Andre Villas-Boas wants a Chelsea B team in the Championship: A response
The Guardian have reported, with full quotes direct from the impressively-coiffeured horse’s mouth, that Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas believes that Premier League clubs should have B teams in the Championship – the latest in a series of stabs in the dark from those towards the top of the game.
The thought process from this procession of geniuses appears to be a neverending: “Well, Barcelona and Spain are bloody good aren’t they? What do they do?”
Of course, Villas-Boas is unlikely to last much longer if Roman Abramovich’s recent past is anything to go by. He won’t win the Premier League this season and the entire cast of Animal Farm (no, not that one) will fly over the Thames if Chelsea win the Champions League this May. So should we care?
Thankfully, probably not. Even in today’s world of bloated Premier League self-regard, surely English football has enough about it not to let this kind of thing move anywhere near reality. While the likes of Villas-Boas, Richard Scudamore and those who held Football League clubs to ransom over EPPP may hide behind an excuse of making the English national team more competitive, we all know the real agenda here – “Let’s do whatever we can to compete with Barcelona and Real Madrid”.
Sadly for Villas-Boas, Chelsea and their ilk, there are millions of supporters of Football League clubs who couldn’t give a stuff how well the Premier League’s elite measure up to Spanish sides. Most of us have got enough on our plates worrying whether our own clubs will survive the current financial climate, to which, incidentally, the richest clubs are obviously impervious to the point of stretching the gap even wider at the worst possible time.
Talent can still come through Premier League academies. Even if his own charge Daniel Sturridge, a Manchester City product, is not example enough, Villas-Boas could always glance over to north London and the progression of Jack Wilshere from bright young Arsenal kid to England regular.
What’s next? Forcing all English 9-year-olds to have the same growth hormone deficiency treatment as Lionel Messi? Rewarding any Sergio Busquets-esque play-acting with a goal at youth level? Encouraging teenage footballers to go and pick mushrooms on their day off in the hope they turn into Xavi Hernandez?
Although this is just one opinion, it is a growing trend and one that should be rebuffed by supporters of Football League clubs. As with EPPP, it smacks of the Premier League forcing the burden and the blame for its inability to compete with mainland Europe, and Barcelona in particular, onto Football League clubs.
In The Guardian’s article, Stamford Bridge youngsters Ryan Bertrand, Patrick van Aanholt, Gael Kakuta and Josh McEachran are named as examples of players who could flourish in a Chelsea B team participating at Championship level. Perhaps if there wasn’t such short-termism in the desperate pursuit of success at the highest level, which applies particularly at (but not exclusively to) Chelsea, one or two of these promising youth prospects would have enjoyed more than a handful of games by now? Bertrand, van Aanholt and Kakuta are all older than Wilshere.
None of the above even veers into the territory of the tradition and history of the Football League clubs that would be devalued by such a change in the structure of the English game. We may as well all pack up and have 16 NFL-style franchises throughout the country and consign everyone else to the playing fields on a Sunday morning. You know there are some who would advocate that too – and they would probably mumble something about the England team as well.
This is how English football works. You’re stuck with it. Now go and spend your £50million on someone who can hit an aircraft hangar door with a musical instrument of his choice. Just leave the rest of us alone.