At the start of the season, the whole of the Football League fan-base was united against the implementation of B-Teams into the EFL Trophy. This drastic measure was quietly voted in, with little prior notice to clubs and zero prior notice to fans.
As a campaign that has always been led by the will of supporters, we organised the #BTeamBoycott. The call to organise a boycott of the competition was by far the most common feedback we received shortly after the changes were made.
At the beginning, the #BTeamBoycott was incredibly successful, in all honesty more successful than we expected. Record low attendances were reported at several clubs, a competition low attendance record was broken and the message seemed to be getting through. We knew from the outset, it was always a difficult ask to sustain the same level of commitment to the boycott when we approached the date of the final.
After Swansea B, the final B-Team in the competition, was eliminated, we asked campaign supporters whether to keep up the boycott and send a message to the EFL, or whether fans should start supporting the competition again. The message we received from our campaign support was clear, that the boycott was to continue. Days later, Coventry City reached the final.
Very few clubs deserve a Wembley final like Coventry City. Since Sisu took over the club in 2007 the fans of Coventry have experienced English football’s ownership crisis to it’s full extent. Let down by the FA and the EFL, Coventry quite literally find themselves on the brink of existence. Who could really deny them a cup final at Wembley?
Yet, as part of the commitment we made to the supporters of this campaign, we continue to ask Coventry City fans to join the #BTeamBoycott at Wembley Stadium on 2nd April. Of course, that’s very unlikely. Tickets have already sold well in what many fans fear could be Coventry’s last cup final.
We ask Coventry fans (the same as we would ask any team that reached the final) to join us in the boycott fully aware that, for understandable reasons, it may be too much to ask.
For that reason, this is by far the most difficult #BTeamBoycott piece I’ve had to write since the start of the campaign. If not for the commitment we have to our campaign supporters, we wouldn’t dare ask. I stress we are in no-way aiming to disrupt Coventry fans enjoyment of the day itself.
This campaign strongly believes fans are better united than divided. We can not and will not criticise anyone attending the final. What we ask if you do plan to attend Wembley is that you don’t sit back and give justification to the various groups that have played a considerable part in the threatened existence of your club. The FA and EFL share responsibility for the damage Sisu are doing to your club (and many others).
AL3 will be protesting the final outside of Wembley on the 2nd April. We will be talking to supporters about promoting the fight against B-Teams and promoting the strengthening of the Owners and Directors test. We would be delighted for Coventry fans to join us before entering the ground to speak out against the ownership crisis infecting English football.