RECONSTRUCTION … the current buzzword among the legislative triumvirate of Larry, Curly and Moe … sorry (in no particular order), that’s Messrs Regan, Doncaster and Longmuir. Strictly for the good of Scottish football, of course; no question of gerrymandering a more rapid return to the higher echelons for “The (reconstructed) Rangers” … perish the thought!
Paranoia aside, though, our game is desperately crying out for some lateral thinking aimed at restoring competitiveness, interest, p’zazz and aspiration, with a healthy dose of global commercial appeal thrown in for good measure. Whatever its effects may or may not be on the prospects of the fledgling club currently operating out of Ibrox (… frankly, I’m past caring, beyond a lingering thirst for truth and justice, that is …), something positive just has to be done for the genuine greater good – before it’s too late.
So, we got our 25thmay1967 in-house visionary to see what he could come up with – and a pretty good fist he made of it, even if he says so himself.
Seriously, though – while it may at first glance seem a little convoluted, the more you break it down, it’s really quite simple and the more sense it makes. Though initially the format seems revolutionary, it’s actually not a million miles from the present system … but without the vexatious end-of-season “split” … and broken down into smaller, more manageable SPL units that deliver on everything that is the universally stated object of the exercise. That includes the essential “pyramid” element, which would be incorporated at the foot of the 18-club SFL bottom division, either by play-off or relegation/promotion, as and when ambitious non-league clubs applied for and merited entry.
Take a look … digest the accompanying explanatory notes … mull it over a while, see what you think … and let us know. Don’t jump to hasty conclusions – you might find yourself pleasantly surprised when it all sinks in.
I’ll tell you this, though … despite the fact that, were such a structure to be implemented next season, the groupings in our model are based on reasonably foreseeable final outcomes of this season’s various leagues, not everyone’s going to like it!
An alternative proposal for Scottish League reconstruction
The problem comes down to two conflicting requirements:
1. In order to market our game to TV companies we need to have our top teams playing 4 times each year.
2. Fans want variety by being given the opportunity to see their club compete against more teams.
To achieve the first requirement we currently utilise a split after 33 games but with only 12 teams this does not achieve the second goal.
If I were to expand on the main requirements I would believe them to be as follows:
Media coverage suggests SPL Clubs want:
– Top 6 teams playing 4 times to attract TV revenue
– 24 team format, currently proposed as 12-12 with an 8-8-8 finish
– More competition, opportunity for more teams to win
– 38 games per year to maximise gate
– No split
– Opportunity to play more teams i.e play 16-20 teams per year
Many of the proposed solutions to date suggest increasing the league size and getting creative with the split at the end. However, we can meet all the requirements above by actually decreasing the division size!
– Invite 12 more teams into the SPL and create 4 divisions of 6 teams. The remainder play in the SFL with a league of 18. 24-18 format so to speak.
– Each team competes in its own division for the title, SPL1 champions deciding European places as normal. Each year one team is relegated and 1 team promoted.
– To maintain existing number of games, each team plays everyone in their own division 4 times, twice against teams in another division and once against teams in a third division. This brings the total games played in each division to 38 each. Example: SPL1 plays 4 times within the division, plays SPL2 twice and SPL3 once.
– The last 5 games can be scheduled to be against teams in your own division for the big finish.
– Points gained against teams in another league count toward your league total. Everyone in a division plays the same teams keeping everything fair.
– Top 6 teams play 4 times to attract TV revenue
– 24 teams format which SPL teams tentatively agreed to
– More competition, 4 title winners each year and 4 relegation dog fights
– 38 games per year
– No split
– Every year fans get to see 17 different teams
– More teams get a chance to play the top teams at least once
– Last 5 played within your division for the big finish
– 24 teams bring more opportunities for derby matches.
Illustration of how the fixture list may look:
The proposal meets all the requirements outlined above in addition to the many benefits.
I am sure the television companies could get very creative when marketing a weekend of football where all fixtures are SP1 teams up against SPL2 and SPL3 v SPL4. (“David v Goliath Weekend”, anyone?)
One bonus with this system is that teams outside the traditional top 12 will get 6 big game fixtures per year when they match up against one of the top two divisions, a very easy way to spread revenue between the leagues and give fans a pop at the big boys.
Every year there will be more to play for with 4 title winners and since there are only 6 teams in each division a relegation dog fight between 4 teams is highly likely.
I would much prefer this system to the current or any other which deploys a split.
Hail Hail and all the best over the festive period.