SPL 2/ Pyramid structure

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SPL 2/ Pyramid structure

Post by Scottish » Wed May 17, 2006 9:51 am

An excellent (IMHO)article on this by Donald Walker in today's Scotsman

And some forward thinking (again, IMHO) on the need for a pyramid structure from Bathgate Thistle's chairman in The Herald

Still hope Talbot gub them in the Junior Cup Final on Sunday though.

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Post by Poston » Thu May 18, 2006 5:44 pm

Hello there!

Am I correct in thinking that this proposal is, currently, not possible?
I'm in the middle of a debate on another forum (apologies) regarding junior clubs' eligibility to enter the senior leagues. It's my understanding that they are members of the SJFA and not the SFA, therefore can't be considered for any vacancies which may arise in the SFL.

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Post by Scottish » Thu May 18, 2006 6:22 pm

Hi, and welcome to the forum.

That's right. The SJFA has it's own jurisdiction. A club would have to resign from the SJFA and be accepted into SFA membership before they could even consider such a move.

But clubs can and do move between the two bodies. Inverurie Locos left the juniors a few years ago to join the Highland League. Girvan travelled in the opposite directon from the senior South of Scotland League to the junior Ayrshire League (though they enter both Scottish and Junior Cups - an anomaly).

All the more reason for the game to have one governing body and a pyramid structure in existence as in England.

The pyramid there is a great success. Look at Accrington Stanley, returning to the League after 44 years. They will be joined by another ex-league club in either Hereford or Halifax.

When clubs drop out of league football in England it isn't the end of the world as several successes in regaining League status show.

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Post by Poston » Fri May 19, 2006 7:34 am

Cheers for that.

Could you advise on the situation with Gretna? Would they have to have been registered with the SFA while in the Unibond League, in order to receive an offer of admittance?

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Post by Scottish » Fri May 19, 2006 12:23 pm

My previous answer was misleading. I should have said that a club would have to change affiliation IF accepted for SFA membership. Gretna applied three times for SFL membership (1994, 2000, 2002) while a member of the FA in England. Upon successful election in 2002 they changed affiliation.

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Post by Poston » Fri May 19, 2006 12:30 pm

Cheers.

Do you know, then, if Junior clubs are currently eligible for acceptance to the SFL - or would they have to resign their membership prior to any selection process taking place?

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Post by Scottish » Fri May 19, 2006 12:52 pm

In theory there was nothing to stop a junior side from making an application when vacancies arose in 1994, 2000 & 2002. Where problems might arise is if the SJFA were to raise any objections. In practice this is unlikely as these days there is much greater co-operation than in the past - witness the trouble-free changes of status at Inverurie & Girvan.

The major problems deterring applications are fourfold IMHO.

1. The infrequency of vacancies. The only occasions the SFL has invited applications since WW2 have been in 1966, 1974, 1994, 2000 & 2002. Clubs are not likely to go to the expense of meeting League requirements without a guarantee of either automatic promotion, play-offs or regular elections.

2. The expense of meeting SFL requirements. On the face of it there maynot seem much difference between 3rd division grounds and juniors but there are. Segregation of supporters is one aspect but also matters like changing rooms for teams and officials. Most junior clubs would have to commit to substantial rebuilds or additions to existing buildings. Health & Safety laws, fire regulations, licensing may also be factors.

Additionally, apart from the later stages of the Junior Cup, travel isn't a great logistical or financial problem for junior sides. Entering a league which stretches from Stranraer to Berwick and up to Dingwall is a different matter entirely.

3. The 'big fish in a small pond' and 'local is best' arguments. Many of the top junior sides like being top junior sides and wouldn't really want to be SFL makeweights. Pollok v East Stirling isn't any more attractive than Pollok v Arthurlie and Auchinleck Talbot v Albion Rovers doesn't stir the passions as does Auchinleck v Cumnock. Few would want to lose a generations-old local rivalry in exchange for two taxi-loads of away fans from Montrose.

4. SFL jealousy and fear. Some clubs fear (rightly, IMHO) that newly-admitted junior sides would draw support away from them. And not just at the lower end of the SFL. A putative bid for league status by Irvine Meadow in 1994 caused concern in both Kilmarnock & Ayr (why, I don't know. Five minutes in Irvine is long enough to realise the OF have most to lose).

