Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Christie the Redeemer?

Good to see Charlie Christie questioning the value of the SPL split in the papers this week.

The Inverness manager asked if, eight years into the experiment, it was really beneficial for the game. Again this year the SPL title and relegation battles are all but over (barring a Dunfermline revival of increasingly grand proportions) before the split.

European places are still up for grabs but it's unlikely that the team in fifth or sixth place will be able to make a sustained run for second, or even third, place.

Which leaves Christie – and a lot of other managers – looking at the Scottish Cup as their main target. Christie even doubts the financial benefits of a top six finish (although there are television and match day revenues to consider).

As Christie concede: "I think it needs to be looked at again, although that is me coming up with a problem, not a solution."

I still don’t know what the solution is but I would consider a 16 team top division. The argument would be (particularly from the Old Firm) that fewer games means less revenue from home matches.

But a brave revamping of the League Cup could fill the fixture vacuum as well as helping money filter down to the lower league clubs.

Why is any of this relevant at the moment? Because the proposals for a second tier of the SPL are still bubbling under.

Which does beg the question: if we can have a two league SPL of 20 teams, why can’t we have one SPL of 16 teams?

No other European country has followed our lead and adopted the split. That, if nothing, else suggests it’s now time to go back to the drawing board.

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