If you were to give 100 monkeys 100 typewriters (computers that didn’t need electricity for the younger viewers) I would be willing to bet they would come up with a better plan for league reconstruction than the ones currently on offer.
Before I look deeper into these I first wanted to look at the reasons given for league reconstruction to see how we got here.
When the SFA/SFL/SPL and any other alphabet soup of organisations released a joint statement last year they provided the following reasons for league reconstruction:
Better distribution of income in the game
Increased competitiveness and;
The first 2 are no-brainers but I couldn’t get my head around the last 2. How can a governing body have much influence of the competitiveness and entertainment value of clubs?
My question was answered with the 12-12-18 plan that becomes an 8-8-8-18 plan later in the season. Increased competitiveness because it would appear that it is all to play for in the top and second divisions. Increased entertainment because the bottom 4 clubs of the top division and the top 4 clubs of the second division will play sparkling football to gain promotion or guard against relegation.
Of course this is complete rubbish. Firstly let’s deal with the competitiveness issue. At the start of each season clubs in the second division have second division budgets and top division clubs have top division budgets. This inequity is even more likely to play out at the end of the season when top division clubs with their larger squads will more than likely out-gun their lower division rivals on a home/away league basis. The lower division clubs would have more success in a 2 leg play off system. So instead of increased competitiveness, you are more likely to see the same teams in the top division with minimal change. It will actually make promotion/relegation less likely.
Better entertainment? I’m not convinced. A relegation/promotion race in itself is not necessarily entertaining. To play entertaining football teams must be encouraged to play entertaining football. A relegation battle will see too many 4-1-4-1 or similar formations. Hardly the stuff of attacking entertaining football.
Oe thing there won't be is an entertaining race to see who wins Division 2. A can,t find an explanation for who would be Div 2 champions.
The other plan put forward was 16-10-16. This won't happen for many reasons but just 2 will do. Firstly, the current SPL clubs won't go for it mainly because it will reduce their income significantly. Not only because of TV money will be divided by 16 instead of 12 but theiir income wiil also reduce because there will be less games to generate attendance income.
I actually have the answer, but nobody will like it. The biggest issue in Scottish football is too many teams and not enough money. Now since there are limited avenues for increasing revenue (though I will admit that costs can be reduced having one governing body - another bllog for another day) the number of teams shouldbe reduced. The only commercially viable structure in 10-10-10. There is no waya country this size of Scotland can afford 42 professional/semi-professional football teams.
Any leage reconstruction willl have winners and losers. Nobody wants to be the loser and as a result self preservation will result in a half a*sed league reconstruction that will please nobody.
So out of the 4 reasons provided for league construction,a grand total of zero have been met. Well done.
PS Would you buy a season ticket if there was a possibility we would by playing the final part of the season against Div 1 teams?