You have been presented with a narrative that we should collapse the Scottish Premier League this summer and have the SFA register a new, two-division, league system to resolve the problems inherent in having too many bodies running our game. This is complete nonsense.
Those pushing for a SPL 2 are, perhaps with good intentions, trying to pull a deal together to reduce the impact of the demise of Rangers FC buy allowing a phoenix the chance to gain entry into the league structure two levels higher than what they now face.
It’s a stupid proposal.
As things stand, there is no chance of a Newco getting access to the SPL next season. Despite Neil Doncaster heavily advocating the notion, the idea is simply undeliverable. Our club has been committed to opposing the proposition from the beginning, while many others now realise they have to observe the strong feelings of their own supporters on the matter.
Doncaster should have realised this was a campaign he could not win before he boxed himself into a corner over it. SPL 2 is an attempt to address the ‘No to Newco’ concerns while bringing the income some in the game hope Newco will deliver.
The unnamed SFA source who briefed the BBC on this topic last week made no reference whatsoever to Newco, their focus was all on the administrative challenges of having multiple bodies in charge of the game, but this was disingenuous. If there was a prospect of Newco getting into the SPL we would not be having this debate.
Tell us the truth, be honest, and these random, ill-considered, notions will perhaps be received in a better light.
The hope is that fans of the former club, Rangers, bring their cash along to watch Newco, which would play SPL 2 football next season and would be subject to whatever penalties the various independent bodies impose for years to come for the illegal actions of Rangers. This would allow Newco to claim the history of Rangers, would perhaps maintain the existing BSkyB TV deal and would meet the ‘No to Newco’ demands.
There are several huge obstacles to overcome. The SFA will soon instruct Lord Carloway’s Appellate Panel to consider a new punishment for ‘Rangers’ for misdeeds during the Craig Whyte era. I expect him to suspend the ‘club’ for 12 months. A new independent judicial panel will consider the case against ‘Rangers’ for subverting our game for over a decade through the illegal registration of players. If/when the First Tier Tribunal finds against Rangers a fresh wave of charges will be brought against any club claiming to hold that identity – as a guide, think of the punishments for the Craig Whyte era multiplied by 12.
These three independent judicial panels will destroy whatever is left of what we used to call ‘Rangers’ and there is nothing the football authorities can do about it.
Sevco, who own Ibrox and have applied for SPL access, already face an enormous challenge to meet trading costs for a year, even in the SPL, never mind a lower league (as Dave King correctly concluded). They are prime candidates for another insolvency event any time soon. Best of all, a Celtic fan has now bid for the assets (more on this later)!
Even if Newco overcame these enormous challenges, the SFA and SPL executives, having realised they cannot convince fans of 11 clubs to hold their noses and put up with a Newco-Rangers, will now try to convince former Rangers fans to cough up cash to support a Newco that will be rendered impotent by the most severe penalties in the history of our game.
I cannot see former Rangers fans accepting their role as cannon fodder for St Mirren, Motherwell and (cough) Kilmarnock in a league where the Mighty Celtic romp home by 30 points.
I don’t have an objection in principle to a two-league SPL but plan it properly, don’t allow knee-jerk reactions to dictate thinking. There’s no point in us getting paranoid about this, it’s not some attempt to help the remnants of ‘Rangers’, it’s just a stupid proposal from people who have yet to see the big picture.