League reconstruction

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Re: League reconstruction

Post by Scottish » Thu Dec 16, 2010 6:23 pm

HibeeJibee wrote:
Think of Doncaster's proposals as the Japanese naval strikeforce, to McLeish's Pearl Harbor battlefleet.

Pre-emptive strike.
Looks more like Doncaster and McLeish are Molotov and Ribbentrop with the SFL as Poland.

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Re: League reconstruction

Post by HibeeJibee » Thu Dec 16, 2010 8:57 pm

Well, I sure called that one wrong!! McLeish turns out to be the second wave of Japanese bombers...

I cannot, for the life of me, see how the SPL's proposals (to which McLeish has presumably been persuaded) change anything. Going back to what had pre-2000 is not going to change anything in terms of challenging the Old Firm; it's not going to generate much more money (infact, there are less rounds and games for TV... and no split to squeeze a bit more interest into mid-table) - the play-offs perhaps compensate; and we go from 1 down out of 12, to potentially 1/2 down out of 10. Which is only going to lead to more defensive football from the lower SPL clubs. And of course it means 2 less clubs / sets of players in the top-tier, which may shrink slightly the pool of potential elite-level youth development and so on.

The SPL2 below is just the current First Division, albeit with 2 clubs bumped out at the bottom and 2 parachuted in from above... But presumably this will have restrictive entry criteria (like the old SPL2 plan did) to keep out part-timers and small clubs without big all-seated grounds. Turning the League Cup into an SPL Cup has no attraction (other than money-grabbing). Nor does enforced regionalisation of the current 2nd + 3rd divisions, when they don't want it; or imposition of "B" or "Colt" teams, which they probably don't want. Going back to one League is in theory a good idea... but if as rumoured it's by SFL folding, and the clubs all becoming non-voting Associate members of the expanded SPL, then again that's damaging for small clubs.

All-in-all, very disappointing developments, IMO.


McLeish's suggestions on SFA administrative reform are more well-placed. Though I think they'd struggle to turn 9 committees into 2, + arms-length Discplinary.


What'll happen? Next installment: Monday.

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Re: League reconstruction

Post by steve994 » Sat Jan 01, 2011 1:27 am

scottish wrote:
steve994 wrote: Self interest will see the smaller division being accepted.

Steve
Whose? Of all the clubs that have played in the SPL under the current format, only three have never finished in what would be a potential relegation position under the proposed changes. Every other SPL club faces a much greater chance of going down.
If there’s a choice between an extra OF match and extra relegation place I think the extra OF match will win out. Anyway an extra relegation place also means an extra promotion place.

Steve

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Re: League reconstruction

Post by HibeeJibee » Sat Jan 01, 2011 9:46 pm

Although of the 8 clubs joining the OF in the 10-team SPL... 4 would enter the top-half alongside them currently, anyway.

I also think it's simply a myth that non-OF clubs pre-eminent concern is the away gate receipts from a single OF visit, anyway.

Especially when 10-teams means 1 less home game (18 instead of 19)... i.e. you have to deduct that gate, from the alleged higher earnings of a 4th OF visit.

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Re: League reconstruction

Post by Scottish » Sun Jan 02, 2011 8:28 pm

steve994 wrote:
If there’s a choice between an extra OF match and extra relegation place I think the extra OF match will win out. Anyway an extra relegation place also means an extra promotion place.

Steve
I go along with HibeeJibee's assessment. As for an extra relegation place bringing an extra promotion place that only kicks in AFTER the loss of two or possibly three from the existing twelve. Now the last time this happened it was approved by a solitary vote with the Raith Rovers delegate defying his mandate and voting in favour of the reduction. It would be crazy for clubs like Hamilton, Inverness CT, Kilmarnock, Motherwell, St Johnstone and St Mirren to vote for a reduction and as stated previously none of the others bar the OF would be guaranteed safety either. Nor is it in the interests of Dunfermline, Falkirk, Raith and others to see their path to the SPL blocked by incoming SPL refugees.

