Date: 31st July 2012 at 5:35pm
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If it ain’t broke, let’s try and fix it has been the league’s approach to reserve football for this season, and Villa find themselves in Group 2 of the new ‘Professional Development League’.


This new fangled U21 competition replaces the old Barclays Premier Reserve League that we owned for so many seasons on the trot, and Gordon Cowans will kick the campaign off against Watford, before we face Man U, Newcastle, Spurs, Southampton, Stoke and Sunderland, who make up the rest of our group.


Venues and kick off times are still to be announced in the main, but we face Watford at the UCL Sports Ground on August 20, whilst our first home game of the campaign sees us host Stoke on August 25.


Ultimately the top three teams from Groups 1 & 2, and the top two sides in Group 3 advance to an Elite Group Stage in the New Year. Play off rounds, semis and then a final will be held at the end of the season to confirm the overall champions.


Clubs can also field three over age players in the league.


For full details and fixtures please Click Here.


Whilst the old and perfectly suitable reserve league has been dumped for a shiny new girlfriend with a fancy name, Villa will still be competing in the U18 league, the Next Gen Series and the FA Youth Cup.


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8 Replies to “All Change For The Second String”

  • I guess it is linked with the financial fair play suggestions? Seems a bit odd, but at least they have made exceptions to allow people coming back from injury! It avoids the farces of uneven teams where experienced teams take on kids!

  • Based on the above, if the U21’s do not qualify for the knock out stage, there is little chance to get the fit again first teamers some match practice later on the season? Just thinking back to last year where we had quite a few first teamers coming back and wanted to keep some fit too, it seems that this new scheme will not be ideal from the club’s first team point of view.Unless I’ve read this wrong of course.

  • Yeah how will this impact future Football Manager games and when I want to get my injured first teamer’s match fit when they are over 21 🙁

  • It ties in with the EPP plan as well as Academies are now rated, and only those in tier 1 can take part in the league. Lower placed teams come the New Year will go into qualification group tiers, so they’ll still have games, they just won’t be in with a shot for the title I think.

  • Seems to be a bit strange, to only allow 3 players over 21 to play in team? like GLB said what happens to the rest of the first team squad if they are over 21 and not one of the 3 players?

  • You can see how it relates with the Financial Fair Play though. Clubs now understand they can’t have a huge first team squad with all players over 21 as they wouldn’t be able to play fringe players in reserve games for maintaining match fitness if they’re not playing in the first team matches

  • I see where you’re coming from VillaHippo, and from that point of view it does make sense. Lets see how it pans out over this season.

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