Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

'We're Not Just a Reserve Division'

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

'We're Not Just a Reserve Division'

Article excerpt

Peterborough director of football Barry Fry believes Rafael Benitez's proposal for reserve teams to play in the Football League "would never happen in a million years".

The Liverpool manager's suggestion has been met with widespread derision among lower division clubs.

The Spaniard is concerned his second string are paying the price for an ineffective reserve league and believes they would benefit from competitive action in the Football League ( an idea mooted by his Iberian counterpart Jose Mourinho, the Chelsea manager, in December.

Reserve teams play in lower league competition throughout continental Europe, but the restructuring would inevitably mean the Football League would lose some established clubs.

Fry said: "It would never happen here, not in a million years. The Football League is a thriving, 72-club competitive competition which is one of the best supported in the world ( 16 million people watch it every season.

"No-one would want to watch the reserve teams of any club ( I don't care if they're Real Madrid, Juventus or Fray Bentos! If Rafa Benitez wants his young players to get competitive games then all he has to do is loan them out to clubs like us."

Meanwhile, Gillingham chairman Paul Scally believes the current loan

system is more than adequate ( because young players from Premiership clubs often struggle in the Football League.

"I can understand the rationale in loaning them out to Football League clubs, which is available to them now," he said, "but I don't envisage the situation of a nursery club system.

"It's insulting to suggest that a bunch of Liverpool kids could hack it as their own club in the Football League. The Football League has got far greater qualities than that.

"We've taken a lot of players on loan from the Premiership in the past and they haven't been up to it to be frank because they haven't had the grounding of coming through the youth system of a Football League club. …

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