Stags fans furious over JPT revamp

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Mansfield Town fans are unhappy over the controversial introduction of 10 Premier League Academy sides into this coming season’s Johnstone’s Paint Trophy competition.

The JPT has always been a way for Football League sides to reach a Wembley final without the involvement of the Premier League big boys.

Now they will also face the cream of the crop of possible future Premier League talent in a move which many feel will devalue the competition.

The move was approved by a vote at the Football League AGM in Portugal where Stags were one of many clubs who failed to vote either way and stayed on the fence.

The competition will also change format, with a group stage being introduced before the knockout rounds.

More than 4,700 football supporters have already signed a petition against the changes, and a number of Stags fans have reacted angrily, making their thoughts clear online.

Johnny Paling said: “It’s a ridiculous idea - we should boycott the competition.

Stephen J. Wells said: “I think its a joke. I appreciate that the FA are trying to get more game time for the next generation of players, but not this way.

“Maybe they shouldn’t have stopped the loan system from this season which has seen the likes of Harry Kane get valuable first team action and development?

“It’s ridiculous mixing a first team competition with youth teams.

“It’s made a mockery of the competition. This was a route for lower League sides to win a cup and get to Wembley. Who’s going to turn up at Wembley for a final between Hull Academy and Middlesborough Academy?”

Russ Clarkson said: “Who the hell would be interested in watching Stags v Hull U21s on a cold February Tuesday night?

“Where do these U21 sides play? At their senior side’s stadium or at a non-League ground? Absolutely **** decision and the fans are the ones paying the price yet again! I hope it flops massively.”

Derek Farmer added: “Not the right thing to do,” while Forestownstag said: “An absolute disgrace and an insult to lower league clubs. We should play our youth team. The FA have shown zero respect for lower League clubs so we should show zero respect for the competition!”

Johan said: “This competition should have been scrapped a long time ago. If the FA want to do something positive for English football, they should prevent Premier League teams from stockpiling young English players. “The Football League know this is a terrible idea (and is all about money), otherwise why not tell fans this vote is coming? And why lower the pass rate to 50 per cent?”

Ferret added: “What an insult to the Football League clubs and fans. These young players should be getting their chances in the Premier League first teams rather than being usurped by some unknown continental player. “Bring over the big names, yes, but let’s limit the number of non-English players PL clubs can play in a starting XI for starters.

“While you’re at it, keep out of our League-only competitions which gives us all our only real chance of Wembley cup success.”

However, Sharp said: “I actually don’t think is a bad idea.

“The trophy itself is a poor competition until the quarters at least, and attendances reflect that.

“The Premier League have agreed to put up an extra million in prize money across the competition and this may boost crowds, particularly younger fans, so I don’t see a downside.

“Apart from 85 and 87 does anyone actually remember a game in this competition?”

Accrington Stanley, AFC Wimbledon, Portsmouth, Hartlepool United, Luton Town and Port Vale are believed to have voted against the proposals with only Chesterfield and Oxford United voting for it.