Radical thinking needed on league reconstruction


The great and the good (extensive poetic licence used) of the SPL and SFL will gather at Hampden tomorrow to shuffle the deckchairs of Scottish football.  For reasons which no one has, or will, explain, it will be suggested that three leagues, with 12, 12 and 18 teams, will be able to resolve the problems of our game.

There will be no consultation with fans, Uefa or neighbouring associations, and no claim will be made that this reorganisation will be able to resolve a single significant issue.

For all its limited appeal, the Scottish Football League is in rude health.  On the whole clubs live within their means and in places play important roles in their communities.  This is as good as it gets for the likes of Alloa, Montrose or Brechin City.  They could all benefit from a higher solidarity payment from above, but this would be the case no matter what level the trickle-down was set at. Their interests would be best served by ensuring that those sending payments down the pyramid are as fat as possible.

The clubs with most to gain from substantive change are those condemned to compete for second place in the SPL.  Dundee United, Aberdeen, Hibs and Hearts have been neutered in recent decades.  United and Aberdeen have gone from being the two most impressive clubs in Europe at developing young talent, to clubs who cannot hold onto players long enough to put a competitive team on the field.

Scottish clubs with ample support, stadium and coaching talent have been left behind by smaller clubs in England, from Wigan to Burnley, who benefit from operating in a more lucrative commercial environment.

Hearts are trying to sell shares to raise a few million to keep themselves afloat at the moment.  The club would be worth ten times as much if it was located 100 miles down the road, or structural change made it possible for it to benefit from a more valuable environment.  Shares in clubs like Aberdeen, Dundee United and Hibs would also be worth many multiples of their current value.

Stephen Thompson has spoken of the financial burden Dundee United place on his family, a regionalised league structure would turn this burden into a vastly more valuable legacy.  It beggars belief that Hearts, United, Aberdeen and the rest have not grasped this reality and started to make inroads.

It’s time for some radical thinking.

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  1. 4 Green Fields, Philvis was 2 mins ahead, whit chance have ye got?



    he’s a computer program inside Paul67’s quicknews server, at best he’s a script (thumbs up).





  2. Paul,



    Swansea springs to mind. A team benefiting from being in an already regionalised league.

  3. The people currently talking about the reconstruction should be the last people we should be following.



    Longmuir is a tainted Rangers placeman.



    We need a complete disintigration of SFA SPL and SFL before we even consider who/what comes next.



    Candidates for leadership should post a COMPLETE CV and a list of their ideas for taking the game forward.



    SPL TV should be one area for investigation.

  4. Paul67



    Will the top 12 be an ‘invite’? If it is and you know who are included, they can stick their new league.



    I believe this format was already tried and abandoned in Austria and Switzerland.

  5. Paul



    This proposal is further proof, if any is needed, that Scottish Football is governed from beyond the grave.



    Shameless and sickening.

  6. And if you believe the below, then I have a nice pyramid scheme you might be interested in…



    Rangers might have to play in the bottom tier of Scottish football again next season if clubs choose a 12-12-18 structure for the game.



    Scottish Football League chief executive David Longmuir hinted that the Ibrox club would not be fast-tracked into the second tier if agreement over reconstruction is reached in time to implement change for next season.



    The Scottish Premier League and SFL have been in discussions over major change with Longmuir admitting over the weekend that SPL plans for a 12-team flight were looking more likely to be adopted than SFL proposals for a larger top league.



    Rangers look set to tie up the Irn-Bru Third Division title long before the end of the season to move to the third tier, but if changes are brought into force for next season they may have to play their current opponents again.



    Longmuir told the Daily Record: “This isn’t about one club. This is about what is best for all of Scottish football.



    “People are getting ahead of themselves a little bit because no decisions have been taken with regards to how the new leagues would be made up.



    “But if you look at the league tables as they stand today it doesn’t take much imagination to work out how to make it happen.



