches involving Premier League teams in the new Football League Trophy would be great.
It shouldn’t be hard to get motivated as the new format is full of flaws.
Two teams from each of 16 groups of four will qualify for the knockout stages.
So what happens if the last fixture in the group is between two teams who can’t qualify? Will it be called off? It should be as the worst home attendance for a competitive match in Posh history is 279 for a Freight Rover Trophy - a forerunner of the Football League trophy - match against Aldershot in 1986.
That was a game the League insisted took place even though both teams had been knocked out and the rest of the competition had almost been completed!
I accept the need to try and refresh the Trophy and it would be a great shame if the easiest route to Wembley for the likes of Posh was cut off, but I’d be in favour of scrapping it rather than filling it up with Premier League kids.
I suspect top-flight clubs have woken up to the fact that Under 21 matches against each other are of no real value to their young players. There appears to be a no-contact, no-tackling pact in those games.
Stepping into the Football League against rough, tough experienced professionals is a real eye-opener as the likes of Kenny McEvoy found out at Posh.