Stop pretending we have 42 Professional League clubs


HMRC’s case against St Mirren, raised because they allegedly failed to pay Kieran Doran the National Minimum Wage, has brought the professionalism of our professional game under analysis.  Doran’s first contract as a 16-year-old was for £1 a week, which was apparently never paid.  The player subsequently wanted to give up the game for a trade (to study medicine) but St Mirren refused to release him from his contract.

By any reasonable measure this is amateur football.  There’s nothing wrong with amateur football, in fact it has great potential, but NOT paying someone £1 a week cannot be described in any other way.  St Mirren will not be alone.

I made no comment last month on Newco’s reluctance to pay holiday pay as I thought this was something of an open secret.  Holiday pay as been a legal right in the UK since 1871, but at the periphery of our game some clubs just don’t pay it.  I’ve spoken to an SPL chairman who openly admitted to the ‘ruse’ (not Celtic, before you ask).

Newco are far from alone on this matter, indeed, I would be amazed if top flight clubs were not guilty.  The keenness to contract players from July to May is substantial, I reckon lowering some clubs payroll by 8%, while leaving no time in the calendar for players to take paid holidays.

We should stop pretending there are two distinct groups of clubs in Scotland: the amateurs and semi-pros of the ‘non-leagues’, and the 42 Scottish Professional Football League clubs.  St Mirren are one of the biggest and best community clubs we have, they have enormous potential to thrive as such, but I seriously doubt their credentials as an economically viable professional club.

More than 30 other Professional League clubs would also be better served trading with a Community League mentality.  Developing the potential of local kids and engaging with their community, without the burden of trying to compete in a worldwide talent pool.

The majority of Scottish football clubs were founded in the 19th Century.  It seems like no one has subsequently asked: what is our purpose, why are we here, what will our future look like?  Without considerable change, the best future 30 clubs can hope for a decade from now will be suffocating indifference, at worst there will be lots of all-seated follies wasting away.

Reminder for tomorrow:

There are new season tickets issued, if your old ticket is still in your wallet, swap it out or you’ll not get in to see the Mighty Celtic tomorrow evening.  If you don’t have your new ticket, better get along early to sort it out.

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  1. Last full day of hols.


    Home tomorrow.


    Looking forward to it.



    Eurochamps 67





    You must do a different crossword puzzle from me.

  3. We (in football) are working to a 100+ year old template. It needs some blue sky thinking using big brains to get us something to survive in the level of market we (all) operate in.



    That rules the SFA out immediately of course.

  4. North Cyprus (formerly Baku) Bhoy on

    It’s a first top-spot for me, and I won’t allow talk of a lack of competition to down-grade it as an achievement!





    Can anyone tell me whether I can watch CelticTV whilst on holiday abroad? I am a domestic subscriber but was unable to view the video feed of the Sociedad game when I tried.

  6. Macjay.prev blog re Chelsea



    ah yes,thanks for confirming to me why i noted Chelsea as a young bhoy,for a song! As a team they were kack, one title in 1955 and a cup in 1970,they were not even good enough to win their own league during what is considered halcyon days.They were even talked up then,as they had a couple of fancydans-osgood of the sideys(common in the early 70s)cook was inconsistently good,ron choppa harris was more famed for his swinjin missed tackles a la George Best.They were a team of overated softcentred london boys imo


    I admit to visiting Stamford bridge when i stayed in London,it was enjoyable taking in the odd 2nd division match along with 10,000 others.times have change since Roman the oligarch invested wealth taken from the russian people into the bestest mostest hyped league in the world,alas to me the are still famous for that song





  7. I was at the ticket office earlier collecting another ticket for tomorrow’s game. 3 booths open. small queue – about 4-5 minutes. Steady but not busy.



    Park looks good with all the new banners making quite a display. Many congratulation to the people who have designed and delivered this welcome face lift to the stadium.

