Chesterfield boss James Rowe calls National League five substitution rule 'scandalous' and 'dangerous'

Spireites manager James Rowe says it is ‘scandalous’ and ‘dangerous’ that National League clubs can only name five substitutions again this season.

Friday, 20th August 2021, 2:40 pm

Many clubs, including Chesterfield, wanted to name seven players on the bench, just like the EFL, this campaign.

The proposal apparently had the backing of the majority of managers in the division but, according to Notts County boss Ian Burchnall, some clubs’ owners took it upon themselves to vote against it.

Rowe, who is one of the managers in the league who chooses not to name a goalkeeper on the bench because of the restrictions, has consistently called for seven subs.

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The five sub rule came back to bite the Spireites last season in the play-offs against Notts County.

He told the DT: “I am really disappointed with the vote. I think it is thinking backwards, standing still, and we don’t want the game in the upper echelons of the pyramid to get away from us. We have got so much to be proud of at this level but you have to evolve.

“The fact that the Premier League has gone to nine subs, so they are going in the other direction, and we are standing still, I think that is a dangerous way for the league to operate.

“If we want to improve and evolve the game at this level then more selection off the bench makes for a more entertaining game.”

When asked if he knew why other clubs had voted against it, he added: “No, it is their own, private reasons. You speak to people but that is hearsay. Why the owners voted the way they did, or whoever voted on the clubs’ behalf, who knows, but certainly if you look at the positives and negatives of extending it to seven subs, the pluses far out way the minuses. It is a scandalous vote.”

Rowe opted not to name a goalkeeper on the bench in the play-off defeat to Notts County last season, and it came back to bite them unfortunately. So will he do the same this season?

“It puts managers such as myself in a difficult situation but we will see how we go,” he added.

“It didn’t go our way in the play-off game but I noticed that in the other play-off games managers did not put a goalkeeper on the bench either, it was just unfortunate what happened at Notts County in the end.”