Our bloated squad is damaging us

Brown Nose

Well-Known Member
Calvin Bassey's decision to reject a new contract offer from City in search of a better chance of making progress elsewhere is quite telling. Like Alex Pascanu last summer, and reportedly another talented player Dennis Gyamfi also reportedly heading off after again rejecting a new contract, we have a problem. Several young players feel that their chances of making it are better if they leave. I think that they're probably right.

Those that have stayed around are an example that these players may well be trying to avoid. They are largely a stunted and wasted group. Our U23 squad isn't working.

Three examples of many. George Thomas - signed aged 20 from while playing first team football at Coventry. He's now spent three years sliding backwards from being a full Wales international to a nobody. The same summer 2017, we signed another 20 year old, Sam Hughes, who had been playing first team football at Chester for two years. Another career wrecked. In those three years, he's had 8 matches on loan at Salford. A home grown player, Darnell Johnson, will shortly turn 22. He's been capped at England level at U16, U17, U18, U19, U20. His career has completely stopped over the last couple of years. There are a lot of similar stories.

Now we know many young players don't make it. And we are a club where the standards are pretty high to get into our first team. We have three home produced players in the squad - Barnes, Chilwell and Choudhury - and that compares relatively well with our rivals. But that's not my point.

Our first team squad is hopelessly bloated. We are far too eager to hand out long term contracts where they are not deserved. It's easy to pick examples of this but seeing Matty James trotting around in training this week made me reflect that we've been paying him now for 5 years since he made any kind of contribution to the first team. Our U23 development squad have something like 30 players - it's difficult to be exact as reporting isn't great. However many it is exactly, it's way too many. What is clear is that we have over 60 professional players.

There are lots of reasons why having that many professionals is really wrong. Our wage bill is stupidly high. Most of those players don't play football regularly. They're just training and collecting a salary. What does this achieve for them or the club? It is now normal for us to be paying more than 10 players at any one time to play for other sides. What is the mentality of players that aren't getting regular football? What is their motivation? This is the responsibility of John Rudkin who has overseen this ridiculous player collecting.

Calvin Bassey may well have stayed at City if he had a clear pathway to the first team squad. Or even a slight chance of a place of the bench at some point if his performances merited it. He saw that it didn't matter how he played, he'd be rotated in/out of the U23s and nothing more. We need no more than 20 first team players and 15 U23s. That would demand excellence and competition. All players would have to deliver or be released/sold on. Without some discpline from Rudkin and a concerted effort to redress the mess below the first choice team, we'll lose more and more players in this way.
 

City Fan

Well-Known Member
Completely agree that our squad is bloated and we need to get rid of the expensive fringe players.

But if young players are good enough they’ll get in the team, as proven with Chilwell, Barnes and Choudhury.

We’re in the top 4 so you clearly need to be of a higher ability to get into our team compared to when we were in the Championship or League One.

If Bassey wants to follow in the footsteps of Joe Dodoo and **** off to Rangers rather than follow in the foot steps of Chilwell/Barnes/Choudhury, then I think that says more about him and his views of his ability.
 

Mike - True Blue Tinter

Well-Known Member
Bloated in the case of James, etc. I agree.

But isn't the argument that we have invested in an excellent Academy/Development setrup and squad so that we get to keep the very best like Choudhury etc, and sell the next tier down for a big profit having developed them? Isn't it just another income stream where we keep the best we 'grow' and sell the rest?
 

Feriol

Well-Known Member
From the club's point of view it's matter of playing the odds, having more development players increases the chance that some will be good enough.

This isn't necessarily the best for the players though, some who won't be good enough for us, might develop better given a chance at a lower level.

I think we do need to let go of players sooner, if a player hasn't even made his debut for the first team in the League cup and is into his twenties it is doubtful he will ever be good enough to break through.

Signing 20 year olds for the development squad is also very confusing. I think they should be pushing for a first team place by that age.
 

Skitzo

Well-Known Member
the problem with our development set up starts with Beaglehole, he pretty much refuses to use anyone under 18 in the development side meaning we keep players at that level far too long and our u23s is made up of players that should be out on loan or have been sold off by 22 as they simply won't make the grade, doing it that way, the same way the big clubs do it also generate millions in transfer revenue a year but most importantly clears the back log so players progress at a faster pace. Calvin Bassey isn't the best prospect we had in the system at either of the positions he plays but we are getting around £300k for him in compensation. There are others in the U23s that had they been loaned out as they should have been that would generate fees and go to other clubs permanently. Doing well for a League 1 or 2 club on loan can convince someone higher to buy them.

The likes of Terell Pennant, Sidnei Tavares should be playing for the U23s week in week out instead they barely feature and are stuck in the U18s.

