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Stop the bickering, start the football

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Jack Ross | 11:05 UK time, Monday, 18 April 2011

I will always remember this season.

It won't simply be for the reason that it was the last time I played the game professionally but for the fact it has been, without any doubt, a horrible season in Scottish football.

The on-the-pitch talking points of performances, tactics and team selections have been overtaken and overshadowed by refereeing strikes, conspiracy theories, political summits and legal wrangling.

To have one of these issues explode during a season would be at the possible detriment to the game, but to have them all during the same short period makes it feel that we are almost committing Scottish football suicide.

My own view is the debates on these matters have become tiresome and are dominating attention at the expense of matters on the most important of football-the playing side.

I don't think this was more evident than this week when the build-up to the Motherwell v St Johnstone Scottish Cup semi-final was swallowed up by reporting of these events.

For me, a Scottish Cup semi-final has always been a massive game, it has always been an occasion to get players and supporters excited and always been an occasion that everyone in the game was aware of.

Is it simply a sign of the times that this game and the other tie, to a lesser extent, were not promoted as significant matches of the Scottish football calendar?

If those who allege to have Scottish football's best interests at heart continue to shun such games in favour of telling us who is the latest to have their integrity called into question, then is it any wonder the semi-final ties were played in front of so many empty seats?

Twenty years ago I was aged 14 and very much dreaming of a successful career in the game. I was fortunate; I was signed to a professional club and was confident of my future progression.

What were my ambitions for the future? Was it to be famous or wealthy? Not really, although fame I acknowledge does come with success.

My goal was to be a top football player, to win medals, to play for the best clubs and to represent my country - and the reason was because I absolutely loved the game.

Countless other teenagers will have had and will continue to have the same dreams - and if they go on to fulfil them, they will be famous for their ability in a wonderful sport.

Now, at 34-years-old I look around and see too many individuals afforded fame by football but not because of how they played the game.

There are too many seeking to raise their profile by using football for their own self-promotion.

They are happy to be sensationalist and controversial for no other reason than selfishness, and certainly not for the good of the game.

I have blogged previously about players becoming pundits and I include some of them in the above accusation.

Those few - plus the occasional former referee, politicians and so on are happy to stoke the fires of controversy for personal gain rather than a deep rooted desire to rescue our game from the abyss it is in danger of falling into to.

I acknowledge the need for change and revolution is urgent in many aspects of Scottish football. However, in the midst of the absolute required changes in the corridors of power let's search for the past a little.

Can we get back to having playing matters at the heart of our game and can we return to reminding people why football is such a great game and why it has been the heartbeat of our sporting culture for so long?

Furthermore, can we try to insure that we give platforms for power and influence to those genuinely seeking solutions.

I really hope so.

if we don't, then I'm not entirely sure that youngsters will continue to dream of future football glory.


  • Comment number 1.

    i agree with most of what you said jack, the game itself as an entity doesn't seem to matter anymore. money is priority at every turn. the ethics of sport have gone way out of the window. there is nothing sporting about protectionism but where there is money at stake, greed will provail. whats worse no matter what we do as a small country we are never goiung to have much of it. we have turned ourselves into a bunch of vultures fighting over the entrails of football.

  • Comment number 2.

    Totally agree with you Jack and Craig @ #1, Scottish football has sold it's soul for money, the result of which is what we see now with ridiculous conspiracy theories being given credence and managers claiming that referees are responsible for their teams being defeated.

  • Comment number 3.

    What annoyed me about the weekend's matches (particularly Saturday) was how so many pundits or commentators on TV or radio were saying how "ridiculous" it was for a game like that to be played at Hampden in front of so many empty seats.

    Absolutely NONE of them stopped to ask why less than 12,000 supporters bothered to turn out for a Scottish Cup semi-final. Is it because both teams only have 6000 supporters? Nope.

    Maybe it's because Scottish football is so boringly repetitive & they will get another 4 chances to see each other on league duty, before the cups are even drawn. BORING!!! And just to help, let's give it an unorthodox kick-off time to deter the fair-weather supporters.

    No matter what changes are introduced, the final product will continue to be stale, repetitive & boring as long as teams play each other 4 times in a season.

