Jim Lyon – I would rather my club lived on than support an FA pipe dream

Northamptonshire Telegraph's sports writers Jon Dunham, Jim Lyon and Alec Swann.
Northamptonshire Telegraph's sports writers Jon Dunham, Jim Lyon and Alec Swann.

So England will be a third-rate nation like Cyprus – well, okay.

I would rather have a national team competing at a lower level than see the destruction of clubs whose only fault is they are not in the Premier League.

For let us not beat about the bush, Greg Dyke’s masterplan for the future of English football will mean disaster for those outfits always patronisingly described as ‘minnows’.

The suggestion supporters of League Two clubs would rather see Manchester United reserves playing against their team instead of their more regular, long-standing rivals in nonsense for a start.

It highlights how little those on the FA commission understand about football in the more distant reaches of the pyramid.

And to expect a couple of million pounds of hush money to make everything alright is even more condescending.

Dyke himself admitted that not of all of their proposals would be accepted. He is right, this will not – and probably cannot – happen.

No matter how well intentioned the plan is, it is one that might look great on the white board in an ivory tower but completely unpalatable when put in to practice.

The game at the bottom will lose all its significance if it simply becomes a training ground for the rich.

To have more English qualified players coming through, great. We all want that.

To have a stronger national side. Of course, that would be ideal.

But to hope – and that is all the B team option is, a hope – that will happen by introducing another division? No.

It works on the continent apparently. Well so do afternoon naps but I doubt very much whether that will be introduced here.

We have a format to our football here which can work.

It is not perfect by any means but with tinkering could produce much more home-grown stars.

A cap on squad sizes and scrapping the loan system would help.

That way, in a stroke, the sides at the top would not be able to hoard all the young talent in 50 or 60 man squads - lending them out for ‘game time’ every now and again - and they would then be playing for other clubs lower down.

Should these players thrive - in the regular competitive football that every seems to want them to have - then they would be subject to a transfer fee which would help keep the clubs going and would quite probably amount to more than the £2m silence deal that is on the table with Dyke’s scheme.

And, yes, limit the number of overseas players. They are right, that can happen now. Do it.

Better funding for coaching and training which is available to the masses would also help in the long term.

Why not sort out the root rather than trying to mask the weed?

The commission say they have the backing of Premier League clubs – as you would expect.

Things will be made a lot better for them should this go ahead.

And as for the England team. Would trying to emulate a model that happens elsewhere suddenly transform a good national side into a great one?

Of course it won’t. And the collateral damage along the way could ruin the game forever.

If I was a fan of Exeter or Newport or Rochdale or Cheltenham or Bury or Northampton my concern would be that, come 2022, my club was still in existence and playing football at a suitable level.

I would not want them to be considered natural wastage in an attempt to produce an England team that will almost certainly be beaten in Qatar by whatever nation happens to have 11 better players than us at that given time.