Monday, December 04, 2006

SPL2 - The Sequel We Don't Want To See

The SPL2 is a misguided plan wrapped up in a monumental folly.

We don’t need a second tier of the SPL. We do need a debate on the way all our leagues are structured but the SPL2 is a muddled compromise that will do little good for Scottish football.

We have too many clubs, in all divisions, playing for nothing. We play too many games in all our divisions. We don’t have enough movement between the top league and the First Division. We have an SPL structure that includes a split after 33 games that is mind blowing in its stupidity.

So let’s have a 16 team SPL. Teams play each other twice, home and away. The fixture list is drawn up on a simple home and away basis, so fans know that if they’re away one week then they’re at home the next.

Admit two more sides into the football league and have two divisions based on geography with 14 teams.

Relegate up three teams from the SPL every season. The bottom two to be replaced the two lower division champions. The third team to play in a round robin with the runners up from the two regional leagues.

And admit up to 3 teams from the junior ranks every year as well. The bottom of each regional league to be relegated and the two second bottom teams to be involved in a play off with the third ranked non-league side.

I know we might need to be slightly open with our geographical definitions and that clubs would play fewer games. The former is a pedantic argument, the latter can be solved with a beefed up League Cup.

Celtic and Rangers would still be favourites. But lower down things would heat up – if three teams are to be relegated then scraping the odd draw to pull away from the bottom side wouldn’t work.

With fewer games the league would become more competitive - two or three losses in a row would become a massive problem. Teams would have to go and win games.

Obviously everyone has their own opinion on this. But what I think is clear is that the SPL2 is just an attempt to create a bigger buffer between the elite and the also rans.

The system I propose would allow romance back into our game. And it would circulate some much needed fresh air around our stagnated football world.