    And, to comment on the main part of your blog Jack - I don't like El Hadji Diouf much either!! :o)

  • Comment number 4.

    I feel the pessimism should be about some of the football and not the issues. After all the conspiracy theory has been here for some time, just a bit more prominent this season. Personally, I don't subscibe to the idea of an institutional bias at all and my own view is that managers and teams who blame refs for results really have to look closer to home. Aberdeen fans might be feeling that today!

    Really what we have seen this season is the SFA's lack of modernisation (stucture, transparency, accountability) and incompetence catch up with it big style. And all this alongside the ongoing reconstruction debate. How the SFA allowed themselves to get bullied into the aftermath of the OF shame game was just astonishing. It was great theatre after all (minus the morons who would use these sorts of occasions to cause trouble anyway) but yet again we find the back pages dominated by one manager being singled out for punishment, while others who were involved such as Brougherra and Diouf escaping with a slap on the wrists. Utter incompetence and not the message to send out.

    The benefit of having the input from Paul McBride is that it may actually bring about necessary organisational changes in the SFA faster and sooner.

    And the UEFA action to tackle sectarian songs among sections of Rangers fans has been another good initiative.

    Football-wise the season has been okay. Would have been nice of Hearts or anyone else for that matter could have maintained a challenge to the OF

  • Comment number 5.

    Scottish football is so poor I'm getting sick of hearing about it! I'm what one post referred to as a 'fair weathered' fan but that's only because I enjoy entertaining sport. It's sad to say but the truth is I'd sooner watch the EPL any day of the week and all of my friends are exactly the same. Someone tell me if I'm wrong but I think it's a trend and you see it in bars everywhere too. Any idiot can see that a two horse SPL race played at a League One level is about as exciting as watching paint dry. It makes me shake my head when journalists and pundits try to make it sound exciting. I even increasingly ask myself whether it merits the amount of air time it gets!

    Where once our club teams were feared in Europe, we've now become the laughing stock of Europe...a sort of backward Eastern European destination transported to the West, with fans who riot when they get the chance to play in Europe or sing biggoted songs. Our two biggest teams only create interest south of the border for the wrong reasons.

    I don't mean to sound despondent but I really love my country and just want to see us succeed. But with football in it's current guise I don't see any reason for optimism!

    For long term health I think we need to regulate the market influences in football and remember who makes football possible - the fans. Lets get away from the fiscal irresponsibility and debts too. Lastly I think we should be engaging with other small european countries in western Europe about a new sort of league structure which gives competitive top flight football.

  • Comment number 6.

    Good blog Jack agree with you entirely.

    Also agree with some of the sentiment in other posts, the SFA is a mess and the main issue here is that they have not sorted out any issue properly this entire season it has been a series of botched decisions that have shown weakness and an inability to stand up against vested interests. Football should be managed for the good of the game and that needs strong leadership, which we don't have.

    As to the comment about McBride he is deeply divisive and should form no part of the solution. He seems to be more about self promotion than anything else.

    Also the endless politicking around the sectarian issue is risible. If the issue is to be sorted it needs sorted in Holyrood. It is a serious social problem in the west of Scotland and goes far deeper on both sides than football.

    But the petty point scoring just devalues the serious efforts to sort it.

    The media also have a role to play, hard to believe at last weeks press conference when Lennon was waxing lyrical about sectarianism no-body asked him about his part in the whole process when he subjected Rangers fans to abuse.

    What a sad wee country we are.

  • Comment number 7.

    Scottish football has had bad seasons ever since 1998.The national team is now ranked 66th, even below minnows such as Albania, and they are also in the 4th pot of seeds for the next World Cup.Problem is the poor teams such as Inverness CT playing St Johnstone in the SPL playing each other 4 times per season.

  • Comment number 8.

    This problem will remain as long as the "old firm" retain the lions share of the income. I would also disagree with your assessment of Inverness, both Inverness and Ross County do a lot to promote Youth Football, Inverness have a good facility and play good Football. If all the other teams in the league had as good a record against the Old Firm we would have a much closer league.

    Also St Johnstone do all right given the income they have. If you want poor football look at St Mirren, Hamilton, Aberdeen they are the worst teams in the SPL and would benefit from an increased league.

