Cream crackered with Scottish football?

"Listen, I like cream crackers. But if I ate them every day for a month I'd soon be sick of them.

"On the other hand, if I went a month without them and then ate just one I'd probably think it was the best cream cracker I'd ever tasted".

Brian Reid, Daily Record, 23/09/2011

A mid-week of cup shocks - with holders Rangers, Hearts and Aberdeen falling to SFL clubs - has seen Falkirk boss Steven Pressley renew his calls for an extended top flight. The former Rangers, Celtic and Hearts defender has been consistent, at least since Falkirk's financial woes began to really hit home, that the SPL should expand to 16, 18 or even 20 teams.  Brian Reid has also added his voice in favour, with a excellent analogy about square savoury biscuits.

Rarely in Scottish football, a lot of fans agree with Pressley. Supporters Direct Scotland's survey of fans at the end on 2010 showed a massive majority of supporters want bigger leagues. Almost 50% of the 5000 punters who responded plucked for 16 teams. 27% for 18. Only 13% said they wanted a top flight of 10 or 12 sides.  The message from Scottish football's 'customers' is clear. They want change, they don't want to play the same sides four times a season. And - although just one factor - its starting to show in attendances up and down the country.

But, the message from Neil Doncaster has been unequivocal.  It isn't a choice between 10 or 16 (or 14 or 18) teams because a larger league - crucially in which the Old Firm would only play twice - simply isn't an option as it's TV money that the SPL dances to the tune of, not the 10s of 1000s that go through the turnstyles every weekend (or, increasingly don't).

The arguments in many respects have been put on the back burner. There has been little debate until today  and with a lack of consensus the plans for a reduced SPL have been scrapped. But, the impetus for change remains.  A bigger SPL won't cure all Scotland's problems.  It won't make ticket prices cheaper and fans won't necessarily come flooding back.  Our youngsters won't suddenly become world-class and our club and national sides won't necessarily take Europe by storm.  But the results on Tuesday and Wednesday add increasing legitimacy to calls for a radical change.  Simply put, maybe its time the game at the top level stopped obsessing with 'bumper TV deals' and spending cash on foreign duds and instead listen to fans, cut gate prices and gave young Scottish talent a chance.  Like Falkirk have.


Keep an eye the excellent changingscottishfootball.net blog for intelligent and informed opinion on the campaign for supporters to have a greater say in the future of the Scottish game and on league reconstruction  Maybe, just maybe, one day the decision makers will listen...


  1. Big problem is, when did the "authorities" ever take anything on board that the scottish fans want, simples, NEVER ! and in my honest opinion, i do not see that changing anytime soon, why not take a leaf out of German football, beleive it or not they were in the wain as well, low crowds, poor fare on the pitch, remedy, radical shake up of all the leagues, proper and fair pricing at the gates, to suit all pockets, ie; students half price, unemployed free, u 16,s free, pensioners a nominal £5 i believe, + many more insentives, as my old dad eludes to "we, here in Scotland are way behind the times, and always have been" now grass roots, this is where we should be starting at, in Holland they give all a chance from 7 or 8 years, and the good uns, soon come to the fore, they then are treated with kid gloves, with emphasis on ball skills, ie passing dribbling, etc/etc, and they do not play in organised leagues as such, what do we do, we start putting them into leagues, 8 and 9 year olds playing on full size pitches, which is an utter farce, and the obligatory parents and "coaches" roaring at the young lads/lasses from the touchline, which will do the youngsters a lot of good not !!!! plenty more i could say, but hope you all get the jist of the matter, yours in football Doyle........... [ 45 years Ayr United Supporter ]

  2. The 'authorities' are the Clubs, or representatives of them, who are generally acting in the best interests of shareholders, not supporters or the game in general. That's why fans need a greater say in all clubs, like they have in Germany. Then they can have a say in how the game is run.

    And you're spot on about youth football - the standard (technical ability) is generally awful and the parents and coaches an embarrassment. In my limited experience the attitude is all wrong. But at the same time we need to be giving the young players that do show promise a proper chance of first team football. If you're good enough you're old enough!