BBC BLOGS - Jim Spence

Archives for April 2010

SPL must change to ensure its survival

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Jim Spence | 16:56 UK time, Friday, 30 April 2010

The SPL is set for change and about time too. It needs more teams.

Why? Well, clubs are saying income is down dramatically, both at the gate and commercially; leading one chairman to tell me that wages could be cut by up to 25% next season.

Fans are fed up with a stale product. More than 90% of fans who responded to a recent survey by Supporters Direct said they were fed up watching teams face each other four times a season, and want a revamped top flight.


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McLeish review points in the right direction

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Jim Spence | 21:16 UK time, Friday, 23 April 2010

I really want to be positive about Henry McLeish's review into Scottish football.

But then I think of the old Karl Marx adage: "History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce."

Tragedy came in the shape of Ernie Walker's think tank set up in 1995, and for all anyone knows or cares is still pondering ways to change Scottish football.

At least the McLeish report has seen the light of day, whether it repeats as farce is now down to the Scottish Football Association.

They commissioned the report so it's up to them as the body responsible for the governance of the national sport to act on it.

With the report calling for £500m to be spent over the next ten years, there is every chance that the Scottish Government and local councils, from whom the bulk of the funding might be expected to come, will make sympathetic noises but plead poverty.

In his 74-page document the former First Minister claims our football is "underachieving, under-performing and under-funded".

Everything is relative but many would agree with his findings.

Similarly, most fans would concur with his desire for better facilities and infrastructure.

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Gordon Smith was in office but not in power

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Jim Spence | 18:46 UK time, Tuesday, 20 April 2010

What is Gordon Smith's legacy after his time as chief executive of the SFA? It's difficult to see what he'll look back on with any great sense of achievement.

His time was marked by the row over George Burley's disastrous reign and the lifetime ban of Barry Ferguson and Allan McGregor in the Boozegate affair.

And now an unseemly spat with Livingston FC over alleged simulation by one of their players. Ironically, it involves the video evidence which he championed but failed to persuade UEFA to implement.

There were no Machiavellian machinations which put noses out of joint but forced through the radical change he said he wanted.

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My favourite Scottish Cup memories. And yours?

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Jim Spence | 10:07 UK time, Saturday, 10 April 2010

The magic of the cup, you can't beat it.

My best-ever Scottish Cup final was 1994. Dundee United's 1-0 triumph over Rangers was achieved with the charismatic Ivan Golac as manager and he had the tangerine half of the city full of expectation weeks ahead of the final.

Ivan allowed BBC Scotland to report live from the team bus as it drove to Hampden from the team hotel. I was the reporter and it quickly became obvious that the players were bubbling with confidence.

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