League reconstruction, part 96...

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League reconstruction, part 96...

Postby the hibLOG » Mon Nov 12, 2012 8:54 pm

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Re: League reconstruction, part 96...

Postby the hibLOG » Mon Nov 12, 2012 9:17 pm

Having had a shufty at this I'm at a loss to understand how they think anyone is going to buy it.

Firstly: 16-10-18 three tier structure? WTF?

Secondly: why only the Old Firm having 'colt' teams in the lower tier? Obviously for the money, but from a sporting perspective, why should two teams benefit from giving their youngsters competitive experience? What's wrong with the current practice of SPL teams loaning out youngsters who need match practice, and what about just restoring a proper reserve or U21 league?
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Re: League reconstruction, part 96...

Postby bobby s » Tue Nov 13, 2012 8:20 am

Funnily enough I was looking at the Scottish League yesterday trying to work out where the ambitions of clubs lie.

I reckon around 20 don't have any ambition to be in the top tier, nor will they ever be. I think around only 17 clubs have featured in the SPL, and that number is unlikely to change anytime soon - Dunfermline or Partick are likely to return this season. Where does that leave us?

Well I think it's pointless to have more than two all-in leagues. I'd suggest 16-16, but realistically that could be 12-12 or 14-14 & underneath that a regionalised pyramid system. I struggle to understand why Annan - for example - want to go Elgin & Peterhead on a regular basis, unless they get a financial windfall from being in the league set up, or perhaps the cup games compensate.

The stumbling block as always seems to be integrating the juniors into non-league seniors (or vice versa), but you would think the likes of Brechin, Albion Rovers, Forfar, Montrose would benefit from playing in regional leagues rather than an all-in league set up.
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Re: League reconstruction, part 96...

Postby HibeeJibee » Tue Nov 13, 2012 1:05 pm

Clearly the SFL's plan woult suit some of their members, particularly First Division clubs - more space would open up in tier 1 but tier 2 remains as currently, and SFL would run all divisions, and presumably OF Reserve teams placates the 'Big 2' (daft as the whole reserves concept is, moreso given Rangers current standing).

At the same time, it does almost nothing for SPL clubs, you'd think - less cash, no longer ruling their own roost, and OF strengthened. Hence SPL retort today by looking at stand-alone expansion and threaten 12-12 with SPL1 + SPL2.
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Re: League reconstruction, part 96...

Postby the hibLOG » Tue Nov 13, 2012 8:49 pm

bobby s wrote:I struggle to understand why Annan - for example - want to go Elgin & Peterhead on a regular basis


Maybe the WAGs like shopping at House of Bruar on the way...

Seriously though, I agree with the regionalised set-up below the second tier, but then I'm not a blazer at Montrose or East Stirling faced with losing status within the current set-up. Quite what status accrues from being permanently embedded in the lower reaches of the SFL I'm not sure, but you'd certainly think that from an economic point of view there would be little lost and perhaps something to gain from a regionalised third tier. They would still have the same access to national cup competitions and many SFL2 and 3 clubs would have fixtures against Junior or non-league Senior neighbours which would generate decent gates (compared to some currently indecent gates anyway). Maybe too many SFL directors have financial interests in local coach hire firms or something.

All this seems so glaringly obvious to the likes of us and we're hardly deluded fantasists. Nobody's going to get rich, but it just makes so much more sense. How did the SFL manage to come up with this Frankenstein plan then?

Personally I don't have any objection to a 12-12 SPL1&2, except with regard to the fragmentation of governing bodies and the pitiful track record of the SPL's rulers in improving the overall game in Scotland. Two top tiers and below that two or even four regional groupings generating play-offs for promotion to the second tier. Novelty! Excitement! Fitba!
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Re: League reconstruction, part 96...

