Second Strings


Ian began writing Twohundredpercent in May 2006. He lives in Brighton. He has also written for, amongst others, Pitch Invasion, FC Business Magazine, The Score, When Saturday Comes, Stand Against Modern Football and The Football Supporter. Ian was the first winner of the Socrates Award For Not Being Dead Yet at the 2010 NOPA awards for football bloggers.

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4 Responses

  1. Ed says:

    I agree with all of this. When foreign managers (always ones from countries where reserve teams are allowed to play in the lower leagues, naturally enough) start whining on about this topic, the skin receeds from my gums and I poo out pure rage.

    It’s not right to move aside teams who probably have more of a history than Liverpool or Chelsea do (Notts County (established 1862), for example, may never have won the league title, but they are to my mind every bit as significant as Chelsea (established 1905)). So, surely the answer is to get all the reserve teams and play them against each other. In some kind of Reserve League. Radical thinking, I know.

    Besides, if Rafa or José just hang on long enough, until their rich sugar daddy chairmen lose interest, they’ll get to play in the Football League for real. And won’t that just be spiffy?

  2. colin says:

    I’m agnostic.

    There’s plenty of sports where they do allow B teams into the league structure and it works perfectly well. However, I somehow doubt the English football league would be one of them.

    I’ve got every sympathy with Rafael Benitez, though. He’s just trying to look after the best interests of his club, the same as everyone from Keith Curle to Alex Ferguson.

    I might not agree with him, but the idea that he’s a self-serving lunatic while lower league clubs are some sort of association of wide-eyed philanthropists is perverse.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I agree whole-heartedly that he’s only looking after of the best interests of his team, but it takes a singular lack of awareness of the nature of English football to make a public statement. The system may work in his native Spain, but it was introduced in Germany several years ago and has reportedly has disastrous effects on lower leagues there.

    There are other ways for Premiership clubs to get their players more competitive football. More loaning out on long-term loan deals or a proper Premiership reserves league. No-one’s claiming that the chairmen of League Two clubs are saints, but I’d be pretty miffed if I was one of them, and decades of my club’s existence as a FL club was jeopardised because, to be frank, Rafa has got more players than he knows what to do with.

  4. colin says:

    Oh no, the foreigner had an opinion in a built up area.

    I hope he’s learned his lesson and, if asked again, just says he loves roast beef, suburban mass murder and the Queen and leaves football to men of vision like Barry Fry.

    As I said, I doubt it’s a good idea in this case.

    However, at least he’s had the wit to realise how stunningly pointless and counterproductive England’s existing reserve set-up is and make his point, which is more than you can say for the vast majority.

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