    What needs to happen is the big two need to realise they would do better in Europe if they had a stronger domestic league, which would happen if they spread the spoils a little more equitably.

    Of course it would also help if the chairmen hadn't grabbed the ridiculous Setanta deal which has put us back 5 years. The Old Firm can't take the blame for that one.

    The season has also been spoiled by having 7 old firm games, that is just ridiculous.

    We need a bigger league but the chairmen will not listen to the fans and it will be a smaller league we get. Never good for any business to ignore its customers.

  • Comment number 9.

    SPLs Strategic planning :

    ' The national team's Fifa ranking to improve from 66th to 15th within five years

    The SPL's coefficient ranking to improve from 16th to 10th in five years '

    At least the SPL has recognised the mess they are in.
    Will they suceed - No chance the Old Firm takes all the money and buys foriegn talent to compete in Europe.The other SPL teams are minnows with crowds of 4,000.

  • Comment number 10.

    McBride is divisive I agree but I hope it moves the process along and we achieve a fair, transparent and accountable system that is defensible.

    And tackling the vocal elements of 'it' is absolutely fine by me. Scottish football really does 'sound' like an appropriate place to address this nonsense wherever you find it.

  • Comment number 11.


    i've got to admit that the football isn't the best, i had to laugh when i read about the team bonding at dumfermline when they went out and shared a few pints, absolutely priceless, they did win at the weekend though which doesn't really back me up much but in the grand scheme of things, it's attitude that makes us second rate, maybe 20 years ago teams would get away with it but not now, every other sport has left football behind in this country, and we wonder why we are on the slide.
    as for the season, it's like watching a soap opera , absoltely brilliant, so bad it's funny, even off the pitch it's heating up, the pundits jockying for position on the big couch to say their bit, it's like a magical merry go round , get yourself in early jack, surely a job for life, just ask wee chick, there's surely hope for everybody when chick young can hold that job all his days, i was hoping he would take his boat out and get lost as he sail's round millport a few thousand times.

    i heard today we're going to jump from 66th in the fifa world ranking to at least 16th in the space of 5years, fell off my chair when taht was printed , did someone forget to put the zero after the six. it wasn't that long ago we played a scotlland game with no forwards, was it a four, six formation or a six, four , i cant remember, i wonder why.
    just out of curiosity jack, my job looking a wee bit shakey, where do i fill in the application form's for a job on the couch with the beeb.

  • Comment number 12.

    Ally you are bang on right its been like a soap opera all season and its been like a comedy rollercoaster! Can't remember a season like it. Its the only entertainment going. Super stuff. Been like that in the EPL as well with Terry, Rooney etc, the failed World Cup bid all doing their special bits to lighten up a drab season down there as well.

    We take the football too seriously but the soap opera stuff to higher levels of farce.

    Would talk about the football Jack, if there was anything much to talk about!

    Instead we've had Whistegate (brilliant and top notch entertainment), the Celtic Conspiracy blaming refs for bad results, the Dallas affair, the Dundee dumplings entering administratyion for the second time, the SNP finally discovering after 4-5 years that sectarianism does in fact exist in their motherland, the Rangers Conspiracy and blaming everyone else for sectarian singing by some of their fans as part of what Walter later described as their 'traditions' and another set of headlines this morning about EHD and his friend Col.Gaddafi, the Rangers takeover, and SPL clubs failing to agree about reconstruction meaning that we will probably spend even more time debating this nonsense.

    Seriously, where will the headlines take us next? Perhaps a Scottish journalist will even one day write just a mildly critical article on Sir David Murray's ownership of Rangers and the acountancy practices that might yet finish off or hinder one of our biggest clubs, and the entire Scottish football scene and interest in it in one fell swoop.

  • Comment number 13.

    Great blog, and you're spot on as usual. Even as a Welshman living in Korea, I am royally sick of the circus following certain clubs and people in Scottish football over the last year or so; it's pathetic.

    Last season as a pro? I hope that you will at least be retained by the BBC as a blogger, personally speaking you've always provided me with an intelligent and entertaining read despite the fact that my interest in Scottish football is minimal (as, I'm sure, is yours in Welsh and/or Korean football :P).

