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Never mind the tinkering, let's have real change

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Jim Spence | 20:23 UK time, Monday, 13 December 2010

The creation of SPL 1 and 2 two is being hailed as a radical change in Scottish football.

Here's my message to the SPL: good start, but now let's get really radical.

You want to shake the game up, get more competition, bring crowds and atmosphere back to our dying game?

Well try this for size...

Here are five ideas to really shake the mix:

1) A flat admission price of £10/£5 for kids and pensioners. The game is currently far too expensive for ordinary punters.

2) A return to safe standing areas to get some atmosphere. If the German Bundesliga can do it, so can we.

3) Four points for an away win, no points for a 0-0 draw.

4) A Sin Bin. No yellow cards, instead players get sent off the field for five or ten minutes like ice hockey or rugby. Obviously certain types of behaviour would still result in a red card.

5) Share the current SPL money pot out more equally. At present the old Firm pick up the lion's share. If we really want to be competitive then let's prove it.

In fact since it's almost Xmas, here's my sixth radical idea, buckshee:

Let's re invent the wheel and share all gate money equally like we used to.

After all it takes two teams to pay a game, why shouldn't both be equally rewarded?

At a stroke we would have a more level playing field.

As for the changes that are about to happen, well it looks like half of our clubs are about to be set free from the other half.

Those clubs about to boldly go to the new and undiscovered galaxies of SPL 1 and 2 are finally admitting openly what they have said privately for years; that they have liittle or nothing in common with the part time clubs who will be left marooned on the dark side of the Moon in this brave new world.

Money as always is at the root of change.

The top clubs are looking after their own interests.

With anything between £1.5 and £2 milliion pounds available to distribute betwen the new SPL 2 clubs, the attractions of the new set up are obvious.

Instead of picking up a paltry £70k for winning the First Division, the winners of a new SPL 2 might pocket around seven times that figure.

Those kind of sums are life-changing for clubs with full-time committments.

Let's be honest, there is no ideal way to run the Scottish game.

Personally, I favour a 16 or 18 club league, but chairmen faced with losing the revenue of two Old Firm visits a season, despite the evidence that they no longer bring the huge supports of yesteryear, are understandably nervous about the prospects of lost income.

A 10 club league saw Aberdeen and Dundee United enjoy some of their greatest successes.

But that was pre-Bosman when clubs were able to hang on to their best players and assemble squads over a period of time to challenge for honours.

The gulf in wages paid now betwen the Old Firm and the rest will ensure that those days are gone for good unless we share the money out more equitably.

So change is coming with SPL 1 and 2.

More clubs will be able to sustain full-time setups if money is more evenly distributed.

And while there is a very strong argument in favour of clubs in an SPL 2 actually embracing part-time football of the Nordic model, where players hold down jobs away from the game, giving them other interests and financial security, the sad truth is that most clubs equate being full-time with being a proper football club, however misguided that notion might be.

Therefore, with SPL 1 and 2, battle has been commenced to save the future of as many full time outfits as possible.

It would be a sad day though if the move to a second top tier was to preclude part-time teams, and I hope the SPL do not intend to move in that direction.

For really radical change we must also have a revitalised game outside of the full time clubs.

Regionalised leagues and more importantly a pyramid structure are long overdue and it is a scandal that self interest has stopped it so far.

With change comes fresh opportunity, and there is nothing to stop ambitious clubs from all parts of Scotland rising to meet the level of their own ambitions in a new set up.

Clubs I had never heard of as a boy now prosper in England.

Clubs I grew up with on the Saturday results show, like Barrow and Workington are having to rediscover their ambition, having struggled to cope with the new order.

Many in the SFL will feel aggrieved about the change that is coming, particularly since it may herald its own demise as an organisation.

But, in truth, it has been a closed shop for years which has allowed some moribund and infirm clubs permanent membership at the expense of ambitious clubs who were reduced to looking at the sweeties through the shop window, knowing their chances of sampling the goodies rested on a club going out of busines every 30 years or so.

There are clubs in Divison Two who seem to have lost any real desire or ambition, yet they remain part of the set up while clubs like Spartans, Gala, and others with the desire and the means to have been part of a truly national league have been thwarted.

Who can seriously argue that junior clubs like Pollok, Irvine Meadow and Linlithgow Rose do not match up to many of the members of the SFL.

Who can deny that the top Highland league outfits are more than a match for some of the deadwood in the lower reaches.

The SPL has its critics, but with these proposed changes it has been sure-footed, stealing a march on a ponderous SFA, who, having commissioned the Mcleish report were meant to be steering the Scottish game to a bright new future.

Scottish football didn't have time to wait on a timetable working on the manyana principle.

So the SPL have taken control of the ship and are shooting for the moon.

Even if they only reach the stars let's congratulate them on their enterprise.


  • Comment number 1.

    Ha ha not a bad blog Jim but it's all about tv money these days, Sky will pay big money for summer football so unfortunately that is the only solution IMO as much as we love tradition.

    On another note, I was surfing through some previous blogs and did you ever get to the bottom of why the bbc's tv coverage of the SFL is so poor. Not wanting you to get into bother with your paymasters but just wondered if anyone got back to you regarding this topic?

  • Comment number 2.


    I agree. Good start SPL but let’s get real here. This proposal is anything but radical change and I hope the McLeish report out this week has something better to offer.

    As I see it at present there are three distinctly different financial/commercial situations:

    1 those affecting SPL clubs
    2 those affecting clubs aspiring to be SPL
    3 those others for whom SPL status is never likely to be a reality

    The real money is with the SPL clubs and the aspiring clubs loosing out because their pot is spread too thin.

    I don’t see this proposal gaining real support and I think most people would prefer a 16 team SPL 1.

    A 10 team SPL 2 would allow aspiring clubs a greater share of a separate sponsorship deal but I still think SPL 1 funds would have to be made available.

    The loss of gate money from a reduction to 30 games in SPL 1 could be augmented by a reintroduction of a cup competition like the old league cup – 6 groups with 1 winner which in turn split into 2 groups, with each group winner in the final.

    If something like this could be achieved, then we could talk about SPL B teams in the league structure below the SPL and whatever else you care to mention.

    I don’t think Doncaster’s proposals are for the benefit of all of Scottish football but I suspect that self interest will be the deciding factor in a vote that could go any way.

  • Comment number 3.

    I am very concerned about some of the recent discussion about the restructuring of our league system. No-one thus far to my knowledge has clearly identified and outlined the specific problems that face the Scottish league and it’s clubs. The only way any re-structuring can be a success is by identifying those main problems and moving forward with solutions and a clear and concise aim. So many of our clubs are on the brink and although there is no single cause, the aim surely has to be to help those in need.

    It strikes me whatever needs to happen, more people need to be encouraged to support their local teams. Outside of old firm all clubs are struggling to get the gates they could potentially obtain. This seems to be driven by a general attitude in Scottish football that there is nothing outside of the old firm worth watching.

    Whatever change is made should be with a view of helping those clubs who are on the brink rather than preserving the elite status of a handful of clubs. No country can run a league system with only a handful of clubs surviving. This protectionism clearly doesn’t just exist in old firm as many teams in the current SPL have voiced concerns over it’s expansion and therefore only getting to play old firm twice. However I would suggest that the current situation with playing old firm more times in a season isn’t exactly making the other clubs financially stable. Surely a more solid league structure would be more beneficial. Again this aspect of recent discussions clearly displays the perception that old firm related matches are the most important thing in Scottish football.

    I was heartened greatly by Mr Doncaster’s recent comments stating “What we're trying to do is to rip up what we've got at the moment and replace it with something much better. I don't think there is any point in tinkering."

    However there are still so many clubs desperate to preserve their elite status. Walter Smith’s recent comments stated the "The 10-team league was competitive and we had good crowds and Scottish teams full of Scottish players, so maybe that is something they could revisit. But I think the change to the number of teams in the league is necessary. If everyone was looking at an ideal situation, you would be looking at a bigger league and you would be talking about going to a league of 18. But I don't think we can do that in this country."

    Even those like Smith whom are being understandably slightly protectionist recognise that change has to be made and an expansion of the league would be ideal but are concerned about losing their old firm matches. The argument that Scotland couldn’t have an expanded league because of its size seems weak when you consider that Norway, a country of the same population and a lesser interest in football, can happily have a top tier of 16 teams. I think many people in Scotland think that 30 league games a season under a 16 team league would be too few, but it would allow for a winter break which is clearly needed and would also allow clubs to arrange more lucrative, high profile out of season friendly’s. Old firm could still play each other more times in a season in out of season “friendly’s”. Again all of this shows the importance of the aforementioned perception and its influence. An expanded league would reduce the number of old firm games and their significance on the league.

    No other league has the same bias in the distribution of it’s finances towards the top few teams. This cannot continue. Old firm often argue that it is needed for them to compete in Europe and improve Scotland’s coefficient, however it is apparent that we cannot rely on two teams to prop up our coefficient alone. Furthermore it is extremely questionable that the money they obtain through that bias allows them to compete on a European scale. They can spend a fraction of most top European teams. This obviously fuels desire from old firm to leave Scotland as the country is too small to generate the wealth they want, but the truth is England don’t want them and there is no Atlantic league so they need the whole of Scottish football to be stronger too. The financial bias they have protected has suffocated the league they are in until it is now damaging them, perhaps most notably with the loss of European places.

    There has also been a lot of discussion about the possible introduction of “colt” teams playing in the lower divisions. This notion however re-enforces the mindset that there is nothing worth watching in Scotland outside of the old firm, giving them 2 teams to watch instead of one. But this re enforcement of the very mindset that is killing our game seems like it would cause further regression. An alternative use of “colt” teams might be to abandon reserve leagues, which are costly and attract little attention, and replace them with a “colt” team league. You could couple this with the removal of the current 3 U21 players ruling which is at times unpopular and replace it with a maximum senior squad limit of over 23’s of 15. Most squads already would fit this framework and would allow players to get more opportunities at each level of youth football and make the transition from youth to senior football easier.

    It is concerning at present because there is no clear aim to the proposed solutions and discussions. Until a vision for a new Scottish league is outlined, releases to the press of protectionist opinions will continue and fans will be left not knowing what is going to happen and what they want to happen.

  • Comment number 4.

    in short people need to be encouraged to watch their local team whoever they are playing. 4 matches a year against OF where gates are increased by as much as 40% would provide less benefit to a club than all gates being increased by 10%!

  • Comment number 5.

    Two SPL divisions of 10 leaves me completely underwhelmed.

    And I can't see 11 of the current top 12 voting for it when it means more than one club is for the chop. Can the voting structure be changed or would that need an 11-1 approval as well?

    We need root and branch reform but narrow self-interest from clubs and the game's myriad administrators will almost certainly block the path.

    The SPL sought the opinion of fans last season but I can't remember seeing any results being published. The impression I get is that the majority of fans want an expanded top flight, involving 16 or 18 teams.

    As for Jim's points, standing areas would be hugely popular but I don't agree with no points for a 0-0 and that sin-bin could get awfully busy...

  • Comment number 6.

    I stopped going to the football this year as im fed up seeing Hamiton Accies 4 times a season and having to fork out 25 sheets a time is a joke for the product the SPL serves up. I wouldn't at all be upset if the SPL changes to an 18 team league. We have enough big clubs in this country to have a strong top flight and with the wealth being spread around more clubs it would only serve to strengthen Scottish footbal.

  • Comment number 7.

