Following the closure of our EFL Trophy Survey, Against League 3 will once again advocate a boycott of ALL EFL Trophy matches for the forthcoming 2017/18 season.
721 respondents took the poll, with 63.7% (439) telling AL3 to organise the #BTeamBoycott for every EFL Trophy game. 28.4% (205) advocated a boycott of B-Team games only. 5% (36) said AL3 should protest the Trophy but not via a boycott, with 2.9% (21) saying no action should be taken at all.
179 comments were left on the poll, with all comments being considered. Aside from various arguments for and against the current format of the EFL Trophy – one notable difference is the increased level of comment making reference to the influence of the Premier League over the Football League.
Average attendance decreased 56% following the introduction of B-Teams into the EFL Trophy. Despite the sizeable decrease in average attendance – the final at Wembley Stadium was well attended, with over 74,000 tickets sold for the final game between Coventry City and Oxford United, the third highest in the competition’s history, and the highest at the new Wembley Stadium.
However, with the Wembley final being a key event in the EFL Calendar and much of the competition’s “success” being attributed to the fixture, AL3 will take efforts to promote a boycott of the 17/18 final.
45.2% of respondents said they would boycott the EFL Trophy final under any circumstances. 24% said they would attend a final against a first team, with 17.8% saying they would attend the final should their team feature. 13% said the question was not applicable.
Thin end of the wedge?
No. The EFL Trophy is not currently the thin end of the wedge. The scrapping of the Whole Game Solution ended any potential, in the short term, to introduce B-Teams into the Football League pyramid. However, Against League 3 does note a demand, both publicly and privately, from the Premier League to introduce B-Teams into the Football League. Housing B-Teams inside the EFL Trophy sets a precedent that could be cited in the future should any further proposals be made to introduce B-Teams.
With only 721 respondents taking our EFL Trophy survey – the small sample size that this decision is based on must be taken into account.
The 721 respondents reported a broad cross section of support for English football, with 79% answering that they supported a League 1 or League 2 team. In addition to the survey, Against League 3 has seen enough evidence of an appetite for the boycott across social media and in private correspondence to treat the survey as valid.
However, there is also evidence of “Boycott fatigue”. Small changes made by the EFL in relation to youth eligibility, fines and rules changes have made the competition marginally more palatable for supporters.
Future Direction and Action
The survey and messages received throughout the course of the last season have indicated a desire for AL3 to take action:
– To protest the EFL Trophy until B-Teams are removed from the competition,
– To raise awareness of Premier League interference in the running and organisation of the EFL, and why the FA allows this to happen,
– To campaign for fairer distribution of finance in football,
– To campaign for increased supporter representation in the governance of the sport,
AL3 also strongly supports the Checkatrade Boycott Game between Internet Mariners (Grimsby) and Donny R’sonists at Lucarly’s Sports Ground in Grimsby, which will run at the same night as Grimsby V Doncaster in the EFL Trophy.
AL3 will continue to promote the #BTeamBoycott throughout the course of the season.