Nichol praises FA’s ‘brave’ proposals

Steve Nichol.
Steve Nichol.
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FC Halifax Town’s head of youth development has praised the FA’s ‘brave’ proposals on English football.

But Steve Nichol has warned the plans must be implemented for the benefit of the game as a whole and that they need to take lower league clubs into account

The FA’s England commission, which looked at the future of the national team, issued controversial plans for a new B league, as well as new rules to encourage more home-grown players.

Nichol, who joined Halifax last summer and ran his own soccer school for 10 years, says young players need more exposure to competitive football.

“For years there’s been two main issues preventing our national team moving forwards,” he said.

“One is the quality and type of coaching players receive and some inroads have been made with that with the EPPP (Elite Player Performance Plan).

“The other is there’s a blockage around the age of 18 where some players aren’t getting the time on the pitch to develop their game.

“I believe there are, in this country, talented players, it’s having them on the right training programme and giving them the opportunity as they head towards the age of 18 to experience competitive football.

Nichol praised FA chief Greg Dyke for highlighting the area of youth football for discussion, and is hopeful the plans can succeed.

He added: “It’s good that Greg Dyke has been brave and put the proposals out there - it certainly opens the area for debate.

“The ideas of how it could work in terms of player development are good and I think it will open up more competitive football to younger players.

“It then comes down to detail of how it’s administered. If it’s elitist in terms of senior professionals playing or too many foreign players it defeats the object.

“But I’ve yet to see anyone put forward any other reasonable proposal of how we can work around it. Something needs to change and it has to have someone brave enough to do it.

“I think it would potentially remove that blockage if administered correctly but there’s a lot of other provisions that need to be considered around that in how it would affect clubs at this level.”