It’s a while ago now that United were sadly dumped out of the Checkatrade EFL Trophy, but everything that was said about the competition by Chris Wilder, Karl Robinson and others is spot on.
What’s more, they were not commenting in hindsight: the competition’s many flaws were obvious from the beginning.
It was all about corporate re-branding; a marketing man’s idea, not a football man’s. Last June the 128-year-old Football League decided to rename itself the English Football League, or the EFL for short. With this came a new logo, which was “a stunning new visual identity featuring a dynamic circular arrangement of 72 balls in three swatches of 24”. Has anybody noticed?
The EFL’s Chief Executive Shaun Harvey kept the corporate gobbledegook flowing when he said: “It is absolutely essential that sports properties can project a modern identity that not only resonates with their regular audience but is also easily recognisable to a broader audience of potential fans, viewers and commercial partners.” But at least he didn’t call the new logo “relevant, modern and flexible” (?!) as the Premier League did theirs.
Apparently the EFL name and logo came about after a thorough consultation process that involved, amongst other interested parties, 18,000 football supporters. Does anybody know who these people were?
The revamping of the former JPT Trophy was all part of this nonsense, designed, we were told, to give young players more opportunities in first-team football. So why schedule it when the best young players are away on international duty? And why, when the Football League (I still call it that) was talking about introducing five divisions of 20 to reduce the number of midweek matches, did they make everybody play more midweek matches? They deserve a final of Blackburn U21s v Reading U21s. Or is it U23s? That seems different depending on where you look.
Maybe the Star could run a competition to guess what the attendance will be for United’s dead game at Grimsby. Oh, and I still call the men (and occasionally women) who run up and down the side of the pitch carrying flags linesmen.