Postby Scottish » Tue Nov 13, 2012 9:06 pm

Seems a crazy set-up to me and one the SPL will never accept, given there needs to be an 11-1 vote in favour. All manner of nutty suggestions seem to be out there, including a three-way split. Including the OF reserve teams is just plain wrong. Yes, other countries include second elevens in their set-ups but not just those of the two biggest clubs. This will though be attractive to clubs in the lowest tier who can expect matches against OF reserves to provide their biggest crowds and certainly far in excess of anything which would be attained by the addition of two new clubs to the league.

That doesn’t mean it’s right.

We still don’t know what the 16-team proposal means. Presumably not just 30 games a season. Too easy, too simple and too logical for those dreaming up these proposals. I imagine there will be some kind of a split involved. 8-6, 7-7, or 6-8- The lowest level would only play each other twice as that would entail 34 games but presumably the middle division sides would still have to meet four times a season to achieve a reasonable number of games.

So we would have a top division where sides met either three or four times a season, a middle one where they met four times and a bottom one where they met twice. Crazy. Then again this is the league that brought you lopsided home and away games, 20 for some, 19 for others, for almost two decades. And it is being opposed by a league which will give some teams 18 home games and others 20 and can’t publish a fixture list for the season, not even along the lines of Team 1 v Team 6, or Team 7 v Team 12 for the post-split fixtures.

FWIW I for one have no objections to three divisions though I think two national leagues with regional structures below them is more logical. But I would make it two divisions of 16, as existed in the first decade after WW2 when, perhaps coincidentally, perhaps not, the game was at its most competitive in Scotland.

An imaginary set-up for 2015-16 along those lines could be as follows. For 2014-15 no relegation from the SPL and automatic promotion for the top two from the 1st division. Play-offs between sides 3rd-6th for the two remaining top flight places. The six remaining 1st division sides all to enter level 2 in 2015-16. The top eight in the current 2nd plus the 3rd division champions to enter level 3 with play-offs between the bottom two in the 2nd and sides 2-3 in the 3rd for the remaining level 3 place. The ten unsuccessful sides, including play-off losers, to be redistributed to regional leagues.

Here’s the hard part. Deciding what is a region, how many clubs and how to establish a pyramid. There is one obvious feeder league and that’s the Highland League. I suggest two others, East & North, & West & South. Assuming that The Rangers have managed to climb up the leagues by then and imagining the current 3rd division plus bottom of 2nd comprises the ten clubs excluded from the national structures then redistribution would go as follows:

Elgin City & Peterhead return to the Highland League

Stranraer, Annan Athletic Queen’s Park, Clyde to W&S

Montrose, Berwick Rangers, East Stirlingshire, Stirling Albion to E&N

The required quota for a feeder league would be a minimum of 16 for a 30 game season. The Highland League would now have 20, more than enough.

How then do you make up the numbers for the other regions? I suggest adding both senior and junior sides. I realise many junior teams are happy where they are but some will want to test themselves at a higher level. The only fair way to do it is to award equal status to senior and junior non-leagues.

Looking at last season’s tables as a guide and assuming every eligible club would want to enter the pyramid and have facilities capable of doing so we would add to the E&N region as follows:
EoSL: Stirling University, Spartans, Whitehill Welfare, Edinburgh University, Edinburgh City, Gretna 2008
East Juniors: Bonnyrigg Rose, Hill of Beath Hawthorn, Linlithgow Rose
North Juniors: Hermes, Stonehaven, Dyce

I have allocated six senior & six junior despite the anomalies such as Gretna and what I think most people would see as the stronger of the two junior leagues (east in case you were wondering) only having the same representation as the weaker one. But I can’t think of any other way to do it. When regional leagues were in existence in England between the 1920s-1950s the Southern was generally regarded as much stronger than the Northern and there were many geographical anomalies but promotion and relegation remained equal.

In the west the additional clubs would be easier to allocate. Six from the SoSL & 6 six from the West Juniors.
SoSL: Dalbeattie Star, Threave Rovers, Heston Rovers, St Cuthbert Wanderers, Newton Stewart, Mid-Annandale
West Juniors: Irvine Meadow, Petershill, Auchinleck Talbot, Clydebank, Beith, Ashfield

Again, there is an obvious disparity with the juniors apparently stronger. However these things generally sort themselves out over time. How many former Tayside teams in the East Juniors Premier today as compared to the start?