And where do the losers go? Which league takes in East Stirling if the drop out? In a pyramid system it would be the East Juniors. In the absence of such it would have to be the EoSL (essentially an Edinburgh & Borders set-up). The fact that no pyramid structure is in place gives the clubs an excuse to cling to the status quo.

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Post by Scottish » Thu Aug 17, 2006 11:59 am


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Post by Ramalhete » Fri Aug 18, 2006 9:08 am

It will be only RIP for professional football, but maybe they could transform themselves in a very good amateur / part-time league. It will be interesting to see how the SFL will restructure after the div 1 clubs leave for the SPL. Maybe the better solution will be to go regional, in order to decrease travel costs and increase the number of local derbies, and start lobbying to create a pyramid system with the juniors. If they do that, then they can start to relegate the bottom clubs and receive some much needed fresh blood.

The SFL can’t complaint a lot because they were never interested in transform the SFL in a more interesting league. Let East Stirling or other very weak / no ambitious clubs languish at the bottom of the League wasn’t the better decision.

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Post by Scottish » Sat Aug 19, 2006 1:10 am

But there will be no pyramid in this new scheme. Please don't think this has anything to do with restructuring Scottish football. If it had there would never have been an SPL breakaway in the first place.

The 3,000 seats figure for SPL 2 has been chosen deliberately. I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong but at present I think only Morton, Raith Rovers & Queen's Park of the 2nd/3rd division clubs meet this figure.

It seems to me that even clubs that could be designated as progressive - those that have invested in new grounds and new stands - like East Fife, Dumbarton, Stirling Albion & Peterhead would all be ineligible for promotion to SPL2 so what chance for any non-league or junior side to progress through the divisions.

This scheme has nothing to do with creating a pyramid and everything to do with pulling up a drawbridge.

What's in it for the SPL 2 clubs? Where do they think the oodles of sponsorship money is coming from? Livingston v Hamilton is either worth sponsoring or it isn't, irrespective of whether it's SFL 1 or SPL 2. The only thing in it for them is self-preservation, same as the existing SPL. It wont be long before the same teams that used to bleat about not being allowed promotion to the SPL will start denying promotion to those below them.

I'm really at a loss as to see what other benefits they'll get. They can forget an additional play-off or promotion spot. No way will the SPL turkeys vote for Xmas.

I can see what the existing SPL get out of it. About £130,000 each per annum for a start if the £1.6M annual payments made to the SFL stop as they would do with a breakaway.

The League Cup will go too, to be replaced by this new SPL trophy. Great. A chance to play the same team FIVE teams a season instead of four. The League Cup will have to go if these games are to find a place in the schedules. If that had happened three years ago one of the worst hit clubs would have been Livingston who won it and got into Europe. And who are the prime movers behind SPL 2? Livingston of course.

And they want to abolish replays in the Scottish Cup too. Had that been in place last season two of the clubs badly affected would have been Hamilton & Dundee whose QF replay was televised live. Who are two of the biggest cheerleaders for SPL 2? Hamilton & Dundee of course.

Dundee really make me laugh. They say without SPL 2 they'd have to go part-time in a year or two. Excuse me but is that the SFL's fault? Or does it lie with the management of a club that signed up players like Caniggia & Khizhnashvili on fantastic salaries and didn't even get a transfer fee for them when they moved on?

What division were Livingston & Dundee playing in when they were forced into administration?

Then there's Airdrie United. They're only in the league because they bought out another club and moved it lock stock and barrel to Airdrie, thus joining the SFL in the Second Division.

Every single club in this division with the exception of Dundee has played below 1st division level within the past 20 years. And the way Dundee are going they'll be there next season. Yet they now seek to deny others the same chance as themselves.

IMHO the best thing that could happen would be for Cowdenbeath and Forfar to be promoted and Dundee and Hamilton for argument's sake to go down. Then Stranraer and Brechin up next season with Livingston & Clyde relegated.

Would the SPL really send out 40% of its invitations to 2nd division clubs?

Consider these facts. In the eight years of the SPL the best that clubs outside the OF can claim is one Scottish Cup, one League Cup and one runners-up spot in the league.

