Aberdeen have handed a fresh blow to the Reserve League setup. They have become the third team to walk away from the competition.
They will instead focus on arranging friendlies with team’s north and south of the border, the Irn-Bru Cup, the Aberdeenshire Cup and Aberdeenshire Shield.
Speaking to the club’s official website, Director of Football Operations Steven Gunn explained some of the reasons behind the Dons’ decision to leave the Reserve League.
He said: “Like last season the majority of our Development squad will play in the Club Academy Scotland U18 League and the SFA Youth Cup. We will then be organising our own programme for the Development Squad players operating above U18 level.
“This will involve competing in the Aberdeenshire Cup and Aberdeenshire Shield competitions, playing organised matches versus the likes of Rangers, Hibs, Hearts, Motherwell and others at times and on days better suited to our weekly training programme, and also travelling further afield to venues in England to play against English U23 academy teams.
“We believe this programme will offer greater flexibility and a more sensible approach to the working week for our emerging talent.
Reserve League didn’t help Aberdeen
Ultimately the Reserve League just isn’t competitive enough. As time went on, more and more senior players started to appear in the league. It meant that the youth players had less of a chance to get some minutes.
Aberdeen clearly think they can tailor their youngster’s better. The Irn-Bru Cup in particular is a competition colt teams are fond. This tournament puts young footballers up against senior teams from the SPFL.
The experience of playing against senior outfits is a great learning curve for the development of these players. Mixed in with some local tournaments and playing against some good academy teams in England, this shake up might not be the worst thing for the Pittodrie side.
It’s interesting times for the youth development process in the Granite City.