B team plans could have negative impact on lower leagues, says Ian Ladyman

But Neil Custis is an advocate of Greg Dyke's controversial idea

Last Updated: 11/05/14 4:21pm

Greg Dyke's B team proposal could damage the "ethos" of English football, Ian Ladyman told the Sunday Supplement.

FA Chairman Dyke announced plans to install a new 'League Three' between the Football League and the Football Conference which would include Premier League B teams, potentially from the 2016/17 campaign.

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers and Everton manager Roberto Martinez have given their backing to the scheme, which is aimed at giving English youngsters more opportunity to play and develop in first-team matches.

"It is unique to this country and really important."

Ian Ladyman on lower-league football

But Daily Mail writer Ladyman feels the move could have a negative impact on the game in a country which cherishes the charm, value and authenticity of lower-league football.

"The problem with this proposal is that it comes looking at the Premier League and the English national team - and while those things are important, there are other important things out there," he said.

"I grew up in the North West with my father and we didn't go to First Division games because we couldn't afford it, so we went to Preston and Blackpool and Bury and Rochdale instead.


"You have to maintain the ethos of what that [lower-league football] is about. It is unique to this country and really important, certainly as important as what happens at the top."

Sun reporter Neil Cutis, however, thinks the plan would work but says he doubts it will ever come to pass with many fierce opponents of the scheme.

Yet, he insists there may now be less of a need for a B team system with an array of English youngsters, including likely World Cup travellers Ross Barkley (Everton) and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal) thriving after training with stellar foreign imports.

"Ryan Giggs made a good point about how tough it made him and how much it brought him on when he played in reserve games against tough men as a youngster, and he is a big advocate of this plan," said Custis.

"There is an argument it won't help with all the skills, but it will toughen players up - though I can't really see it getting off the ground because there is so much objection to it from clubs down the league pyramid.

"In any case, though, I do think English players have benefitted from the foreign influence and will continue to improve playing alongside top names."