    The 10 team league did not work before - I am astonished it is now being presented as the right way forward. The carrot is SPL2 with cash - I promise you this - in a few years the big clubs will want to pay less and less and they will eventually get their way again. i.e. Rangers & Celtic. They are the only two clubs that benefit from a 10 team league. The hard reality is ensuring a flow of cash into all clubs. The banks will not back a situation where there is a 1 in 5 chance of a team being relegated. Relegation is bad for any club - never mind the weak argument for competition. Stability is desperately required for clubs such as St Johnstone, St Mirren, Falkirk, Hamilton, Raith Rovers, Dunfermline, Dundee - who have all suffered badly from the SPL in its various forms. The SPL has not been good for Scottish football. The 'new' proposals are being put forward to be considered by putting aside vested interests! Chairmen of clubs across Scotland must not be fooled by this approach again. These proposals are the VESTED INTERESTS of Rangers and Celtic alone. I am in favour of a closed premier league of 16/18 teams - no relegation. The banks would be more likely to invest cash in teams with the capability to plan ahead with real investment and growth.

  • Comment number 8.

    I can't believe they are trying to spin a 10-team SPL as 'radical'. I am even more bemused that anyone would suggest that it was competitive when it was like that.

    It is so obvious what needs to be done but self-interest gets in the way every time. I am probably paraphrasing but a NFL owner once said that that the NFL was a capitalist organisation that voted socialist once a year. It is in everyone's interesting (including Rangers and Celtic) that the league is competitive and that means, as Jim rightly says, sharing the money.

    Sponsorship also needs to be pooled across the entire league so that their is an official kit supplier for the league and there are sponsorship partners like in the Champion's League. There is a reason the Old Firm both have the same shirt sponsor! In addition as a poster above says a move to summer football would surely mean more TV interest as there is no regular football on during that period.

    At this point who cares if it damages our European showing? Can it get much worse? Aside from the off chance of either Celtic or Rangers getting to the Europa League final are we likely to get anyone beyond the group phase of the Champion's League regularly? Would we be any worse off that the Russian/Ukrainian sides that already have summer football (they still perform better than us)?

    If I were a owner of a football club I would be more interested in running a profitable outfit year-in-year-out than winning a trophy one year and then going bankrupt the next. If everyone is making similar money and no one is in danger of going out of business then everyone will be able to focus on what is so desperately needed in this country - developing quality players.

    Again everyone is worried about loosing a young player for nothing so what is the point? Time to change the system - again America is the blueprint. Run the development of players on a 'College' basis. Give the youngsters an education away from football as well (something to fall back on when the majority don't make it). Charge tuition fees so the development of a player never leaves the league/team out of pocket. If the league/teams are making a constant profit then who cares if you don't get the £2million windfall once in a blue moon for a particular player?

    Mic-up the referees like in rugby, make it so we can hear everything on the TV - all of a sudden the players would be good role models. A similar thing happened in the NBA - the sponsors will demand it. Add in Jim's suggestion about the sin-bin, 4 points for an away win, no points for 0-0 and a hawkeye system and suddenly you have a product that is far more interesting than a couple of play-offs between Dundee and St. Mirren.

    As for the size of the league - 16-20 teams is about as much as we can muster in this country anyway. 'Minor' leagues for blooding youngsters alongside aging pros is what the current Division 2-3 should be all about. Whether it is the current lot or some from the Juniors/Highland league is open for debate but beyond another idiot with just enough money doing a Gretna there is nothing realistic about anyone from the lower leagues seriously expecting to be part of the 'Major' set-up as a competitor. Population distribution and fan bases pretty much prevent it.

    These proposals are radical. What the SPL is proposing is tinkering around the edges. It will fool no-one. Crowds will continue to fall and SPL teams will continue to go into administration as they foolishly try and compete beyond their means (including the Old Firm who have tried and failed to compete on money terms in Europe).

  • Comment number 9.

    Hopefully, the first action of a new Rangers owner will be to resign from the SPL (with notice, if the league insists) and to pursue one of the following:
    1. Entry into the English set-up
    2. Setting up an 'Atlantic League'-style setup and seeking applicants from elsewhere in Europe
    3. Apple to rejoin the SFL, stating that the club will NEVER NEVER NEVER again re-enter the SPL.

  • Comment number 10.

    Hi Jim

    The state of scottish football requires the whole set up to change.

    That means summer football and expanded league system.

    1. summer football is needed to bring the fans back and to improve our standard of play. Whats the point in a youngster watching the likes of Messi and Ronaldo on tv playing 1 touch football on emaculate pitches when they can never achieve that level of ability on our mud baths we call football pitches.

    Fans want to see entertaining football but there is no chance of seeing that at our grounds in winter when the games are off due to snow, ice, frost, wind etc.

    By playing in the summer u have the chance to get bigger crowds at games to enjoy the warmer weather and better playing surfaces to allow our more technically gifted players the chance to shine. And with not much footie on the tv in summer, we can get a good worldwide audience as our games can be shown live in a time when other seasons are shut down.

    2. We need to expand the leagues. The SPL should no longer be the SELF PRESERVATION LEAGUE. It should be the SCOTTISH PREMIER LEAGUE. All TV money to split equally regardless of size of the club. If the OLD FIRM dont like it then they can hand in their resignation.

    Also with the leagues so small clubs are only a couple of bad results away from relegation zone. So they tend to not risk playing youngsters. We need to reverse that. make it easier for young players to get a game.

    SPL to be 16 teams. 30 game season. bottom 2 relegated. 3rd bottom enters playoff with 3 teams from 1st division.

    All SPL teams to compete in the SPL CUP. 4 rounds. NO SEEDING. 2 legs per round competition. 1 leg in final. Winner gets one of the EURO CUP spots. if winner qualifies for Europe through league finish, spot handed to finalist or next placed team in league.

    therefore each team has a minimum 32 games per season not including scottish or league cup.

    1st division to be increased to 18 teams. top 2 promoted to SPL. teams in 3rd - 5th to compete in a play off with team from SPL for final SPL spot. Minimum games per season - 34. percentage of money from SPL to be shared equally to clubs for purpose of youth development.

    below that regional leagues incorporating any non league team that wishes to join. Have a pyramid system in place that allows clubs to go up and down. regional leagues can have SPL 'B' teams. Cannot be promoted.

    With the introduction of Summer football and better leagues we can get better players through the ranks, better quality of play, better pitches, MORE FANS, More money. more excitment and competition.

    It all makes sense if you stop hiding behind Tradition and Self Intrest.

    by the way im an Arbroath Fan, I might see my club playing in a reagional league.

  • Comment number 11.

    Agree with your suggestions but you missed the NUMBER ONE priority IMO:
    Summer Football
    This is the main reason I gave up my season ticket. To ask supporters to pay £20+ to sit in the freezing cold, watching a terrible match on a terrible pitch, is not on - I'd had enough. I now pick and choose my matches paying at the gate.
    The season should end at the end of June, take a two-week break (say, the first two weeks of the kid's school holidays?) then the new season would start in July. Teams that qualified for Europe would still be in the form that helped them qualify.
    Mid-season break from mid-December to end of February. The benefits of doing this are so blindingly obvious it beggars belief.

  • Comment number 12.

    The 'new' proposals are being put forward to be considered by putting
    aside vested interests! Chairmen of clubs across Scotland must not be fooled by this approach again. These proposals are the VESTED INTERESTS of Rangers and Celtic alone
    Utter nonsense.

    Easy to have an OF chip on the shoulder but the economics are clearly a struggle. The TV companies dictate the product and THEY want 4 OF games each season not 4 games between Dutd and Aberdeen. There are also the non-OF chairmen who will want the potential of 4 home games against the OF (plus TV money!) and I think you will find that the statement 'vested interests of' the OF is fine for a rant but not to be taken too seriously.

  • Comment number 13.

    I completely agree with CRAIG's comments from 13th December. Doncaster, I hope you are reading these comments because contained therein are the reasons why an SPL 1 & 2 with 10 clubs in each is seriously flawed and should NEVER happen.
    No mention has been made about relegation from or promotion to SPL 2.
    Are we to assume that there is none? Or, if there is promtion/relegation, what are the details?
    Does Doncaster realise that if Dundee go down this year that his hair-brained proposal could mean the exclusion of this great City club from the new set-up?
    And what of the remainder of the SPL clubs - what have they got to look forward to? If Doncaster is serious about major league reconstruction we MUST HAVE:
    1. A 16-team top division where everyone plays each other TWICE. Only then will we have ANY chance of returning to a competitve league. When a club doing well, such as Hearts at the moment, have to play the Old Firm FOUR times it is almost inevitable that they will fade come the Spring (if not long before). Imagine a situation where they match the Old Firm in the (fewer) games against them and then go on a run against the others. The Old Firm would know they've got a real challenge on their hands then. This would stimulate ALL fans around the country instead of the stale old claptrap in different clothes as is being proposed.
    2. Relegate the bottom two and have a play-off for third bottom against third top in Div 1. This would mean the likelihood of anything up to six, maybe eight clubs being involved in a relegation battle until late on.
    3. Introduce a proper, full-scale pyramid system in this country so that ambitious clubs all over the country such as Spartans, Gala, Cove, Pollok can seek to follow their dream. This would have to be done using regional leagues as they do in England. It has had a MASSIVE benefit amongst the lower leagues in England. Just look at the competitive nature of the |Blue Square Leagur in England and ask yourself: could this be like that if it had no relegation?
    DONCASTER - you've done no more than open a debate. Now lets have some serious proposals.

  • Comment number 14.

    Craig @ #3 & #4

    Good post and aimed at the fundamental thinking that is missing in all of this.

    You are absolutely right and about the potential for more supports and what’s more, if we don’t have future supporters, we have nothing.

    But you try and get the chairmen and the governing bodies to listen!

    If we go down the 2 x 10 proposal, it is too inflexible and endangers existence of other teams, and it is those teams who could do a lot better in attracting support. It is a ‘no going back’ plan and if it all goes belly up …….. what then ?????

    You should send your ideas to

    You said there is no single cause but I think you have hit the nail on the head – not enough people on the terraces although I take the point that there are numerous reasons why.

    Where we are failing right across all leagues is to attract young supporters and I don’t see any imaginative thinking as to how to get them in.

    I agree with you that it can be done and I don’t see any reason why we can’t have a more expansive plan like what I proposed in #2.

  • Comment number 15.

    Most of the proposals will be influenced by self interest of the clubs and the key thing for me is that it's all short term thinking of how much money their own club can get in the next couple of years.

    One of the key problems raised by Doncaster himself is that the current set up is stale - but what he's failed to address is why it's stale. It's stale because each team plays each other 3 or 4 times a year (or more in cup competitions) this needs to change to engage the fans more.

    The notion of the tv companies wanting 4 OF games is valid, but the idea here is that we should build an SPL where tv companies ARE interested in DU v Aberdeen, Hearts v Hibs etc, etc.
    If we could create this then the tv companies would be banging down the door and throwing a bit more cash our way.

    Would this 2 leagues of 10 benefit the old firm?
    Not especially, I don't see that it makes much difference to the current set up to them.

    As for the rest, some will fear not being in the top 10 and self interest will kick in there. And all of them want the benefit of playing the old firm as many times as they can for the financial boost it gives them.

    There's too many ingrained ideas of the short term way to maintain the cashflow and this proposal is a classic example of all these short term desires coming together.

    As you've said Jim it's time to get really radical, I wouldn't back all of your proposals there but they are worthy of discussion at least.

    I do at least want to end on a positive note - at least there's not crazy league split in this proposal - for that alone it's better than the existing set up!

  • Comment number 16.

    Fantasy stuff Jim.

