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B Team?

SUFCGoals

Striker
Joined
Jun 27, 2018
Messages
197
Location
Roots Hall
I'm surprised the club hasn't announced its intentions in terms of the B team / U23s. I guess this might be something being unveiled at meet the Blues day.

As far as I'm aware there is a decreasing number who are legible for the 23s so can definitely see the club moving towards the B team model.

Also, do we know which U18/23 players will still be at the club this season?

Have the club even announced the first year scholars for 22/23 yet?

I tonne of questions I know!
 
Last edited:

Yorkshire Blue

Super Moderator⭐
Staff member
Joined
Oct 27, 2003
Messages
38,687
Location
London
I'm surprised the club hasn't announced its intentions in terms of the B team / U23s. I guess this might be something being unveiled at meet the Blues day.

As far as I'm aware there is a decreasing number who are legible for the 23s so can definitely see the club moving towards the B team model.

Also, do we know which U18/23 players will still be at the club this season?

Have the club even announced the first year scholars for 22/23 yet?

I tonne of questions I know!
Not sure what exactly you are expecting to be announced in terms of B team. It’s more a philosophical thing based on how long we retain youngsters for than a procedural thing: games for both are essentially ad hoc friendlies. I suppose one consequence could be we may not enter the Premier League Cup but we played 6 matches in it last season (in contrast we played over 20 friendlies) and 4 the season before so I doubt anyone would really notice.

The biggest change as far as I can tell is that players promoted from the academy will train with the first team rather than separately and we’ll give youngsters less time to come good with a more up or out approach. They’ve already announced that they’ve released nearly all the u23 squad with only Benton and Andeng Ndi retained. Davis and Coker have been promoted from the academy: they’ll now train with the firsts rather than going into the u23s but as both were on the bench tail end of the season I presume they were already training some of the time with the firsts and I’d expect them to go out on loan anyway.

U23 fixtures were always supplemented with players from the academy and I expect that will continue with the B team model.

The official website will probably remove profiles of u23 players sometime in 2024.

What still hasn’t been announced is what is happening with the Academy. A replacement for Ricky Duncan still hasn’t been officially announced. We don’t know if second year scholars are to be given third years: this was almost automatic in the past but we may weed more out sooner. I think I’d heard Adedoja had moved/was moving on. @Exiled Shrimper, the oracle of all things Southend youth, said Luke Reeve had a third year.

The class of first year scholars hasn’t been announced either as you say. Maybe they’ll be introduced during an early home game? I always liked it when they did that (I don’t get why they don’t do that for each age group and give them a game where they can go onto the pitch at half time and wave to the crowd?) as it helped establish that link between the firsts and the academy.
 

SUFCGoals

Striker
Joined
Jun 27, 2018
Messages
197
Location
Roots Hall
Not sure what exactly you are expecting to be announced in terms of B team. It’s more a philosophical thing based on how long we retain youngsters for than a procedural thing: games for both are essentially ad hoc friendlies. I suppose one consequence could be we may not enter the Premier League Cup but we played 6 matches in it last season (in contrast we played over 20 friendlies) and 4 the season before so I doubt anyone would really notice.

The biggest change as far as I can tell is that players promoted from the academy will train with the first team rather than separately and we’ll give youngsters less time to come good with a more up or out approach. They’ve already announced that they’ve released nearly all the u23 squad with only Benton and Andeng Ndi retained. Davis and Coker have been promoted from the academy: they’ll now train with the firsts rather than going into the u23s but as both were on the bench tail end of the season I presume they were already training some of the time with the firsts and I’d expect them to go out on loan anyway.

U23 fixtures were always supplemented with players from the academy and I expect that will continue with the B team model.

The official website will probably remove profiles of u23 players sometime in 2024.

What still hasn’t been announced is what is happening with the Academy. A replacement for Ricky Duncan still hasn’t been officially announced. We don’t know if second year scholars are to be given third years: this was almost automatic in the past but we may weed more out sooner. I think I’d heard Adedoja had moved/was moving on. @Exiled Shrimper, the oracle of all things Southend youth, said Luke Reeve had a third year.

The class of first year scholars hasn’t been announced either as you say. Maybe they’ll be introduced during an early home game? I always liked it when they did that (I don’t get why they don’t do that for each age group and give them a game where they can go onto the pitch at half time and wave to the crowd?) as it helped establish that link between the firsts and the academy.
I was just expecting some sort of official announcement that the club were looking at working towards a B team model as a lot of people may have missed Stan suggesting this should be the way forward. Like my Dad for example.
 
Joined
May 12, 2015
Messages
2,429
I was quite sceptical of a 'B' team model to begin with but I'm kind of excited now.

Hopefully this leads to more first team players.
 

Chapperz

Striker
Joined
Aug 2, 2018
Messages
1,985
So is a "B team" essentially what used to be the reserves?
I think so but without a designated league. So they can play friendlies against anyone. Just realised I typed a lot, so TL;DL = mix of first team players and youth is better for player development IMO.

I will admit to being excited when we had a under 21 team as it seemed to be the next step for the academy, bridging the gap between the youths and the first team. Especially when they started with pre-season friendlies against local adult team and I travelled to Chelmsford and Brentwood by bus to watch these kids get bullied physically despite being technically better on the ball. I remember a game where they lost by 3 or 4 and every touch they had was immediately followed by a physical tackle. Some players you could tell learnt to ride it or have a better first touch while others faded away and didn't want the ball. Was the same game where the much discussed Jason Williams missed about 3 easy chances.

