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Reserve teams to play in lower leagues?

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It seems that everyone wants to alter the face of football these days, with Rafa Benitez joining the list of foreign managers calling for Premiership reserve sides to feature in the lower leagues of English football.

After the debacle that is the proposal of scrapping draws, it seems that now, these foreign coaches want to alter English football further. Like Mourinho and Wenger before him, Benitez now claims that reserve teams should b put into the English league.

Across Europe, the "big" teams have their reserve teams playing in the lower domestic leagues. This is seen in Spain, France, Germany and many other European countries but not in England, and it never will be!

The idea is ludicrous. Firstly, which teams would be forced to miss out due to the introduction of a Premiership reserve side? I can`t see Torquay taking kindly to being replaced by Chelsea or Liverpool reserves. Secondly, are these teams allowed to win promotion, and if so, how long will it be until the Premiership top eight consists of the four dominant teams and their reserve sides. The Arsenal youth team has already shown what they can achieve after making it into the F.A Cup Final, playing the likes of Barnet and Darlington won`t be much of a test to them.

Benitez has argued; 'It is clear that the reserve league doesn't work. You can see youngsters playing just 18 games a season -- that is nothing. Certainly not enough for the development of these players."

'I do not see a reserve team with four or five senior players playing without passion as a useful exercise."

'Between the ages of 18 and 21, the players do not know what to do. If they are good enough at 18 they are with the first team but on the bench all the time."

'It is something that needs to change. I have been here three years and have talked to many people about this, and what I see is players who are 17 years old and cannot progress their careers.'

If Benitez wants to see his youngsters and fringe players develop further, why doesn`t he introduce them to first-team football rather than buying in over-rated foreigners? Hull City`s former winger Paul Anderson was signed by Liverpool last season after a tribunal decided the fee that should be paid. After an impressive start to his career, Anderson has disappeared into the depths of the Liverpool youth system as so many have before him.

As well as the fans, it appears Benitez`s comments have already alienated several Football League chairmen and managers. The Brighton chairman is one of several men who have spoken out on the issue;

Knight said; 'Rafa is insulting the history and the stature of the Football League,'


'It's up to the Premier League clubs and the Academy bosses to sort out a reserve league which is competitive. The current Academy system is very haphazard."

'I've got great admiration for Rafa but this idea just shows the increasing gulf between the top clubs and the lower division clubs like mine who have been around for 106 years and shouldn't have to be insulted like this."

'The fact Rafa has the gall to suggest this is the same reason clubs like his are allowed permission to move from a 45,000-seater stadium to one that holds 65,000 straight away and a club like ours doesn't have a home and has been waiting 11 years to be allowed one."

One vital difference that will halt this suggestion in its tracks is the size of England`s lower leagues. Unlike the European League, the domestic fourth and third division are much more supported than their equivalents in other European countries. Last year, the English Championship had the fifth highest average attendance across the whole of Europe, beating many top European leagues. With that in mind, any plans to implement the reserves into our lower leagues will be met with fierce opposition.

Benitez`s suggestion comes on the back of the plan to change the very way the game is played as penalty shoot-outs are being suggested to decide fixtures that end in draws. Our game works perfectly well as it is. Please stop trying to change it!

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it is a silly idea which will never and should never happen, but i think his point about the reserve league is a very good one. The amount of games they played prior to this season was not that many, but this season has been a joke. Something needs to be done to revise the reserve league, but his suggestion is a bad one.

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To be fair to Rafa (wash my mouth out) he isn't the first to suggest we implement this idea in the UK - in fact Jose also suggested it not long ago and I think other people have suggested it before as well.

I am dead against it and posted reasons why when jose suggested it - I will see if I can dig out the thread (not sure if it got pruned)

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I think it will end up happening through a bit of a backdoor method.

I think that we will end up with a handful of lower-division clubs with VERY close associations i.e. QPR, Plymouth, West Ham next season icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif etc. and end up sending all of our promising youngsters to them on loan.

Basically an expansion of what we are currently doing already.

The thing is, that it does need to be done - as the jump in quality required between reserve-team standard and Premiership-standard players is absolutely gigantic.

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I think that the general idea is good but it won't come true.

Real Madrid has this season used some players from their B team and they have been rather good. The fact that they come from a "real team" and not just a reserve team and has played against some good opponents is noticable.

I think that the reserve teams needs to play more and perhaps against better opponents. Don't know how to do it but there must be a way.

Btw. There isn't a Champions League for the reserve teams is there?

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