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I've been a long fan of scottish football. Love the history, but I have to recognize that things really started to become ridiculous when the SPL was formed. Besides the 97/98 season (where hearts finished of about 6-7 pts behind winners celtic<roughly>), the gap between the Old firm and the rest of the league has been outstanding....almost laughable.

I always try to introduce fellow south americans to Scottish football. But i remember an entire group of Brazilians who went with me to watch the Old Firm derby a few years back (Bellamy, when he was playing, won at Ibrox with 2 games left). And they all spat their beers, fell to the floor laughing when they saw that the Old Firm had about a 21-22 pt gap bw 3rd place Hibs.

I know this isnt new. In the 20s-30s, (besides Motherwell in 32 i believe), the Old Firm dominated the game too. One reason i loved the 1980's was because of Dundee, Aberdeen, Hearts constantly challenging the league.

But is there any way to balance things out?
I know the problems:
1- wages
2- club debts (non old firm cant support, especially when they stretch their budget as it is)
3- Old firm monopoly on best Scottish players.
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I've been watching most of the games this year. And i laughed when seeing Hibs in 4th (who are a horrible, horrible team). The rest of the league falls somewhere under them (except maybe Dundee United).
And Aberdeen showed yesterday to be a prime candidate for 3rd place. But how good is that? Will they end up 15-20...or even 30 behind the old firm this season?
 

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Old thread resurrection, and seeing as no one seems to bother posting in this section anymore, who gives a damn, right?

The problem isn't that the SPL isn't unbalanced. Scottish football is unbalanced. We are one of the few leagues left in Europe that doesn't have a pyramid system, but a series of closed off leagues, where the only way to join is getting elected when another side leaves, either by going out of existence like Gretna or the league expanding (or in the non-leagues to replace those elected to the SFL).

This needs to be sorted out ASAP. For a start, we need less organising bodies running the game in Scotland. The SFL should probably become part of the SFA. I'd prefer to see the SPL do much the same but it won't happen. But the SFL who run the 1st, 2nd, 3rd Division & the League & Challenge Cups are a shambolic group who have no understanding of taking the initiative on issues, as shown by their handling of the current embarassment in Scottish football, the slow death of Livingston.

In an ideal situation we'd see the leagues rearranged completely from the top down: 16 side Premier League that means teams play each other twice a season, 16 side 1st Division, and then a series of regional leagues below that, North & South, East & West, however you want to arrange. The seperate Juniors association needs to come to an end. Give Juniors sides the chance of actual league progress. Teams like Linlithgow & Pollock would easily fit in amongst the current Third Division sides.

TV deal needs to arranged better as well. The current situation sees the Old Firm getting more of the TV revenue than anyone else. Yes, they are who broadcasters want to see. Tough shite, they play in the Scottish League and so all sides in the top flight would get an equal share, 1/16th of whatever TV money there is. That would be a start to a more balanced Scottish league.

Could then start to work on proper financial regulation that ensures clubs don't get mired in debt that brings them to the verge like has happened at Clyde, Stranraer, Stirling Albion & the forementioned Livingston in the past few months. Rules that mean clubs spend what they can afford.

None of it will happen though. The Old Firm would never accept an equal share of TV revenue, the other SPL clubs are far too worried about dropping out of the top flight or sharing TV money with even more clubs, and the teams that never get out of the Third Division like Elgin, East Stirlingshire and Albion Rovers would be far too scared of finally losing their league place after years of no ambition. Ultimately Scottish football is full of short-sighted individuals and the chances of any real change with out the Old Firm moving to England or wherever else are virtually nil.
 

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For a start, we need less organising bodies running the game in Scotland. The SFL should probably become part of the SFA.

Why would this help? It always crops up but nobody ever gives a reason why this would improve the football. Myriad bodies running the game in England doesn't appear to cause(much) harm.

The basic problem is having 2 clubs who are so much bigger than the rest. It's been the same problem for 120 years,bar the exceptional circumstances after the Second World War and the emergance of the New Firm in the early to mid '80's. All seater stadiums,resulting in huge season ticket bases at Ibrox and Parkhead, and the Bosman rulinghave compounded the problem.

