So – Rotherham, Chesterfield and Bradford will get the chance to take on Manchester City’s Under 21 side in the EFL trophy.
Last season City decided not to enter a side but have done this year, supposedly with Pep Guardiola’s blessing.
That isn’t surprising given Pep’s time at Barcelona, but it still doesn’t sit right with me.
Chelsea have also entered a side as have fellow Premier League sides, Leicester, Stoke, Newcastle, West Brom & Everton.
For me though, it is quite simply wrong. The only realistic chance that fans of many lower division sides have of a getting a day out at Wembley is through the EFL trophy and now this avenue will soon be taken away from them.
Ask fans of Peterborough, Crewe and Carlisle what it means to go to Wembley and watch your team win, not to mention the much needed financial boost.
It is inevitable that one of the academy sides from England’s top clubs will get to the final sooner rather than later and when they do every single armchair fan of whoever that club is will buy tickets for Wembley and actually make out like it’s a genuine final for their club.
And what is worse is that only six of the starting 11 for the academies have to be Under 21. What a coincidence it would be that some first team regulars were ‘on their way back from injury’ should they make the final.
Last season Norwich’s Under-23s, for example, were bottom of Premier League Two, Division Two, but their Checktrade Trophy team have won their two games 6-1 and 5-0.
The 25-year-old Portugal international striker Nélson Oliveira was among their goalscorers in the 5-0 win against Barnet, while the Canaries played goalkeeper Paul Jones, a 30-year-old veteran of a mere 370 league appearances. Two of their goals in the 6-1 win over Peterborough were scored by the 28-year-old French midfielder Tony Andreu.
Not content with playing in their own (very competitive) league and having the FA Youth Cup as well as the Youth Champions League they now want to ruin the only trophy reserved for lower league sides.
As a Man City fan, I will not be going to watch a single minute of this farce and I hope others won’t either. League One and Two clubs and their fans quite rightly do not consider themselves second-class citizens of the football world. This treats them as such.