However, the more I looked into it and saw how it played out, it seemed to become a stocking pile for the big clubs to hoard talent and if 1 in 100 became a first team player or got moved on for money, then it was a success. Similar to how the EPPP or whatever it was called, has become (which I hated since day 1, but EFL teams were forced to accept).

In my opinion (with little knowledge or research on player development between 18-21 years old), a reserve/B team is better than a pure under 21/23 team (I also think under 23 is too old and any player who is 22/23 and not competing for sub minutes will never be good enough). Young players learn playing with and against older, more experienced players. I think even Lopata and others have said that playing mens football 3-4 leagues down is much more valuable than under 21/23 football. A player may dominate in the youths due to their size, but not have the game intelligence to do it at mens football (think of Acquah). However, there are those that start playing against experience players and learnt to adapt their game or improved their game intelligence to make their physicality work to showcase their technical skills. Think of players like Lukaku and Rooney, who at 16 burst onto the scene because they were not only technically and physically ready, but they learnt and adapted well. Sure they were still very rough and had flaws, but do you think they would have progressed at the same rate had they been playing against 18-21 year olds for 3-4 years? Probably not.

I think there needs to be a lot figured out before any announcement is made. The Brentford model is they replaced the entire academy with a B team. I don't think we will do that as our academy had been successful in bringing players through to the first team from a young age (Clifford etc.), but also picking up players who have been released at a young age by London academies (Bentley from Arsenal and Payne from Spurs) and have gained a reputation that way. The fact that we are expanding into Chelmsford with a shadow academy and looking to replace Rick Duncan (any news on that?) seems we won't.

Another thing we need to figure out is the purpose of the B-team. Is it for players coming out from under 18s, or will those be loaned out to local teams (we saw a few loaned out at the end of last season and think that will continue)? Will it be for players who are close to the first team, but not quite ready? We only have 5 sub spots and if we have a team of 20 players then at least 4 will miss out. Personally, I think it will be what some would say as a traditional "reserve" squad, a team below the first team that is a mixture of players in the first team needing match time because they are coming back from injury or close to breaking into the first team and players who have graduated from the under 18s or too good for the under 18s and need to be tested at a better level (if they can't be loaned out).
 

Strykr

Manager
Joined
May 19, 2008
Messages
5,815
Location
Eastbored
I think so but without a designated league. So they can play friendlies against anyone. Just realised I typed a lot, so TL;DL = mix of first team players and youth is better for player development IMO.

I will admit to being excited when we had a under 21 team as it seemed to be the next step for the academy, bridging the gap between the youths and the first team. Especially when they started with pre-season friendlies against local adult team and I travelled to Chelmsford and Brentwood by bus to watch these kids get bullied physically despite being technically better on the ball. I remember a game where they lost by 3 or 4 and every touch they had was immediately followed by a physical tackle. Some players you could tell learnt to ride it or have a better first touch while others faded away and didn't want the ball. Was the same game where the much discussed Jason Williams missed about 3 easy chances.

However, the more I looked into it and saw how it played out, it seemed to become a stocking pile for the big clubs to hoard talent and if 1 in 100 became a first team player or got moved on for money, then it was a success. Similar to how the EPPP or whatever it was called, has become (which I hated since day 1, but EFL teams were forced to accept).

In my opinion (with little knowledge or research on player development between 18-21 years old), a reserve/B team is better than a pure under 21/23 team (I also think under 23 is too old and any player who is 22/23 and not competing for sub minutes will never be good enough). Young players learn playing with and against older, more experienced players. I think even Lopata and others have said that playing mens football 3-4 leagues down is much more valuable than under 21/23 football. A player may dominate in the youths due to their size, but not have the game intelligence to do it at mens football (think of Acquah). However, there are those that start playing against experience players and learnt to adapt their game or improved their game intelligence to make their physicality work to showcase their technical skills. Think of players like Lukaku and Rooney, who at 16 burst onto the scene because they were not only technically and physically ready, but they learnt and adapted well. Sure they were still very rough and had flaws, but do you think they would have progressed at the same rate had they been playing against 18-21 year olds for 3-4 years? Probably not.

I think there needs to be a lot figured out before any announcement is made. The Brentford model is they replaced the entire academy with a B team. I don't think we will do that as our academy had been successful in bringing players through to the first team from a young age (Clifford etc.), but also picking up players who have been released at a young age by London academies (Bentley from Arsenal and Payne from Spurs) and have gained a reputation that way. The fact that we are expanding into Chelmsford with a shadow academy and looking to replace Rick Duncan (any news on that?) seems we won't.

Another thing we need to figure out is the purpose of the B-team. Is it for players coming out from under 18s, or will those be loaned out to local teams (we saw a few loaned out at the end of last season and think that will continue)? Will it be for players who are close to the first team, but not quite ready? We only have 5 sub spots and if we have a team of 20 players then at least 4 will miss out. Personally, I think it will be what some would say as a traditional "reserve" squad, a team below the first team that is a mixture of players in the first team needing match time because they are coming back from injury or close to breaking into the first team and players who have graduated from the under 18s or too good for the under 18s and need to be tested at a better level (if they can't be loaned out).
It might be a throwback to the old days but it makes perfect sense to me. Puts an emphasis on the first teams importance and simplifies who is on the books.

I guess my only question is what sort of fixtures are they going to play, as i dont really know enough about outside first team football.
 
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