Thursday, July 13, 2006

One player, one club

There is a strange rule in Welsh football. It's called the "second forms rule". It basically means that a player can sign for two different clubs. If he hasn't got a game with his first club, he can turn out for his second choice.

It is supposed to help out players at bigger clubs who might not be getting a regular game. They can turn out for their local side when they are coming back from injury, or if they are just on the fringes of the squad.

All well and good you might say, but this creates problems lower down the league. A struggling side can suddenly benefit from an influx of high quality players at the end of the season and miraculously turn things around. Imagine Prescot Cables turning out Steven Gerrard, Jamie Carragher and Michael Owen. That's the sort of effect that it has at our level.

Again, no real problem so far. But what about those players who have been turning up week and week out, even though they are regularly getting stuffed ? They are suddenly jettisoned in favour of star players whose season has finished in the higher tiers of the pyramid.

There are stories of promotions from the Mid Wales Leagues where a team is unbeaten in midweek, but struggles on a Saturday. This is because the midweek side is transformed by the appearance of top players from the Liverpool leagues.

My own club, Y Felinheli, is culpable, but the rule exists and it is perfectly fair. If we don't use it, we go down. Llanrwst United Reserves, who had been bottom of the League since August finished off the season with a double over Pwllheli, the runaway Champions. We went down anyway.

But thankfully this is all coming to an end. The Gwynedd, Caernarfon and Anglesey Leagues are all restricting players to one club this season, while the Welsh Premier, Cymru Alliance and Welsh Alliance have delayed its implementation until 2007/08.


Welshbigman said...

I totally agree with you but Llanrwst reserves finished the season with players from the first team not from outside the club, Llanrwst first team have also been on the receiving end against the likes of Denbigh midweek who bought in half a dozen players from Welshpool. The rule should be one player one club. I feel this would also promote the use of reserve teams and assist under 17 players to progress

Eric the Red said...

Yes, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to single out Llanrwst, who use players from within their club. It's just that they were the most extreme example of a struggling club turning things round.

I don't know whether it was your firsts or seconds that beat us in March, but we wouldn't have scored that night against your Under 7's.

Felin used players from Llanberis, most of whom played for Felin when they were younger. Nonetheless, they completely rejuvenated the team and we were able to win a few games in March for the first time since August.

Great for the club maybe, but we found ourselves with 7,8 players on the subs bench at the end of the season.

Anonymous said...

no problem. it was a team with 3 or 4 first teamers if I remember correctly but first teamers aren't everything. We took a team to Felin with 4 first teamers I think and drew 1-1 but again I think they thought to score you had to put the ball wide or over the goal