  8. Paul67



    A full restructure of Scottish Football needed


    With a Professional league of only 16 teams max, and they all needs to be financially solvent as a starting point :-)



    PS – many junior clubs are paying players more than many of those 40 clubs



    Hail Hail

  9. north cyprus (formerly baku) bhoy



    12:20 on 14 July, 2015




    Very well done if. Your 1st 1st place :-))

  10. macjay1 for Neil Lennon on



    12:25 on


    14 July, 2015


    Stokes to be let go



    Stokes was never the answer anyway!!






    He WAS the answer on this occasion.


    When it really mattered.




  11. I also see the Express reporting Leeds Utd in for Anthony Stokes, this was also reported 6 months ago ?

  12. When firefighting, which is pretty much Scottish Football’s default mode,you have to eventually stand back and say “if I was to start again how would I want things to be”.



    The only problem is people tie up their ‘self’ in the team they support and are not going to be willing to give up some furlong hope of their team achieving success.

  13. Good Article Paul



    A 19th Century league structure with 19th Century rules of Governance for a club operating in the 21st century.something has got to give.









    On holiday pay,clubs always reduced their wages during the summer in the days of maximum-£20-wage.



    Tom Finney was on that at Preston. I think Tommy Docherty was on £14 a week.



    During the close season this was reduced to,say,£12 and £6.



    Docherty complained about his £6 while Finney was on £12,only to be told that Finney was a better player than him.



    The bold Tommy replied-not during the summer,he isnae!

  15. Paul67



    Football traditionally only looks forward as far as the next game.




    Asking them to raise their horizons is a job for a leader in the game.



    Problem is any leader has to have “establishment” credentials if you follow me.


    north cyprus (formerly baku) bhoy



    Congratulations on losing your cherry!




  17. macjay1 for Neil Lennon on

    An Tearmann


    12:29 on


    14 July, 2015


    Macjay.prev blog re Chelsea







    Thank god there`s one punter on here who can have a laugh about “them days” and an English team ,without seeming to have an agenda.


    Nice to talk to you,pal.


    Trying to find another Chelsea song of the day……as we speak…….


    Cliches are us.

  18. Good luck to Jim Spence as i beleive he is moving on.



    has anyone started a book on which hun will be forwarded as an impartial reporter!




  19. bournesouprecipe




    12:38 on


    I took the same photo yesterday :)))



    North Cyprus (formerly Baku) Bhoy


    The history books will show you were todays top man


    well done

  20. Paul67 – I see you’ve expanded on a view that you’ve been trailing for the past wee while. I couldn’t agree more. Scottish football is spread far too thinly. I think the Dutch league has relatively few professional teams but great grass-roots support through the amateur game. Though others on the blog will know more than me. The sad fact of the matter is that the current situation suits those responsible for governance. Until that hierarchy changes, I can’t see anything else change significantly.

  21. An Tearmann


    chris Jack


    & Matt Lindsey have level 5 stamped all over their yesmen faces perfect lamb eating butt kissing applicants,


    JUM Spence will be missed ,look at the state of those left no wonder he moved on.


    Good luck to Jim


    hung out to dry for telling the truth

  22. Following up on yesterday, thanks to all who replied to my question about TV coverage of the Stjarnan game, especially Leftclicktic for the link. Plan B is to log on to CQN for updates.



    So Sevco will need to agree compensation with Hearts if they sign Jason Holt. That will be the end of that negotiation then – “You want money!!!”.

  23. macjay



    not laughing mate,chelsea personify new (financial)football to me,loads of dosh but no cultural and historical heritage.huddersfield were more successful than them!any songs bout them :-)



  24. macjay1 for Neil Lennon on



    12:37 on


    14 July, 2015







    But them were the days when a pound bought you summat.

  25. Dundee United have approached Wigan Athletic in the hope of signing striker Billy McKay.



    The former Inverness Caley Thistle player just moved to the Latics in January for a fee of £150,000 but is now being lined up for a return to Scotland.



    The Tangerines are understood to have contacted Wigan boss Gary Caldwell before regarding the Northern Ireland international but were knocked back.



    If successful this time, United would be looking at paying a six-figure fee for McKay.





    Very decent signing for United that if it happens.




  26. Lefti



    matt lindsay who said Div the spiv is just like Fergus in that he wantsa the money to into the club.!!!



    redacted toshCsc :-)



    til soon all



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