For any of these clubs to put their faith in "assurances" given by the SPL would be a major mistake. Ever since the agreement with the SFL which allowed the SPL to establish itself in the first place the latter body has been trying to find a way to dump it and their current plans for an SPL 2 gives them the opportunity to do so.

How long before the rump decide an SPL 2 is no longer worth supporting?

There is no magic solution to Scottish football's problems. As far as TV rights are concerned we are and always will be small fish to broadcasters regardless of whether there are two guaranteed OF games per season or ten. Regarding attendances I've argued before that these depend largely on economic circumstances and when times are tough then crowds go down - IRRESPECTIVE OF THE QUALITY AND ENTERTAINMENT ON THE PITCH.

I don't pretend that a larger top flight will cure all the game's ills but it is what supporters want and high time it was given a try.

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Re: League reconstruction

Post by Scottish » Sun Jan 02, 2011 8:31 pm

HibeeJibee wrote:
Especially when 10-teams means 1 less home game (18 instead of 19)... i.e. you have to deduct that gate, from the alleged higher earnings of a 4th OF visit.
And factor in the extra on-costs associated with the OF like more police, stewarding, ground repairs etc.

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Re: League reconstruction

Post by Scottish » Mon Jan 03, 2011 6:39 pm

Here is the BBC report on supporters responses to the idea of a ten-team SPL.

The article is unattributed and has a rather snidey last couple of sentences as follows:

"The format was introduced for the 2000-2001 season, but only Celtic and Rangers have ever won the championship under the current set-up. However, Aberdeen and Dundee United broke the Old Firm dominance under the 10-club format that ran from 1975-1998, winning four titles between them."

First thing to say is that there have been plenty of other times and formats when the OF have dominated. The second point is that the writer is inaccurate with his/her claim that there was a ten club league for the entirety of 1975-1998. Five of those seasons had 12 in the top flight. Third point is the writer's sneaky suggestion that size - or lack of it - is important in producing a non-OF title winner yet omits to point out that for the last thirteen of of those 23 seasons only the OF won the title.

The final point is to take the unsigned article on its own merits and say, yes, Aberdeen and Dundee United broke through in a ten team league. Let's not mention Alex Ferguson, Jim McLean, Miller, McLeish, Strachan, Sturrock, Narey et al. It was the format that did it. Fine. Go a bit further back.

When there was an 18 club top division Hearts, Dundee & Kilmarnock all won the title. When there were 16 clubs Hibernian and Aberdeen took the league flag. That's five different non-Glaswegian clubs compared to the two since 1975. So if size is important then it seems the bigger the better.

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Re: League reconstruction

Post by GMartin » Thu Jan 06, 2011 8:29 pm

How about three leagues, Premier league with 2 teams with one up one down, then a 2nd and a 3rd with 20 teams each two up two down. :twisted: , that would certainly split the old firm :P

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Re: League reconstruction

Post by the hibLOG » Fri Jan 07, 2011 6:24 am

Well a two team league is what the TV companies mostly want, so if it's good for them it must be good for Scottish football. Since the majority of TV football fans probably support one or other of the Old Firm it must be good for them too. They'd happily watch their teams play each other 40 times a season, so why not?

Skip the relegation and promotion bit though.
Fraser

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Re: League reconstruction

Post by jimmygrumble » Fri Jan 07, 2011 11:47 am

the hibLOG wrote:Well a two team league is what the TV companies mostly want, so if it's good for them it must be good for Scottish football. Since the majority of TV football fans probably support one or other of the Old Firm it must be good for them too. They'd happily watch their teams play each other 40 times a season, so why not?

