Time To Keep Changing

It is now inevitable that the Newco Rangers will not be voted into the SPL. A win for the SPL fans and for sporting integrity? Well a win yes but surely they can’t all stop there.

First thing they should do is forget Rangers, or newco Rangers or The Rangers. They have made their decision and it will now be up to the SFL were they decide to place Rangers. The SPL can’t be seen to try and persuade the SFL in any way. They can’t demand that its division three or say ‘look SKY want them in division one’. As I say they need to forget them and start getting their own house in order.

Then the SPL need to look at changing their voting system. They were forced into going for the 11-1 system by the big bullies, the Old Firm, who at the time held all the cards. Now the rest of the SPL, if they can come together can take some of that power back.

Celtic have said they don’t need Rangers to survive. This is true but they might have to concede a lot of power and money to the rest of the SPL now they are exposed without their rivals.

So say we have a new, fairer voting system of 8-4, then they should go to SKY and ESPN, as a united group and ask what deal is there on the table?

Once a deal is signed, they then have to vote on how that deal shall be distributed. The previous deals saw the biggest chunks of money handed to the Old Firm, now with a fairer voting system and one that stands up for sporting integrity rather than business, the wealth has to be passed around in more equal way.

For me, if I was involved at a higher level of any SPL club I would look at the job Neil Doncaster is doing and ask should he be there?

He has changed his story a few times now, he has been guilty of scaremongering and seems to lack the necessary backing from his members. The speed of decision making has been scandalous and the buck should stop with him. Lets face it he doesn’t want to be here and if he had a chance he’d be working for an EPL side ┬áhe would be there and would even jump at the chance of working in the Championship ahead of the SPL.

Without the need for four Old Firm games a season and with the fans wanting change.

The SPL has to look at working closely with the SFL and try and examine ways of expanding the league. For me I would have a top league of 16 teams, playing each other twice. No split, two teams go down and the third bottom side has a two game play-off with the third best side from division one. Also include a new winter break.

Obviously they need to do there own research and come up with a league structure that will benefit Scottish football and excite fans.

The new highly energised SPL should look very closely a safe standing areas, it works in places like the Netherlands and supporters want to see them introduced. Now these sides want to see an increase in attendances or at least not see numbers drop. So here is an idea, listen and consult with your fans, prove that this Newco decision isn’t a one off.

Have a look at bringing back alcohol into the grounds. Maybe just in one stand, just until kick-off time and one drink per customer. Again research it and see what works for the police, the clubs and the fans.

Now I have heard ‘sporting integrity’ and ‘fan power’ a lot during this newco debacle. You know what? The time is now for the SPL to prove that these things are important.

Bring fans to the board. I know St Mirren and Motherwell are both well on the way in getting their clubs fan owned. In fairness to Dundee Utd they have a member on their board that comes from the fans trust. For me every side should have a member on the board elected by a fans group or trust. You want to get them more involved then prove it.

This may be a tough time for Scottish football but if we want to bring the game back to being a sport first and a business second idea then make things equal, fair and transparent. Make the fans feel part of it, don’t see them as just customers.

The times when the SPL clubs looked after themselves with poor short term thinking is over. For them to survive and to improve they need to start working better together and with the fans.

4 Responses to “Time To Keep Changing”

  1. Completely agree that this may be a “today only” chance to reset the balance within the SPL, To reset the distribution of wealth. Cetlc can afford it with guaranteed title and Champs League cash.

    I think that this is the time for league reconstruction to get away from the 4 meetings a season. Apart from SKY we’re all bored with it. It must be for the good of Scottish football though, not a route for Neil Donkey to slip from under his Rangers duvet to sneak them back in at a higher level.

    Viva la Revolution!

  2. First and foremost, Rangers not being voted into the SPL is the right decision and if there is any justice then they should be booted into Division 3. Their behaviour has been disgraceful, and they’ve shown complete contempt for the league and Scottish football as a whole.

    Talking of the future, there are no completely easy options. Even if we didn’t have this trouble with Rangers, the changes needed to try to revive Scottish football have to be radical. There will be bumps in the road, and the clubs will have to take a hit (for some it will be a big hit) initially at least. However, Scottish football is dying anyway and we need to move away from relying on TV money and concentrate firstly on making it an exciting product for the fans.

    However, this is the best chance we have to pick things up. We need to make massive changes, with league reconstruction and fairer wealth distribution being the most important. There has been a lack of “political will” to do this, (I say political, as I can’t really think of another way to put it and a lot of it is football politics), but even if there was the Old Firm would have blocked out. Now, that’s very unlikely.

    Like yourself, I’ve been an advocate of a 16 team SPL as well. It’s the perfect number, the one that will work the best I feel. Two games a season against each other and a winter break, with 2 definite relegation places and a last play-off place. Competition and tension is what fans want to see. I would also probably dish out the money evenly, with every club getting the same share.

    People shouldn’t forget the rest of the leagues though, and I think we have too many with teams spread out into the leagues too much. Two leagues is too little though, so I would try for 3. This would only work if there were non-league teams ready to enter though. A pyramid system with entry and exiting to and from the football league also HAS to be worked out.