With Trevor Peake retiring and a new training ground coming we should take the opportunity to move Beaglehole on and hire a world class coach to go with the world class facilities
 

Skitzo

Well-Known Member
damaging is probably the wrong word but it is Brown nose after all, our development system is certainly not being run as efficiently as it should and could be
 

jb5000

Well-Known Member
That an academy player is good enough for Rangers but has no serious hope of making it into the first team is an welcome sign of how far our club has come (and a welcome sign of far that club has fallen). As others have pointed out - Chilwell, Barnes and Choudhury show that we're producing good players and that they're getting the opportunity to break through. There's always been a large number of players that look like they'll make it at youth levels but don't manage to cut it at the senior level, even at clubs with the most celebrated academies. There's no shame for those players in carving out a decent career in the SPL, MLS or elsewhere - and if that's the route a player wants to take we shouldn't stop him. Some of those players may well make it to our level in the long run, but the odds are against them and with their recent record I trust our academy coaches to get the best out of the players they have.
 

Blue Maniac

Alzheimers sufferer
If you look at the other 19 Premier League clubs, you’ll see we aren’t the only ones with a big stockpile of players. The 25-man squad rule and the colossal stacks of TV money means that most clubs look to recruit two senior players for each outfield position. Three goalies seems to be the norm, which means approximately 40 professionals in the league doing close to nothing all season. If all clubs name 25 players, that’s an average of just over 1500 minutes per player per season. Less than 17 full games. A systemic, wholesale waste of talent and money, and a big part of why there’s little mobility in the Premier Le

A number of potential solutions exist. None of them will be easy, and they’re even less likely to ever happen. But here goes.

1. Reduce the allowed squad sizes in the PL, because 25 is barely a restriction at all. Force clubs to trim the fat from the seniors, and you clear the path a bit. This helps the fringe seniors as well, because they get to move somewhere they can play football instead of sitting on the bench forever.

2. Disincentivise clubs from stockpiling by allowing players to leave clubs at any time if they haven’t played, for example, more than 20% of first team games they were eligible and available for in the past 6 months. Even the Manchester Citys and Liverpools will think twice before spending £30m on someone who might play if they’ll lose him for nothing when he doesn’t.

3. Restructure the entire football pyramid. The last three World Cups have been won by nations that allow B teams in their main league structure. Italy became another at the start of 2018-19. France, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Netherlands have done this for years. Currently, other than various training leagues nobody gives a shit about and the worthless EFL Trophy, the highest level a reserve team can play proper league football in this country is step 5 — eight tiers below the Premier League. If you allow B teams from Premier League and EFL clubs to play as high as, say, League One (providing they get there on merit), the second-stringers are at least getting competitive football instead of park kickabouts. The trick is to do it without dicking over smaller clubs.

4. End the transfer window system. This nonsense is part of the problem. Each season contains two four-month periods in which new players can’t be registered, which leads to clubs with the means panic buying players just in case someone gets injured, which in turn usually means he ends up sitting on their bench rather than playing for someone else.
 

bocadillo

Water Gypsy
Disincentivise clubs from stockpiling by allowing players to leave clubs at any time if they haven’t played, for example, more than 20% of first team games they were eligible and available for in the past 6 months.
Some rule akin to this already exists though I can't remember the exact details. It's rarely comes into effect.
 

H T B

Well-Known Member
Just as our new training ground is coming to fruition, we want to question stockpiling players!
Hmmmm.....
 

Brown Nose

Well-Known Member
It’s not actually ‘damaging’ us though, is it....?
I'd argue that if most of our professionals aren't playing matches regularly it is damaging to us. Our first team is doing just fine but scratch the surface and our squad is weak as can be.

An example is us missing Ricardo and we have Justin who will hopefully come in and do a job but it's a risk. He's had very little football to be thrust into the main side for the next 10-12 matches over 6 weeks. And what if he makes a mess of it or gets injured himself? We've got nobody below him that's ever kicked a ball in anger.

By stockpiling players we're weakening ourselves if and when we need back up. We're also stunting the development of players. And we're limiting our available wage budget for better players by frittering it away on shite.
 

pork pie fox

Well-Known Member
I'd argue that if most of our professionals aren't playing matches regularly it is damaging to us. Our first team is doing just fine but scratch the surface and our squad is weak as can be.

An example is us missing Ricardo and we have Justin who will hopefully come in and do a job but it's a risk. He's had very little football to be thrust into the main side for the next 10-12 matches over 6 weeks. And what if he makes a mess of it or gets injured himself? We've got nobody below him that's ever kicked a ball in anger.

By stockpiling players we're weakening ourselves if and when we need back up. We're also stunting the development of players. And we're limiting our available wage budget for better players by frittering it away on shite.
I think I saw that Choudhury was playing at right back in a practice match.
 
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