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  1. I think that on the left and the right content, intent or context doesn't really matter anymore. Defeating the other side is all that really matters. If Trump suddenly announced new legislation to deal with climate change and billions of dollars to support it, it wouldn't be long before the Democrats found some reason to denounce environmentalism. They would probably frame it as Trump attacking the poor or minorities or something along those lines - "he was supposed to be bringing industrial jobs back to the rust belt" - kind of arguments would likely be made. Most Republicans were in favour of Government intervention in healthcare until Obama made it his priority, most Democrats were in favour of stricter immigration controls until Trump pledged to do something about it at the primaries, now they want next to no immigration control whatsoever. Personally I don't believe that any of our political parties in the UK have anything resembling a coherent, implementable plan for the future. Nor do I think that many of them can even be bothered to pretend that they do. Ridiculous soundbites about issues (or non-issues) that most folk don't really care about but appeal to a certain base, or token gestures - such as minimum pricing of alcohol - so as to be seen to be caring about a problem without actually caring about the problem - is the MO for seemingly all politicians now. I think, as has already been mentioned, that social media plays a role in amplifying the views of people on the lunatic fringes of the left and right. People like Jesse Peterson, Alex Jones and AOC make David Icke's views seem reasonable. I think this amplification makes many people feel like there is a culture war but ultimately I don't personally think there really is one. It's just a lot of people using the left-right dichotomy to monetise their blogs/Youtube channels, gain cheap validation through retweets etc. I kind of feel sorry for our politicians to some extent though. There seems to be a correlation between material wealth and alienation within a lot of developed countries. The more the country develops material prosperity the more people appear to feel alienated. All our political parties are materialistic they just disagree with how the material wealth should be distributed and this line of thinking just seems to further exacerbate the problem. In Scotland if you combine those that are clinically overweight, those who regularly drink alcohol above the recommended amount, those who abuse drugs (Illegal and Legal) and those who use tobacco products then almost everyone that lives in Scotland is an addict of some sort. Drug deaths and homeless junkies are just the extreme end of a self-harm problem that affects almost everyone in Scotland. What is it that is causing people to knowingly inflict such harm on themselves, ultimately to the point of premature death for most? What is it that people are trying to escape from? If almost everyone is an addict then relative poverty/austerity can't be the main issue as claimed by so many, of course poverty can play a role but I don't believe it's the main problem. There's clearly a much deeper issue of social alienation underlying such behaviour. How do you deal with such a deep problem like that if you're a politician, political activist etc.? The answer is that they don't, they simply aim to distract people from reality by creating the notion that people are on opposing sides despite most people (if not all) suffering from very similar problems - we're all far more alike than we are different. The pretence that everything will get better if only we could defeat our political opponents is the real derangement syndrome I guess.
  2. 1. East Kilbride 2. Kelty Hearts 3. Bonnyrigg Rose 4. BSC Glasgow 5. East Stirlingshire 6. Civil Service Strollers 7. Spartans 8. Edusport Academy 9. Stirling University 10.Edinburgh University 11.Cumbernauld Colts 12.Berwick Rangers 13.Gala Fairydean 14.Vale of Leithen 15.Dalbeattie 16.Gretna
  3. 1. Edinburgh City 2. Cove Rangers 3. Stirling Albion 4. Queen's Park 5. Elgin City 6. Brechin City 7. Cowdenbeath 8. Annan Athletic 9. Albion Rovers 10.Stenhousemuir
  4. 1. Raith Rovers 2. Peterhead 3. Falkirk 4. Clyde 5. Montrose 6. Forfar 7. Airdrie 8. East Fife 9. Stranraer 10.Dumbarton
  5. 1. Dundee United 2. Inverness CT 3. Partick Thistle 4. Dundee 5. Ayr United 6. Arbroath 7. Dunfermline 8. Morton 9. Queen of the South 10.Alloa
  6. 1. Celtic 2. Aberdeen 3. Rangers 4. Motherwell 5. Hibs 6. Hearts 7. Kilmarnock 8. Ross County 9. Hamilton Accies 10. St. Mirren 11. St. Johnstone 12. Livingston
