I have a recurring complaint whenever a politician talks about the economy. We have millions unemployed with no shortage of policies, from back-to-work schemes to aggressive incentive-isation of the unemployed, offered as a solution.
Back-to-work schemes are all right, as far as they go, especially for people who need retrained, but they do not address the clear and glaring problem – millions are unemployed because there are not enough jobs available due to a collapse in demand across major economies. Get demand back on trend and jobs will follow. Whether your back-to-work schemes are effective or not, unemployment will drop and the latest Phantom Menace, the budget deficit, will revert to the surplus it was a few years ago. Our political thinking appears to be limited to dealing with the consequences of the economic crisis, not its causes.
The same is glaringly true of Scottish football’s latest suggestions to reorganise the league structure. We have many problems:
At least 40 of the 42 clubs have no chance of ever becoming Scottish champions
Large SPL clubs (like Aberdeen) cannot convince teenagers to sign new contracts reducing the rewards and incentive to develop talent
Wealthier, more competitive, English football dominates our TV screens and culture
Financially, most clubs are either surviving hand-to-mouth or depending on scarce benefactors
A new 12-12-18 league structure will not change how many teams will be able to become Scottish champions. It will not make it easier to Aberdeen to retain teenage talent, it will not halt the process of English football increasingly dominating our cultural and it will not bring an extra £1 into the game.
So why, when there is an appetite to actually do something, are we wasting the opportunity by putting a structure in place which will only serve to re-enforce the current decline?
I expect this arrangement will give lower league clubs a modest increase in the money handed down from selling tickets and TV subscriptions to SPL games. Modest, but not environment changing. The question Scottish football should be addressing is, if they are going to survive on solidarity payments trickling down from clubs at the top, how do you fatten those clubs sufficiently to make the trickle-down as large as possible?
The Aberdeens of our game need to have a reward and incentive to continue developing youth talent. The likes of Inverness and St Johnstone, who run excellent clubs, need to be able to see-off badly-run English clubs chipping away at their foundations. Community clubs, like Alloa and Albion Rovers, could be transformed by a secure stream of income that pays for a modern sports infrastructure.
Yesterday the Scottish Football League chief executive, David Longmuir, promised that fans would be consulted before decisions were taken. If we are the most important people in the game, let’s open this one out, before we resign ourselves to managing decline.
Every now and then we read a comment on Celtic Quick News urging the club to publicly get stuck into someone or other, let them have it, show the fans how much they care. Somehow I think anyone coming away with this nonsense in future will be referred back to an article from yesterday.
You don’t achieve anything by playing to the galleries. You don’t build influence and you don’t win support for your position, all that happens is people laugh at you. It is too easy to sound like an old jakey, ranting aimlessly while squelching along in lace-less, urine-soiled, shoes. “”Dear God”, squelch”.
Have you ordered your CQN Annual yet? Get it here!
You can read the latest edition of CQN Magazine free online by clicking on the double headed arrow at the bottom right of the graphic below.
[calameo code=000390171cc0c3617c8cc lang=en page=40 hidelinks=1 width=100% height=500]