Thank you very much to everyone who has taken the time to let us know their views on the proposed changes by the EFL.
The most common comment has been that the EFL are proposing changes as a solution but the problem isn’t clear and in most people’s view doesn’t exist. The only problem seems to be with the Premiership and this whole proposal appears to be about them rather than the EFL teams.
In terms of the specific proposals
Reducing the number of teams in each league and create a league 3– Vast majority don’t see the need and feel the current number of games per season is fine. Regarding where additional would come from then 99% are absolutely clear NO B TEAMS . Lots of concern as well about bringing Rangers and Celtic into the leagues and also many had concerns about bringing in so many National League teams. Many made the point that if the Championship was reduced to 20 teams it would be a huge blow to the aspirations of many smaller teams, including ourselves, who manage to punch above their weight and gain promotion to the top EFL league. There are many examples of this in recent times such as Scunthorpe, Doncaster, Burton, Rotherham and not that long ago GTFC. A reduction to 20 teams would make this much more difficult to achieve.
Regionalisation – Although not as clear cut the majority are against any change. Many made the comment that it is a National League and that is part of the attraction. Others made the point that in modern society people are much more transient with their work and therefore having a national competition gives them the chance to see their team away from home more often. Many enjoy visiting different parts of the country and often make the football part of a longer stay to go to other events/attractions or visit friends/relatives. Some could see the economic benefit of reduced travel costs and potential higher crowds.
Change FA Cup to midweek – Again vast majority against. Most see the tradition of the FA cup being a key part of the structure and this move would further undermine it’s importance. Overwhelming view is that the proposed changes would only benefit the Premiership and would be devastating to lower league teams in particular who can benefit enormously from drawing a top team and achieving a replay eg Cambridge Utd v Manchester Utd in 2015/16.
Winter Break – The ultimate aim of many of these proposals is to provide the opportunity for a winter break. Again the vast majority of views is that is only of benefit to to the Premiership and not appropriate for the EFL . Most really look forward to the the tradition of the xmas and new year games and this is reflected in attendances nationally. The most common question was that if there was a winter break then when would it be? The weather is so unpredictable that a break in say early Jan could coincide with decent weather quickly followed by very poor weather and lots of postponements. Again not usually a problem for the Premiership with their under pitch heating and superior facilities but certainly an issue for lower league teams.
Overall the feedback is very much in line with the views of the Trust board and with comments already received from fans and these have been fed back to the club. Although we haven’t yet seen the club’s formal response we know that the club have very similar concerns which will be reflected. We will also be feeding this summary into the FSF for their consultation with the EFL in October .
Thanks for all the feedback and please keep any further views/comments coming.
Mariners Trust Board