  7. Goalkeeper David Marshall (Hull City), Allan McGregor (Rangers), Jon McLaughlin (Sunderland) Defenders David Bates (Hamburg), Liam Cooper (Leeds United), Barry Douglas (Leeds United), Grant Hanley (Norwich City), Charlie Mulgrew (Blackburn Rovers), Jason Naismith (Peterborough United), Callum Paterson (Cardiff City), Andy Robertson (Liverpool), Murray Wallace (Millwall) Midfielders Stuart Armstrong (Southampton), Tom Cairney (Fulham), Ryan Fraser (Bournemouth), Liam Henderson (Hellas Verona), Lewis MacLeod (Brentford), Kevin McDonald (Fulham), John McGinn (Aston Villa), Scott McTominay (Manchester United), Matt Ritchie (Newcastle United), Robert Snodgrass (West Ham United) Forwards Jason Cummings (Peterborough United), Jack Harper (Malaga), Fraser Hornby (Everton), Oliver McBurnie (Swansea City), Matt Phillips (West Bromwich Albion)
  8. There is no correlation between number of foreign players playing in a domestic league and the success of national teams. The positive effect of the 3 foreigner rule is a myth which pops up from time to time only to be thoroughly dispelled by statistical analysis conducted by many different institutions. The period in history you're referring too when Scotland regularly qualified for major tournaments has nothing to do with less foreign players in the Scottish domestic league and a lot to do with the fact that there was far less competition. Since the collapse of communism in the late 80's/early 90's and the break up of former Yugoslavia 14 of the 25 current UEFA members which made up the old Eastern Bloc have qualified for either the Euro's or World Cup (or both). Scotland have failed to qualify since 1998, there is an obvious correlation there. Additionally, a couple of the old Eastern Bloc countries (Lithuania & Georgia) which haven't managed to qualify for major tournaments thus far have been a particular thorn in Scotland's side when we've been attempting to qualify. Add in the fact that many other European nations have transitioned from a semi-pro to a full-time set up in recent decades, the Scandinavian nations for example, and it's easy to see why we're finding it much more difficult to qualify for tournaments. With the increased competition it's difficult to know whether or not we've become worse than we were in the past or had an over inflated sense of how good we thought we were back then. Also, if there was a correlation between a lower number of foreign players in each league and national team success then the Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Poland etc, would have been dominant during the communist era because they had next to no foreigners playing in their domestic leagues. The 3 foreigner rule is an issue in Scotland though but not for the reasons that most people conclude. It's going to seem like i'm contradicting myself for a wee bit here until I fully explain what I mean. We have 12 teams in the top flight and they will use about 20 players a season regularly. So that's 240 squad places about half of which are taken by foreign players. So that's a 120 places for Scottish players in the top flight give or take. However, the issue isn't foreign players coming to play here it's the lack of Scottish players going to play elsewhere. The issue is a lack of emigration not immigration. The top 10 countries in Europe that have the highest number of expatriate footballers playing in foreign countries are: 1. France (821 expatriate players playing abroad) - Euro 2016 Runners-Up and WC Finalists 2018 2. Serbia (760) - WC Group Stage 2018 3. England (413) - WC Semi-finalists 2018 4. Spain (361) - WC Winners 2010, Euro Champions 2008 & 2012 5. Croatia (346) - WC Finalists 2018 6. Germany (346) - WC winners 2014 7. Portugal (261) - Euro 2016 Champions 8. Netherlands (256) - WC Runners-up 2010 9. Belgium (220) - WC Semi-Finalists 2018 10. Ukraine (182) - WC Quarter-Finalists 2006 23. Scotland (103) - 20 years without qualifying for a major tournament and counting. Croatia is the country on that list that has a population size most similar to ours. Croatia have more players playing regular first-team football outside of Croatia than they do inside Croatia. Croatian clubs move loads of their players onto other countries and then replace them with either players from their own academy, players from smaller Croatian clubs or if deemed necessary they will bring in foreign players. They are constantly expanding the overall number of players to choose from for the national side and providing a pathway to the top for domestically based players with potential... and then they just keep repeating that cycle year after year. Croatian clubs also have a constant source of transfer revenue coming in, per capita they bring in more transfer revenue from foreign clubs than any other European nation, their club sides have significantly improved their performances in Europe and the quality of the domestic league is improving year on year despite flogging their best players. Exactly the same thing has happened in Belgium and beginning to take place in countries like Serbia, Switzerland, Austria and Iceland. 