Catlin wants football unity to defeat Dyke

Kal Naismith was gaffer for a day Phil Whyte's man of the match against Cambridge United. Photo by Joe Pepler

Pompey 2 Cambridge United 1: Gaffer for a day

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Mark Catlin has called on football to unite and drive out Greg Dyke’s proposals he regards as an ‘absolute abomination’.

Controversial alterations to the Football League were yesterday put forward by the FA Commission, sparking widespread condemnation.

Designed to boost the fortunes of the national team, at the heart of the four-point plan is creating a new League Three in 2016-17, made up of 10 Premier League B teams and 10 Conference sides.

It’s a model employed in Spain and highly familiar with Catlin, who lived in the country for 12 years.

Within minutes of the Commission publishing their findings, Pompey’s chief executive sent a letter to the FA damning Dyke’s plans.

Football League chairmen will be able to voice concerns at their annual meeting from June 5-6 in Portugal, which Catlin will attend alongside Iain McInnes.

And he has called on all to join forces to defeat B-team suggestions he believes will stifle teams climbing through the lower divisions.

‘This is an absolute abomination,’ said Catlin.

‘It is an ill-thought-out, ill-conceived plan which will finish the Football League as we know it.

‘It will take away ambition, dreams and aspirations.

‘It will end up with a whole host of clubs out of business and part-time, while fanbases will disappear.

‘They keep referring to Spain as the beacon and the thing to aspire to. Well, I lived in Spain for 12 years and know the standard inside out.

‘Nobody can lecture me about the structure of the Spanish leagues – and how this would enhance our national game I’ll never know.

‘Looking at this country, all these clubs have 100-plus years of existence and are supported by their communities.

‘Overnight, if approved, they will whither away.

‘At Portsmouth we have not been consulted and I am hoping the Football League board – knowing them as I do as sensible people – will see through it.

‘There is a meeting of the Football League chairmen in June and I am confident there will be a massive strength of feeling against this.

‘I am hoping it will be put down as the joke that it is.’

Catlin points out there are average gates of under 4,000 for even the B sides of Barcelona and Real Madrid in the Spanish second tier.

Meanwhile, lower down, others cannot compete.

He added: ‘Spain is full of B teams, C teams and feeder clubs and few independent teams.

‘Here we’ve got Yeovil who have got straight through to the Championship in a fairy tale. This idea will kill that.

‘Then with B teams not allowed to be get promoted from League One, you could get the silly situation where 15th could instead go up.

‘Make no mistake, eventually the idea will be brought into the Championship.’

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