Reconstruction and The Glasgow Money Tree Elephant in the Room

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We’ve had some fantastic feedback on The Celtic Star to the recent articles around the unfairness of the current league set up. This of course has centred prinicipally around the soon to return and highly annoying league ‘Split’.

It has opened up a wide and varied debate on the value of the league dividing into two groups of six and the fixture anomalies that result as a consequence. We also had Celtic historian David Potter join the debate last night, with another well thought out argument for a 10 team option.

Today we bring you a few more options that could be suitable alternatives to the status quo, from The Celtic Star readers and those on the brilliant Celtic Noise fans forum where this very debate originated from.

First up we hear from OJ 17 who believes Scottish Football could learn a lot from looking to the MLS for inspiration.

“I have said it for years and will keep saying it – Scotland needs an American style franchise model – with say 20 full time clubs playing each other twice for 38 games where there all the money is divvied up by the 20 clubs and there is no relegation. Tiers below play in a amateur or semi-pro league including top 20 second teams league and sorry that’s that. It may allow the smaller clubs of the top 20 plan for a bit better future without the uncertainty of relegation.

If you do want a promotion/relegation then perhaps that is done once every 5 years when the bottom two teams drop out on a 5 year co-efficient that could be calculated on results/attendances/facilities,” he argued.

The idea of a league without the excitement of promotion and relegation didn’t fill Spherical Planet with much joy and he responded with his reasons for it.

“I like your logic, OJ but part of the magic of football is that element of jeopardy and also hope for the teams in a lower division.

We’re lucky in Scotland, in as much as, we don’t have the vast geographical and meteorological landscape (or time zones) that they have in the States.

It’s also arguable if Scotland can sustain 20 professional teams without some kind of reconfiguration.

There are American owners at a few Scottish clubs now and I think part of that thinking is to use these clubs as a gateway into Europe for American prospects. I guess time will tell, but unless it’s a tax break for the American owners, I’m not sure in what any other way they can recoup their investment?”

Stephen McNeill contacted the Celtic Star with his plans for an expanded league and retaining the split.

“The solution is simple. Add 2 extra teams to the top flight. Play each other home and away, 26 games. Split top 7 and bottom 7. Play each other twice, 12 games. Total 38 games.

Only thing that would have to be considered is one team would have no game on the final day of the season from each side of the split but that could be solved by making sure that the teams that have no chance of winning the league or being relegated are the ones who don’t have a game on the last day.”

This one from Chris Mallon wanted some simplicity brought to the debate and also touched on the subject of ticket prices at the same time. Certainly a topical subject in the midst of the Twenty’s plenty campaign.

“Keep this simple and basic (something the SFA/SPFL can’t manage). 16 teams play home and away. Extended winter break where teams can feel free to play friendlies in better climates as there are plenty of leagues who play summer football. Or Use the cups to fill in any extended gaps. Or 18 team league. Home and away. No splits! These solutions involve less games which means less gate money for some teams.

But if they want more interest surely more teams that they are capable of beating and introduce a cap average of £20-25 (outwith Celtic and sevco games) to try get fans back in the grounds.

12 teams is utter dung and doesn’t work. And let’s face it……after this season ‘the’ Rangers would hate to play the bottom dwellers since they always drop points to the dross” he noted.

We then had an idea that Michael Duffy, a well-known contributor on Celtic Noise shot down with self-interest from the Blazers at Hampden being the reasoning behind it. It’s hard to disagree with his logic.

“Rugby union took that approach with smaller clubs feeding into the big regionals at Welsh, Irish and Scottish levels and subsequently the national squads too. No need to copy that and it’s still developing with a Borders side being talked of to joining Glasgow and Edinburgh, even a Highland side has been discussed, but there are lessons to be learned there. We’d need a will and sadly it is lacking. Also we’d need strong willed marketing to show the benefit. SFA were offered that by the Hearn family and ran a mile. Turkeys and Xmas comes to mind.

Unless the old boys network that governs Scottish football, do a turkey and vote for Christmas, then the old problems remain, self-preservation and short term thinking.”

Next up to join the debate was Docco putting forward an argument for some real expansion of the top flight while outlining the elephant in the room.

The Glasgow money tree…

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About Author

As a Bellshill Bhoy I was taken to my first Celtic game in the summer of 1987. It was Billy McNeill’s return to Celtic Park as manager and Celtic lost 5-1 to Arsenal . I thought I was a jinx, I think my Grandfather might have thought the same. It was the finest gift anyone ever gave me when he walked me through Parkhead's gates.

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