It could be right time to say goodbye
AFTER more than 30 years and with differing formats, is it time to knock the Football League Trophy on the head? That is one of the questions to be mulled over after the dire attendances in the opening round of group matches in the newly-named Checkatrade Trophy this week (see centre pages).
Ahead of this season, the feeling was that the tournament needed fresh life breathed into it. With the league seen for many clubs as the be-all and end-all these days, the old Johnstone’s Paint Trophy had appeared to have become a nuisance to many.
Clubs didn’t want to risk their players suffering injury or suspension, fans didn’t want to pay good money to watch what was often little more than reserve team football.
The EFL decided to make a bold move to rejuvenate the competition, bringing in category one academy teams from Premier League (and Championship) clubs and bumping up the prize money.
The idea to bring in Premier League kids was always going to be a controversial one, but it didn’t help that the biggest of the big boys turned down their invites.
Confusion over eligibility and a lack of publicity about the prize money on offer also hampered the cause. Now the competition has got off on the wrong foot, it’s going to be very difficult to turn things around.
When the one-season trial is over, maybe it’s time to say goodbye to the competition. Once it gave players, fans and clubs who would never have had a chance of getting to Wembley an opportunity. But now we’ve got the play-offs…
We often talk about fixture congestion in this country, so do we really need more matches? Isn’t the league, FA Cup and EFL Cup enough? Shouldn’t players be working on their skills on the training ground?
The Football League Trophy has provided lots of great moments over the years, but nothing lasts forever.
HATS off to Luton Town’s youngsters for going to Gillingham and earning a surprise 2-1 win in the Checkatrade Trophy.
Manager Nathan Jones couldn’t speak more highly of his young troops and let’s hope they escape a fine (see page 31).