    Oh yeah... and sorry, but, 'ensure' not 'insure' ;)

  • Comment number 14.

    Why is this season so bad? Rangers and Celtic are battling out for who wins, they both accomplished nothing in Europe and the other clubs have been dire as usual.

    Sounds like Scottish football of the past 20 plus years to me.

    I was raised a Hibs fan and I went to matches with my dad when I was young. But I too found myself questioning back in 2001 why I was parting with a lot of money to watch my team playing in a league with no chance of winning it. Even Hearts who have had millions pumped into them can't do anything. We're only there to make up the numbers. I still buy strips etc to help the club out of a strange sense of obligation but that's as far as i'm prepared to go now.

    Some will moan that fans like me aren't true fans and it's our money the clubs miss. But I say to them, there are tens of thousands like me who work too hard to waste our money and unless you can convince us to come back then the Scottish game will go down the pan.

    I was hoping things might now finally change in the SPL for the better but it seems that making the league even more uncompetitive and repetitive is what they want. I won't pay to watch that for one.

  • Comment number 15.

    Jack, I'm loving the irony of the article title "Stop the bickering, start the football" and then some of the comments we've had. Superb, love Scottish football.

    After reading the outcome of yesterdays SPL meeting, it's clear that the various club chairmen have their head in the clouds & that this is a major stumbling block.

    The SPL strategic plan states the (ambitious) proposals:

    "The national team's FIFA ranking to improve from 66th to 15th within five years." Everybody in Scotland would be delighted for this to happen - would they care to enlighten us to how we are going to achieve this?

    "The SPL's coefficient ranking to improve from 16th to 10th in five years" Again, how?

    "Broadcasting revenues to increase by 50% in five years." This is deeply concerning. Double the income in a recession?! It's no wonder the financial results for our SPL clubs generally make depressing reading when the club chairmen have such a poor grasp of reality.

    These are excellent & ambitious proposals, and I am delighted that the status quo is not being accepted. But these proposals should be the mission statement of the "Strategic Plan" & should be supported by a carefully designed strategy to get us from where we are to where we want to be.

    I was eagerly anticipating yesterday's meeting as the start of progressive change, but sadly I don't see us one bit further forward.

  • Comment number 16.

    This is a complaint about an editorial decision rather than the article itself, but I find it a tad disappointing that, in the buildup to the biggest game in the First Division for many years (a game that's captured the imagination of the entire division and is a huge talking point outside the SPL bubble), the BBC's main page for the SFL is prominently featuring an article (albeit a very good one) discussing how rubbish the SPL is.

    Can't someone at the BBC knock up a quick piece about how great this season's Division 1 has been?

    How it looks like being a sell-out at EEP on Saturday?

    Maybe mention how league expansion would bring a few of these tasty derbies back into the top division?

  • Comment number 17.

    Maybe it's time to stop searching for money to improve the quality, but try to improve the quality and get more money for our end product in return?

  • Comment number 18.

    Good points. You seem to have left Scottish clubs being accused of bigotry/racism by UEFA off the list though.

    Mind you I suppose that there is a reasonable argument to say that what UEFA is doing is a good thing. After all the SFA have done nothing about it for years. It hardly paints Scottish Football in a good light though.

    As one man is single-handedly responsible for most of the items in your list, are you trying to say Scottish Football would be better without him?

  • Comment number 19.

    Is there more than one Scottish club being accused of bigotry/ racism by UEFA? ds10? I thought there was only one being charged. Yet again!

    Surely that one man you speak of isn't also responsible for the latest Rangers Conspiracy (summed up as some of our fans do it but its just not fair that people complain about it because its a tradition!)? That would just be too far fetched though not in the world of OF paranoia it has to be said!!

  • Comment number 20.

    The SPL are now proposing a British Cup ?. Who would play in this cup?, the Northern Irish,Welsh and Irish teams?.

    None of the English teams would be interested in playing against the SPL minnows averaging 4000 to 7000 crowds.Even the semi professional teams would not be interested.The SPL do not realise how low their standard is regarded outside Scotland

    Why not go the whole way and have a 'Celtic' League between the minor countries.

  • Comment number 21.

    Thank you for your comments.

