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SPL reality - part 2




The latest public comments on the state of our game has come from Aberdeen manager Mark McGhee, when he suggested that the SPL could soon sink to the level of the League of Ireland in terms of popularity and entertainment.

Strangely, he claimed that prior to Barclays coming on board, the English Premier League was no better than the SPL. Really ? Sounds to me like Mr McGhee is slightly blinded by the memory of Messrs Gascoigne, Laudrup, Butcher, Viduka, and Larsson in Scotland, while the rest of us had to make do with incomers of more modest abilities - but at inflated wages.

McGhee made these comments - 'I'm not sure that I would, in my day, have got a game in the English Premier League as it is today. I think we really have to compare ourselves with Championship clubs. As long as we keep eroding the financial side and they keep getting away from us, that is going to change again, and very soon we're going to be comparing it to the First Division (League One). And if it keeps going the way it is, we could eventually be comparing it to - no disrespect - the Irish league.'

Fair enough, Mark. But what could you suggest to make it better ?

'I think that involves a bit of change,' he said. 'Whether that involves summer football, I don't know. But I'd like someone to go and explore it scientifically. Then we can maybe make some decisions that would improve our lot and improve our chances of maintaining us at that sort of level, Championship level.'

Hmmm… a "bit of change" and summer football. So you haven`t a clue then, Mark ?

I do wonder what SPL managers REALLY think could improve the quality of entertainment - some changes that would excite fans and get them turning up in big numbers again. At Tynecastle, fans are still attending in decent numbers - but the atmosphere is very muted at run-of-the-mill games because exciting play is almost non-existent. How much longer can this go on before many fans start to drift away, deciding to spend their £400 per year on something else ?

I`ve yet to hear any worthwhile public suggestions from managers about how to improve the game as a spectacle. Maybe they don`t want to rock the boat, given that many of them are probably mediocre football coaches who still manage to earn a pretty good living from organising dour midfield battles in our wee country.

In my view, its quite simple. Fans want to see their club live within their means, produce an exciting "flair" player every few years, and score more goals. Maybe the administrators would cry "foul" at some of my suggestions, but here goes -

a) scrap offside in all domestic Cup competitions, and in leagues below the SPL. Who cares if someone is 2 yards offside when the ball was passed ? Defenders would have to learn to stay close to opposing forwards who would stretch the game by staying further upfield, making for a more open match. In essence, a new equilibrium would probably evolve, resulting in more open play and a few more goals - with no infuriating marginal offside decisions !! Instead of 0-0 or 1-0 results, you`d probably get 2-2 or 3-2. Surely that`s a good thing ….

b) introduce a rule that all domestic Cup games must consist entirely of own-academy players. That should provide an incentive for most clubs to reduce the number of purchased players, and give experience to their own youngsters at an earlier age.

c) seriously invest in the game`s future by paying to bring in some top youth coaches from Germany, Hollland, Brazil etc - the countries where technical ability is highest - to teach U-17 professionals at SFA coaching schools for a year.


What suggestions do you have that would get you excited about Scottish football again ?
The Journalist

Writer: Specs Haver Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Saturday November 14 2009

Time: 11:17PM

Your Comments

Someone other than the OF winning the league would be a great start....with the OF still in the league that is! This would give our game the biggest boost it would have had in years...
MrH
it would certainly help, Mr H - and the gap is getting a bit narrower. But pound for pound, the OF should still dominate due to their size and ability to pay good wages etc. Its going to take something extra from Hibs or Hearts or Dundee Utd or Aberdeen or Motherwell to overcome this natural advantage..... and surely technical ability and strong coaching on forward play has to be at the heart of it ? I'm starting to think that most of our SPL managers are just good at churning out teams whose main attribute is waring the opposition down. Could any of them have taught Torres how to make the step up from promising youngster to top European striker ? I seriously doubt it.
Specs Haver
I agree that it's the coaching and philosophy of the game in Scotland that is, pick a word... pish! I did the SFA coaching courses before moving to England and the content - i thought - was excellent; but its the application of it which I could never get my head around. As an 17yr old coach I was obviously the junior partner in the coaching team but like Specs Haver says the mentaility was stop the other team first. I hated the idea of kids football finishing 0-0, those games should be 33-33 classics!! ;o) We don't put kids scores in papers, we stop counting goals after a team is 7 ahead... its mad. No wonder kids fall out of the game. There is no reason we can't be producing our own versions of Torres, Rooney, Anelka, Drogba n all. We might only have 5 mill of a population but England have 20 better strikers than we do, and dozens better across the park...population is not the issue, our approach is - and even if we can change that now, it'll be the best bit of 10 years before we see the fruits at clubs and country.
ptown_jambo
I agree that it's the coaching and philosophy of the game in Scotland that is, pick a word... pish! I did the SFA coaching courses before moving to England and the content - i thought - was excellent; but its the application of it which I could never get my head around. As an 17yr old coach I was obviously the junior partner in the coaching team but like Specs Haver says the mentaility was stop the other team first. I hated the idea of kids football finishing 0-0, those games should be 33-33 classics!! ;o) We don't put kids scores in papers, we stop counting goals after a team is 7 ahead... its mad. No wonder kids fall out of the game. There is no reason we can't be producing our own versions of Torres, Rooney, Anelka, Drogba n all. We might only have 5 mill of a population but England have 20 better strikers than we do, and dozens better across the park...population is not the issue, our approach is - and even if we can change that now, it'll be the best bit of 10 years before we see the fruits at clubs and country.
ptown_jambo
Excellent comments there, Ptown_jambo .... so good, in fact, you said it twice !! Why do you think we seem to have lots of decent goalies in the SPL but only a handful of decent goalscorers (Riordan, Stokes and a few at the OF maybe ) ?
Specs Haver
why thank you! why thank you! i may be developing some sort of stutter. thats what supporting scotland and hearts does to you...!! ;o)
ptown_jambo
 

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