Tonight the mighty Bolton Wanderers will line up against a bunch of kids who can’t punch their way into their own club’s starting line ups. This is because instead of employing a functional policy to improve the amount of home-grown players competing in the Premier League, the EFL, in their infinite wisdom, have chosen to put the burden on financial precarious lower league clubs who are already the first victims of the top team’s ridiculous approach to purchasing players.
Money and football have a complicated relationship and those who are cynical to our boycott, and the #BTeamBoycott at large, may think that this is simply sour grapes - it isn’t.
Established Premier League clubs, with lucrative TV and sponsorship deals, have more capital to spend on world-class international players. When given the choice between a proven and skilled player from abroad and investing in their academy on the off chance that they produce a young starlet with the same credentials in a few years’ time, it is the safer and smarter option to bring someone in. The larger clubs in the country are able to generate a monopoly on transfers because their cheque books talk.
If they didn’t rush to buy promising young lower league players and then let them rot on the bench or make them spend their life on loan until they either break through or get released/sold, perhaps more talent would come through the leagues as players get regular game time at their level in a competitive environment so there would be an equal choice between an English player and one from a foreign league.
Instead, because they can’t control themselves and allow these players to develop at their home clubs, out of fear that another team may snatch them up, they screw the system and thus talented, young footballers get trapped on high wages on the bench or in a reserve team. We cannot say no to the money that these clubs offer us, because of the ludicrous amount of money needed to operate a competing team needs to be generated somehow.
This is something the FA and EFL have tried to fix by proposing a third league, to include Premier league B teams, modelling it on the Spanish and German leagues. It would appear that the change of the EFL Trophy is a pilot for that programme and, I hope, low attendance figures across the country will put the final nail in the coffin of that plan.
So, because the Johnstone Paint Trophy has been devalued beyond its original tin pot status to a play thing of the big wallets in the Premier League, based on the idea that England will win the World Cup if a bunch of kids, who likely will never break through, get to play three or four games against League One clubs every year, turning what was a great chance for lower league teams to get a day out at Wembley into a farce.
Will anyone want to see Blackburn U23s v Stoke U23s at Wembley?
And whatever journalists and official club accounts are being forced to say, they are U23 teams. No question.
We will be covering the games against Blackpool and Cheltenham, which is almost a 350 mile trip for their fans in the ‘local’ midweek games, but we will not be covering tonight’s fixture in any capacity. No previews, no live feeds, no Twitter commentary, no reactions, no match reports, no thoughts. Nothing. Even if this is a sacrifice for us as a website, we will not be covering tonights game or any future game against an U23 side.
Big clubs being unable to clean up their own mess has spilled over to teams like us, and teams ever worse off, who now have to deal with the financial consequences of playing a first team game in an empty stadium against the Year 8s Everton will send. The possibility of being fined for team selection is bizarre and I wonder which will suffer most, the injury list or the coffers. Hopefully, Bolton’s policy to close most of the stands will mean that losses from ticket sales are minimised.
This isn't sour grapes, we just don't want to be a part of it. This tweet explains it best.
As does this article from back in July from our own Dan Murphy - here.
We hope you understand and we’ll go right back to being the best god damn Bolton Wanderers blog in the world on Saturday.
Up the whites.
Editor’s note: All of us at Lion of Vienna Suite agreed in unison that we wouldn’t be attending or covering tonight’s game. This doesn’t make us any less Bolton Wanderers fans, we are simply taking a stand, in our own small way, against clubs like ours and worse off than ours being treated like shite. Fuck the FA, fuck the Football League and fuck the EFL Trophy.