Heard of the MLS? Heard of their All Stars game? Well why can’t Scottish Football have one? Lets invite clubs to play against a select side made up from the players in the Scottish Premier League.
Such a game would be a good wee money earner if promoted and run properly, with big clubs enticed to Hampden Park.
The only issues are when such a game would be played and if the players themselves would be interested in such an event.
How would you go about selecting the players for the select side? Well first of all who would the manager be? Would the manager be selected by the SPL themselves? Or would he be selected through the manager of the year awards that are held each year?
This season the SPL manager of the year was Stuart McCall, he would be given the task of managing the select side helped by his backroom staff.
Do we give him the option to select his own select side or would the squad be selected from the SPL team of the year? That would mean this season’s team of the year would be – Randolph, Matthews, Hutchinson, Wilson, Mulgrew, Wanyama, Law, Shinnie, Griffiths, McGinn, Higdon. The manager could then select a further nine players to make up a 20-man squad.
When and where?
The obvious choices are after the Scottish Cup Final or during pre-season. The problem with a pre-season game is that some of the players could have moved on to new clubs away from the SPL and could block players from taking part.
The other issue would be players not being interested in playing an extra game at the end of the season and for fear of getting injured scuppering their holidays, pre-season and possibly a potential move to another club.
If you look at the MLS games they seem to favour the English clubs more, given their worldwide interest. There is nothing wrong in that, but for the SPL select side you would have to mix and match for a better word.
From the EPL the big draws in terms of not only TV coverage, but also advertising and attendances – would be the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City and Manchester United. From La Liga , you would have the likes o Real Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia. Other clubs could be invited from Serie A, Eredivisie, Bundesliga Ligue One and the Portuguese league.
There is also nothing stopping the select side from playing international teams or even clubs outwith the UEFA umbrella.
And how to entice them? A share of the gate receipts? A one-off fee paid for by the SPL? To attract the big clubs you do have to offer incentives for them to play.
For example – an SPL select side facing Real Madrid at Hampden Park – would it be a sell out? All depends on the ticket prices and how it is marketed and promoted obviously. But Madrid would be the real draw and not the SPL select side.
Such a game could be added onto the list of games shown by Sky Sports, ESPN/BT Sport or sold separately. Along with that sponsors and advertisers could be found who would be willing to advertise their wears – especially the select side are playing the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester United or Juventus etc.
Ticket prices must be priced correctly and not a way for the governing body to rip off the fans further, they must be priced to allow families to attend the games.