    I personally would like to see an expanded league but the TV companies will lower their deal money. 10 seems too small to me but its a straight economic arguement: vote for more teams and two OF visits per season and your club will get less money overall and will be on the telly less.

    As a club chairman are you going to risk lowering your overall TV revenue? How would you compensate for it?

    Agree with you on admnission prices.

    Standing areas - no we've been here before. I don't see the point and health and safety issues could kill it dead. A return to blocked views of the action and guys using terraces as open toilets, no thanks.

    4 points for an away win is interesting but it would benefit the OF disproprotionally. The league would be over even quicker than it normally is. You would also change the emphasis towards defending at home and attacking away. Its a no-brainer

    0-0 gets you nothing but 1-1 gets you a point? Too much scope for manipulation there I think.

    Sin bins? Oh god we are back to consistency in referee decisions again Jim!

    Equal share of SPL money, why? Why should the reward for finishing last be the same as 1st - if they all get the same where is the incentive (apart from Europe) to do anything other than just avoid relegation?

    Why should the home OF fan contribute to the coffers of DUTD and the rest Jim? Lets not kid ourselves on here thats the gate money your club would want. So Celtic get the responsibility of the upkeep of a ground that can pack 60k and your club gets half when it turns up. Oh yeah that sounds fair. It may take two teams to play a game Jim but the OF one of them has radically bigger costs than the other.

    If smaller clubs, the part-timers, lose out well that is just tough. We have too many clubs as it is.

  • Comment number 17.

    Interesting points in the blog and by most of the posters.

    I agree that Scottish football needs to change but it needs a fundemental overhaul of the structure which isn't going to happen overnight so I would suggest that this needs to be agreed first of all and then worked towards.

    In my opinion the views of fans are not being taken into consideration.
    The poll conducted by SPL, although not published,must have supported an increase in the size of the league not a reduction as I haven't met anyone who thinks this would be progress.
    We are all sick and tired of playing each other 4 times a season in the league with matches against the same opposition seeming to occur with indecent haste.

    We also need a return to playing at home one week and away the next as this would assist with the cashflow for all teams.

    It needs to be established which junior/minor clubs wish to move from their current situation into an integrated set up as not all will mainly for financial reasons.

    A winter break is essential. Fans no longer want to travel long distances in bad weather.

    An earlier start to the season is also essential if teams in Europe are ever to have a chance of progressing.

    As regards sharing money equally, this will always be an issue. TV money is paid because of Celtic and Rangers who are also on the box much more than other clubs as their games attract most viewers so why should it be shared equally? I would not object,if it was, because it's peanuts but I would object if clubs wanted gate money shared on an equal basis.
    The whole idea of clubs retaining their home gates was to allow clubs outwith OF to benefit and the fact that hasn't happened is down to the supporters of said clubs.
    Celtic & Rangers supporters can't be expected to subsidise other clubs both home and away, not in these difficult times.

    As I said above, and in agreement with some other posters,this should be the beginning of the debate and should not be rushed but action could be taken on a winter break without upsetting any other longer term plans.

    If Scottish football doesn't move on it will die.

  • Comment number 18.

    These proposed changes are for the benefit of the Old Firm playing in Europe whilst throwing a few crumbs a bit wider in Scotland.

    A 16 team top division is required. Play offs are required. A pyramid system is required. A return of standing areas is required.

    If you want to be a bit more radical then in event of draw after 90 minutes then you could have a penalty shoot out for the third point. Bring in the idea of a winning draw.

    There are lots of good ideas out there. It is a pity that those in charge of football in Scotland are clueless.

  • Comment number 19.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 20.

    Rob04 @ #12

    “TV companies dictate the product and THEY want”

    Yes, let’s not divert attention with focus on so called OF interests.

    TV is an interesting point and one reason why I think we need an alternative like 1 x 16 and 1 x 10 supported by a more meaningful cup competition that would still give 4 OF matches.

    Let’s face it, our 2nd cup competition is hardly a money spinner and we need to reinvigorate it as well as the leagues.

  • Comment number 21.

    Need to mention the proposal in the blog that entrance fees be reduced and standing areas re-introduced.

    I agree that prices are far too high for the product we watch, those of us that attend games that is, but can you honestly see clubs spending money altering the ground to bring back some standing areas, which will be rigidly controlled to prevent accidents not like days of old when they packed in thousands,with a corresponding reduction in income, can't charge the same as those sitting ?

    I really enjoyed standing years ago when I was young but I much prefer sitting.
    Just because they do it in Germany doesn't mean it should happen in Scotland unless we are going the whole hog and going to have clubs with the majority control in the hands of fans.

    If the truth were told and the banks called in the debts just how many clubs would be left? Precious few I think.
    Although I would be sorry to see old names disappear clubs have to be viable or perhaps some should change to minor status but not SPL2, how would the introduction of part time football at that level benefit Scottish football and raise standards?

  • Comment number 22.

    Bear in mind that the Laws of the Game apply as well as League Rules, so you can't change everything about the game. For example:

    "3) Four points for an away win, no points for a 0-0 draw."

    Fine, that's covered under SPL league rules.

    "4) A Sin Bin. No yellow cards, instead players get sent off the field for five or ten minutes like ice hockey or rugby."

    This is covered by the FIFA/IFAB Laws of the Game and you can't tinker with these.

  • Comment number 23.

    Easy to have an OF chip on the shoulder but the economics are clearly a struggle. The TV companies dictate the product and THEY want 4 OF games each season not 4 games between Dutd and Aberdeen. There are also the non-OF chairmen who will want the potential of 4 home games against the OF (plus TV money!) and I think you will find that the statement 'vested interests of' the OF is fine for a rant but not to be taken too seriously.

    The OF got their way when the SPL was originally designed. The OF got their way when home gate receipts were kept by the home team (used to be shared). Both of these OF changes have damaged the game in Scotland. The fact is the OF dominate in Scotland to the DETRIMENT of the game and it is time this was put to an end. Criticism of this state of affairs is not a rant. Wake up - look at the crowds dwindling even at the OF grounds. The OF do nothing to develop football in Scotland. The money they get is not redistributed into the game. They are always looking for a way out of Scotland to get more money. So don't tell me they have Scottish football at heart. Any new proposals must not be aimed at placating the OF. We must ensure any change is good for the game. Football needs good competitive games to attract the crowds and TV companies. This does not require the OF teams- look at Motherwell v Hibs last year.
    The test of an effective new proposal is will it benefit all of our SPL grade teams (including the bigger teams in the SFL).

  • Comment number 24.

    The 10-team league is not supported by the paying punters so we should not go for it.

    If you don't want to take my word for it, here's a radical idea: Ask fans what they think. You know - fans. The people who keep the game alive.

    Season-ticket holders in Scotland are the game's most committed supporters.

    All clubs have the detail of their ST holders.

    Why not invite these people who put so much money into our game to vote on 2 or 3 different proposals for league reconstruction?

    If cubs want their fans to vote a certain way, it's up to them to lobby supporters' groups through websites and forums. The rest of us can then see the reasoning behind the OF's desire for a 10-team league laid out in all its greedy glory.

    The fans really have to be consulted in this. They lived through the 10-team league and it did not work. Sure, the league WAS more competitive for a while but not because there were 10 teams; it was because Souness hadn't yet arrived at Rangers to herald the OF spending spree that continues to this day.

  • Comment number 25.

    #17 "TV money is paid because of Celtic and Rangers who are also on the box much more than other clubs as their games attract most viewers so why should it be shared equally?"

    I can understand that Celtic and Rangers games, no matter the opposition, draw in fans of those clubs, but I never watch their games. And I don't know any neutral fans, including English fans, who would tune in. I do know a lot of Scottish fans who will watch EPL games, no matter who's playing.

    The fact is Celtic and Rangers games are not inherently entertaining. In fact, they are the opposite. For every entertaining OF derby recently, I can name an equally entertaining game not involving the OF.

    And games between non-OF clubs and the other teams are actually less entertaining. Partly because the results are often predictable (apart from the odd upset) and partly because the games are so lop-sided with one or two OF player wages often being equal to the entire wage bill of the club they are playing.

    So the non-OF clubs often play for a draw which is not entertaining. It's like watching Rangers in Europe every week.

    Games between non-OF teams, while maybe not having the same standard of player, are often far more entertaining, simply because both teams usually try to win the game.

    The most entertaining football in recent years has been played by Hibs, then Dundee Utd and currently Hearts. The OF are not known for their entertaining football so I think the TV companies maybe need to be brave and the SFA needs to stop this focus on the OF and promote our game more widely by showing the other Scottish teams more. You might be surprised at the quality of games on show - easily as entertaining as the average Championship game or bottom to mid table EPL game.

  • Comment number 26.

    A suggestion that I would like to put forward, and one that I don't think has been mentioned before, is offering some league positions to clubs outside Scotland.

    Teams in the Irish and Welsh leagues would be the most obvious but I am sure there are many teams down in England that are comparable to a Motherwell or even a Dundee United in terms of attendance who will almost never have a chance of reaching the English Championship never mind the English Premier League.

    In the Scottish league they could be playing in Europe and winning domestic cups in a few years time rather than hoping for a run in the Johnston paint trophy.

  • Comment number 27.

    Its a very black and white argument you make and I haven't argued at any stage that the OF have Scottish football's interests at heart. As much as any other club in Scotland they are out for personal gain.

    The SPL was designed by the OF and other leading clubs but they are absent from your criticism.

    The sad truth is that our game is dominated by revenue and that means that the product is largely shaped by what the TV companies want. They want 4 OF games each season as a minimum. If they do not get that, revenues for all clubs will be cut further its simple. Ask the chairman of DUTD or Killie to vote for that. You can only be kidding yourself on.

    If the OF dominance is as pervasive and influential as you claim then why did the other SPL clubs (excluding Aberdeen, Celtic and Rangers) vote for the Setanta deal when the worries about the future of the company were widely known at that time? It was the non-OF clubs that took us all down this path. And look where it has led.

    If clubs want to get crowds back make some allowances for the recession but try and put out a better product on and off (e.g. lower ticket prices, better pre-match entertainment, entice families into grounds by stopping the large numbers of adults who engage in behaviours in football grounds that would be criminal offences in any other situation) the park. But don't blame the OF for dwindling crowds at St Mirren Park or Tynecastle, its nonsense.

    And the OF want to keep their home gates? They provide the stadium and are responsible for upkeep and policing costs, and they provide the vast bulk of the fans. And you think that its only fair that they then give you half of the cash from the gate? Do you think your club should get half the refreshment and corporate receipts as well? Does the phrase taking the profit and none of the costs ring any bells here.

    I also saw a DUTD vs Hibs game on TV that was excellent in addition to the Well vs Hibs game last season that was sensational entertainment. And the Edinburgh derbies are worth watching too. Aside from the obvious conclusion that Hibs should definitely be on TV more often and good as these games were, the notion that you know better than the TV companies about what product generates an audience is just that..a notion!

    And yes I would like challenges to the OF in Scottish football and a more competitive league. That doesn't mean killing the only product in Scottish football and like it or not that is the OF.

  • Comment number 28.

    "But don't blame the OF for dwindling crowds at St Mirren Park or Tynecastle, its nonsense."

    Crowds at Tynecastle are very healthy thanks - steady and even increasing according to a recent story. It's OF crowds, particularly Celtic recently, that have been dwindling.

    In April 2010, figures released by the SPL on showed that Hearts was the only Clydesdale Bank Premier League club to register a notable rise in average attendance that season, when compared to the previous season.

    Since the arrival of Romanov in season 2004/05, average attendance at Tynecastle has risen by almost 20%.

