Belfast Telegraph

Beckett's Premier pain

By Stuart McKinley

Liam Beckett is calling for the Irish FA to abandon the criteria for the new Premier League structure.

The Institute manager wants the governing body to scrap plans to bring in only those clubs whose stadium, facilities and financial structure meet the requirements and allow football to be the judge - even if it means his own team missing out on a place in the revamped top flight.

"I think football should decide football and rather than your place in the Premier League being decided on how many shower-heads are in your dressing room it should be where you finish this season that decides where you play next season," said Beckett.

"The top 12 teams this season should make up the new 12 team league, but only if they then meet the standards, not the standards being used before league placings.

"I have an Irish League medal and two Irish Cup medals in my collection and the Irish League one is my pride and joy.

"When you win the league you know you've been the best team and so on down the league with the top 12 teams being the best 12 in the country.

"We want to be in the top 12 and I am confident that we will be there.

"If we can achieve that then we should be given guaranteed entry into the Premier League because our facilities are very good and we are undertaking whatever work needs to be done to improve things."

Beckett is well aware that his team needs to get a move on if they are to make it into that top 12. They have picked up only eight points in their 12 league outings so far - losing seven - and have yet to win at home.

A lot of those defeats have been by one goal and that is something that Beckett is determined to put right.

"We haven't been playing badly, but finishing has been a problem," said Beckett, who will be back on the bench this afternoon when Stute take on Ballymena United after a four-match touchline ban.

"From the goalkeeper out to the final third I am happy, but we could be doing with putting the ball into the net more often.

"We have a young squad and a lot of them are new to the Premier League. We are adapting well, but I am getting fed up with managers patting me on the back about our performances after beating us. I would rather play badly and win."

Beckett has already added Declan Divin to his squad and he has now signed John O'Loughlin, with both being available next month.

Belfast Telegraph


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