THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

8 April ~ Rangers played a rearranged match with St Johnstone in Perth on Tuesday. What makes this particularly newsworthy is that the game kicked off at 6pm, in order to allow it to be televised and not to clash with the night’s Champions League fixtures in Madrid and Milan.

Perth is 60 miles away from Glasgow and, combined with rush-hour traffic, the 6pm kick-off was tough for away fans – and indeed much of the home supporter. Television money is a lifeline for many Scottish clubs, however, and the SPL is still feeling the effect of the collapse of Setanta. If that means working a match around Inter v Schalke to keep Sky and ESPN happy, then it has to be done.
 
It is nearly a year since Henry McLeish’s report on the state of Scottish football was published. The report proposed an expansion of the Scottish Premier League from its current 12 to 14 or 16 teams. This idea was popular among fans bored with the effects of a small league, such as travelling to the same away grounds two or three times a season. Needless to say, these proposals were also popular with Strathclyde Police; fewer Old Firm matches would lead to, theoretically, less violence, or at least less opportunity for violence.

But as a commercial product for television rights, four Old Firm derbies are easier to sell than two, especially with the bad blood following last month’s match. When the SPL teams met to discuss the proposals, most of the clubs declared a preference for a smaller, ten-team top tier rather than an enlargement. Those in favour of a smaller league claim that it will boost average attendances which reformers counter that a league reshaped according to the wishes of most fans would increase public interest overall.
 
Hopefully Tuesday’s 6pm start is just a one-off due to a postponements caused by a particularly harsh winter. But given the way that money talks in Scottish football, one worries that it may become common practice. David Childs

Comments (3)
Comment by Dink 2011-04-08 12:37:15

"Hopefully Tuesday’s 6pm start is just a one-off due to a postponements caused by a particularly harsh winter."

No, it happens again on Tusday night. This time it's Celtic travelling to Perth for the 6pm kick off.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/12852316.stm

Comment by lumsdes 2011-04-08 17:02:37

The report proposed an expansion of the Scottish Premier League from its current 12 to 14 or 16 teams

No the report proposed two leagues of ten teams

Comment by martinjferguson 2011-04-09 18:54:44

The Henry McLeish reports back a two-tier league formation with 10 teams in each. He acknowledged that fans wanted to see a larger premier league, with 12, 14 or 16 teams, with each club playing each other home and away. But McLeish said the fear was there was not enough quality to sustain a 14 or 16 team league, and that not enough revenue would be generated in order for clubs to prevail financially.
It's difficult to disagree with either contention. I would definitely reintroduce a winter break. And I suggest a league format that mirrors the Argentinean Apertura and Clausura - essentially one season split into two halves, producing two winners (perhaps an expert on Argentinean football could better explain how the system works?) Anyway, I'd play July - November. Then February - May. If there are to Champions League places then the winners of both go through. If there is one place then the winners play off. During the winter shut down we start an indoor league. Something like the Tennent's Sixes that used to take place in the early nineties.

Thoughts?

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