EFL Trophy survey resultsCarlisle United fans were asked for their opinions on this season's Checkatrade Trophy competition format ahead of an EFL review of the competition to be held at a meeting next week.
The survey was completed by over 600 fans - with over 70% of those who responded being season ticket holders or very regular attenders.
The results are:
+ Only 4% want the competition to end
+ Over 50% want it to return to the old 'knock out' format of 48 EFL only teams
+ Only 2% in favour of the current format with U23 teams:
- it goes up a little if big Premier League teams are included (those who did not take part in 16/17)
- 78% felt no overage players should be allowed [if U23 teams are included]
+ The balance is an overwhelming number in favour of National League teams to be allowed to participate in preference to EPL U23 teams
+ There is a strong feeling that prize money increase does not justify the changes to the competition
+ Fans want the same or more regionalisation
+ Fewer than 50% attach any significant importance to development value for our own young players
+ Fewer than 40% attach any significant importance to development value for young players across the wider game
+ 76% favour a return to a knock out
Chief executive Nigel Clibbens said: "We were pleased with the amount of responses we got to the survey. We felt it was important to get views from our fans before we, as a club, went back to the EFL to take part in the review.
"There are few surprises in the results, except maybe the support for a knock out tournament over groups and the lack of importance of player development in the role of the competition is also evident.
"Respondents see the way forward as going back to a regionalised knockout of EFL teams only (or with National teams). Not driven by development or prize money benefits (but by low ticket price fixtures).
"The clear message from respondents is that the competition rationale should not be focused on the extra prize money available to clubs or player development. As the fantastic occasion at Wembley showed, the glory is what counts more than the money.
"From a club point of view – in terms of match income, even with the low gates, we made more money from the new format, but almost all the income came from £30k prize money for winning games. It was more lucrative than the EFL Cup and the previous format of the competition.
"In terms of development, we had some game minutes for club developed players. Overall as a competition we feel it has alienated us from some of our fans.
"Has that been worth the £30k when all that has happened to the cash is that it has been reinvested in football costs? Retaining the financial benefits whilst recapturing the support of the fans is a real challenge."