    “Yes, that might be disappointing for some clubs in the Second and Third divisions if it was to work out that way but then we are talking about the long-term good of the game here.



    “If change is going to happen then inevitably there would have to be one season when adjustments would have to be made.”



    The changes would still mean Rangers could win promotion to the top flight by the start of season 2015-16, which is the earliest they can do so under the current set-up.

  7. “It’s quite bizzare, but not worth further comment”



    Ouch. Quite a withering put down of Dickson by a ‘celtic spokesman’. LOLZ.

  8. Gordon_J backing Neil Lennon



    12:36 on 7 January, 2013



    My thoughts on reconstruction with a new proposal gaining momentum – and it could favour one club above all others …



    Restructuring Scottish Football – A Done Deal?






    Excellent article!

  9. Paul – no matter how long and how hard you beat the drum for regional leagues, may we assume that the proposed structure from SPL/SFL will be rubberstamped by our beloved club? Scotland will not move to a regional set up with the other home nations due to self-interest and preservation coming a long way ahead of what would be good for the game and the fans.


    In the meantime, unless I hear PL say otherwise, I will take it for granted that the Celtic Board are ok with this proposal and probably one of its architects. Wouldn’t happen otherwise, would it?

  10. Gordon_J



    I just cant disagree with anything you have said on your blog.



    Well done Sir, a fine read.

  11. Philbhoy - It's just the beginning! on

    I sometimes wear my flares to the game.



    Is that awright?



    I’m only 63.

  12. Gordon_J backing Neil Lennon


    12:36 on 7 January, 2013



    Good article, agree with all of it.


    I mentioned on here yesterday that the 24 SPL teams will comprise the current SPL & Div 1, champions of Div2 & winners of a play off between runners up in Div 2 & champions of Div 3. This is how they will gerrymander the league structure to effectively promote Sevco 2 divisions.


    Watch over the coming weeks how any cynicism in the MSM melts away when they realise what’s happening and who’s to benefit.


    Any league reconstruction which comes from the mind(s) of Regan or Ogilvie or Doncaster or Topping or Longmuir or Ballantyne will be for the benefit of one club only and as such any league reconstruction from these people will be met with the contempt of supporters of all clubs in Scotland, bar one of course.

  13. saltires en sevilla on




    Fixity of Tenure


    No taxation without representation


    No reconstruction without consultation




  14. DownForSam, yes, Swansea are an excellent example.



    ASonOfDan, no, there will be no invites to any divisions. All on merit.



    emusanorphan, I don’t even think this is the case. No one has the imagination necessary to seize the opportunity.



    DeniaBhoy, people spent most of 2012 suggesting that because Celtic didn’t campaign in public they would rubber stamp a newco into the SPL. Incorrectly. Celtic are as keen on radical change as anyone.



    saltires en sevilla, indeed.

  15. Steinreignedsupreme on

    Paul 67 –



    The league reconstruction is obviously being driven by Sevco. Under the 12, 12, 18 proposals they will remain in the bottom-tier of Scottish football.



    And as we all know, Sevco are happy making ‘new friends’ in the SFL and have pledged never to play in the top flight again.



    So there…

  16. This 12 12 split into 3 x 8 is bonkers.



    It relies on the teams getting complete fixture list complete before we split and start again.



    This year mild winter maybe …



    A couple of seasons back with some SPL teams not even turning on under ground heating NO chance.

  17. greenhedi (and any others who don`t/can`t go to the games)


    The Green Brigade are at the very back of the section (111) in which they congegate). Not a single supporter at Celtic Park is inconvenienced by their standing.


    Away games? Do the Green Brigade attend as a unit at away games and behave differently to the way they do at Celtic Park? Genuine question as I only go to Home games.




  18. Is there not a 2 year notice period to disband the SPL and how would it affect sponsors.







  19. Sky Sports understands that Scottish champions Celtic are leading the chase for Leeds United’s highly-rated defender Tom Lees.



    The England Under-21 ace has emerged as one of the most sought-after young defenders outside the Premier League.