    This season, crowds are decent again.

    But have I read any article in the media investigating what Hearts do to attract more fans to games? Nope. too busy obsessing over the OF.

  • Comment number 29.

    Comment #28 directed at the blinkered OF apologist #27.

  • Comment number 30.


    And I'll be more than happy to bat on your OF chip-on-your-shoulder critique of my post at #27 (which was directed at #23)...

    ...when you can actually make one!

  • Comment number 31.

    #27 "That doesn't mean killing the only product in Scottish football and like it or not that is the OF."

    Sorry for the multiple posting, but this is a classic example of OF arrogance. The 'only' product in Scottish football eh?

    Did you know that Hearts and Hibs have brought through more Scottish internationals and EPL players from the youth systems than the OF in recent years?

    Did you know that Hearts and Hibs have generated more transfer revenue from selling their young talent to either the OF or England than the OF?

    Did you know that Hearts, Kilmarnock and Motherwell have all been a heck of a lot more exciting to watch in Scotland this season than the OF? In previous seasons it's been Hibs and Dundee Utd.

    Celtic and Rangers have such large audiences for non-football reasons. We all know it but no-one admits it. Don't even try to suggest that the OF have such large supports because of the football they play.

  • Comment number 32.

    #30 Riiight chip on shoulder. Stock OF fan answer #23.

    You said Tynecastle attendances were falling. I proved they're not.

  • Comment number 33.

    The SPL should be banned from leading any changes to Scottish football as nearly every change they have initiated has harmed the game and made it less competitive and has usually harmed the finances of the non-Old Firm clubs.

    When will people like Neil Doncaster realise that changing the number of teams in the league will do almost nothing to improve the league or how it is perceived by fans or the media or sponsors? If we expanded the SPL to 14,16 or 18 teams it is hard to see how the promoted teams would add much in terms of quality, entertainment, competition or increased support to the 12 teams who currently comprise the SPL at the moment. If we reduce the SPL to 10 teams losing Aberdeen and Hamilton (as things stand at the minute) would still leave us with the teams from Rangers (1st) to St Mirren (10th) with a similar revenue, fanbase and strength to where they are now with no improvement delivered by the change. You would end up wit possibly even more negative football if finishing 9th and 10th means you are relegated or involved in a play off to avoid the drop.

    The main problems with the SPL at the moment are the unfairness in spending power leading to a non-competitive league, plus the falling entertainment factor and lack of skill among most of the top teams which combined with rising ticket prices and blanket TV coverage has meant fans are choosing to stay away from attending the games. The other major problems are the lack of young Scottish talent reaching their potential, and clubs and players becoming aloof and divorced from their fanbases... none of these problems are dealt with by changing the size of the league one way or another.

    We also desparately need better coverage of the 10 smaller teams in the SPL by the broadcasters as well. The Old Firm receive coverage every day in newspapers, TV and on the BBC website and this creates a buzz about them which has encouraged the massive increase in their attendances over the last 25 years at the same times as the trend of the other 10 teams attendances dropping by a similar amount to what the Old Firm have gained.

  • Comment number 34.

    1,5 - yes.
    2,3,4 - nonsense.

  • Comment number 35.


    10/5 quid !
    Most fans would settle for 20/10 quid !

  • Comment number 36.


    Read the whole text. Illustrative of a bigger point. It didn't matter whether that point was factually correct as it could have been any other non-OF team.

    But ironically your point about attendances at Tynecastle may well do the other guys argument a big bit of damage!

    Good job.

  • Comment number 37.

    The SFA, SPL, SFL, all the clubs & the media should be looking at the bigger picture here - how do we improve the product of Scottish football? That is, unequivocally, in everybody's interest; improve the quality of play & the rest will click into place.

    If the football on the park is of good quality (no matter who is playing) then TV revenue will increase, sponsorship monies will increase, fans will come flocking back in, kids will want to play football & the national team will also reap the rewards - simple!!

    How do we improve the quality & competition of football on the park?

    * Remove the staleness by making teams in any league play each other only twice.
    * Increase league sizes to 16 teams each, lifting the fear of relegation from many teams.
    * Make ALL monies earned by league position, giving teams the incentive to push for a win; TV revenue, league & cup sponsorship deals, gate money. It all goes into one big pot for all the leagues & gets distributed by league position.

    These three changes would lift the product remarkably, without ruffling too many feathers. You could supplement these rules with others to complement them further:

    * Maximum squad size of 20, with 50% being "home-grown" players. Supplemented by any number of under-21 players.
    * Permit the use of good quality (i.e. 3G or 4G) synthetic pitches. If it is good enough for the Champions League, it is good enough for Dunfermline or Hamilton for goodness sake.
    * Pyramid system from top of the SPL all the way down to the poorest amateur side in Dumbarton. SPL, SPL2 & then three regional set-ups: North, West & East.
    * EVERY club to allow under-10s admission to any game for £1, thus ensuring the future generations keep an interest in our game & not La Liga or Serie A.
    * Use central funding to construct more centres like Toryglen all across the country - again, to EVERYONE's benefit.
    * Financial mis-management should be punished by a deduction of league placings (and therefore cash) comparable to the losses. E.G. Lose £50,000 in a tax year? Docked one placing. Lose £3 million? Docked 10 placings. This ensures a level playing field for all teams.

    These parameters will give every well-run, ambitious team in the country the opportunity to progress in a fair manner & will also penalise every poorly-run side at the same time. The Old Firm will probably always be the teams to beat because of their fanbase & spending power, but then so are Man Utd & Liverpool, PSV & Ajax, Bayern & Dortmund, Real & Barca, AC & Inter in their respective countries - but then again, almost every other big team on this list have been upstaged by a smaller rival in recent years, haven't they?

  • Comment number 38.

    I'm really starting to get bored of the same anti-OF attitude constantly, they are far too easy a target to blame all the problems on, it's short sighted, niave and no more than a comfort blanket to avoid seeing the problems as a whole with all the clubs.
    Is it the OF that get what they want? really? when there has to be an 11-1 majority for changes to happen, here was me thinking we got landed with the terrible setanta deal because of the greed of the rest of the SPL aside from the OF and Aberdeen.
    Should TV revenue money get split evenly? I actually have no objection to this, we all play in the same league and the money is after all given to the league whether more OF games are shown or not. The comments made about more entertaining games outside of any game including the OF may be correct but makes no differnce to any tv deal becasue there is simply no demand for these games so the point is mute and ill-conceived. The draw for TV will always be the OF for their fanbase who do want to watch their games whether anyone else does or not. Lets be honest without the OF the TV and sponsorship deals would be virtually pennies if not non-existant. That is just fact and not arrogance whether you like it or not.
    With regards to gates being shared, i would never agree to this, it already happens in cup games and causes far too many problems with both teams having to agree prices, Kilmarnock, Dundee Utd have both been guilty of charging high prices for cup games recently just because it was Rangers they were playing, on both occasions Rangers were looking gor lower admission prices for fans to turn up but it was the greed of the smaller clubs which stopped this. And if there are problems then with stadia and repairs needed, do all the clubs then have to pay for the maintenance of these grounds? Obviously match day costs would be taken from the gate initially but what about general wear and tear and maintenance required? surely different sized and aged stadia would require varying amount of cash to be spent so therefore wouldnt be fair for one club to then have to spend more than another when they share the gate.

    On the other points raised, cheaper admission for young and old and standing areas in stadia would be great ideas and should be implented by all clubs asap.
    But with regards to sin bins, i really can't see how it would work in football, say someone was booked unfairly now and had to leave the pitch and the other team scored. can you imagine the uproar casued? especially by a certain manager from a team in Glasgow's East End? (last part tongue in cheek)

    4 points for away wins and no points for 0-0 draw, i can see where you are going with that but surely that would actually benefit the OF more than anyone, for a start they rarely dont score and win more often away from home than other sides, as is stands, Rangers have won all but 1 away game so they would actually have more points than they have now and a greater lead at the top so i can't see how that benefits at all.

    I think everyone seems to want a 16-18 team league and unfortunately it looks like finances will dictate if this is possilbe or not but maybe we as the fans should force this issue, at the end of the day its our game and we should have a greater say in how it is run, all fans boycotting a few games would surely make the clubs listen but wouldn't like to see this surely there is something we can do too make them listen to what the fans want and not just what the accountants want.

    Why not be radical completley with the governing bodies also and introduce a voting system from fans and have the leaders elected by us and not from inside with the blazers protecting their own interests and controlling the game regardless of who is given the position.

  • Comment number 39.


    But did you know Hearts and Hibs are largely selling clubs. Young players find it easier to break into these teams than the OF because the expecations and standards are generally lower. This season Celtic play with only an average of 2 Scottish players per game.

    Despite all the big REVENUE from selling these young players Hearts must still be the most indebted club in Scottish football (£35m?).

    As you admit you don't watch the OF so I'm surprised that you can say that Hearts, Kilmarnock and Motherwell have all been more exciting to watch this season and that in previous seasons it's been Hibs and Dundee Utd. How do you KNOW about something you admit that you don't watch?

    But make sure you tell your opinions to ESPN/ SKY because they must have got their viewing figures and product all wrong. As with #23, the notion that you might have in your head that non-OF teams would generate a bigger TV audience than the OF is just that..a notion! Don't ask ESPN/SKY how many viewers they will get just ask Rabbity!

    And we all know that Celtic and Rangers have audiences for non-football reasons. Its no secret. But we have been here before and to suggest that all or even most OF fans watch them for these reasons is just naive.

    After all we know (as you yourself already admitted on a previous blog) that a significant section of the Hearts fans watch their team for the the same non-football reasons as those Rangers fans who do.

  • Comment number 40.

    As usual, the OF and their 'fans' can't see the point of this discussion. It is about the health of the game in Scotland and NOT about the TV companies. The logical conclusion to following what the TV wants is simply for the OF to play each other every week! No, we cannot be dictated to by the OF nor the TV companies. There are many professional clubs in Scotland with no TV coverage - the vast majority. Why should we all pander to the minority of clubs (2) when we want to improve the overall game in SCOTLAND (not Glasgow).
    In the past we have been told (and we stupidly believed this) ... what is good for the OF is good for the rest.
    No one actually believes this any more - thank goodness (other than the head in the sand OF clubs & fans).
    Listen to Geoff Brown of St Johnstone - the longest serving chairman -he has seen it all before he predicted the situation we are now in a long time ago. At the time he was blasted by the press i.e. OF cronies, for being selfish. This was crass then and even more so now. Every club in Scotland must resist these proposals and go for a solution that benefits all.

  • Comment number 41.

    Anyone interested in what Geoff Brown said about these proposals should read his article in the Dundee Courier
    titled SPL changes are 'asking turkeys to vote for Christmas'

  • Comment number 42.

    I think the TV / Old Firm debate could probably rumble on forever, and I'm not really interested in either to be honest.

    One thing I am completely disinterested in is why an Old Firm or a Hearts fan would support their clubs - that is up to them, but if it is for "non-football reasons" then discuss it on a politics board. This is a football blog.

    The only relevant factor TV has on the current decision process is: does the current TV contract state the SPL will have teams playing each other 4 times in a season? If so, how long is this contract for?

    If this is the situation, as I suspect is the case, then we are wasting our time talking about leagues of 16 or 18 for the moment, we are stuck with what we have for the duration of the contract.

    Doesn't mean we just throw our hands in the air & maintain the Status Quo - there is no reason why we can't either stagger the reconstruction, or just be extremely organised to implement change as soon as the contract expires.

