DARRYL Eales will be arguing against continuing the Checkatrade Trophy format, urging EFL clubs to listen to supporters when they meet to discuss the competition today.
Oxford United were among a majority of clubs who voted in favour of the one-season pilot last summer.
The experiment brought in a group stage and controversially expanded it from 48 to 64 teams by inviting under 23 teams from clubs with Category One academies.
It prompted a section of supporters to boycott the competition, with some even choosing to miss United’s trip to the final earlier this month.
Despite the U’s benefitting more than most by reaching Wembley, where they lost 2-1 to Coventry City, Eales, while praising the increase in sponsorship which came with the changes, believes overall it was a mistake.
And the U’s chairman intends to make that clear when clubs meet in Walsall today to discuss the options for next season.
He said: “Checkatrade’s sponsorship has been incredible, and I don’t know whether that level is linked to under 23 teams or not.
“Whatever the linkage, my personal view is categorical – I think it was a one-year experiment and we shouldn’t do it again.
“We should listen to the fans on this one.
“It is causing division among fans who normally agree.”
The EFL have asked for clubs to outline their positions ahead of the meeting.
Following the discussion a plan will be drawn up, which will be voted on at the EFL’s AGM this summer.
Eales is unsure how the debate will go.
He said: “I suspect the strength of feeling is greater at Oxford than a lot of other clubs, but I don’t know.
“Luton’s gate against us in the semi-final (6,901) was certainly lower than you might have expected.
“We’ve just got to wait and see, but fans can be reassured we won’t be voting for the continuation of the experiment.”
While the fans’ boycott in protest at the under 23 sides contributed to two of United’s ten lowest gates of all time, plus the smallest gate for a derby with Swindon Town, Eales objects on different grounds.
He said: “It’s not just to do with under 23 teams, there’s also too many games in this year’s competition.
“Expanding the competition was a mistake for League One and League Two sides who are playing 46 league games and don’t get international weeks off.
“Throwing some more games in seems daft to me.”