Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Winter Games

It's snowing outside. Time for a comforting old pattern. The media are obsessed (tip: don't waste time watching the news tonight, just look out the window for five seconds and you'll get the main thrust of the day's events). The country's transport infrastructure creaks, groans and ocassionally grinds to halt.

Already this evening the SPL have announced a weekend shut down. And that, my friends, is a rare example of proactive decision making in Scottish football. Whatever next?

So Scottish football gets to indulge in two of its favourite debates. Summer football and a winter break. OK, so neither are that exciting. But they beat talking about referees again.

The winter break I dismiss. I saw my first snow shower of our recent weather woes last Friday, the 26th of November. But earlier this year, the last week in March, I had to cancel a camping trip because it was snowing. And I had a poisoned foot, but that's less relevant here.

A three or four week break is almost impossible to plan without still suffering some problems with the weather. And, this being Scottish football, it would be odds-on to snow at every point during the winter except when we were on our shutdown.

The idea of a winter break might be a good one as far as resting players goes but it's not a way of coping with the weather.

So summer football? I don't have a traditionalist's anguish at the very thought. But we need a proper discussion about the benefits and, crucially, plenty of consultation to see how the majority of fans feel.

Timings would also be important in a "summer" season. A ten month season would still take in February and November. Which are not the most summery of Scottish months. Of course we could reduce the number of games. But that's opening a whole new can of worms.

Artificial pitches will also be mentioned and I think it's time that Scottish clubs began to look seriously at that option. The technology has moved on, the surfaces improved. They are also a way of earning revenue and placing clubs at the heart of communities again. We can't write them off as being a stupid idea any longer.

All these solutions offer certain benefits to the game. We should be giving them more consideration than just having the same conversation every time it snows.

And, this being Scottish football, any changes will come slowly.

I'm interested to hear your views though. Is there a workable way of bringing in a winter break? Is summer football an affront to the traditions of the game? Are you still scarred by the memories of Dunfermline's artificial surface (or literally scarred if you ever played on it)?

Comments in the usual way. Cheers.