    Briefly on comment 16-Mark, I understand your views and if I was in a position to write more than one blog a week then I would certainly have looked at covering the First Division. I spent four seasons playing in that division with Clyde and had the misfortune of losing the title on the final day of the season.

    The match this Saturday will be a fantastic occasion and I know will receive rightful coverage on Saturday on Sportsound.

  • Comment number 22.

    i was going to have a right go at you since your the new spokesman for all the english clubs that don't want to play all our wee spl teams, thats not the case when one of your players wants a testimonial, they always call on the big two up here to fill their stadiums, but like i said tomslaford, i'll let you off because
    i've just burnt the dinner. i'm in soapy bubble.

  • Comment number 23.


    Its a wind up looking for any response. Don't feed him. Even though you might have burnt the dinner!

  • Comment number 24.

    Good blog Jack, always worth reading, and you're right - it has been a truly awful season for Scottish football - but the game is now up for me.

    I refer to the game at Tannadice last night whereby fans were witness to a refereeing performance that had to be seen to be believed - this isn't sour grapes as United got what they deserved - nothing - but at least make the opposition EARN their win rather than having it gift wrapped.

    Can you ever in your wildest dreams/nightmares imagine ANY scenario in the SPL where a Rangers or Celtic team have 3 penalties awarded against them and also 3 of their team sent off?
    Never in million years would that happen - you know it, I know it & they know it.

    I'm sick to the back teeth of this happening season on season and I've decided I've had enough. The inconsistency rife in Scottish football is driving non-Old Firm fans away in droves at a time when we need them most, and you can add me to that ever growing number.

  • Comment number 25.

    #17 - your short statement makes the right point very well.

  • Comment number 26.


    Agree with much of your comments tbh though still not as bad as the Mike McCurry stuff that Levein went ballistic about.

    But the same ref spoiled what was shaping up as a good game on Sunday through a needless red card for Constadine and a further penalty which was never one in a million years. On last night's game, second penalty was outside the box but the first and third red cards were ridiculous. On this basis practically every foul in the box should result in a red card.

    The same ref who didn't even see the Broadfoot diving incident in the first OF game but still gave the penalty anyway.

    Like Dougie before him, far too quick to use the whistle and cards for the wrong reasons.

    The rules are not supposed to kill entertainment but this professional foul nonsense is being too rigourously (and wrongly) applied.

    Even as a Celtic fan I could never imagine this number of sending off's and penalties being given against any one of the OF in games in an SPL game.

  • Comment number 27.

    We might not have the best set of referees in the world but I have looked over the 3 sending offs last night, can anybody seriously argue they didn't stop goal scoring opportunities? Second one definitely not a penalty, but still a goal scoring opportunity. However you could only see it wasn't a penalty after a couple of views, the ref gets one.

    the united players need to take a bit of the blame here, the second and third ordering offs were just stupidity by the players. Always like the way that Supporters blame the referee, never the players. If your team is down to ten men what would make you think about a tackle like that for the second penalty? Why did Gomis do what he did?

    Its a bit off that the ref is always responsible and the players never take the blame!

  • Comment number 28.

    On the first goal the defender looks as if he is going for the ball not the man.

    On the third where was the clear goalscoring opportunity?

    Both penalities for sure.

    Players have to take responsibility but what a contact sport does not need is another ref shining his whistle. Its the same habit that got Dougie in so much trouble: far too quick to blow the whistle.

    The same guy absolutely ruined the semi-final game last weekend. People seem to forget that the game is there as entertainment. There has to be a role for discretion and the sending off + penalty is effectively a double punishment that kills games most as a spectacle. If its about simple enforcement, why are goalies more likely to get Yellows in these situations? And why don't they punish simulation in the box with red cards? Jelavic in the recent League Cup final?

    I look forward to a raft of reds + penalties on Old Firm Sunday as the respective defences nudge, jostle and push their opposing attackers and as defenders make tackles intending to get the ball.

  • Comment number 29.


    "I look forward to a raft of reds + penalties on Old Firm Sunday as the respective defences nudge, jostle and push their opposing attackers and as defenders make tackles intending to get the ball."