    Some of this won’t be able to happen immediately, there isn’t the time to do it before the season starts in a month or so. However, we need to start the planning now to implement it ASAP.

    However, I don’t expect any of this to happen sadly. I don’t think people involved are radical enough and we’ll just probably see tinkering round the edges.

  3. It would definitely be my observation that Scottish football can’t sustain itself as a professional setup without the Sky deal (or something similar) which demaneds 4 Old Firm games a season. The current situation is a hiatus and if the TV compnaies don’t get OF games in 2 seasons they will pull out the money and you will see many more clubs going bust.

    It is definitely the time to change things and redistribute the prize money as well as reorganising the leagues, but in my opinion the best setup would be 14 teams with a split halfway, making 38 games but only playing 6 opponents 4 times. It’s not ideal, but it does fulfil the need for 4 OF games as well as (usually) OF v other 4 bigger sides, plus Edinburgh derbies. Unfortunately 16 teams only has 15 home league games per season which is not enough. We will see in the next year(s) how much impact no Rangers games has, but in general that is the other reason why a conventional H/A league was met with fear by owners, they want Celtic coming twice and Rangers coming twice. A split halfway would at least guarantee one game with each, and that would be a big intentive to try and get in that top half.

    Personally I think it’s difficult to implement a winter break due to the inpredictable weather. I think an important change could be starting as early as possible, i.e mid-July (since Scotland never qualify for any finals anyway). In my plan, this would allow the first section of games (26) to be played right to the end of the year, finishing with New Year games; don’t play any cup games in that time. Then have a 3 week break til the end of January, play the 2 cups and the last 12 games of the league, finishing in mid-May. It might not work trying to fit in so many games in the first half to be honest (bearing in mind Euro games, em wait a minute this is the SPL, never mind!), just seems a neat way of arranging the split and the break at once. Summer football probably won’t work, Ireland hasn’t been getting more fans in although the standard of football does seem to have slightly risen, but Russia’s move to winter football indicates that it is still the way to go for serious football nations. In my opinion, we should start as early as possible and finish as late as possible each year, and use high-quality artifical turf whereever it is practical. Good summer weather is not guaranteed, but at least we get light evenings with temperatures above freezing from April onwards. I would be more tempted to go to football then rather than December, and attendances at the start and the end of the season might show increases when other leagues (England) are not being played at the same time.

    I think standing is a great idea, far more fun than sitting on your arse moaning or jumping up for chances and getting bawled at by jobsworth students, but unfortunately we’ve already spent all this money on seats! How much will it cost to retro-fit the areas for standing? Ideally, clubs like Airdrie would have 2000 seats and 5000 seat-terrace places, but here they are with 10,000 seats. In today’s economy, we can’t spend more money taking all these shiny seats away from new stadiums just cos people don’t want to turn up to watch crap football in the dark and cold.

    And will these areas be half the price of seating (10 quid) to get in? In my view, that would be the only way to get enough fans in. Germany and Holland don’t fleece the fans as much as they do in England (and Scotland as a consequence, as if our product is anywhere near the same quality) so that’s why their terracing is busy.

    Below the SPL, I would like to see one league, my suggestion would be 20 teams (also 38 games), with prize money from the top league filtering down to boost development in the second tier. To me, 34 semi/pro teams for a country the size of Scotland is a sustainable level, rather than the bizarre and stale current closed shop system of 42, plus plenty non-league and juniors getting decent crowds in a separate system.

    And below that, regional pyramids (my suggestion would be like the Juniors have: North, East, West) including the rump SFL teams, Highland league, East/South leagues and all the juniors and the best amateurs, plus under-21 B teams from all the senior clubs who could not be promoted above the regions. If Spartans(!) can run a junior team, then I don’t see why Hamilton can’t and why not make it in the same system. Then at least we will know which are the best clubs at that level, and if they are good enough they will get a chance to play with the ‘big’ boys in the SPL2 or whatever it’s called.

    Well that’s my deam. I certainly think many of us on these blogs and forums could come up with better ideas than those which will probably be put forward at the meetings this summer. I feel sorry for Rangers fans at what has befallen their club, but am quietly excited about their absence as this could be a great chance to change Scottish football for the better. But maybe not having them in the league will show that the product is not sustainable economically, and we will have to revert to a summar part-time system like the Irish and Scandinavians. In which case, so be it (Sweden and Ireland were at the Euros after all!)

  4. Don’t have an issue with a 14 team league tbh. That said if they are saying sporting integrity comes ahead of business then 16 will be better (but we can all see money still talks.)

    We had a winter break before & I think we could do it again. If that means starting earlier and finishing later then fair enough. Also with a 16 team league it would mean less fixtures to fit in.

    Seating wouldn’t be compulsory. If teams can afford it then they can at least do it. Also we shouldn’t fleece our fans with ticket prices. See why it works in Holland.

    Regional leagues as pyramids would be a great idea, all for that too.

    I am unsure the clubs will make as much of this chance as fans want them to do.

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