Monday, December 06, 2010

Now Is The Winter Of Our Discontent

Is summer football going to become a bugbear of mine? Probably not. But there is a problem with our schedule. And that's mixed in with my traditional moan: our inexplicable problem with scheduling home-away-home-away games for clubs.

Do we want to make it more difficult for fans to watch Scottish football? It seems so.

Here's an exert from The Scotsman today:

The scheduled SFL game of the day at the weekend was in Falkirk, with Raith Rovers supposed to be the visitors. A crowd in excess of 5,000 had been anticipated; that figure is unlikely to be matched if the teams play on the rearranged date of 14 December. Hospitality packages purchased with Saturday in mind will suffer an inevitable drop-off for a Tuesday night; all in all, it is a costly process for the home club.

"It's a funny one because normally we would have moved heaven and earth to make sure the game went ahead," said Falkirk's managing director George Craig.

"We had everything in place - gritters, snow ploughs and the like but we had to take a view. Even if we managed to get the game on, what would have been the possibility of people being prepared to travel?

"People have struggled to get the schools and their work all week, were they then likely to come out for the football on a Saturday? With that in mind, it was probably one of the easiest decisions we have had to make. And that's not even taking into account the pitch, which is sitting with ten inches of snow on it just now."

The balance sheet, though, will feel the impact of Falkirk's current situation. "We are not due to have a home Saturday game until 18 December," Craig added. "That will mean a six-week gap between them. When you are in the SFL, gate receipts basically are your income."

As The Scotsman points out Alloa's game against Peterhead went ahead, the artificial pitch proving its worth.

But a fake surface wouldn't really have helped Falkirk this week.

Clubs are being crippled by winter weather. Dare I say that we're also not seeing our players at their best because we ask them to play at the wrong time of the year.

Major leagues in Europe don't have winter breaks or summer football. Well, we're not a major league. We need to do everything we can to improve the quality of our football and maximise our earning potential.

Summer football or a total (three month?) shutdown? I've said it before and I'll say it again: it's time for a serious discussion.

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  1. Im still not convinced by summer football. Our clubs performances in Europe and our international performances could suffer as a result of playing matches out with our regular season.

    I think clubs need to be better prepared financially. A club like Falkirk for example need to factor in the likelyhood that they are likely to have 3-5 games a season called off due to the weather. Alternatively what about artificial pitches? Airdrie and Alloa now both have them and this is likely to prove more financially viable in the long run.

  2. Hi Aldos

    Thanks for the comment. There is a lot to consider about summer football and my feeling is that it's still too big a jump for Scottish football to consider.

    More clubs should be considering artificial pitches but I suppose the initial cost puts some off. The problem last weekend though was that even pitches that might have been playable were out of bounds because of travel concerns.

    Let's just hope the past fortnight has been a freak weather occurrence!