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Pep Guardiola at again

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The Yard Dog
September 23, 2021, 3:11pm
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He comes over here, we his fancy football, if he is not moaning about how many games we play in this country, winter break, league cup, how many subs are allowed, now he is opening up again U'23s should be playing in the Championship or league 1 to get proper game time.

Manchester Evening News

"For the second time in a week, Pep Guardiola has got it completely wrong when trying to discuss what's best for Manchester City.

Last week, he caused an unnecessary storm by calling for more City fans to turn up for the next home game. Supporters, understandably, didn't take too kindly to their manager seemingly taking their loyal support for granted. A clarification, of sorts, was issued by the manager (but no apology) and a line has been drawn under the matter.

Now, Guardiola has risked another controversy by reigniting a debate on introducing Premier League academy sides into the Football League.

They're comments that are likely to go under the radar, namely because Guardiola called popular Wycombe striker Adebayo Akinfenwa a 'legend' of the English game. In that assertion, he wasn't wrong.

Before explaining why Guardiola's stance is wrong, it's worth reporting his full answer to the question of how valuable an experience it was for City's academy defence to face physical strikers like Akinfenwa in the Carabao Cup win on Tuesday.

They can have this freedom because they train with us. Otherwise they could not play," Guardiola said. "The better would be every week they could play against Wycombe. Every weekend they could play against this legendary striker for England.
That would be the better development for these players. Not just training with us, the defenders play against Raz, against Phil, against Gabriel, against Riyad, against these kind of players. They should play every day in Championship of League or League One. That should be the best level for English football, that would be the best.

"Not playing against these players who are 17 or 18 or 19 winning 4-0, 5-0, 6-0, 7-0 every single day. This is not, we cannot educate them., that is not good for them.

But I am not here to change anything of this country," he finished, before embarking on a familiar complaint over the fact Premier League clubs can only make three substitutions in a game, rather than five as many other leagues allow.

Naturally, the Akinfenwa comments provide an easy - and interesting - headline from a largely unremarkable win against lower league opposition. Fans should be concerned, though, with Guardiola's decision to bring up a radical restructure of English football. Again.

In short, Guardiola has misjudged another complicated issue, with his Blue-tinted glasses looking only with Manchester City's interests in mind.

Adding under-23 sides to the EFL pyramid would have far more dangerous consequences for the English game than any benefits City would gain. It should be seen as a proposal just as concerning to every English football fan as the European Super League plans were.

There is, of course, a precedent of academy sides playing league opposition in the controversial EFL Trophy. It's a competition City have been relatively successful in since taking part, and the experience of facing professional players rather than fellow teenagers has been undoubtedly beneficial for the youngsters at City.

On the other side of those games, though, is an apprehension from league clubs and a strong unpopularity from EFL fans. Games against academy sides result in consistently low attendances for EFL clubs at a time when they need any penny they can get. Only 860 watched this season's win at Scunthorpe, and 1,802 were at Doncaster for City's defeat on Tuesday. Both were comfortably the lowest attendances of the season for those league sides by some margin.

For a supporter of a league club, playing a Premier League academy holds no appeal, and a night in watching Sky Sports is far more appetising - even in spite of reduced admission prices for those games. Holding such fixtures on a regular basis in a league format would inevitably result in lower incomes for proud, historic league clubs when they need to build support the most.

City only have to look around Greater Manchester to see the perilous financial positions of their EFL neighbours. Oldham fans are in civil war with their ownership and are rooted to the bottom of the Football League, while Rochdale have had to stave off a hostile takeover this summer after relegation to the fourth tier. Bury couldn't survive their own financial problems, neither could Macclesfield, while Bolton and Wigan are only just recovering from serious threats to their own existences

Guardiola's idea would make it even tougher for clubs up against it. Clubs who have given City a number of talented players and staff in recent years, and helped develop some of their brightest youngsters. Clubs who have been more successful than City as recently as the start of the century, and who have bruised the Blues' ego when coming toe to toe on a level playing field in various competitions.

Forcing academy sides into their leagues would be an act of complete arrogance from an elite club who often do well to remember their roots from the same leagues Guardiola would like to rip up and restructure. 20 years ago, it would be City opposing such plans.

It's worth remembering that Guardiola did clarify that he is not here to change anything when raising the issue. But it's not the first time he's brought it up. The idea of 'B Teams' is commonplace in Spain, and Barcelona B was his breakthrough in coaching. It is part of the culture in Spain and has a workable place in a country with a smaller league pyramid than England.

There is also some merit to the ideas. City's youngsters are too good for the academy leagues, and there's not an opportunity to slowly incorporate them into the first team. City have done well to develop youngsters in senior training, resulting in six debuts on Tuesday, and they have used the loan market to develop other talents well.

But what Greater Manchester does not need is more clubs. The struggles of those that are still standing show there are arguably too many already. City's success - and that of United, too, of course - is enough of a competition to these EFL clubs.

If Guardiola really understands City fans, as he claims, he should also understand the passion that exists further afield in lower leagues. Therefore, he should be aware of how dangerous 'B Teams' would be to the EFL pyramid. He can't keep using City's journey through the leagues as evidence of their proud history while simultaneously advocating a plan that would threaten the existence of many clubs in the same position City have been. He can't praise the likes of Wycombe and Cheltenham and Burton while also supporting measures that would make those clubs less competitive.

