Home > Uncategorized > Come the revolution, please

Come the revolution, please

There is a big debate in Scottish football about the present shape of the Premier League. The proposition on the table, and we are told, likely to be approved, is a two-league set-up with a ten club top tier, the bottom club being relegated and the second bottom involved in a  play-off with the runner-up in SPL2. It seems that member teams are being manoeuvred into supporting this silly plan on the basis that anything else is not financially viable.

The thinking behind this is that the smaller clubs need to be playing Rangers and Celtic four times each season to maintain a sufficient level of income. However their chairmen seemed to have failed to notice that the clubs with most to gain from this set-up are Rangers and Celtic themselves, as Old Firm matches are these days the only ones where a full house can be guaranteed, even in the smallest of grounds. They are also glossing over the fact that in an expanded twenty club, two tier SPL, half of the member clubs will not be playing Celtic or Rangers at all. There is also the proposition for the likes of  Inverness, Ross County , Kilmarnock, St Mirren, who might slip from the SPL1 with potentially 20% of the clubs being relegated every year, and the hard-core addicts who are their travelling support, having to slog up and down the A9 four times a season in SPL2, cost far outweighing income, becoming poorer and more and more dispirited, while the two top dogs, who have been wagging the tail all along, laugh all the way to the bank and continue to monopolise the lucrative European slots.

It’s not too late to stop this madness, so please, Mr Boyle, Mr Romanov, Mr Thompson, Sir Tom, etc, see sense, listen to the fans and give them what they want, a 16 club league, the kind that worked very well when I was a lad, before greed overcame everyone. You can ensure financial stability by capping expenditure, as well as by increasing income. This could be done in several ways; for example, by requiring that at kick-off the majority of players on the field and on the bench have come through the clubs’ own youth development structure, and also, by banning loan signings from clubs outside the SPL, a cheap way of fattening squads at the expense of young, developing Scots players.

There was a time: ten members of the greatest club side in our history, the Lisbon Lions of 1967, were born in Glasgow, and the eleventh came from just outside the city. Jock Stein wouldn’t have dreamt of borrowing a striker from Blackburn bloody Rovers. We can do that again, as they still do in Croatia, Uruguay, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and other nations of a similar size to Scotland, all of them internationally competitive and with viable domestic leagues. Our national  game started to decline when we stopped believing in ourselves. That happened in 1978. It’s time we forgot that and recovered our pride. We might not beat the whole world, but we are at least as good as most of it.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Fred Legget
    January 29, 2011 at 11:49 am

    Point of order Mr Chariman..I think when you were a lad you would find that it was an 18 team league, as opposed to 16.

    However, I, and I think as shown by various ‘polls’, the vast majority of fans agree with you.

    Not enough for Mr Doncaster it seems…the TV Gods appear to be the only craven idol to worship – not the punters

    Not sure that ‘gate’ money as aopposed to tv money is the main source of income for some clubs these days, if it is then the gig will shortly be up for many of them.

    Thing is, the only games generally shown overseas involve one of the Ugly Sisters anyway, irrespecitve of who the opposition is, and despite the fact that there may be much be a potentally much better match on at the same time ivolving non old firm sides.

    So irrespective of whether its a 10 12 14 16 or 18 team league, I don’t see what will change as far as the tv companies are concerned….the ratings won’t change much at all.

    • January 29, 2011 at 1:18 pm

      No, Fred, when I really was a lad it really was a 16-club League. It was expanded to 18 in, if I work it out correctly, the 1953-4 season, saving, ‘Well, the 1952 Cup winners, from relegation for what would have been the first time in their history. Mr Doncaster is an imported twat with no idea of grass-roots football. He is chief exec of the SPL, Regan, the import from Yorkshire cricket is chief exec of the SFA, and David Longmuir is chief exec of the SFL, so you have a group of 42 member clubs split into two subgroups, being run by three expensive people and support staffs, all bumping into each other. Add into the mix the forthright and occasionally sensible SFA president, George Peat of Airdrie United, and you have a cauldron with a concoction that not even (John) Macbeth’s witches could have assembled. We did not need a review by the discredited politician and one time East Fife clogger left-back to tell us that needs simplified. All that is required for a more sensible structure to be put in place is for turkeys to start voting for Christmas, and for two of the three CEOs to apply for voluntary redundancy. I am not sure which is less likely.

      Fact is, the only games generally shown in Scotland are those involving the twin cancers on the domestic game. It’s easy to say blame Sky for that, but the SPL agreed the TV contract on that basis.

      Several things need to happen to the game as a whole. First a complete restructuring with mergers where necessary, resulting in a couple of dozen clubs being cast into a restructured secondary game, leaving my single 16-club league organised along effective franchise lines. Second, an assessment of the overall turnover of Scottish football and a definition of the number of full-time professional players the game can support. Third, the establishment of a basis pay structure for these players, in the same way that any other employee is remunerated; bonuses would be a matter for the club, but they would require to be performance related and no club’s overall wage spend would be allowed to exceed its turnover. The abolition of the maximum wage need not necessarily mean open season. Third, no club should be allowed to make direct payment to football agents. They are good in principle, but they have become leeches on the game.

      This is all achievable in principle. All it would take would be for the other senior clubs to realise that Rangers and Celtic are condemned to play league football in Scotland for ever and that they need their fellow members just as much as they are needed themselves, and maybe more.

  2. David Brown
    January 30, 2011 at 7:30 pm

    Is it true to say that usually money wins over common sense in most cases? Whenever anything is dominated by the rich or well off it seems to work for the benifit of that particular group. I know little about Scottish football but things do seem to follow a familiar pattern so often. Perhaps Celtic and Rangers should form a PL of their own and play each other every week……. Think of the income…sod the supporters!

    • January 30, 2011 at 9:03 pm

      They would if they could, and their supporters would probably love it. They and their followers do not care a toss about other clubs, or even about the national side.

  1. January 29, 2011 at 11:43 am

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