  • Comment number 43.

    #40, I think it's naive to dismiss TV revenue as this is a major source of income for clubs especially those with financial problems. The piper calls the tune springs to mind.

    The urgent need is all round improvement in many areas;
    Club finances - Quality of football - Cost of football - Reduction in number of governing bodies - Change to league structure/pyramid system to list a few.

    Sadly this is not going to hapen overnight and not without some "turkeys voting for Christmas" to use that horrible phrase but it has to start somewhere.

    Why don't fans write to Neil Doncaster at SPL and press for a bigger league with teams only playing each other twice?
    Ask for clubs to play home and away as this will assist cashflow.
    This would be a start.

    It would also help if those fans who continually moan about the state of the game and are able to attend matches actually went to games.
    Clubs like Dundee Utd. & Motherwell would surely benefit from bigger gates and pose a bigger challenge to OF.

    The rest of the changes that are needed are going to take longer to come to fruition if they ever do.

  • Comment number 44.

    40. At 1:24pm on 15 Dec 2010, bill Cuthbert wrote:

    Now you're just showing your ignorance, it's clear you hate the OF and hold some kind of bitter grudge against them likely without having any rational evidence, I think you'll find OF fans want change as much if not more than you and any change that doesnt make it better for everyone is pointless.

    Please explain where the pandering is to the OF?? There are 12 clubs in the SPL, that's 12 clubs who vote, an 11-1 majority is required for changes to happen so what you believe is that 9 out of the remaining clubs will just pander to the OF?

    Your comments about TV are extremely mis-guided, why don't we ask who would suffer the most if TV deals and sponsorship deals were reduced or dropped altogether? I think you'll find the OF would likely survive this, would every other SPL team?

    But know you would rather remain ignorant and just blame all the problems on the OF, it's boring, it's pathetic and quite simply untrue.

    Perhaps if youself and like-minded individuals actually put as much effort into coming up with a solution to the problem for every club insted of OF bashing we might make more progress.
    Every club in Scotland also includes the OF remember whether you like it or not.

  • Comment number 45.

    I have no grudge against the OF - only their lop-sided influence on football in Scotland. i.e. their self interest
    I have attended both Parkhead and Ibrox games in the past and enjoyed them very much. I have had the privilege of seeing players like Jimmy Johnstone, Willie Henderson, Jim Baxter, Billy McNeil, etc Wonderful players in great teams. Back then the OF were an equal partner in the old league setup. Not any more.

    The OF are members of the club called the SPL. But they don't have any respect for the others as they look for a way out to make more money in England, Atlantic league or whatever fantasy they come up with next.

    The working group had representatives from Rangers, Celtic, Hibernian, Motherwell and St Mirren - no surprise to see a proposal suiting the OF then. With NO representation from the SFL, how can this be seen as good for all clubs? So this is a proposal aimed at placating the OF and now to be voted on and likely to fail because of the turkeys not wanting xmas!

    Who benefits from TV deals? Go on, ask Raith Rovers, Dundee, Dunfermline, Falkirk, Livingston, Morton, etc
    Do they benefit from TV deals with zero coverage?

    It is not naive to question the wisdom of the TV companies. We need to create a high quality product first then the TV companies will be interested. Lets get it right for all clubs and the product will be improved for all concerned including TV companies. The product on offer at the moment is dire. Oh to see the likes of JJ, WH, JB, BMcN again! Surely this is what we all want and not a bunch of average rated players strutting in front of the cameras - ironically, the TV companies are being short changed at the moment.

  • Comment number 46.

    You need to think a little bit more about what your saying, i believe you truly want to see the whole of Scottish football floursih as do i but you also need to be realistic and look through untinted glasses to see the whole picture here.

    The working group who also includes 3 other teams and spl representives and that is then put to the rest of the SPL for a vote? Again i find i'm repeating myself a bit here but it still has to be an 11-1 majortiy vote for the changes to happen so if the changes are just to suit the OF the other clubs don't need to agree. It's bery simple. You seem to see the OF as the problem here and i'm sorry attitudes like that are only detrimental. If anything your point about the SFL clubs would show a resentment against all clubs in the SPL but you only seem to slate the OF so i think you need to think a little bit more about your point. Also if you had reseacrhed it at all or even read it correctly it is the SPL who are doing this and looking to make changes NOT the SFL so why would they be involved at this stage?? If and when a decision can be made then all parties would then be able to discuss it and the SFL clubs would then have their say so that point is worthless i'm afraid.

    Self interest? From the OF? Yes, there probably has been and always will be, funnily enough though just the same as every other team in Scotland, they're all out to get the best deal for themselves and to use one example to prove that is the setanta deal, OF and Aberdeen wanted the SKY deal despite slightly less cash as offered more stability, the other 9 clubs were only interested in getting more cash for themselves therefore opted for the larger deal which collapsed and left several teams in trouble.

    The TV deals don't benefit the teams you mention because they are not in the top league, they don't have a tv deal so why should they then receive a benefit from this? The SPL clubs do and the pot should be shared equally among them all.
    So really do you honestly believe TV companies are going to start paying more money if the league was more interesting and played better football?
    I would ask who is going to pay it?
    SKY? ESPN? BBC? why would they? It is simple really, there is no demand for Scottish football outside of Scottish football and that is simply not going to change unless we start signings the likes of Messi and Ronaldo. So the TV companies aren't going to suddenly give more lucrative deals just because it got more interesting because the demand simply wont be there for it and there would still be no competition between the broadcasters.

    I think you're showing your age with the players you are dreaming of seeing again but you need to bring yourself into the present and future and see what the truth of the matter is.

  • Comment number 47.

    You have made a good argument 'blue_vision' but with a name like that - who has the tinted glasses!
    Please do not look at my argument as resenting anyone. I am simply making my opinions based on what I read and the experience I have of the game in Scotland. Yes I did mention some of the great players from the past but I have followed football ever since. I need no lectures on the modern game.

    We need a transformation of Scottish football and not just tinkering by the SPL which is strongly influenced by the OF - that is my point. In that case, all clubs including the SFL must be involved.

    The starting point should be to decide on a list of senior teams with good facilities and fan base - that would probably be around 22 teams in Scotland - then invite them to discuss the future of all of them. Perhaps a two tier league of some sort could be agreed, although I would still favour a closed premier league with no relegation. The threat of relegation creates negative competition.

    Any way, I believe a satisfactory solution would come from this whole group of teams rather than from a select few within the SPL. If what you say is true about the intentions of the OF, they would not object to this approach.

    If we finance the whole game in the correct manner (see comment from Billy Reid on BBC sport about bringing on young players) we should be able to produce the likes of JJ, WH, etc. or modern day players such as Gareth Bale, Theo Walcott or Paddy McCourt - where are our equivalents ??

    I call that a common sense approach - involving all interested parties.

  • Comment number 48.

  • Comment number 49.

    Fair enough, i just believe you are holding too much of the negatives against the OF, they're not perfect but my point is no team or their chairman is and they have all been guilty of self interest.

    As for the rest of the Scottish clubs, as i stated it's one step at a time, for now it is only the SPL and it's member clubs who are looking at a revamp, they cannot invite other clubs into the discussion until they have all agreed to do so, it's still at the very early stages so any invite to other clubs would come at a later date, however what's stopping the SFL inviting their clubs to have discussions? or fot that matter what are the SFA doing?

    So i think it's extremely harsh to try and have a dig at the OF and the SPL when at least they are making a start and trying to look at changes, maybe some of the smaller clubs who seem to moan a lot should actually try and do something about themselves also. There's only 5 clubs in involved in the talks, not heard a murmur of complaint from the other 7 in the SPL either? Are they upset about not being there or will they let other do the donkey work and then vote yes or no, whatever then suits them best? There's always another way to look at it remember.

    I didn't intend to lecture on the modern game only meaning we need to leave the past where it is, sure there were great players and maybe one day we can find them again, but it is a long way off and unfortunately will likely see the best of any talent leaving for England now too.

    Chose the name purposely for the irony it will represent, thanks for noticing that. I will admit to having a tinted viewpoint at times though as would any fan of their club but i do try to look past it as often as i can unless at the wind up of course. It makes a change to at least have a sensible debate for a change instead of point scoring insults being thrown around.

  • Comment number 50.


    People can choose to ignore the influence of the TV deal at their leisure Iain but I am sure that you for one appreciate that any reductions in finance may have more serious implications for the non-OF clubs than Rangers and Celtic.

    Personally I cannot abide the 10 league format because it is too repetitive, too cut-throat at the bottom-end and will militate against the blooding of younger players. The key factor will be the financial drop between SPL 1 and 2. Even then I'm not sure that clubs some of whom already seem to be arguing against a winter break on a financial basis (which must be indicative of how tight their monies actually are) can then afford to vote for an expanded league despite this being the preference for them and for fans.

  • Comment number 51.

    I think we all know the change that the OF want and it isn't smaller leagues. They want to join England or an Atlantic league basically anywhere bar here so lets make the choice for them, threaten to resign one and all unless Rangers and Celtic are booted out.

    Before you come with all the we want to improve the game up here, well stop stealing all the other teams best players for a pittance just to have them bench warming.

    Rabbity, Bill Cuthbert and blogcritic why aren't you running the game? All you OF fans we all know your vested interest and so what if you maintain the stadia etc if you actually wanted competition you'd see that split revenues is one of the ways to ensure this however you are telling porkies aren't you.

    I know for a fact I'd rather watch 30 Hibs v Motherwell games rather than 30 Rangers v Celtic ones. That's nothing to do with me being a Hibee you could insert any other of the 38 Scottish league teams into that space and I'd watch.

    By the way on another point why the hell should the juniors not follow rules that other clubs in Scotland follow yet benefit from the Scottish Cup and then a pyramid system at the same time. A level playing field means for all clubs.

  • Comment number 52.

    No Ross it must be you that shall run Scottish Footba

  • Comment number 53.

