It’s been a few weeks since we last hooked up. The SPHeLL is recovering from referee strikes, a cold snap that has seen some fans having to put on jumpers and more white stuff than Frank McAvennie can handle.
We have seen a whole fixture card wiped out and a part-SPL weekend when some of the early call-offs could have gone ahead. Celtic seemed to have borne the brunt of this as their game against Kilmarnock was called off on Thursday. They blamed police advice for this and the police have taken the hump and suggested it was the club and the SPL who made the decision.
As usual when games start falling foul of the weather and parks become rutted like the surface of the moon the thoughts turn to League reconstruction, winter breaks, dancing girls, lager in stadiums and good steak pies.
Neil Doncaster has come out with his plan to save the Scottish game. It’s aimed solely at those whose self interest and greed see only £ signs. The fans? Stuff them they are only muppets; the main aim is to ensure that the money is good and we keep that Mr Murdoch happy.
The plan is for two leagues of 10 with the rest being regionalised. The leagues will start earlier (to avoid European humiliation, heh!), there’ll be a winter break and play-offs to sort out promotion and relegation.
The problem with the SPL is that you play each other 4 times a season. This gives you 38 games a season after a ludicrous split when 33 games have been completed. Only 3 other leagues in Europe play more than 36 games.
EPL, La Liga and Serie A. Next up is the Bundesliga and Eredivisie with 34. This begs the question why the hell does a small league like the SPHeLL play 38?
Well, the pitiful Sky deal we have at the moment (£13m per season) would be even less if they only had two Celtic v Rangers games to show. The chairmen of the other SPHeLL clubs quite like that 4 times a year the cash cow of the Big Two fills their coffers.
This proposal is designed to keep this status quo plus dangle the carrot of increased prize money and parachute payments to the smaller clubs at the bottom of SPL1 and in SPL2. It won’t improve the product, which is the major problem.
The proposal is being meet with a lukewarm response. Quite right. It’s about time we realised that we are small country up the Baltic end of Europe.
Play less games, allow clubs to install pitches that won’t look like Moxy from Auf Wiedersehen Pet at the sign of frost, place the emphasis on youth development and reward that development, not the fact that you’ve got a fancy stadium you can’t fill.
Then decide when the winter break will be.
Which will be difficult as it’s winter here from about July.
The Lord of the Wing can be found shivering through the cold at the Celtic Blog