As the European Super League backlash showed, football fans value the history and tradition of the sport in this country. They won't let the big corporations who sit at the top of the Premier League put that under threat, even if they support one of those clubs.

Maybe City should continue to do what big clubs have always done. Use the EFL to blood their young talent with loans, giving them that regular exposure to men's football, just as Guardiola wants.

Guardiola has identified a problem with a clear solution - help yourself and help the EFL clubs through the loan system at the same time. The game time he wants for his youngsters exists through carefully-planned loans.

Replacing those clubs and providing direct competition to them is absolutely not the answer. Guardiola should know better."

The Premiership teams have already hijacked the EFL cup, hover up all the best talent, how many actually make it?

The Permiership is destroying the football pyamid in this country, clubs chasing the Premiership dream and the riches it brings (to a select few) then we have the yo yo teams who with the parchute payments get promoted and then get relegated , how many clubs have gone into administration chasing the dream?

The FA cup has been de valved by the Premiership, League cup no longer has replays, reducing the opportunity for lower clubs earning a big pay day. They continue to moan about how many games their players have to play in a season, yet the Champions league and Europa League new format, which is expected to start in 2024 will add more fixtures.

I wish he would fook off, not fooling me with his style of football, playing out from the back, how many goals have been conceeded by teams trying to play out from the back? Is he after the title the first team to complete 1000 passes in a match by a english side.

Luckliy for me I am a Mariner and do not have to watch that excrement that City serve up.
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September 23, 2021, 3:20pm
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If the big clubs want to hoover up young players who would otherwise be turning out for their hometown clubs, it's up to them to make sure that the players get chance to play and develop further. They've rigged the game, it's up to them to find a solution which isn't reliant on putting smaller clubs out of business.
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September 23, 2021, 3:22pm
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Of course in Spain (or indeed almost any other country) they dont have the depth in the lower leagues like England does in terms of size of clubs, support...etc.

I think sometimes people dont realise how welll supported English lower league football is and how much history goes with it.

I think in Spain below the 2nd level you are in regional football pyramid which looks like a nightmare,

Maybe that explains some of his comments?  

Having U23 in lower leagues would be a disaster.  Of course, they could just play a lot of younger players in his teams or even better stop signing so many???
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September 23, 2021, 3:34pm
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If he wants his young players to experience mens football, then loan them out to lower league clubs, like they do now. It takes them out of their comfort zone and makes them grow up fast, at the same time helping lower league teams. What works for Spanish football doesn't mean it will work for English football.

If it ain't broke don't fix it
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September 23, 2021, 3:55pm

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Stop hoovering up 30 youngsters a season and you wouldn’t need somewhere to play them.
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September 23, 2021, 4:40pm

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If Pep was that bothered about his youngsters getting proper football he would send them out on loan. John McAtee’s younger brother is City’s next big hope. He’s 18 & being touted as the long term replacement to David Silva. But instead of being out getting game time in the Championship like Liverpool’s Harvey Elliott did last season at Blackburn he’s just playing under 23’s and not getting experience of proper men’s football.
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September 23, 2021, 4:48pm
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Team him up with his brother???
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September 23, 2021, 4:55pm

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If Peps such an amazing manager why doesn’t he go back to Barca and us all how it’s done now they’re skint and had to sell most of their stars ?

Lower F5
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September 23, 2021, 4:57pm
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I mean its very simple, if you want your youth players to get experience in mens football, loan them out. Its not complicated is it.

If clubs aren't willing to take the players for whatever reason (I'm guessing wages mostly), the parent club needs to do more to make it an attractive offer for lower league clubs.

Alan Shearer tackled by a blue peter presenter

Its taken 9 months for the board to see sense but finally Slade is out!!!!!!
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September 23, 2021, 5:30pm
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Pep has revolutionised how top clubs win games and titles. I know money doesn't necessarily buy titles so he should still be applauded for what he's achieved with Barca, Bayern and City, but I'd love to see him do it with a challenger club rather than the out-and-out moneybags team for that nation.

The greed is phenomenal. Arrogance and selfishness is off the scale. We care about our clubs, for sure, but the vast majority of football fans also care about the game itself.

Some argue that if we had the money Salford had, and we bought our way through the league, we 'wouldn't complain'. I tell you what, I might not complain at the victories and promotions but I'd certainly feel uncomfortable about it. Given the choice, I'd rather we earned success in the more traditional manner. That would give me far more satisfaction.

The whole B Teams thing is ludicrous. You've got three or four teams in tier five of English football capable of getting 8,000+ crowds on a good day. That is utterly insane and off the scale in comparison to just about every other domestic league in the world.

The Premier League has taken just about everything there is to take in domestic football. Now it wants the flipping shirts off our back. Haven't they got enough? Honestly, what have they got to moan about, really? The problem Pep has is of his own club's doing. Through pure greed they've hoovered up all the talent and don't know what to do with their stock, and they want us to make way?

They can intercourse right off.

"Don't shine that light in my face, mate - I've just lost a pint of blood."
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