GREG DYKE’S head must be spinning following the publication of his plans to shake up English football, the main crux of which is a proposal to set up a League Three for Premier League B teams.
‘B for Bonkers’, ‘You Must B Kidding’ and ‘Dyke has got a B in his bonnet’ were just three of the tabloid headlines that the Football Association chairman woke to yesterday morning.
With representatives of lower league clubs up and down the country also wading into the row to denounce the FA Commission’s main suggestion, it appears that Dyke has few friends right now.
One man, however, who can see merit in the plan to create a much clearer career path for players just starting out is Hull City midfielder Jake Livermore.
Now 24, the loanee from Tottenham Hotspur has just enjoyed his best season yet but he admits to feeling low earlier in his career when farmed out to a host of Championship and League One clubs for experience.
“A B team would have been good for me when younger,” said Livermore, who had a couple of months at Leeds United towards the end of the 2010-11 season. “I went out on loan a few times and it was difficult.
“I had been at Tottenham since seven years of age, so to go on loan to Leeds, where the football was completely foreign to what I had been used to, was a bit hard to take on board.
“Results weren’t great, either. Same with performances. It wasn’t just Leeds, though. I had a lot of loan spells and didn’t know if I was coming or going. I’d say it was my worst time in football.
“That is why I think something like this (Dyke’s B team plan) could work. Between the age of 18 and 20 it is something of a black hole.
“But if you could get a big club, all playing the same way as what everyone is used to (in a B team), then that can only be a good thing. It benefits the club, the player and English football.
“When I was that age, I didn’t know if I was coming or going. Everyone is too frightened to take a chance on you. Ironically, the only person to show any faith in me was Tim Sherwood, who is obviously manager at Tottenham now.
“Look at the record of people he has brought through. I can think of six or seven off the top of my head and they will go on to enjoy a good career. I do hope he gets the job and continues to bring people through because English football needs more people like that.”
Sherwood’s own future at White Hart lane is, of course, far from secure. Speculation about a foreign manager being brought in by Spurs this summer has been rampant almost from the moment that the former midfielder replaced Andre Villas-Boas on an 18 month deal towards the end of last year.
Despite that, Sherwood could yet have a big say in what happens next for Livermore. Hull manager Steve Bruce has made it clear that he wants to sign the 24-year-old on a permanent basis in the summer. It is a plan that Livermore is receptive to.
“Of course I’d like to stay,” said the midfielder.
“I feel as though I owe the manager, his staff, my team-mates and the fans a lot. They have been good to me this season and I have been given the opportunity to play week in and week out. For that I am thankful.
“I have enjoyed my time here and I’d like more of the same. I have really enjoyed myself at Hull. Whatever happens in the summer, whatever the two clubs agree, if they could sort something out that would be great.
“But for the time being, I have got a couple of games left and they are my main concern.”
Asked whether he had heard anything from Spurs in recent weeks with regards the future, Livermore replied: “No. I didn’t cement a place last season and they have spent £100m since then.
“So, I imagine I will be available to leave, unless something drastic happens in the summer.”
Livermore was a notable absentee from the starting line-up in Tuesday night’s defeat at Manchester United as Bruce rested the players he sees as key in next weekend’s FA Cup final. He may be missing again tomorrow as Everton’s visit to the KC Stadium brings the curtain down on the Premier League season.
But, even if he is not involved at all against Roberto Martinez’s team, Livermore will end the campaign with 35 league appearances and a wealth of happy memories.
“I have really enjoyed it here,” said Livermore, who had to sit out the two meetings with parent club Spurs. “We have had a good season so far.
“The league (position) isn’t a fair reflection of how well we have done any more. And, in my opinion, I think the gaffer deserves more than us being 16th.
“So do the lads because we have never really been in trouble all season. We have given a good account of ourselves and it would be a shame to finish off in that sort of manner.
“That is why we want to end the league season on a high with a win over Everton.
“As for myself, it has just been nice to play more than anything. We have got a good crowd here and a great following away from home, too. It is nice to be part of a club that is going in the right direction.
“I am not sure if I have changed too much as a player, it is just a matter of being able to showcase it. I wasn’t able to in an Under-21 league at Tottenham.
“There you can have people screaming until they are blue in the face saying how good you are but unless you are doing it in the big league no-one seems to take much notice of you.
“From that point of view that is why I owe the gaffer so much for giving me the opportunity.”