Yet again, it’s time to ask ourselves whets going on with Scottish football. Since the formation of the SPL, Scotland National Team has failed to secure a place at any major tournament. Should we realise that we simply cannot compete with most nations considering we have a population the size of London alone. Maybe the SFA are failing us and needs to look into a new strategy to bring through the many talented youngsters in the youth game today.

The talent is definitely in Scotland to be found and that’s exactly what seems to be happening. Islam Feruz looks set to turn his back on Scottish system in favour of England, Aiden McGeady and James McCarthy have shown their allegiance to the Irish youth system that helped nurture them. Three top quality players that we seem to have lost before they have realised their full potential.

There’s also an argument to be made about Scottish football not doing enough to keep players from the lower leagues in England to secure a better wage. Although a few players have opted for teams outside the English Premier League and went onto feature for the national team, we are seeing far too many players fail when it to higher end of the game.

July 2006 saw Scotland Under 19’s reach the final of the European Championships in Poland, losing 2-1 to a Spanish squad which consisted of Gerard Pique, Juan Mata, Diego Capel and Esteban Granero. Although the Scottish youngsters only managed 1 win, 2 draws and 2 defeats, it was still enough to give a nation hope that we could bring through this squad onto the full international stage.

Players from that Scottish squad include Graeme Dorrans, Lee Wallace, Robert Snodgrass, Steven Fletcher and Garry Kenneth. Although the previous 5 names are well known in the Scottish set up, other more “promising” players have drifted out of touch with the national team.

Charlie Grant was tipped as a future midfield general in the mould of Paul Lambert / Neil Lennon although injuries have since cut his career short. Simon Ferry is an important member of Paolo Di Canio’s promotion winning Swindon Town although hasn’t realised the potential that many thought he had. Scott Cuthbert was seen as another John Kennedy and now features for Leyton Orient. Michael McGlinchey has since gone onto play at a world cup, albeit for New Zealand in South Africa 2010.

The development of Scottish youngsters is a problem although the blame cannot be laid at the door of coaches and the development staff. The SFA have to look at the structure of our leagues and realise a massive overhaul is needed if anything is going to improve. The coming season will give 11 clubs a realistic chance of securing 2nd place and in turn, a much needed cash injection. This could only be used to line the pockets of chairmen instead of being reinvested back into the club that secures it.

 

 

The current 12 team top tier should be the first thing to go in my opinion, it can’t be doing much to attract TV deals and improve attendances. Neutral fans can’t really get excited about seeing teams play each other 3 or 4 teams in a single season (not including cup ties). If our game is to improve, the SFA need to take matters into their own hands. We don’t need an SFL, an SPL and an SFA. 1 governing body for the national set up and 1 governing body for the league system is adequate for most nations.

The SPL is 1 of a handful of league systems to have 1 club being relegated per season and 1 being promoted (based on SPL requirements), the others being the Singapore National Football League and the Liga MX (Mexican Football League). Some governing bodies will now relegate clubs based on their points to games ratio over 2 and 3 seasons.

With 42 clubs making up our SPL/SFL, I personally would like to see a top tier of 18 teams with each club playing each other twice and we can install a winter break also. It would leave 24 teams for 2 lower divisions which would ensure Scottish football kept the shameful split that allows most of Europe to laugh at us.

Maybe our expectations are too high and we need to realise that we should be competing at the same level as those countries with a similar population to that of Scotland. Every fan has an interesting point of view when it comes to our current league set up, some even have a few ideas on how to improve it. The SFA don’t seem to have a clue that there’s something wrong and until they do, the problem will never be fixed.

 

@DerekSdotnet

 

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