    Astonishly you are all missing the real punchline. As a Scot expat and having seen all the changes in Scottish Football over the last 50 years the real problem is that the product offered is not good enough. This is why TV audiences have switched off, therefore little TV money, only core fans attend matches. Tinker with promotion, relegation, another league, voting power, sin bins, Celtic and Rangers are the problem, and everything else,it will make no difference in the long run. Footbsll is now global, everything is compared to the best, whether we like it or not. People will pay to watch Messi or Ronaldo on TV as individauls and will pay for the English premiership for its dramas and its twists and turns. Sadly Scotland and Scotland players have very little to offer. For over 30 years since the McLeod fiasco in Argentina we have constantly belittled ourselves with a small nation mentality, poor wee Scotland, these away games against the Faroes and against Leitchtenstein and the like are really tough matches nowadays. And we all take it in hook, line and sinker. Its endemic in all Scottish sport. We don't want to win, we're all losers before we go onto the pitch. What I want from Scottish football is for those faceless and useless technocrats at the top who are supposed to be looking after our interests long term to look at other countries. Lets take Holland for a start. Every one of you reading this blog could name at least 3 teams with world class players from Holland from the last 30 years. Skillful and agile players, great to watch, full of skill, can command firts team places at all of Europe's top clubs, a national team that is always amongst the favourites for tournaments. Yet their league is similar to Scotland's. weather is the same, population is only slightly higher. I could name at least 20 other countries in the 30 years with a football pedigree less than Scotland's and they have achieved. I will start will Uruguay, semi-finalsits at the last World Cup. Ask your average Scottish fan - can we reach the Semi-finals of the next World Cup. They will laugh, think you are an idiot. Why! because we are all conditioned to think that there is nothing we can do! Thats why get nowhere. Sadly we have become a nation of losers. Its all somebody else's fault. Celtic and Rangers usually top the list of culprits. Because of this loser mentalisty even Celtic and Rangers have become embarassments in Europe. These used to be teams to be feared but now most teams of the top half of Europe's leagues would easily beat Celtic at home and easily beat Rangers away. And don't let me start with the National Team. What a joke - last minute winner against Leichtenstein. This is just the culmination of 30 years downward spiral.
    Before we start on any initiative we need the leaders of our football to start believing. Its pointless thinking about the future , get the kids playing and all that. Don't you think that other countries are getting their kids playing as well? What's wrong with the current SCottish players that a good dose of Scottish Belief can't fix. There are millions of examples where supposedly ordinary players in ordinary teams can upset the supposed odds. No, what we do with typically Scottish belief is to play 10 defenders against an ordinary Czech team when the match was there for winning. So just 2 months in qualification for the 2012 Euros we are already out. This means there is nothing worth watching competitively until autumn 2012, nearly 2 years away, when the next WC qualification comes round. Its no wonder that everybody is scratching round for silly little fixes that do nothing in the long term.
    Where is the Scottish fighting spirit of yesteryear. Ally McLeod's soul won't rest in peace. He did have a point - we punished him too severely

  • Comment number 54.

    oh dear. two lots of "authorities" proposing the ten team set up. has anyone thought about the fact that axeing the league status of 22 clubs in one fail swoop is going to kill alot of them off, some of them big teams on a scottish scale. then what if two tiers of ten proves to change nothing, infact it seems to me it would only create a more boring, more repetative league, how do reverse that if it all goes wrong? i can't understand when the fans clearly want an expanded top teir that this is the suggestion. do fans count for nothing. clearly money has won over, but with any re structuring scotland cannot generate enough money to be competitive, it's too small. so why should money be the priority? i for wan will lose interest if this goes ahead, shallow!

  • Comment number 55.

    to be honest if they are going to preserve the league status of so few clubs they might as well just have a closed elite leage of twenty playing each other twice and tell the others hard luck. its so unsporting. please note im a hearts fan so my team is safe either way. i don't see how playing each other so many times a season will change anything. those who finish in top half already play old firm more times a season and its not helping them!! a less diverse league is going to be more interesting?? where is the product??

  • Comment number 56.


    Ignorance is no excuse for your comments, you really need to think about what your saying, ok so lets suppose we go along with that plan and split all gate revenue monies easily, what will it really bring? yes sure the other clubs may have more money generated from the OF but they then also become even more reliant on the 2 teams you claim to be the problem. It's short sighted and niave. So what then happens to the team that is relegated and they suddenly lose this revenue? Massive cuts and players losing their jobs almost definitely, very likely worse. Perhaps more clubs should be trying to make themselves self-sufficient and stop relying on the funds provided by the OF. Your argument is backed up with no evidence or logic and just stinks of a poor attitude and jealousy i'm sorry to say, I've yet to hear a decent argument for all these claims that the OF casue all the problems, It's a smokescreen for your own clubs failings and greed.

    Take Spain for example, if you think the OF are bad, check out how much the big 2 monopolise the funds there, Yet strangely enough the other clubs there just get on with and have challenged them over the years and get into Europe and do well there. Villareal being the best example, they don't have a massive fanbase or stadium, they aren't rich or backed by a rich chairman, were no more than a provincial Spanish club 10-15 years ago yet they now are able to challenge for honours every year becasue they have a well run club.

    It's a fact of life in football the better players will move to the bigger clubs, having more money will not change this, they would still rather play in front of 50-60,000 fans as opposed to 5-20,000 fans. Just like players for the OF would rather play in the EPL as one of the biggest stages. Quite a ridiculous comment really. And i have to tell you as it's clear you can't see if for yourself, if the OF were in another league, you would lose even more of the best young talent to them. Think about it before just ranting.

    As for your comments about what game you would rather watch, well that is all it is i'm afraid, what you want, not what the majority want, there is simple more demand for games involving the OF becasue of their fanbase and this is why they are shown on TV more often, The TV companies and sponsorhsip deals all seem to suggest the same so just because you would rather watch another game doesn't mean everyone else will. I guarantee you there are more people who would rather watch either of the OF than any of the other 10 clubs in the SPL so what is your point there??

    It's pathetic really that you shout and moan about the OF and then at the same time you want a share of the money they generate, Can you not see the hypocrsy there?? So go on, i challenge you or anyone else who holds these beliefs to come up with a sensible logical argument for it. Let's not forget the many examples of greed displayed by the clubs outside the OF in recent years and i have listed several examples already, i have many, many more, so perhaps before having a go at the easy option maybe you should look closer at your own clubs and how they are being run. How much have Hibs themselves benefited from the OF in recent years?, a new training ground, stand, i guess that money came from Hibs great commercial expertise then or perhaps it was by the OF "stealing" your players for countless Millions that enabled this to happen and allowed your club to progress. What a poor argument you really put up.

  • Comment number 57.

    Craig @ 55

    Completely agree, what we need is a league of 18 with 3 up and 3 down every season but i doubt very much we will see it unfortunately, i know i would be more interested in going to and watching games when its only once you play that team home or away and i also believe it would enable the other clubs to mount a more serious challenge to the OF also, you would expect the liks of Hearts, Hibs, Aberdeen (although not this season) Dundee Utd to all win more games against the other sides and therefore pick up more points, I would love to see 3 or 4 teams being able to win the league going into the last few weeks though of course i still only want Rangers to win it but would make the whole season so much more exctiting.

  • Comment number 58.

    57, i'm glad to see someone else who thinks an expanded legue would be more competitive. there seems to be a perception that a ten tem league would be more competitive but i can't see it. and its daft to think any extra revenue gained by condensing the league will make any difference. personally i'd like to see 16 team teirs right the way through a pyramid system in scotland. if perhaps an extra regionalised cup competition could be implimented of a greter amphasis on using the out of season perion better fewer league games wouldn't be an issue. anyway aren't teams always complaining about too many games? plus less pressure on our awful piches.

  • Comment number 59.

    sorry that was badly typed. #or a greater emphasis

  • Comment number 60.

    Not sure anyone wants the 10 ten league but the issue is not competitiveness but the reduction in monies coming from an expanded league. That is the issue.

  • Comment number 61.


    heres one excellent point that you seem to have missed due to your Blue_Vision tinted glasses.

    Where would the Old Firm be if they didnt have anyone to play against.
    The other clubs are the ones that made them by playing them.


    the English Premier League Split all TV money regardless of who is on the TV the most. I dont think BLACKPOOL bring that much money into the game, bu the other clubs accept it and now this club is +£40million thanks to getting promoted.

    You talk about the other clubs being greedy and want more money. SO how come a huge percentage of TV money goes to the OF and the rest have to live of the scraps.

    Take your glasses off and realise its the OF that is killing the game with their greed. and to the same degree so are the other SPL teams.


    UTTER DISGRACE. by the way im and Arbroath Fan.

  • Comment number 62.

    Sorry no hypocricy blue_Vision.

    If Rangers and Celtic want to play here they should pay. I would rather they were away but if we have to put up with their bileful fans who if the mood takes them will destroy a city (I wonder who that is?).

    I'll tackle all your points.

    Ignorance - That would appear to be the preserve of the OF, ignorant of the fact that they kill competition yet complain that there is no competition.

    Economics - My club Hibs haven't failed economically unlike a certain group from Glasgow.

    OF cause the problems - Well that's easy you can't complain about lack of competition if you strip the competition of their best players.

    Spain - In the past 20 years 4 other championships have been won by teams outside the big two. Rangers and Celtic are the only winners of the championship for 20 years. Also the other clubs can attract a standard of player that allows them to compete as they have some funds.

    Losing players - Well the Rangers or Celtic teams are not that high a level and if they did leave they'd be in Conference North in a few years so no way players would want to go there. Interleague transfer limits need setting.

    Exciting games - My point is we are not all gloryhunters and I'd rather see a fellow team play rather than Rangers v Celtic. Look at how drab and dull the past few OF games have been. They only get viewing figures from people that would watch anyway an exciting SPL could bring in more fans and also the BBC might be able to afford live games of we got rid of the gruesomes.

    Stealing players - Greed, a Rangers fan talks about greed. Your lot paid 12m for a player that couldn't score only a greedy club would do that. Getting good money for players is the chairman's job but what about all the players you've unsettled so you can nick them for small amounts of money.

  • Comment number 63.

    Craig, Blue Vision,
    I agree with most of your points regarding the proposals and disagree with those that blame OF for everything that's wrong with Scottish football.
    If we had a league of 16 teams with relegation which could be 2 or 3 would that not benefit the additional clubs by providing extra income and thus by definition enable them to improve their playing standards?

    I have no objection to sharing the tv income equally as it's peanuts and won't make or break OF.

    I've said before that clubs should play home & away alternate weeks as this would benefit their cash flow and,if some clubs can't afford the winter break then they are knocking on the door of the bankruptcy court.

    One governing body,winter break, early start to the season, all agreed.

    When complaining about OF it was stated that all the clubs should have been part of the working group. Does the poster really think that the 7 clubs involved just decided to do it themselves with no support or input from their colleagues ? It hasn't been a secret.
    As for the comment that 22 clubs should be involved, there aren't 22 clubs with grounds of the required standard.

    If the quality of football doesn't improve I for one won't be renewing my season ticket.

    Just one piece of nitpicking Blue Vision, Villareal are owned by the man who owns the large ceramic business in the town and he supplied the money to elevate them from nowhere, good for him and it must be well run because his business has suffered in the recession yet they are still near the top of La Liga.

  • Comment number 64.

    We really are back to the small town moaners: the OF cause all the problems and everything would be a bed of roses of only the OF can fund these wee money junkies even more than they do.

  • Comment number 65.

    @ 61

    Read my other posts before making comments, thanks, i think you'll find i have no problem splitting the tv money, it is splitting the gate revenue i don't agree with, and again if you read my posts instead of just having a rant you will also see that i have admitted that greed has been shown by the OF as well as the rest of the SPL, that was the main point you'll find i was making, it's not just the OF to blame, plenty of other clubs have to take responsibility for this and not just take the easy option of blaming the OF. Also i'm very aware that the other sides are needed, where from my points would you think otherwise? unlike so many who think Scottish football shouldn't be the OF i'm very aware all the cubs are important and i would like to see the whole of Scottish football flourish and a competitive league but it needs to be done in such a way that it's not a quick fix or causes more problems in the future such as making top flight clubs over-depenedent on the revenue from gates created by the OF which is bad enough already without splitting all gates. SO please read and think properly before making statements. Thanks.

    Also, very interesting point regarding TV money in the EPL, the only country who split the TV money equally, how many relegated clubs from the EPL struggle to survive even with the parachute payments they receive? maybe you should think about that also as makes my other point regarding sharing gate revenue in the SPL even more relevant. Teams need to become self-reliant and produce business models that allow them to function no matter what happens and yes before someone jumps in I include my own team in this, i'm very aware they are not perfect.
    The Blackpool example is a good one too, because depsite getting all that money how much have they spent? they tried to renage on a 25k bonus for Charlie Adam, what happended to that money? the problem they have now is spiralling wages which they will struggle to control if they are relegated. You need to look at all the aspects of making such decisions not just see the positive side of them.