Skip the relegation and promotion bit though.
Pure genius - an SPL1 with two teams and SPL2 with 18 teams. It works for me
only sing when i'm fishing

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Re: League reconstruction

Post by Scottish » Mon Jan 17, 2011 1:34 pm

I've been thinking about how to make a 16-club top flight work in the sense of avoiding splits, keeping approximately the same number of home matches as now and guaranteeing four OF matches per season (obviously in footballing terms that shouldn't come into it but this is realpolitik). The idea came to me of a revamped League Cup, played on the old sectional lines but with the sections drawn geographically, rather than at random, as the Summer Cup in the1960s was. Here's how it could work.


48 teams in 12 sections of four playing each other home and away. 42 current league clubs plus winners of Highland, East of Scotland, South of Scotland and the three regional junior leagues. Section winners plus four best runners-up progress to last 16. Runners-up decided on points, wins, goal difference, goals scored, disciplinary record.

Sections to be geographical. For example 2010-11 might have been as follows:

Inverness CT
Ross County
Buckie Thistle
Elgin City

Aberdeen
Sunnybank
Peterhead
Brechin City

Arbroath
Montrose
Forfar
St Johnstone

Dundee
Dundee United
East Fife
Raith Rovers

Dunfermline
Cowdenbeath
Alloa
Stirling Albion

Hearts
Hibernian
Spartans
Berwick

Stranraer
Queen of the South
Threave Rovers
Annan Athletic

Kilmarnock
Ayr United
Beith
St Mirren

Celtic
Rangers
Partick Thistle
Queen’s Park

Airdrie United
Albion Rovers
Hamilton Accies
Motherwell

Bo’ness
East Stirlingshire
Falkirk
Stenhousemuir

Clyde
Morton
Dumbarton
Livingston

This guarantees every club in a 16-team top flight at least 18 home games – 15 league, 3 League Cup. It also guarantees four derby matches per season and with the four best runners-up going through stops sections from becoming stale when one team runs away with the group. The downside is that it’s impossible to be geographically exact with some clubs missing out on derby games. Some sections will be much stronger than others. Some will be tight and others suffer from a lack of balance. Sometimes natural geographic sections wont be possible. In this example Fife is broken up. It heaps more problems on the Juniors by adding six games to an already heavy season. If junior clubs are unwilling or unable to take part then the runners-up from the senior non-leagues can be added.

And while it guarantees four OF and four Edinburgh derbies per season it doesn’t guarantee a place in the last sixteen for these clubs as is more or less the case now with European entrants exempt until that stage. If one of the OF or Edinburgh teams beat the other one twice in the group then it would be very difficult for the beaten side to claim one of the four runners-up places on offer, thus increasing the likelihood of a non-OF finalist and winner.

Playing at the start of the season allows clubs to 'ease' themselves into the season. I don't think season ticket sales would be affected either. OF fans don't buy seasons to see a second home match against Motherwell or Dundee United so they wouldn't give it up because these fixtures were replaced by Partick and Queen's Park in the League Cup and possibly Dunfermline, Raith & Falkirk in the league.

The only big loser from this format would be Aberdeen who would be giving up their second home games v the OF and because of geography would have no immediate compensations. OTOH there would be a reasonable expectation of them doing well in the LC while quite possibly a Glasgow and Edinburgh team might not make the last sixteen.

John Meffen

Re: League reconstruction

Post by John Meffen » Tue Jan 18, 2011 1:51 pm

The big problem you have there is that all the "provincial" teams not in the same group as the OF would be up in arms because PT & QP were guaranteed those two extra lucrative gates and everyone else was not, "unfair, unfair" come the wails of Falkirk, Raith, DAFC ... the list goes on.

I preferred the top league of two, no relegation, followed by a second league of eighteen, no promotion :)

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Re: League reconstruction

Post by Scottish » Tue Jan 18, 2011 2:30 pm

John Meffen wrote:The big problem you have there is that all the "provincial" teams not in the same group as the OF would be up in arms because PT & QP were guaranteed those two extra lucrative gates and everyone else was not, "unfair, unfair" come the wails of Falkirk, Raith, DAFC ... the list goes on.