    ... I bet you a bag of cola cubes that countless fouls/jostling/abuse and recklessness will go unpunished - cos it's the Old Firm

    watch how many times incidents that ended up as penalties and red cards at Tannadice come to nothing more than a stern word - if that.

    Consistency - the swear word of Scottish football.

  • Comment number 30.

    Very worthwhile blog Jack - agree with most posts too.

    Referees CANNOT win. I think they are pretty much the only blameless party in the whole setup. They are bound by silly add-on laws and are scrutinised to a ridiculous degree. Plus they are only human...

  • Comment number 31.

    tomslaford - 9
    I would wait and see if the governing body actually act on plans before you send them a 'congratulations' card. Confidence in the SFA is at an all-time low, in my eyes at least.

  • Comment number 32.

    Uninspired blog Jack. Followed by some distinctly predictable replies.
    Playing smoke and mirrors by decrying valid objections on the basis that the individuals objecting are "self-publicists" is blatant obfuscation of the actual issue. Would we rather these complaints and statements were made anonynmously?? Wouyld we not then criticise the individuals for not coming out into the open?
    Perhaps you can explain how exactly an individual might raise any future complaint in a manner that doesn't open them to personal criticism. The very details of the complaints - for example the grossly unfair handling of the Diouf/McCoist/Bougherra affair - have been lost amidst the media's hostility to the man who voiced his objection. That reality has perfectly suited both the club and governing body in question, desperately trying to evade criticism, not least because both are already in precarious situations.
    All you've really done is contribute to the fudging of the issues here and placate the numerous yes-men all-too-happy to see the status quo continue.
    So it is, with abolutely no real progress made and mere lip-service paid to some painfully vague notion of "change" being needed at some point in the future, we can look forward to another season of laughable officiating, near-absolute institutional unaccountability and thinly-veiled hostility to anyone rocking the boat - a boat which might very well be sinking anyway.
    Anyone claiming they have the interests of our sport at heart might very well reflect on their complicity - though I strongly suspect they will not.

  • Comment number 33.

    @32 - Are you Graham Spiers??

    I had to read that 3 times, and I still don't see how your points are different to the ones above that you criticise. More eloquent than myself, though. Top marks.

    @29 Milky Joe - you've just inspired me to go & buy Cola Cubes. Thank you, sir.

    Jack - are you going to East End Park tomorrow?

  • Comment number 34.

    Another good post, Jack. Great to hear a former footballer who actually has a firm grasp of our native language - both written and spoken - and whose opinion is passionate and unbiased. There are several high profile ex-players currently embarrassing themselves on primetime TV masquerading as 'experts' who could learn a lot from you. Keep up the good work.

  • Comment number 35.

    Thank you again for your further comments.

    Harbinger3, I have been missing a bit of criticism in my life since being forced to hang up my boots so your reply was a warm throwback to a match day for me!

    On a more serious note, I do not believe I was offering criticism to someone for voicing an opinion but rather questioning motives for doing so. It is naive not to think that people jump on the football bandwagon for reasons of self interest. With respect to not being supportive of a radical overhaul of our game-I have been fairly vocal in previous blogs that revolution is necessary and overdue.

    blogcritic, I am working elsewhere tomorrow so won't be at East End Park. I was there last week and Dunfermline were fantastic espcially in the second half but Raith have really impressed me when I have watched them this season and are worthy title challengers. It will be a great occassion-I'm just envious that I am not around to play in it!

  • Comment number 36.

    Yeah Jack, I wouldn't dispute you've done your bit pressing for change, I just think we've spent far too long paddling about in this vague notion of "a need for change" without anyone really forcing the issue. When we are confronted by the mountain of problems facing the Scottish game its hard to know where to start but, broken down and tackled issue by issue, it's at least possible to chip away at it. Given the widespread debate the two gentlemen's comments provoked there was at last a growing sense of impending revolution in one avenue of the game, but that seems to have been diluted amidst petty character assassination and derision. Personally I couldn't care less if those fellas get their names splashed across some pages, as long as some real positive action takes place in Scottish Football. Sadly sometimes it takes a loud-mouth to get heard.
    Put it this way, I've listened to Chic, Jim and the other pundits bemoan the state of the game every second night for the last 5 years at least and thus far absolutely nothing has changed other than us sliding steadily down the international rankings and our clubs becoming the equvalent of Poundland for the English Premiership and Championship. The fact is, grumbling with no real constructive agenda makes for easy copy. Everybody loves a good moan.
    It's just frustrating when somebody finally shakes things up and are then duly shouted down. I fail to see how we can make any real progress if we are going to persecute anyone impassioned or brave enough to offer a genuinely dissenting voice... and, lest we forget, in this case it was certainly not without justification. The hypocrisy displayed by the disciplinary committee was staggering.
    The SFA must have been delighted to see the pundits' treatment of the two men in question as it perfectly facilitates their ongoing institutional procrastination.

