Last season the EFL brought in a new format for the old Johnstone’s Paint Trophy and really it hasn’t helped teams in lower leagues. The new format encourages teams in the Premier League and the Championship to submit an Under 21’s squad into the competition. So is this format still a good idea?
The final of last season’s Checkatrade trophy was between Coventry and Oxford and broke the attendance record for the competition with 74,434, but all of last season the attendance figures at games across the competition was still low, Peterborough United as an example had an attendance of 1696 at their game against Norwich Academy which is a 4,000 less then their average attendance last season.
Last season as well clubs got fined for not fielding full strength squads, on the 16th November Luton Town and Portsmouth were fined £15,000 for breaching this rule for all three of their group games, whereas Bradford, Blackpool, Bristol Rovers, MK Dons, Millwall, Charlton, Peterborough, Sheffield United and Southend all got fined £3,000 and Fleetwood were fined £5,000. That doesn’t sound like a lot to big clubs but in lower levels it is a lot to those clubs.
The group format is a nice new addition to the competition but for me I think if you took out participation from the Under 21’s it would be a good competition for lower league clubs and will hopefully increase ticket sales for the clubs as that can help boost finances. They also need to remove the full strength squad rule as fining teams for putting different squads out isn’t fair on teams that need to make sure people in their team stay fit and get a chance to show what they’re worth.
*Feature image courtesy of EFL.com*