Oyston: Why Blackpool voted for Trophy revamp

Karl Oyston
Karl Oyston

Karl Oyston says he voted in favour of the revamped EFL Trophy, which will include Premier League academy teams, in order to help improve the national game.

However, the Blackpool chairman says the academy system must change if England is to improve as a football nation.

Clubs voted to allow 16 academy teams to join the 48 League One and League Two clubs in this replacement for the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy, with the teams split into 16 regionalised groups of four for the opening stage.

It is believed Fleetwood voted against the idea, as did Pool’s League Two rivals Accrington Stanley and Morecambe, though the Seasiders’ vote helped the initiative to be passed in Portugal.

Pool have twice won the tournament and Oyston said: “I think we need to embrace change if it is for positive benefit, and I think this is on balance a positive change,

“We are in favour of giving anything a whirl that helps football in general but particularly that helps develop players who can get into our national team.”

Oyston believes the proposals could give elite young players a taste of competitive football and prevent them quitting the game.

He told BBC Radio Lancashire: “We all complain about the national team not being very good and the Premier League academies seem to gobble up the best talent. I think the only crime is that they don’t then use that talent and put these better players into proper men’s football, rather than Premier League reserve team football that does not seem to be developing players as well.

“A lot of these players drop off the academy conveyor belt at 21/22. They haven’t played what I would call proper meaningful games and don’t get the career in football they should.

“The problem has been increased by the new academy rulings, where category one and category two academies can take all the better players. Very few of them see the light of day.

“Let’s say 99 per cent of them don’t make it at Premier League clubs – probably a percentage of those could have a good career with lower division clubs.”

The new competition is understood to have a total prize fund of close to £2m but Oyston does not believe it will be a major revenue generator.

But he added: “It is also a big chance for all clubs to put the fringe players into that competition and to give them some experience.

“I suppose when you get to the area final it does become a revenue generator perhaps.”

Oyston does not believe the presence of Premier League clubs will prevent lower league sides contesting the Wembley final.

He explained: “I can’t see it happening. I think it probably means more to the League players to play at Wembley and to their clubs’ supporters.

Oyston also thinks the pressures of management dictate against the blooding of young players.

He added: “No manager, at whatever level of professional football, would run the risk of trying to develop kids in their first team because the alternative is there to buy the proven product and play them, knowing your job could be on the line. If you don’t deliver you are out, so nobody is going to take the risk on a few kids, are they?”

The Premier League teams are to be split between all 16 groups, playing just one of their three group games at home. The new tournament is as yet without a sponsor.

And Oyston said: “Things change. Football has constantly evolved and it needs to keep evolving.

“I think the Premier League is powerful and rightly so.

“It is our flagship league and people say it is the best league in the world.

“It attracts the best players. It certainly generates as much money as most of the leagues or more.

“They are obviously doing something right and we should embrace and try new initiatives to keep football evolving.

“People probably had the same issues when the points system changed or when the Premier League broke away.”