CLUB STATEMENT | Reserve League Participation
First Team

CLUB STATEMENT | Reserve League Participation

2nd May 2019

Thursday 2 May 2019

St. Johnstone Chairman Steve Brown has today revealed that the club will not be running a Reserve Team next season but has moved to reassure Saints fans that this in no way indicates a lack of ambition or belief in the club’s youth policy.

Saints have been one of 18 clubs who have participated in the re-introduced Reserves set-up but the Chairman has failed to see many positives for the Perth club’s players.

“I did state before the start of this season that we were entering the competition reluctantly. I was never convinced by the new format and it’s taken a season to have it proved but regrettably my fears about it have been confirmed.

“Notwithstanding the costs involved and the challenging logistics, our preference was for a ‘Colts’ team playing in a competitive league in Scotland.

"However, the concept of Colt teams was voted down by a considerable margin by League One and League Two clubs.

“All 17 of our Reserve League matches have been played at a wide variety of venues including the training grounds of some of the bigger clubs and on a variety of days – I think we’ve played on just about every week day at some stage in the season – and they are essentially just pitting young players against opposition of a similar age.

"I’ve seen little evidence of them being used by clubs to keep their first-team players ‘ticking over’ if they are not in the starting eleven."

The McDiarmid Park Chairman continued: “There is a human cost to this as well. This is the time of the season when clubs inevitably have to tell some young players that they will not be given the opportunity to remain with their clubs and we are no different.

“We’ve had to tell six lads that they won’t be here next season and that figure is higher than it might have been had we had a productive ‘non-first-team’ structure in the game.

"This is not about reducing expenditure – it’s about having the most effective set-up in place to maximise the development of young players.

"Until such time as a viable alternative option to the Reserve League is introduced we will continue to maximise the use of the loans systems.

"I firmly believe that young players benefit from a progressive programme of playing in the lower leagues because whatever level that happens to be at, it is good, competitive football being played by adults and all that that entails.

“Numerous players have gone out on-loan over the years including current first-team regulars Zander Clark, Jason Kerr, Liam Gordon and Chris Kane who have all returned to McDiarmid Park much the better and more experienced for their loan spells, as has Callum Hendry who has been in the starting eleven in recent weeks.

“We’ve used the loan system well this season and players that we have loaned out to Lowland League club BSC Glasgow - who we have a good relationship with - have come on leaps and bounds.

"Ali McCann is impressing many with his performances at Stranraer and Kyle McClean has been getting great reviews for this contribution to Linfield’s League Championship and League Cup successes in Northern Ireland."

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