WarI remember the 2013 Johnstone’s Paint Trophy well. The sun-soaked green of the Wembley turf, the clear blue skies, the buoyancy of hope in my heart and the gurgles of anxiety in my bottom. I remember the huge bank of Southend supporters, and the smaller, but noisy, enthusiastic and ultimately jubilant section of Crewe fans. But I guess I remember most of all thinking that it would all be so much better if we weren’t playing Crewe, with their pride and their history and their passion. I remember thinking that I’d much rather be playing the Chelsea development squad.
Now it seems that those childhood dreams of watching my team go into battle against eleven teenage reserve players could finally be realised. The Premier League is reported to be in negotiations with the Football League as they seek to drop up to 16 U21 teams into the competition next season. And why not? We’ve been too slow to tackle the menace of smaller clubs enjoying an unforgettable day at Wembley.
I've written here before about the plight of the lower league clubs and the onslaught they’ve faced in recent years. It’s the same old charge sheet. First the big clubs came for the shared gate receipts. Then they came for the TV money. Then they came for our young players. Then they came for our league places. We thought that was it. We didn’t think we had anything else they could take. We didn’t even consider that they might want our modest little lower league cup competition too.
Warning contains strong language
Read more: http://thesetpieces.com/features/7692/#ixzz43eQlwxIS
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