12 June 2014

Five ideas better than Greg Dyke's League Three proposals

According to FA Chairman Greg Dyke and his in-house philosopher Danny Mills, the purpose of every single football match in the whole country should be to help make the England team better. 

To that end they've proposed that Premier League B teams should be able to compete in the Football League – initially in a new League Three – as a way of nurturing English talent. 

Not to be outdone, the Football League themselves have come up with a plan to turn the Johnstone's Paint Trophy into a sort of Poundland version of the Champions League in which Premier League B teams can also compete.

I've already gone on a massive rant about why the FA's plan is both bonkers and dangerous. But then I figured: it's not fair of me to slag off their proposals if I can't come up with any alternatives myself.

Here are five ideas then, that will better help nurture English footballing talent:

1. The England's Got Talent League
Ask yourself this: who is the country’s leading visionary when it comes to developing talent? That’s right: Simon Cowell. So why not take a leaf out of the reality show impresario’s book when it come to building a national team of the future. In the England’s Got Talent League, then, matches are not decided by goals scored, but rather through the votes of a panel made up of the country’s brightest football brains - let’s say Danny Dyer, Rochelle from the Saturdays and Steve Claridge. Only the best players are allowed to proceed to next week’s fixtures. 
2. The Supernanny League One reason England always fail at major tournaments - apart from the fact all the other teams are better than us - is that our best players are either serving bans or getting sent off. The Supernanny League attempts to instil the required discipline in our squad of the future by replacing the referee with renowned TV child-minder Jo Frost. Under her authority, fouls, violent conduct, tantrums and bad language would be punished not with yellow or red cards, but by a visit to the naughty step.

3. The Ultimate Penalty Shootout League
Think about it: 1990, 1996, 1998, 2004, 2006, 2012… England almost always exit major tournaments by way of a penalty shoot-out. To address this, then, the Ultimate Penalty Shoot-Out League dispenses with all the boring passing and tackling stuff that typically makes up the first 90 minutes of a football match and instead gives each team 100 penalties. Imagine the tension when Hull City B need to score their final penalty to beat Aston Villa B on a bone-cold night at the KC Stadium.

4. The Pro-Celebrity League
England players need to perform on a world stage, in front of huge crowds and massive TV audiences. What better way to prepare our young talent, then, than to allow them to play alongside the celebrity supporters of their respective clubs? By insisting five of the 11 players in each Premier League B team are famous fans, you'd guarantee big audiences and highly-competitive football. Who wouldn't pay, for example, to watch Katy Perry try to dispossess Craig David when West Ham B take on Southampton B? Anyone? Anyone...? 

5. The Bonding League
It’s not just because England players cannot master even the most basic principles of passing and possession that we always fail at major tournaments. It’s also because the squad is riddled with the sort of in-fighting, squabbles and vendettas that always occur when Premier League players have to spend more than 10 minutes in each other’s company. To address this, then, the Bonding League dispenses with the football and instead asks the home side to invite their opponents to an evening of local culture at a venue of their choice. Imagine the friendships that could form, for example, when Stoke City B invite Crystal Palace B to a pottery-making class at a Staffordshire craft centre.


  1. 6) England team selection done Eurovision style (with optional week in the jungle to assess character/wussiness/fragility)

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