In the eight years preceding the SPL that tally was four Scottish Cups, three League Cups and five runners-up spots.

Between 1990-98 the national team played in two World Cup Finals and two European Championships. Since the establishment of the SPL it's been sod all.

Before 1998 the last time a Scottish team folded was in 1967. Since 1998 two have gone under.

Before 1998 clubs were in debt but none in administration. Since 1998 three clubs (at one time 25% of the SPL) have gone into administration.

If this is the future of Scottish football then it stinks.

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Post by Alan McCabe » Sat Aug 19, 2006 7:21 pm

Absolutely spot on David!
This is just a bunch of desperados trying to catch onto the coat-tails of a greedy monster heading straight for oblivion!
My own club, Falkirk, were as outspoken as any when they were in the SFL but what do we see now? All those self-same chairmen that everyone down old Brockville-way abhorred shaking hands gleefully with our board members as they leave Hampden having arguably set in motion a process that will finish off many clubs!
I just wish clubs like Falkirk paid more attention to their historic placing in our great game and realised they've far more in common with current 'minors' like Raith Rovers, Morton & Ayr United than they've ever had with Rangers, Celtic, Hearts, Hibs etc.
And isn't it nauseating when you see such upstanding clubs as Dundee, Livingston & Airdrie Utd championing for change? Hypocrats doesn't even begin to describe it!

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Post by the hibLOG » Sun Aug 20, 2006 12:23 pm

Alan McCabe wrote:Hypocrats doesn't even begin to describe it!
Actually, Alan, I like the sound of 'hypocrats' if it was an unintentional typo - could be a handy new word to describe those who rule through hypocrisy or deceit. Entirely apt if you ask me!
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Post by lbb » Mon Aug 21, 2006 8:36 am

scottish wrote: I can see what the existing SPL get out of it. About £130,000 each per annum for a start if the £1.6M annual payments made to the SFL stop as they would do with a breakaway.
I'm sure I read somewhere that one of the motivations for SPL 2 might be that they will be able to claim all the SPL payments for themselves rather than share them amongst the other SFL clubs. Don't quote me on that, though.
scottish wrote:Or does it lie with the management of a club that signed up players like Caniggia & Khizhnashvili on fantastic salaries and didn't even get a transfer fee for them when they moved on?
Dundee's mismanagement is indeed their own fault but, just to clarify, they did receive a fee in the region of £600,000 for Caniggia.
scottish wrote: Consider these facts. In the eight years of the SPL the best that clubs outside the OF can claim is one Scottish Cup, one League Cup and one runners-up spot in the league.

In the eight years preceding the SPL that tally was four Scottish Cups, three League Cups and five runners-up spots.

Between 1990-98 the national team played in two World Cup Finals and two European Championships. Since the establishment of the SPL it's been sod all.

Before 1998 the last time a Scottish team folded was in 1967. Since 1998 two have gone under.

Before 1998 clubs were in debt but none in administration. Since 1998 three clubs (at one time 25% of the SPL) have gone into administration.

If this is the future of Scottish football then it stinks.
I'm not sure go along with the reasoning here. Whether or not the SPL has been a success in itself, I don't think you can attribute Scottish football's decline on the international stage or at club level entirely to its formation. It's too simplistic to draw a line in the sand and say 'look, things were better before this point'.

The SPL 2 won't directly affect me or my club but I will say that there is clearly merit in the argument that it's attempt to form a clique by clubs who are in no position to be elitist. The only thing I would murmur in dissent is that it has been clear for some time that tree surgery, or at least some form of positive reconstruction, is required in the Scottish lower divisions but it's just unfortunate that this is not it.

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Post by Scottish » Mon Aug 21, 2006 4:45 pm

I can't see any way SPL clubs voted for this to divvy up their SFL payment to the 1st division clubs. There has to be something in it for the SPL and I'd rule out altruism straight away.

My mistake about Caniggia but if they did get that kind of money and still ended up in administration, well......

I wouldn't want to claim that international decline is entirely down to the SPL but at the same time I don't think it can be ruled out as a factor. It certainly hasn't helped. It's only thanks to financial meltdown that clubs are again trying to bring through their own players and the national team is beginning to improve.

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