Scottish football is on a downward spiral. Clubs are struggling to survive and fans are becoming alienated by the continued repitious rubbish performances being churned out on the pitch. How do we save our national game? Or is the damage irreparable?

As we approach the new year and our calendars welcome 2012, as a football fan, specifically a scottish football fan the present is rather depressing and the future looks bleak, or does it? SPL Chief Executive Neil Doncaster has stated that the brand new TV rights deal, which was signed last month with Sky and ESPN, and sees £80million being invested within the country’s top division will aide his vision of a better league. Doncaster is a firm believer that we should retain our 12 team top flight or possibly return to the days of a 10 team Premier League, both decisions are unpopular with most fans, myself included. Sky though have almost out rightly said they want at least 4 “Old Firm” games per season so for the moment any plans to change this will result in them withdrawing their sponsorship.

Upon suggestion that we move to an 18 team top division, Doncaster countered with, “that would cost up to £20million per season”. Quite where that figure derives from is beyond me but until someone decides to break it down I’m going to blindly believe it’s fact. Except when you look at facts like that at a recent SPL game between (then second in the table) Motherwell and Kilmarnock, which was broadcast live on TV, only 4,100 people attended, a good few of those probably season ticket holders who you must believe are only there through habit and lack of other options on a Saturday lunchtime.

Back in June of this year Steven Pressley proclaimed his love for the game and his thoughts on how we can save it. Play-offs?
Pressley compared our lower league structure to England’s and thinks we should look to them for inspiration.
“The thing about the play-offs is you’re guaranteed excitement at the end of the season. You’re guaranteed it in the run-in, guaranteed it in the actual play-offs themselves.

“We’re not enticing people to the games because we’re not creating excitement – we’re just hoping for it.

“All you have to do is look at England – it’s a hugely-successful formula. I’d copy what they do in our lower leagues, have second, third and fourth involved and the second bottom team in the SPL.

“You sometimes get claims of injustice in that system if the fourth team comes through to win it all when the second team has finished way ahead of them but it’s all about generating crowds.

“”Even for the teams who don’t go up the additional revenue they make, by the time you take into account TV and the crowds, could see them 200 grand to the good.”

£200k may not seem a lot in football terms, but if you look at Dunfermline who closed a stand upon promotion to the SPL just to save £20k. If they had been involved in those play-offs they could have saved that stand and reinvested the rest of the money elsewhere.

In conclusion all I can say is, SCOTTISH FOOTBALL NEEDS HELP! I myself can’t be totally sure how to save it, but I do know we need change. The league has become stale and needs refreshed and soon before we’re left with what we have now forever..

By Mark McInnes,

Follow him on Twitter @itspartymarky

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