Could a second Premier League be the answer to English football’s prayers?
In part 1, I sang the praises of our Teutonic cousins. With a shorter season and a single domestic cup, winning is even more of a necessity. That mentality filters down into the youth sections of every club, in the process creating future winners of international tournaments.
The current ‘Premier League 2’ does little to truly simulate a first-team Premier League game. Now there should be a call for U23s to face more experienced professionals, through a second Premier League.
The proposed format
What is presently the ‘Premier League 2’ would revert back to an U23 league, including U23 teams that don’t qualify for the second Premier League.
Instead of a single Premier League, consisting of twenty teams, the new system would incorporate six additional teams, making a total of 26 to give better access to the top flight.
By doing this, the best can also be brought out of young English players at the stronger clubs which are presently in the Championship:
The first Premier League (1PL) would consist of sixteen teams, with each team therefore facing just thirty high-octane fixtures over the course of the season.
The second Premier League (2PL) would have ten first team outfits, and the U23 squads of the top eight teams in the first Premier League from the previous season. A total of eighteen teams would mean thirty-four fixtures, which is equal to the Bundesliga.
For many people with a team in 2PL, the prospect of their team playing only eighteen fixtures (out of thirty-four) against senior opposition is abhorrent. Maybe so, but there can be no doubt that it would throw younger talents in at the deep end.
Everything dying. U17, U20, U23. Premier League, Women’s football on all levels. Everything is declining https://t.co/RHbveTf4yl
— Quophi El Jefe?? (@donduke86) 2 February 2017
For reasons that will soon become clear, the ten senior teams in 2PL will still have to fight tooth and nail for Premier League membership.
Ups and Downs in the Second Premier League
- PROMOTION: U23 squads in 2PL could not be promoted to 1PL. However, they would still be eligible to win silverware for the club by finishing top of the 2PL.
This provides a good incentive for U23 squads to compete with full efforts and improve fitness.
- RELEGATION: If any U23 squad finishes in the bottom three of the 2PL, and its senior counterpart finishes in the top eight of the 1PL, they would be replaced by the U23 squad of the ninth/tenth/eleventh etc 1PL team.
Though U23 squads can’t be relegated here, there are still consequences that prepare youngsters for the harsh nature of senior football.
In this example, Southampton and Tottenham’s U23 sides have finished in the bottom three but cannot be relegated. Therefore, they are replaced by U23 sides of WBA and Leicester, even though the Southampton and Tottenham senior outfits have finished in the top eight of 1PL.
Reasons to be cheerful
With the Premier League now accommodating 26 teams in this scenario, the riches of the present-day top flight can be more widely distributed.
Authorities have already considered an expansion of the English Football League. However, not everyone believes that Premier League ‘B’ teams will enrich the playing experience.
— Chris Errington (@ChrisErrington1) 23 September 2016
Regardless of opinion, the fact remains that there are less fixtures to play under this format. For that reason, English leagues could also implement a winter break, to coincide with its German counterpart.
In that event, there is the opportunity for an invitational ‘friendly’ tournament against the most technically-adept of German teams – such as Borussia Dortmund. The now-defunct Anglo-Italian cup provides a precedent for this.
Keep an eye out for Part 3 of this series, in which we shoot a few more insane, renegade ideas from the hip!
The Premier League isn’t all bad, though, as this list of the greatest Englishman to ever grace the top flight shows!