How would it work from 2015-16 onwards?

First, the return of the League Cup to sections. But based on geography, thus ensuring derby matches for local rivals not in the same division (St Mirren & Morton, Kilmarnock & Ayr United) and also giving TV companies their precious four OF games per season. It would – or should – also guarantee four Edinburgh & Dundee derbies per season as well.

This should make the idea of returning to playing each other just twice in the league more palatable for the bigger clubs. Except Aberdeen, and screw them as they seem to be behaving like Rangers proxy SPL vote at the moment.

So, a 30 game top division. Bottom two automatically relegated. Top two in Level 2 automatically promoted. Third last in Level 1 to play-off against teams 3-5 in Level 2. Bottom three in Level 2 automatically relegated. Winners of regional leagues automatically promoted. Fourth last in Level 2 to play-off against runners-up in regional leagues.

Composition of regional leagues to be amended as necessary at the end of the each season. Remaining senior & junior leagues to merge/split as appropriate so as to form own part of pyramid.

Simples, eh?
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Re: League reconstruction, part 96...

Postby HibeeJibee » Tue Nov 13, 2012 11:46 pm

There will be various reasons why SFL clubs don't want regionalisation (29 out of 30 according to a piece on Sportsound at the height of Doncaster's 10-team SPL crusade) - at least in terms of say SFL2 North + SFL2 South, or East + West, or whatever.

It'll be partly 'prestige', loss of pride and image - both for itself, and for attraction of sponsors. Perhaps also a fear of exclusion from the League Cup.

Partly financial - not just pay-outs from playing in a well-sponsored national league, but also pools money (assuming regional leagues wouldn't get on the card); profile generated by 'national' treatment on the classified results, in newspapers, etc. And also having invested in 'national level' facilities - seated stands, lights, etc.

Also, a fair number of SFL2 + SFL3 clubs are spread around a geographic fringe - so for clubs in the middle they're just making X+Y trips in one direction instead of X in 1 and Y in another, and for clubs on the edge they've still got A trips into the middle and B to other parts of the fringe. Plus many clubs don't accrue long travel costs anyway, as they're players are in the central belt... Berwick, Elgin, etc. don't actually have any local players nor do the Angus clubs, IIRC.

Finally, unless you admit lots of non-leaguers or heavily remodel things there's no clear geographic split, so there's not an ideal model for dividing into 2 parallel leagues as (for example) McLeish floated. (He proposed OF Colts, too...).
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Re: League reconstruction, part 96...

Postby the hibLOG » Wed Nov 14, 2012 12:47 am

They still have football pools?
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Re: League reconstruction, part 96...

Postby HibeeJibee » Wed Nov 14, 2012 12:14 pm

Most definetely it was worth £1M in SFL revenue in 2011 alone alongwith rights to print fixturelists.

It's declined this year due to an ongoing legal dispute (pools firms somehow won a case claiming fixturelists aren't intellectually copyrightable).
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Re: League reconstruction, part 96...

Postby Scottish » Wed Nov 14, 2012 11:28 pm

At least they've dropped the crazy OF reserve idea http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/20329684
But the proposal is that up to 70% of the middle division could alter each season. That's not competition, that's madness.
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Re: League reconstruction, part 96...

Postby the hibLOG » Wed Nov 14, 2012 11:44 pm

scottish wrote:At least they've dropped the crazy OF reserve idea http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/20329684
But the proposal is that up to 70% of the middle division could alter each season. That's not competition, that's madness.


Which also means that relegation from the top division is close to a ratio of 1 in 5. Together with the 30 game fixture list that makes it dead in the water. What a waste of time the rest of the work is then if they couldn't realise from the outset that the plan had to start from a point of satisfying the SPL clubs as well as the SFL.