    @ 62

    No you didn't tackle any of my points, you simply made yourself look even more ignorant with simple point scoring comments. I asked for sensible, logical comments, next please.
    And on your comments of the BBC being able to afford live games? why would that change from now if the football was better? the BBC or any other broadcaster for that matter wouldn't have more funds to allocate, and there simplpy isn't a demand outside Scotland for Scottish football, seriously try thinking outside of your little box for a change, you need to look at the bigger picture when you make comments like these.
    12m for a player who couldn't score? your knowledge is shockingly poor, check his record, it's actually one of the best in recent years on a goal to game ratio. In fact, here's a better idea, don't reply to me unless you can actually make a rational argument instead of just ranting.

    @ 63

    This is true, but they are an extremely well run club, they are not rich and nor is their chairman though by normal standards he could be considered as such but not in footballing terms, they have been succesful by having a well run business model which is what i'm trying to get across to the ignorance of the "small team mentality - blame the old firm for everything" attitude which i'm sure probably gets on your nerve as much as myself.

  • Comment number 66.

    He couldn't score 12million pounds worth of goals. £315,000 per goal was that worth it. Are you seriously saying he was worth that much.

    If Rangers and Celtic weren't in the league the TV costs would go down and the BBC would have a chance of paying for games and they all might go back to 3:00 on a Saturday.

    I said there isn't a demand outwith those that would watch whatever the product was like. Irish people will watch Celtic/Rangers if they're on TV no matter how bad they're playing. I watch the Welsh rugby whoever is on BBC because I like the game.

  • Comment number 67.

    Did i say he was value for money? You stated he couldn't score yet that was clearly wrong, so now you've changed to was he value for money?, seriously when you're wrong, just admit it and stop making yourself look worse. Flo was not value for money though, even when taking into account the 7.5m we recouped for him. I can admit the failings of my team, thanks.

    That TV comment was priceless, I can only laugh at your ideas really, so let's go along with your plan then, let's take the OF away, the league loses the current TV deals and a number of sponsorhip deals or at the very least has them severely reduced, what impact would this have immediately, where to start . . . .

    What about the teams that are left suddenly unable to pay wages that are due and fulfil commitments to their creditors - administration would beckon for most if not all clubs if this happened. The only option to stop this of course would be to sell players and reduce wage costs and by doing so, bery likely reduce the quality on the pitch. Oh and there's also the good chance that those players you needed to sell would be the better players and would go where? either the EPL or the OF.
    So would that really intice supporters to go to the games?

    As for the BBC then being able to afford to pay for the rights and games to be screeend at 3pm on a Saturday? that won't happen it they did decide to bid for the rights, games would be on a Sunday likely to fill slots there that used to happen when they had the deal before.
    And why would they want to bid? you seem to forget that the OF are Scottish and will remain so whether you like it or not, there are more Scottish OF fans than of any other club in Scotland so the demand would still follow them. How much do the BBC really care about Scottish football? their current highlights package should tell you everything you need to know there, the English Championship and Leagues 1/2 have better highilight deals than the SPL.

    You do finally make a valid point in your final comment, you watch it becasue you like it and others will watch things because they either enjoy or support that team. That's true, thanks for stating the obvious.
    I watch Rangers because i support them - do i enjoy every game - certainly not. I watch Spanish football because i enjoy it yet don't support any team in particular.
    So not really sure what the point you were trying to make was but at least it made sense. Perhaps you should stick to the rugby.

  • Comment number 68.

    I really can't see a 10 team top flight will be approved. I assume to cut the league to 10 next season would see 3 teams go down with 1 promoted. Potentially anyside other than Rangers, Celtic or Hearts could finish 10th next season so 3/4's of the league could be signing up for a relegation battle.

    There seems to be alot of fans wanting a 16-18 team league and an opinion that a 10-12 team league is unique to Scotland. Looking at a number of countries of a similar size to us in Europe, 10 and 12 team leagues are fairly common. Switzerland, Austria and Slovenia all have 10 team leagues playing each other 4 times. Denmark has a 12 team league playing each other 3 times.

    The biggest problem with a large league in a small country is the lack of quality teams. Croatia, with a bigger population than us and a far better international record is reducing it's league from 16 teams to 12 next season due to a lack of quality in the 1st step towards moving down to a 10 team league the following year.

    Would adding 6 division 1 teams to make a 18 team top flight really improve the quality of our league? No disrespect to them but Cowdenbeath are currently in the top 6 in division 1. They play in a ground thats worse than some Junior sides, have smaller crowds than some junior clubs and have kick off times dictated to by stock car races!

    Re tv money and gate receipts. I see no reason why the TV money shouldn't be equally distributed. Gate recipets could be shared, not 50/50 but maybe 80/20.

  • Comment number 69.

    Morbhoy, Craig, Blue-Vision

    What Rob04 is saying at #60 but nobody seems to be either acknowledging or countering is that with 16 teams in the SPL 1 then there is a funding shortfall from splitting the money 16 ways instead of 10.

    Less money, so it has to come from somewhere and the most likely source is TV revenue. One thing for sure, it won’t come from gate money.

    I can’t see this happening without the 4 OF games however, as I too favour a 16 club SPL, I can’t see any alternative than a revised cup competition to increase competitive nature of the game and bring in the extra revenue from Sponsors. TV coverage would be unlikely to see this any differently from a 10 club SPL in terms of exposure from the number of games or potential viewers.

    The McLeish report out today does not support a larger SPL so it looks like these proposals will be accepted.

    I have the same fears as Craig in that the loss of league status will result in a loss of sponsorship monies for the remaining 22 clubs and I can’t really see them all surviving. Trouble is, these clubs are badly needed to support a pyramid structure and provide more opportunities for youth.

    I’m heartened by aspects of the report that talks about putting clubs right back into the community and maybe, Craig, this will bring more people to the terraces in the longer term.

    I just hope things survive that long.

  • Comment number 70.

    In reading the latest posts, I think there will be some serious head banging behind closed Hampden doors in the wake of Henry McLeish’s report pt 2 on account of his support for a 10 team SPL 1.

    I wonder what odds the bookies are giving for a rejection of the 2 x 10 set up.

    Can you imagine The Association of British Bookmakers investigating the SFA and SPL over that one?

    I don’t think it will be necessary. Can’t see them loosing much money in pay-outs.

  • Comment number 71.

    Excellent blog. I especially like ideas 3 and 5 on your list. As an Inverness fan I know what it means to be part of a less well off club. Why should the Old Firm get the lion's share of the SPL kitty? They earn more than enough from TV, sponsorship, worldwide merchandise sales and playing regular European football year after year. Smaller clubs like Caley and St Mirren should be the ones getting most of the money to make the financial footing in the SPL more stable and balanced between the biggest and the smallest clubs. How can the small clubs keep up when as well as revenue earned by their worldwide fame and Champions League campaigns, Celtic and Rangers are given most of the money shared out between SPL clubs as well?! It's ridiculous and something drastic and radical has to be done ASAP.

  • Comment number 72.

    I think that all of the Scottish clubs would love an expanded league setup, but they are all too scared to go for it as it will mean less money coming in from having less games against old firm and money being spread even more thinly between clubs in an expanded league.

    If it was simply changed to an 18 team league, we would probably see a few clubs going out of business very quickly due to the reduction in income.

    An expanded league setup could be beneficial and potentially more profitable for Scottish football in the long run, but measures would need to be taken to make up for the shortfall in income. The most obvious measures that could be taken would be to split all gates 50/50 between clubs and to make the move to summer football.

    If gates were split evenly, clubs would be less dependent on playing the old firm so often. A move to summer football would hopefully mean no games being called off due to adverse weather and playing in the summer could mean higher attendances as fans would be more likely to go to watch their team play in the warmer weather. The league would be more likely to attract a higher worldwide TV audience as most other leagues are shut down through the summer months.

  • Comment number 73.


    I still disagree with splitting gates, there are a few reasons for this and i have listed them in previous posts. It would be no more than a short term fix and leave clubs even more dependent on the OF. It could potentially be catastrophic for any club relegated.
    Another post mentions a 80/20 split of gates and this is possibly something that could be looked at, it would increase revenue for all other sides excluding the OF but possibly not to the level where the teams become over-reliant.
    Another major issue it would throw up would be the season ticket sales, all the clubs have different priced season tickets so would this remain and what would happen with these funds at the start of the season, would they remain with the individual clubs or put into a pot and distributed?
    I don't think there will ever again be a 50/50 split of gates in league football and i don't believe there should be.

    As for summer football, not interested in it and don't think it would be beneficial, starting the season earlier and having a winter break sorts out most of the problems incurred through weather issues and poor performances in the early stages of Europe, though i think this is just a poor excuse as plenty of other teams can still perform when their season hasn't begun.
    Then you have to take into account, a drop in attendance through holidays, would it be massive, maybe and maybe not, but are you really going to pay out another £100 for 2 away games if you're going on holiday? then you have the end of season games coming around in november? and if any teams are involved in Europe, you then have the opposite problem, with injuries and tiredness affecting performances at group stages of competitions. Or poor weather forces one game to be cancelled where the others go ahead on the final day? that could casue potential problems and unfairness.
    Plus whether others would watch our game during the summer is very debatable, i don't watch German, French or Dutch football because i have no interest in it so why would they have any in ours? and it wouldn't necessarily mean a more lucrative deal either as SKY are still willing to pay the highest fee and don't have any competition. Then you take into account the world cup and european championships and it throws upo even more problems, if say 3-4 players from any side are away, is it fair to them make them play their games?
    The weather issue for going to games isn't a big one either, if i've decided to go to a game or bought a ticket i'm going if it's on whether it's raining, snowing or sunny.

  • Comment number 74.

    @ 69

    I've mentioned it already and also well aware of the issues regarding increasing the league size and redcution in income. I'm simply stating that i want to see an 18 team league but i also don't think it's ever going to happen. I don't think the cup idea will work either as i know i wouldn't be any more interested in it no matter what the changes were. I wish the solution was easy and clear but it's not and that's why there will be so much debate over it, I know what i'd like to see but it doesn't appear to be financially viable so perhaps the changes they are looking at just now, though not ideal, may well be in the best interests for all moving forward, it just has to be careful to protect the smaller clubs from the lower divisions, it's too easy to say there's too many clubs so it doesn't matter if a few disappear, i'm sorry but there fans would disagree and it would be a sad day if we lost clubs no matter there size.

    @ 71

    Do you really think the 3rd option would be a good idea?
    I understand the thinking behind it, rewarding teams who are trying to wiwn games but i think this would mainly benefit the OF and has the possibility of increasing the gap between them and the rest, the OF win more away games than most and very rarely have 0-0 draws so i just can't see how it would be beneficial.
    As for the aplitting of monies, agree on tv and sponsorship deals being done evenly but definitely not gate revenue.

  • Comment number 75.

    Actually Blue 80/20 sounds fair and theres nothing fair about Scottish football. Maybe something around 70/30 will at least start to tip the balance.

    For the OF the Summer Football season would allow them to fit in more American games and earn more money so I can't see why they are not in favour.

    It's only fair TV money is split evenly as they all contribute to the competition. You wouldn't have a league if we all left.

  • Comment number 76.


    Long gone are the days when OF clubs and their fans subsidise the away team from gate revenue. There was nothing 'fair' about it when one team was taking all of the profit and none of the costs: and we did it for years. Football is more of a business now and less of a charity!

    In the real world your figures are simply fantasy. It won't happen however much you wish for it.

    And not even Jim is on here defending it. I suspect he doesn't believe it himself but all blogs need devils advocate points for discussion. This one is a dead rubber though and he knows it.

    You will probably get the share of the TV money. The OF will make the shortfall up from winter break friendlies. Maybe your club should try and do the same. Maybe and here is a really radical idea, your club should try harder to get more people through the gate and stop looking for handouts from others.

