Saving Scottish FootballDate: Monday, 4th Nov 2019
It was in 1424 that the Scottish Parliament, in the reign of King James 1, tried to ban "fut ball."
The fine was four pennies.
Recently on "Britain`s Most Historic Towns" Prof Alice Roberts showed off the oldest football in the world found at Stirling Castle. By the 17th century the game was popular across Scotland, and the Scottish Football Association was created in 1873. (So much for "Football`s Coming Home: Frank Skinner!)
Today, football is the most popular game in the nation, yet little attention is paid to Curling or Elephant Polo, where Scotland have been World Champions.
The tragedy is we are not very good at the game. Our international standing falls year on year and, on any Sunday, the papers have photos of superb goals scored in the Premiership, against a backdrop of thousands of empty plastic seats!
What is to be done? A starting point would be were the Governing bodies ie the SFA, which runs the Scottish Cup and Scotland team, and the SPFL, which runs the Leagues, to actually consult the fans. We could start by scrapping the ludicrous 11-1 vote for any major change.
Celtic, forever, with crocodile tears; bemoan the lack of a challenge, yet the Premiership takes 82% of the League income and Celtic take a disproportionate percentage of that, in addition to their sizeable European income.
We need to set up a Super League, as suggested almost 30 years ago, with the Clubs which attract the largest crowds and have the best facilities. Dundee,Dundee United, Falkirk and Dunfermline consistently attract larger gates than half the Premiership.
An SSL would attract massive investment. It is a superb advert for Scottish football when a televised major Championship match between eg Dundee and Dundee United attracts a sell out passionate crowd.
In contrast it looks pathetic on tv when a midweek match between two of the Premiership lesser lights play a match in the rain before 1200 folk and the proverbial dog!
Furthermore, the current set up is not fit for purpose. Championship clubs repeatedly defeat Premiership in Cup competitions. Two Championship clubs contested the 2016 Cup Final.
To facilitate getting our biggest clubs back into the Premiership, we need to revamp the Play offs so that the format in Leagues 1 and 2 is replicated in the Championship. It is not rocket science..
The most important change fans want to see is the adoption of "Strict Liability",which has been used for years successfully across Europe under UEFA. There is speculation FIFA may yet enforce it.
More people watch football in Scotland, proportionately, than any other European nation so the time has come for the SFA and SPFL to listen to what their customers are wanting. They have shown, with the return of the Reserve League, the gradual move to summer football, and even the Breastfeeding at a match, that they can when they want.