What possible benefit can there be in reducing the fixture list for the top division? Less gate money, less money from TV. Let's not kid ourselves for a second that the League Cup 'Champions League' idea will in any way compensate the top clubs for that. It's a transparent attempt to bolster their fixture list with more visits to SFL grounds.

And while we're at it, the plan seems happy to diminish income for the top clubs and impose an attritional relegation quota whilst doing nothing to address the elephant in the SFL's room of a pyramid structure for movement in and out of the senior leagues. The plan is disdainful of the income ambitions of the top clubs whilst shamelessly protecting the ability of the lowest clubs to take the sponsors' money and do nothing much to improve their offering to customers. The ambitious regional and junior clubs who howled at the idea of Old Firm colts teams being given priority entry to an expanded league are surely no more pleased by the revised plan which simply removes the two extra places from the offering.
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Re: League reconstruction, part 96...

Postby Scottish » Thu Nov 15, 2012 12:41 am

One way of looking at it is that yes it could mean that as much as 25% of the top flight could be relegated. OTOH it could be as low as 12.5%. Another way is to say that because of expansion of numbers 12th place absolutely guarantees survival compared to 11th at the moment. Presumably those clubs in the SPL at the moment don't think they are going to finish lower than 12th?

I still think a regionalised League Cup at the start of the season could draw support, especially as it would restore much-missed derby fixtures which would benefit all concerned as well as be a big draw for fans. Post-split games between St Mirren & Inverness CT or Kilmarnock & St Johnstone are far less appetising than Renfrewshire, Ayrshire, Highland & Tayside derbies at the start of the season.

The Summer Cup in the 1960s was organised this way but only lasted for two seasons owing to the OF's failure to support it. The crowds weren't actually that bad and would be better at the start of the season than the end. To be fair to clubs in the lower divisions there could be a preliminary two-leg round to give all a chance to play in the group stage. With 42 clubs it could be a 1st round between the 20 lowest placed clubs to produce ten winners to join the 16 top division clubs and top six from the middle division. That would provide 32 split into eight groups of four with a guaranteed six matches. Top flight clubs would have 18 home games minimum, just one less than now.

I agree the plans for entry to the league structure need to be better than one in one out. That's a totally protectionist and unacceptable measure. But for me the real sticking point is the middle division. Sure, it would be highly competitive but as Jock Stein famously pointed out so would a sprint between two pensioners.

The nomenclature is daft too. There have always been many things in the English game worth copying. Pretending the third level is league one isn't one of them.
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Re: League reconstruction, part 96...

Postby the hibLOG » Thu Nov 15, 2012 1:16 am

scottish wrote:One way of looking at it is that yes it could mean that as much as 25% of the top flight could be relegated. OTOH it could be as low as 12.5%.


No, as I read it there would be exactly three out of 16 teams relegated - the play off is just between 13th and 14th placed, so one of them has to go down along with 15th and 16th. It's not like the old playoff between 2nd bottom and the 1st Division runner up.
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Re: League reconstruction, part 96...

Postby the hibLOG » Thu Nov 15, 2012 1:26 am

scottish wrote:I still think a regionalised League Cup at the start of the season could draw support, especially as it would restore much-missed derby fixtures which would benefit all concerned as well as be a big draw for fans. Post-split games between St Mirren & Inverness CT or Kilmarnock & St Johnstone are far less appetising than Renfrewshire, Ayrshire, Highland & Tayside derbies at the start of the season.


I'd agree with that, but it still doesn't compensate for 6-8 top division fixtures, especially for the TV companies.
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Re: League reconstruction, part 96...

Postby Scottish » Thu Nov 15, 2012 2:00 am

the hibLOG wrote:
I'd agree with that, but it still doesn't compensate for 6-8 top division fixtures, especially for the TV companies.


It provides six games. Three of those will be Celtic home games and three Rangers. Two of these will be Old Firm games. There will be two Edinburgh derbies & two Tayside ones. Instead of 38 league fixtures there'd be 30+ 6 LC so 36 potential TV games. They don't show that many now, do they?
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