Miss the Checkatrade Trophy they said – nothing will happen they said...
Apart from sendings off, penalty shootouts, first goals of the season for Conor McAleny and Chris Long and Joey Barton’s disagreement with Leicester City.
His ‘lack of class’ tirade after the 2-2 draw was apparently aimed at one particular player with no first team experience, reportedly sounding off to one of Town’s squad about his alleged £10,000 a week wage – a million miles away from Town’s top earner.
That sum for a player that is not even on the cusp of making it into the first team at top flight level shows everything that is wrong with modern football.
But then what do you expect in the Checkatrade Trophy?
We all know this competition is just a ‘road to Wembley’ for League One and Two clubs but also a pathway to try and get top flight B teams into the lower divisions of the EFL.
Something clubs with a rich non-league history need to fight tooth and nail to avoid.
There is a clash at the weekend that the fat cats would hate; Fleetwood Town v Accrington Stanley – a game you could never pitch to the powers that be as a glamour tie for League One.
Fleetwood, the club that Andy Pilley built and propelled from the depths of non-league, against Accrington Stanley; the club that would not die.
It still shows that the non-league fairytale exists and Saturday will show why B teams should never come into our pyramid.
It’s a game that will feature something the rich kids might never see: endeavour, real football, desire, passion and the non-league heritage.
Joey Barton and his Stanley counterpart, John Coleman, can put on a thoroughly great battle of football.
Leave the Leicesters, the Sunderlands and the powers that be to their Checkatrade: let’s do what they don’t want and keep the Fleetwoods and Accringtons defying the odds.
Leave the kids to it and let the men do the business where it matters: in real competitive football.