I preferred the top league of two, no relegation, followed by a second league of eighteen, no promotion :)
Somebody will always cry unfair. But in a geographical set-up there are compensations. Also in the present scheme of things Falkirk, Raith, Dunfermline et al could go 100 years without meeting the OF in a cup tie or they could meet them every year for a decade. Nor would crowds at Hampden or Firhill be that lucrative as they would most likely be live on TV. Take the Jags last two home LC matches v the OF. Dec 4th 2003 v Celtic, 5,700. Sep 24th 2008, v Rangers, 6,497. Compare with Dunfermline v Falkirk, Oct 10th 2002, 6,933. These were all third round ties.

In any case it's an idle dream. It look like the OF, aided and abetted by their little helpers from Easter Road and Pittodrie, are going to steamroller their ten-club league through. They are already beginning to isolate the opposition. Flying directly to Lithuania to assuage Vlad's fears, softening up Stephen Thompson and Michael Johnston with hints of a larger slice of the TV pie, thus leaving Inverness isolated an impotent.

I hope I'm wrong but the opposition from Hearts, Dundee United and Kilmarnock is nowhere near as firm as it was a week ago. It looks to me they're just holding out for a slightly better deal.

Hamilton, I can understand. They think they're going down and they want a better 'parachute.' But the clubs that are at the moment involved in cutting their own throats are Motherwell, St Johnstone and St Mirren. How a ten-club SPL can be in any of these clubs interests is beyond me.

As for the 1st division they're not offering anything extra to those clubs. Talk of increased funding is nonsense. They'll add on what they currently pay the SFL as a whole and the TV money currently going to clubs 11 & 12 in the SPL and thus magically produce a 500% "increase" in 1st division income.

As for 44 games per season...........

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Re: League reconstruction

Post by kiwiscot » Wed Jan 19, 2011 5:35 am

My preference is for a 16 club Premier League and a return to the group stages of a Premier League Cup. Gates for cup ties , (Scottish & League Cup ),has been very disapointing since the advent of the season ticket culture, so 3 home League Cup ties on your season ticket should increase gates. I would have 2 teams from each group going through to the Quarter Finals to keep the group stages alive, with the group winners getting a home Quarter Final tie and the runners up an away fixture, with Semi Finals at venues to suit the fans . Premier League having 2 automatic relegation spots and 3rd bottom a play off place. The First Division would be an 18 club competition with 2 automatic promotion places and teams placed 3rd, 4th & 5th in the play offs with the 3rd bottom team from the Premier League. Bottom club in First Division automatic relegation to Second Division and a play off spot to the 2nd bottom team. The extra 4 league games that are in the First Division could be played on the 4 consecutive Saturday's that the Premier League Cup is taking place so their season starts and finishes on the same weekends. The Second Division could have another 2 teams admited to the league and have a 10 team 36 game competition with the winners getting automatic promotion and teams 2nd, 3rd & 4th with the 2nd bottom First Division club a play off place. The Bottom Team in the Second Division would then play off with 3 regional winners in what would become a pyramid from non league level. The First & Second Divisions combined having their own League Cup as they have now. The season to start early July that should give teams a bit of competitive football before European matches and the League Cup would be over before Mid October before bad weather forces a fixture pile up. A break just before Xmas and back into it again taking advantage of Boxing Day and New Year for local derbies. Of course games will get postponed but I dont think we would have anything like the last few seasons where the League Cup is still dragging on and Scottish Cup and postponed League matches to contend with. All Junior and Senior non league clubs coming under the one control and a new national non League Cup (ie Scottish FA Trophy ,to borrow a name from England ) and say the quarter finalists in this get included in the season afters Scottish Cup. I would also like to see an amalgamation of the SPL, SFL and SFA. The one thing I definately dont want is a 10 club SPL but I think thats what we are going to get.

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Re: League reconstruction

Post by LLD » Thu Jan 20, 2011 6:20 pm

scottish wrote: Sections to be geographical. For example 2010-11 might have been as follows:

Clyde
Morton
Dumbarton
Livingston
Hmmmm.

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