Talk of a second Premier League is gaining momentum

Tamhas Woods
Subscriber

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.

Any U21 player who can't do this RIGHT NOW has no future.
Any young player who can’t do this RIGHT NOW has no future.

SEE ALSO: The radical change football has to make

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:

How a second Premier League would fit into the status quo

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.

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.

SEE ALSO: The players we think are the future of England

Reading won the U21 Premier League Cup back in 2014. Picture Source: GetReading .co.uk
Reading won the U21 Premier League Cup back in 2014. – Picture Source: GetReading .co.uk

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.

EXAMPLE:

2017-18 league table
The three lowest-ranked senior outfits in 2PL are relegated to the Football League. 1PL teams highlighted in light blue field U23 squads in 2PL in 2018/19.

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.

Pictured: The editor of Clickon Soccer
Pictured: Live footage from the Clickon editor’s office

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.

Liverpool U21 were one of the teams invited to participate in the 2016/17 EFL Trophy. (Source: This is Anfield / Credit: David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)
Liverpool U21 were one of the teams invited to participate in the 2016/17 EFL Trophy. (Source: This is Anfield / Credit: David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

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!