    And yes I would rather see the likes of Celtic (and the other top Scottish clubs) play in a European League than the SPL but until that happens - and personally I don't believe its as far fetched an idea as it was a decade ago - we are all stuck with each other.

    The other 10 SPL clubs aren't going anywhere fast however much the hostility of small club fans to the OF. Its the classic 'Tall Poppy' view of the world in your case largely motivated by jealousy and the same greed you criticise in others. But in reality you have only yourselves to blame for failing to attract fans, the lack of media coverage and poor finances.

    But if it makes you happy to have that comfort blanket blame for the OF then you have that at least.

  • Comment number 77.

    To be honest, I don’t think this should be a question of blaming. No one team or organisation is to blame for any of the situations. But we have to be aware that our league is about to be drastically changed and thus far, what the fans want has yet to be taken into consideration. What the motives of the men in suits are I can’t say but what do we the fans want to see?? If we keep arguing amongst ourselves we won’t be listened to. I think all of us would like to see a league where the fans count wouldn’t we?

    A 2 tier spl is an inevitability due to finances, as is regionalisation below that. Also emphasis on youth development is key as with no amount of re structuring can we generate the wealth to be competitive in the transfer market, the country is too small.

    So it boils down to whether we the fans would like to see expanded spl 1 and 2 with tiers of 16/18 teams or reduced tiers of 10 teams.? This is assuming that albeit with slightly different finances the two options would still be financially viable.

    I for one am for an expansion.

  • Comment number 78.

    @ 77

    Glad to see their are sensible non OF fans that can see that not everything wrong with the game is at the hands of the OF. Thet are certainly not perfect but then no club is. I agree with the idea of a 16-18 team league - i would like to see 18 teams myself but just can't see how it is financially viable.

    @ 75

    Why should the OF subsidise other clubs any more than we do? Is it becasue you are incapable of doing anything for yourselves? Why should the fanbase and merhcandising these clubs have built up for over a 100 years be simply handed out to other clubs?
    In any walk of life, you have people on different salaries in a workplace - should they then just pay them all the same no matter the job they do so that they can all afford the same style of life?
    Are you a communist? Or more likely are you just jealous and looking for an easy option to improve your side?
    I have stated time and time again i agree with the TV money being split equally and i'm well aware it takes more than 2 teams to make a league, but you don't seem to undertsand the implications of any of the mis-guided comments you make. It's not fair! SO what's fair about OF fans paying to help your team when we don't support them?? Would you want to pay money to help out the OF? Quite a pathetic argument you put up.

    As for summer football, waste of time, and i don't see how that would allow us to play more glamour games in America either, can you explain this? the glamour ties they wanted was the OF playing each other, last time i checked, they can do that any time of year when they are both not playing.

  • Comment number 79.

    in all honesty i have no idea if epanded tiers would be financially viable, we aren't going to be rolling in it either way. i don't see relying on youth setups as expensive and we are going to struggle to pay attractive wages either way. but if expanded tiers are what we want then shouldn't exploring every financial opportunity to make that work be the first option instead of assuming it wont.? i can't see the 10 team teams being any different a product to what we have now?

  • Comment number 80.

    We now have all of the reports published and generally there is agreement that reform is essential and it would seem a willingness to make it work.

    Most seem to be in favour of a winter break, earlier start to the league and some form of pyramid system.

    Where the views of fans and it seems most managers who have spoken is on the size of the league. The reports' preference for 2x10 appears to be based soley on the desire to have Celtic v Rangers played 4 times a season presumably to generate TV interest.
    The biggest derby and the one which generates most interest world wide is now Barcelona v Real Madrid and they only play each other twice in the league.
    Sometimes overfamiliarity leads to apathy.

    Expanding the size to 16 clubs and only playing twice per season can only help the additional clubs to improve facilities,quality of players & get more fans into their grounds.
    Assistance from parachute payments into an SPL2, still possible with a 16 team SPL1, would mean relegation isn't the end of the world.

    If the powers that be refuse to take on board the wishes of those who actually attend games then the end is nigh for Scottish football. Ther is no point in going halfway, now is the time to be bold and really help all clubs.

    Again though, clubs have to help themselves by creating interest and encouraging fans through the door at home games. I have no desire for the money from my season ticket to go to any club other than Celtic but I don't object to any away tickets I purchase being kept by the home club and that's how it should be.
    As has been said previously, you can't complain about OF, want them to leave and then sponge off them.

  • Comment number 81.

    The overwhelming reason for the slow death of Scottish football is the poor quality of the players. When I first started watching Scottish football there were several teams at any given time who could compete at a high level in European competitions. In recent years the performance of our European qualifiers has been abysmal but a fair reflection of where our game stands. I hardly missed a game for forty years but in the last ten my interest has been killed by the lack of technical ability on display. I realise our players can not match the skill level on show at Barcelona but Scottish teams do not even appear to be playing the same game as the rest of the world. Where they pass the ball short to a team-mate and move, our guys kick it as far and high as they can in the direction they are facing. Xavi, Iniesta, Messi and company CAN do incredibly skilful things but invariably they play a short, simple, accurate pass. It is a simple game. They are all small men who play the ball to feet. That, ironically, is the traditional Scottish way of playing football! In the 60s, 70s and 80s all Scottish teams tried to play this way. Individuals such as Jimmy Johnstone, Davie Cooper, Paul Sturrock and Gordon Strachan were archetypal Scottish players. And there were many more. Now any flashes of skill are few and far between and probably displayed by a non-Scot. No amount of tinkering with league formats will restore quality to our game. What is needed is an acceptance that our standards have fallen dramatically and a concerted effort to get back to playing the ball on the ground rather than 'launching it' as is the norm at our Premier League in the SPL. I pay £50 a month for Sky where I can watch the EPL and Spanish football where all the players have a basic level of skill and are coached to play the game the right way. Can I be tempted to pay to watch the rather 'different' approach taken in the SPL? What do you think?

  • Comment number 82.


    There is enough evidence on this & many other sites to convince me that the fans are saying an OVERWHELMING NO to the plans to 'move forward'!! Is it possible that all the journalists who care about our game take comments like your own, & many others, straight to the SFA headquarters and DEMAND to look at what every supporter is saying. DO NOT MAKE 2 LEAGUES OF 'FEAR' coz we already have it. LET'S ALL MOVE FORWARD, just like they have done in Germany, who have the best attendances in Europe, putting the MIGHTY premiership to shame. Don't let our game self destruct because the 'blazers' can't think of any new radical ideas. PLEASE PLEASE JIM take these to the Jim Traynor's & Stuart Cosgrove's of this world and stick it right in the faces of the SFA.

  • Comment number 83.

    You could play the glamour friendlies in the part of the year that isn't available for the rest of the European leagues.

    Looking for the easy way to improve my side would be going about taking the best players from other teams just to put them on the bench or ruin as players.

  • Comment number 84.

    @ 83

    What ??

    what difference would that make that other European Leagues would be playing? Who do you think would watch games with the OF involved? It's quite simple really, their fans and they will watch them no matter when they're played.
    Please think before making ridiculous comments.

    As for your last statment, i shouldn't even bother responding because it is quite simply pathetic. It's getting extremely boring and sad with your incescent whining and that is all it is. Players will always move to bigger teams and bigger stages, get used to it and are you really trying to say your team have never signed a player from a smaller club?? Just like Liverpool signed Wilson from Rangers, one of our best prospects in years and he struggles to even get on the bench, am i bitter about it? not a chance, 2m in the bank with potentially more funds from future clauses. Good deal for my club, getting in much needed funds just like the sale of Brown, Thomson, Whittaker, Miller to name a few did for your club, where would your club be without the sale of these players? thats what . . . 10m roughly just for those 4 players mentioned alone? A new stand and training ground both been built recently haven't they? does that not make your club more stable and able to build for the future? or would you rather just have those players back and keep them unhappy and not allow your other younger players a chance to play and flourish?

    Small narrow minded attitude, the same attitude that holds this country back time and time again. Get over your sad little prejudices and jealousy and focus more in your own team, if all your fans and board did the same then i'm sure you'd make much more progress.

  • Comment number 85.

    glad to see the passionate debate this subject has stirred. I still think the money has to be shared more evenly......not neccessarily a straight fifty fifty but to have real sporting integrity we cannot continue to have two teams winning the league in perpetuity.

    To give others a fighting chance the money has to be shared out more fairly.

  • Comment number 86.

    16 Teams Please!!!

    Ten teams in Prem league is very boring.

    Make league bigger not smaller.

    Teams play each other twice

    Allow youth to step in and develop

    Alistair George Hibee

  • Comment number 87.


    It's a poor option and a terrible short term fix, i also think if this was the case then all you would find is the larger clubs would turn to other methods to raise funds and concentrate more on these.

    Also, i know your main point is against the OF due to the revenue they create but what about clubs like Hearts, Hibs, Aberdeen, Dundee Utd?
    They would then have to rely on the money from the OF to compensate from
    the money they would lose to the smaller clubs.

    Having better run clubs who are self reliant is more important to competition and sporting integrity than simply giving handouts.
    How badly do teams being relegated now struggle? by increasing their revenue in the top flight you could be all but consignig them to the history books if they go down.

  • Comment number 88.

    Blue you misunderstand me. It will be easier for Rangers and Celtic to get the glamour games in America or even Brazil as it is pre-season there at the same times in a March to October season.

    Wilson has a future at Liverpool he won't be stuck in a dead end league where it is possible for a 40 yr old 'player of gentlemanly conduct' (like kicking or pulling back) to still hold on at this level.

    My problem is those players are better than Rangers, and Hibs could have had the team to challenge to split the OF and then get more money from EPL teams but due to tapping up which'll never have anything done about we have to sell to a lesser standard of 'big' team.

  • Comment number 89.

    @ 88

    No i didn't mis-understand you, it just makes no difference, it is OF fans who watch our games and will do so regardless of what time of year and who they play.

    Wilson very possibly will have a future but still he is struggling to make the bench where as he was getting Champs League experience with Rangers. And i think those comments about big Davie are quite pathetic really, you do know that a certain ex-Rangers defender played in the EPL at 40? Gough played for a while at Everton and actually done reasonably well. And the same player you are referring to also does well in the Champs League and in internationals so maybe he is just an execptional individual? though if not then there will be 20-30 40yrs old playing in the SPL soon.

    So what players are better than Rangers? what a sad bitter attitude you seem to have, Kevin Thomson? playing in the Championship, decent enough player and could potentially do it the EPL in the future but far too incosistant with a tendecny to go missing at times, who else? Whittaker? decent going forward but considering i prefer Broadfoot at RB to him doesn't suggest a lot about his defensive attribute for a RB, single-handedly could be blamed for 7 out of the 11 goals we lost in the Champs League last season, dives into stupid tackles, gives the ball away far too often and if his confidence is low it's like playing with 10 men. Not good enough for the EPL. Who else? Brown at Celtic? their fans certainly seem to rate him higly. Sarcasm in there. Ian Murray? Derek Riordan? too good for the OF but not Hibs? Kenny Miller? Done ok in the EPL but playing for Derby or Wolves better than the OF?

    You forget your team had a fair amount of debt and still received decent prices for these players and what makes you believe that and English side would have paid more than the OF? they don't exactly rate our league that highly, lets see 3-4m on a Hibs players, or would they go and sign a French or Spanish player or even a player from the Championship for that?

    I think you are completely lost in your own fantasy world, you don't seem to have a full grasp on how the real football world works.


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