  • Comment number 37.


    as a self confessed dumpling, i'm a wee bit confused, which i may say isn't rare for me in this day and age, but do you mean jim spence in your reply to jack or jim traynor..
    there is a fair difference between the two, about a foot and a half on the waist line.
    sorry, can't help myself, but i think football needs a bit of humour now.

    i said on here months ago that nothing would change.

  • Comment number 38.

    Loads of interesting points above with regards the state of our football but c'mon in reference to the FIFA rankings it was barely 5 years ago we were in the top 15 in the world, so i don't get where people are coming from with that when everyone knows the rankings are a joke.

    In terms of the EPL how many teams have won that since the start in 92 yes a big fat 4 although the same 2/3 teams have won it for the majority of that time mostly one (United) so if you want to look at predictability then maybe people might want to think a bit longer before using poor comparisons.

    I'm not saying the SPL is anything great but most of Europes elite divisions have the same problem with the exception of the Bundesliga which is funnily enough the same league that has the strictest financial regulations and cheapest ticket prices. You only have to look at the ever-increasing Scottish contingent in the EPL etc to realise there is still talent out there.

    The problem lies with Scottish football administrators whose continual obsession with a 10 team league is what will finish the game off up here. They need to accept the fact a 16-18 team league is the only way forward to bring back real interest with a less is more philosophy in terms of finance for the existing members of the SPL, the long term is what matters and this is ultimately what fans want and if you look at the majority of the First Div teams there is without doubt potential there for good crowds who could at least equal if not better 50-75% of the current SPL teams. However i fear the people who are in charge can't see past their noses and will go with what seems to be endemic of everything these days and that will be the short term gain and that's the saddest part of all this.

  • Comment number 39.

    swiggs79# i like your less is more comment. people think the only way to improve football is by more money; but we have already designed the system in favour of keeping the money in the top tier and it still hasn't provided a product we like. so how can any move to continue to do that be be justified when it already isn't working at all. it has to be noted that whatever move we make has to be a careful one to avoid financial oblivion for those clubs with massive debts in the top tier but it is still obvious they aren't doing enough in their proposals to spread the money about a bit. all they can think of is tv money but no matter what we do we will never ever compete on that level with the EPL, so surely if you were to product place a future scottish league it will not be based on tv but on getting people throught the gates of their local and much loved teams. I really thought dundee utd v motherwells cut price cup rplay was a great example of what could be.

    It also frustrates me hugely that people say there aren't enough decent teams in division one who could compete in a top tier. but that is not taking into account that in an on the pitch level they have a fraction of the money available to them than the bottom placed spl team so they can't have the same quality. they aren't smaller clubs, they just aren't being allowed to compete on the ame level. Who can say that the top tier couldn't be improved by having the dundee and fife derby's in them? teams like falkirk, partick, livingston and airdrie have all been top sides in the past. give them a chance! i would say though that for me an expansion to 18 teams in the top tier would leave little quality in the second tier so for me 16 fits like a glove. it also echoes closely the model of the norway league system that has a two tier premier league with 16 in each tier and is functioning just fine in a country of 5m sam as us.

  • Comment number 40.


    But where is Plan B?

    Less games = less attendance revenue

    Lower gate money = less attandance revenue

    Less OF games = a dramatic drop in TV revenue. Are they really going to want to show Celtic away to Partick Thistle or Cowdenbeath?

    Less revenue = lower wages for players

    Lower wages = poorer quality of players and for those that succeed a quick transfer south to English League Division 1 or 2 at the very earliest opportunity.

    And how will Plan B address existing debt?


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