I think a 16 team league has merit,perhaps with a revamped League Cup to give additinal fixtures. As someone who actually attends Junior games why should they give up their status? They already play in a regional set-up and have zero wish to join the League.

The more things change,the more they stay the same.
 

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HEY, WHA' HAPPENED?
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24,083 Posts
For a start, we need less organising bodies running the game in Scotland. The SFL should probably become part of the SFA.

Why would this help? It always crops up but nobody ever gives a reason why this would improve the football. Myriad bodies running the game in England doesn't appear to cause(much) harm.

The basic problem is having 2 clubs who are so much bigger than the rest. It's been the same problem for 120 years,bar the exceptional circumstances after the Second World War and the emergance of the New Firm in the early to mid '80's. All seater stadiums,resulting in huge season ticket bases at Ibrox and Parkhead, and the Bosman rulinghave compounded the problem.

I think a 16 team league has merit,perhaps with a revamped League Cup to give additinal fixtures. As someone who actually attends Junior games why should they give up their status? They already play in a regional set-up and have zero wish to join the League.

The more things change,the more they stay the same.
First of all, welcome to the forum :)

I think having less governing bodies would work because currently there is too much red-tape. It's simple. I mean right now the SFL are a useless group who seem unlikely of being able to organise a piss-up in a brewery. Just look at the way they are handling (or to be more exact, not handling) the Livingston fiasco, a terrible embarassment for Scottish football. If we had a streamlined organisation I think we would then be able to have better regulation on matters such as club ownership, where we need strong leadership. The SFL certainly can't provide that, and as far as I can see the SPL are too busy looking out for themselves to be much use...But it's not the biggest issue, but I don't see why it's not something that doesn't deserved to be looked at within an overhaul of the entire league setup in this country.

As for the Juniors, well, it's a tricky situation. But at the same time, football pyramids are just the way forward. Obviously not all Juniors sides are clamouring for membership of the SFL, but last year when Gretna's spot became open there were rumours of a couple of sides from the Junior level at least looking into the possibility of moving up. So there's certainly some sides with ambitions of stepping up, and there are obviously sides outwith the Juniors and the SFL who would like to take part like Cove Rangers, Spartans and various others.

I can't really see the argument against amalgamating the Juniors with the Seniors to be honest. I mean I'm from the Highlands where we obviously have the Highland League and Juniors football is pretty irrelevant as far as non-league football goes. So try explain to me what exactly the differences are between Junior level and Senior level, and why any Junior sides would oppose the chance to maybe one day advance up to the top flight? Really can't understand that view point. I mean the chances are they won't and basically everything will superficially stay the same, you'll just see a few other teams pop in after relegation from the second national division, Dumbarton or Albion Rovers or whomever else.

I just think that we are one of the few nations in Europe now without a football pyramid system, and I don't think that is particularly healthy. It leads crap like Elgin stagnate at the bottom of the Third with only the vaguest chance of losing their SFL status while teams with genuine ambitions outwith the current setup can only reach those ambitions by praying for more league sides to go the way of Gretna or Clydebank. And no football fan can honestly want to see another team go that way.

Would certainly love to see terracing brought back. Part of the reason I love going to Victoria Park is the atmosphere in the Jailend. Don't get that in the seated areas.
 

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I'd like the pyramid but Ally is right that a large number of junior teams that like their current setup, they have their long standing rivalries and have shown little enthusiasm for any changes.

I like the idea of reducing the number of actual league clubs (I think there are too many for a country of Scotland's size) BUT that's easy for me to say, I'm sure the couple of hundred that attend Dumbarton matches would not take kindly to my view.

Finally (and I've stated this many times over the years) we have to start positively discriminating against the old firm on the field of play i.e. when they play away from home, give them nothing, give the home side the decisions, this will lift the crowds (as the wee teams will sell out if they think they have a decent chance of turning over either of the OF), it will give the papers even more to write about and the radio shows full of OF loonies will get ratings going through the roof AND we'll get a much closer league, simple.:D
 
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