The Daily Mail reports that Premier League clubs are to argue for the establishment of a formal feeder system. This would be coupled with rules to prevent the linked clubs from playing in the same division, possibly bringing an end to promotions and relegations.
The paper claims that it’s “only a small step to formalise such arrangements and there are Premier League clubs ready to test whether football culture has changed to the extent where it may be accepted.”
We know the answer to that one. Back in January 2012 we polled our members on this very subject after Andre Villas-Boas made a similar suggestion while Chelsea manager.
86% said they opposed the idea of top-flight clubs buying feeder sides. If top-flight clubs tried to force this idea through, and it stinks of self-interest, the backlash would be huge.
The current loan system already allows the top clubs to hoard youngsters, loaning the odd one here and there when they see fit. Introducing feeder clubs will only exacerbate that as, with two squads to fill, it means the elite can sweep up even more of the best talent.
The English league system is one of the strongest in the world and that shouldn’t be jeopardised. No other country we know of has such big crowds going down to the fourth, fifth tier and below. The Championship is the fourth biggest league in Europe.
It's not just fans of Football League clubs who'll oppose this, we think most top-flight fans will too. Every club has its own identity and the smallest club is every bit as important to its own fans as the biggest clubs are to their followers.
This idea will get a massive thumbs down from fans – don’t even bother trying.