The SPL – A sorry sight of self destruction


splLike many followers of the Scottish game, the tribulations of having to suffer what seems like eternal discussions about league reconstruction is now getting to the stage where I would not lose an ounce of sleep if professional football in this country was to self-terminate.

Watching the SPL chairmen storm out of Hampden Park speaking words of anger verging on hatred, as they accused two clubs of wrecking their proposals for the dogs dinner of a 12-12-18 set up was both embarrassing and pathetic.

As the dust settles in the days since, it is becoming quite clear that those who made the loudest noises about the need to push through the alterations to the current league structure were doing so in their own self-interests and not as they claimed to the benefit of the game in Scotland as a whole.

Aberdeen chief executive Stewart Milne appeared to be on the verge of a nervous breakdown as he blasted St Mirren in particular, and it was while witnessing his meltdown one could not help but remember the old saying about ‘reaping what you sow’ as it was his club which decided in their wisdom last summer to ensure the 11-1 voting structure to remain.

It was this structure which resulted in the fact that by giving the red card to the new proposals the views of St Mirren and Ross County derailed Milne’s grand plan for reformation of a league design which has only ever been adopted by two countries in European football, Austria and Switzerland, who very quickly saw the flaws in it before returning to a more organized and easier to understand league set up.

And now Aberdeen plan to close the top-tier of one of their stands for next season, an admission that not only will they fail to attract supporters to their matches, but financially they are facing an uncertain future.

Remembering the fact that the Dons bid to move to a new stadium was also rejected by the local council last season, suggests that Stewart Milne is becoming increasingly anxious about the future health of this once great club.

Dundee United chairman Stephen Thompson was also vociferous in his desire that the new 12-12-18 set up be in place for next season and with the news that the Tannadice club will have to fork out £230,000 to Argentinian club Platense in compensation for the signing of Damian Casalinuovo possible cost cutting measures are likely to make it worrying times for all Tangerine supporters.

Hearts too were also very keen to push through the changes with their CEO David Southern making snide remarks about the motives of St Mirren and Ross County. Perhaps the fact that his club is on the brink of administration had more than a bearing on his outburst?.

Throw in the fact Kilmarnock chairman Michael Johnston is doing his utmost to keep the wolves from the door as the Ayrshire club struggles to make ends meet, it appears that the real motives of these and maybe other SPL chairmen to force the nonsensical proposed set up through for next season and it is easy to come to the conclusion that it really was simply based on self- interest and not to the benefit of the game as a whole as they continued to claim.

And where during all this was the much vaunted ‘sporting integrity’ which was continually trumpeted last summer as a reason for placing Rangers in the Third Division?

We were told then that the opinions of the supporters of the SPL sides were crucial in their clubs decision to block the Ibrox side’s entry back to the top-tier despite the woeful attempts by some to allow them back in but only on the proviso they accepted the stripping of titles, points reductions and transfer embargos.

The overwhelming majority of fans questioned on their opinion of the 12-12-18 set up have given it a firm no, so why were their views not taken into consideration this year?

It is also abundantly quite clear that those whose job it is to run the game in Scotland, SFA chief executive Stewart Regan and his counterpart at the SPL Neil Doncaster are simply not fit for purpose, as this botched attempt at league reconstruction is just the latest in a long line of failures they have overseen.

Throw in the fact that the players themselves do not even appear to have been asked for their views about possible restricting of the league they ply their trade in, again only highlights the serious ineptitude of the people who hold positions of power in Scottish football.

With sponsors and fans continuing to walk away in their droves the slow death of the game north of the border continues to become more and more apparent and just like the passing of Margaret Thatcher, it seems many Scots have become tired and weary of opening up old sores as they becoming disillusioned with our once loved national sport.


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