Marlborough manager Mark Jones raises serious questions over rolling substitutes
Treble-winning Marlborough manager Mark Jones is sceptical the rolling substitutes’ pilot will have much impact at the top end of the Sunday league game.
Jones guided the Norwich pub side to the Premier Division title, Norwich Sunday League Cup and the Norfolk Sunday Senior Cup to cap a memorable campaign last season. The Marlborough chief voted against the proposal to trial five rolling substitutes during matches and believes the move will only benefit the strongest clubs.
“It might save me some moaning from the lads left out,” he said.
“I can actually see this benefiting the bigger clubs with the deeper squads – which only makes it harder for the rest.
“I was against it because I think we are at a senior level of football and if you are going to experiment and do something like that it should happen lower down, maybe in junior or children’s football.
“We played teams last year who turned up with one substitute, so how is this going to work with them? We will have 16 players to pick from during a game and they might only have 11 or 12.
“I don’t really buy the thing with injuries either as in 20 years of being involved in football I can only remember probably one or two occasions when we haven’t ended with 11 players on the pitch due to injury.
“The FA have said they want to implement this and maybe I’m being a bit old-fashioned and it will prove to be a success, but I don’t think it will change how we approach things.
“I think they tried to introduce phasing out throw-ins and replacing those with kick-ins in a league somewhere else in the past, so I guess this is more of the same thing.”
Jones believes a key factor is how the pilot scheme will be implemented by match officials.
“I think there is an issue with the referees and how they go about adopting this,” he said. “Can you just bring a lad on who is good at set pieces and take them straight off again? What if I wanted to make five substitutions all at the same time?
“How much of a delay would that cause in the game and, of course, there is the issue about time wasting and how that is avoided.
“Like I say, I can understand it lower down the leagues or in junior football where you are trying to encourage participation and grow the game.
“You don’t want to feel you are excluded and just coming along to stand on the sidelines, but at senior football you understand when you join a club it is about trying to win things and be successful and part of that is about being in a squad and fulfilling whatever role the manager has for you.”