Norfolk Junior Cup winning boss Back: ‘Rolling substitutions will make a mockery of football’
11:48 22 June 2012
Archant © 2012
Norfolk Junior Cup winning manager Robbie Back believes rolling substitutions will make a mockery of football in the North West Norfolk League.
Reffley Royals joint boss said he was “amazed” 30 of the league’s 46 clubs voted in favour of trialling the scheme across the district’s Saturday grassroots scene next season.
Back, who voted against in his position as a league committee member and on behalf of the Royals, believes the decision will make one of the “best Saturday leagues in Norfolk” feel “a bit mickey-mouse”.
He said: “It’ll make a mockery of the game. It will become stop-start, like American football, and people will have ‘specialist’ subs in their team.
“Three players have already texted me saying they don’t need to get fit this summer because they’ll just come off when they’re tired. But I won’t be rolling lads on and off, it ruins the flow of the game.
“It sounds a bit hypocritical, as it might work for head injuries and stuff, but in general it will make a manager’s life harder.
“Instead of just having a sub asking ‘when am I going on?’, if you take a player off he’ll be saying ‘when am I going back on?’.
“I’m worried it’ll drive players out of the league, perhaps into Senior football.”
League chairman and referee Ray Venemore said it was “right” to let clubs decide if they wanted to adopt the FA’s two-year pilot scheme.
He said: “Teams haven’t got to use it and there are pros and cons, like not having to play on with 10 men if someone is getting treatment.
“I understand concerns some teams may abuse it but referees decide when the game can be stopped to make a substitution. If it’s managed properly, I can’t see why it shouldn’t work - it does in veterans’ football.
“We don’t really know how it will run but we need to trial it so people can make an opinion. If, with regular feedback, clubs are dead against it, we have it within our rules to call a special AGM and remove it.”
The committee decided to allow using three subs, not five or seven, and will only implement the idea for an initial year.
The Great Yarmouth Saturday League, Norwich and District Saturday Football League and Norwich Sunday League have all voted in favour of rolling substitutions.
The Central and South Norfolk League decided not to introduce it with a host of other leagues –including the King’s Lynn and District Sunday League –set to decide at their respective AGMs.