    The 22-year-old is a graduate of Leeds’ highly acclaimed academy, and has already chalked up over 50 appearances for the club.



    Lees is now attracting interest from a number of clubs, who have been impressed with his consistent displays at the heart of Leeds’ promotion-pushing defence.



    Celtic have been keeping close tabs on Lees for some time, but there is also interest from the Premier League and Championship too

  20. ArranmoreBhoyLXV11 on




    Reconstruction..The slight of hand or Ogilvie, Longmuir, Regan..et al..



    I don’t trust THEMS an inch. It’s ALL about Sevco.. The constant chat about this is so that Sevco still feel involved but not being punished..



    Not one letter in herald complaining about Hugh Adam obituary..



    And agreed .. Too much chat about Sevco and us as the Old F..



    Get Sevco away from us as far as possible ..



    It’s all smoke n mirrors and ten yrs from now I worry.. Sevco are hurting and bitter..




  21. Jungle Jim



    13:02 on 7 January, 2013



    ‘Do the Green Brigade attend as a unit at away games’






    The away support is much more lively and vocal so the impact of the GB is that much less.



    From what I can see the headbanger element isn’t part of the GB, who seem to have a degree of internal discipline (albeit of their own code of conduct).

  22. Paul



    Most of the time I count myself amongst the ‘glass half full’ tendency, but in this matter of league reconstruction, given the list of principal characters involved, and the fact of it being played out on the heels of the demise of der Orcenvolk’s favourite out-of-marching-season sports and social club, I’m afraid I see no grounds for optimism.



    I think that perhaps you, yourself recognise the futility of the situation, with your tongue-in-cheek use of phrases like ‘great and good’, ‘shuffle the deckchairs’ and even ‘it’s time for some radical thinking’!



    Here’s a question: Do you, yourself think we have people at the top of our game who have the vision and energy to move our game out of its current predicament … ?




  23. ernie


    Thanks. I thought that was the case and I agree with your final sentence.




  24. Awe_Naw_No_Annoni_Oan_Anaw_Noo on

    I see this as political manouvering to neuter the SPL as it stands and the upcoming inquiry.



    I am concerned we will do the expected tried and tested and adopt our three monkeys stratedgy. i.e we are not involved blame the other SPL and SFL clubs and present it as a fait accompli



    The poor we downtrodden fenians who have all the power when it comes to the TV contract.



    If it happens and it will then no other league invite is on the horizon.




  25. Gordon_J great read, one comment though, if someone outside Scottish football read the article they might think your talking of the rangers in liquidation, perhaps The Rangers 2012 would be more appropriate.



    Tongue in cheek CSC



  26. philvisreturns on

    Gordon_J –



    But it seems those who have designed this new structure wish to make it as complicated as possible. In the top two divisions, teams will initially play each other home and away. A split will come after those 22 games, following which the bottom four clubs in the top division and the top four from the second tier will play a further 14 games home and away to determine which four clubs will secure top-flight status for the following season.



    The top eight teams from the top division play each other again home and away to decide the title and European places. Similarly the bottom eight in the second division will play again, presumably with the bottom team or teams being relegated and their places in the following season’s second division being taken by the top team or teams from the third division.



    What a shambles.



    I’m not one for flouncing out of the Scottish leagues, but surely this should be a red line for Celtic?



    As for the ongoing attempts to bring back The Rangers, I won’t lose any sleep over that.



    When the time came to save their club, the huns came up short. They now support a new club run by what might best, for legal reasons, be described as “colourful” characters such as the always entertaining Charles Green.



    They can bloviate all they want, it’s over. We won. They know it.



    The Rangers tribute act currently playing at Ibrox is like the second coming of Dallas or the crappy remake of Total Recall. Fans will soon get bored of this wan imitation of the real thing, especially when they’re no longer getting free tickets – which I expect will be soon since Charles Green no longer has an urgent need to impress potential investors. (thumbsup)

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