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Stan Collymore hits out at Premier League B plans

Birmingham | News | Published:

Villa legend Stan Collymore has attacked controversial plans to introduce Premier League B teams into the Football League - and has revealed his own vision for the future.

FA chairman Greg Dyke wants a radical overhaul of the 92 team football pyramid by allowing top Premiership teams to run a second team of youngsters in the lower league.

Ex-Liverpool striker Collymore has hit out against the proposals which are based on similar systems in Spain and Germany aimed at boosting England's chances of winning future World Cups.

He tweeted: "The administration of the FA today let down every English football fan. It has pandered to the Premier League again.

"B leagues were introduced in European countries were envious of the depth of the 92 + non League pyramid! Lunacy. Protect the Pyramid!!

"English football dominated European club football football with a vibrant reserve League.

"Up until 2010, the B League haven of Spain won one less World Cup than underachieving England.

"The current football hotbed Germany, wants rid of B teams."

Cannock-based Collymore was asked by the FA for his own thoughts on how the national game could be reformed to create better English players.

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He has revealed his vision which includes fast-tracked coaching for top players, making more of the Staffordshire St George's Park national training centre, overhauling the administration of the FA from more than 120 officials, giving better representation to black and Asian footballers, and reintroducing official reserve leagues.

"I believe that St George's Park should be the world hub of world class coaching.

"Many former players and aspiring coaches I speak to simply go to other UK nations or beyond to take their qualifications and I believe the FA should not only reverse this trend but aggressively look to be proactive," he said.

"The Spanish Football Association offer a fast track course to Internationals with three or more caps or 200 plus appearances at the top level.

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"This currently is a hot debate, and Sir Alex Ferguson himself is not an advocate of fast tracking pros.

"I would argue that Spain and Germany, two of the leading nations in world football are doing it, as are many others, and to be honest beggars can't be choosers.

"We currently have a dearth of top quality English coaches. The notion that we should not engage with the massive experience pool of the increasingly disillusioned retiring ranks of pros in the hope that an English Ferguson, Wenger or Mourinho can be found would be folly.

"The more pros we fast track I firmly believe the coaching gems will be uncovered. I am sure that Danny Mills in particular can offer evidence of former team mates who are lost to the game who are motivated, hungry and willing to do the knowledge."

On the future administration of the game he said: "Currently there are 55 county associations. The Army, Navy, Oxford and Cambridge Universities, Independent Schools etc are all part of the system. Yet large parts of a massive English demographic, the English Asian/Black population have no direct representation. Why? Four to five million Black and Asians in the UK, a handful of students interested in association at Oxford/Cambridge.

"I am an advocate of a revamp of the County association system and replace them with FA regional centres. Bristol, Birmingham, Newcastle, Southampton, Leeds, London, Liverpool, Manchester all reflect the reality of English football demographics, not a quaint vision of 150 years ago.

"These regional centres would be cheaper to run, need less administration than county FA's and be more in tune with modern England that I believe the County FA model ever could."

And on reintroducing reserve leagues he touched on his own experiences.

He said: "What other industry keeps its brightest youngsters hampered only by learning from their own age group?

"The experience I gained at Crystal Palace for example, playing with peers such as Gareth Southgate but also senior professionals like Garry Thompson in the reserves without doubt helped my football education.

"Kids can't just learn from other kids, they need the older experienced players to pass on their wisdom , especially at a time where players wages have destroyed the old pyramid of 'experienced player at the top, young kid at the bottom'."

Greg Dyke's vision would see a new League Three introduced in 2016-17, combining the top half of the Conference and 10 Premier League B sides.

A beefed-up home-grown players' rule would be introduced requiring 13 members of the 25-man squad to have been trained in England as youngsters by 2020-21.

A more strictly enforced work permit system that would prevent Premier League sides from having more than two non-EU players.

And a new loan system that will allow Premier League clubs to loan up to eight players to a strategic partner below the Championship.

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