32% of the players in the Croatian top-flight are foreign, in Scotland at the moment it's 45%, but Croatia have two less clubs in the top-flight so there's roughly the same number of squad places available to non-foreign players in each country. In Scotland we don't move enough Scottish players on. The most common transfer is a free transfer and in recent seasons the most likely destination for Scottish players leaving the SPFL is English League One. Followed by the English Championship, English League Two, Iceland, Ireland and the USA. Most of these players fail to make the grade playing elsewhere, at the likes of Luton Town or Colchester United, and end up back playing in Scotland within a year or so. We have the same handful of players moving from club to club in Scotland, stagnating away, not really adding any value (monetary or otherwise) to the clubs they play for and not really improving the quality of the league. There is a logjam at the top of Scottish football and this is stopping young players from getting a chance to play first team football here for a couple of years before moving on and it's also stopping the bigger clubs from looking further down the leagues, where there is undoubtedly talented players with potential, and giving these guys an opportunity to step up.
  9. It's not ideal that they play their home games in Alloa, I don't know why they chose Alloa. My original point though was that there's no real comparison between BSC and Edusport. BSC are a club that have gradually grown over the last 14 years to meet the needs of their members within their own community but just happen to play their home games in Alloa because there isn't a suitable home ground for them in Glasgow at the moment. It does state on their website that as a sports club they hope to own and operate all their own facilities in the future which suggests playing in Alloa is a compromise for the time being. They shouldn't be considered a diddy club if they have 100's of kids participating regularly in sport. Edusport on the other hand have no hometown, apparently no desire to have their own ground or develop a playing core/fanbase in any particular community - they can up sticks at any point and relocate and it wont make any difference to them or to the people of Annan many of whom are probably completely unaware that they are even playing there. The wider point I was making is that throughout Scotland there is clearly a willingness to participate in football - Inverkeithing being a great example of this. Unfortunately the facilities and a clear pathway to the top of the sport don't exist. Ideally all clubs in Scotland, regardless of current grade, would gain a license, join the pyramid and work their way towards the SFA Legacy award. It'll take a long time to achieve this but it is possible and it would change the sport and communities for the better.
  10. Is this you, in a round about way, congratulating BSC Glasgow for going over and above what is technically required of them ? BSC have been given the SFA community development award which is a wholly different set of criteria from that of club licensing as far as i'm aware and voluntary.
  11. Yoker is a district of Glasgow. Holm Park is in Whitecrook, Clydebank, West Dunbartonshire.
  12. I'm not a BSC fan, I have no involvement with the club. I'm just not sure what ideal or sensitivity it is that people have that BSC as an organisation is offending. They're a private sports club owned and operated by their members, people pay to become members in order to avail of the services and facilities they provide. If there was no benefit to this then there would be no demand for it and therefore no club. People are entitled to spend money on what they want. There's thousands of sports clubs around the world operated on a similar basis, most German football clubs, the Foundation of Hearts, the Well Society, all of these organisations operate on the same premise resulting in what it is the members have predetermined will be beneficial to them, other members, the club and the wider community. If 750 or so members want to spend money helping BSC achieve its aims and benefit from membership then I genuinely don't see why that causes offence to anyone else in any way. They're a constitutional organisation, a registered charity and a licensed football club that have achieved a community award from the SFA, they're not profiting from their members or duping anyone out of their money.
  13. I'm not really sure what you're argument is here? Are you suggesting that a group of middle class parents are indulging in some machiavellian scheme to rip off school children? Broomhill Sports Club was set-up to provide sporting opportunities to children that the council decided weren't worth investing in anymore. £30 a month isn't much if you consider BSC is providing opportunity to 750 kids to participate in sport. That doesn't come cheap, I'd be surprised if they turn any significant profit. They're also a registered charity who submit accounts to the Scottish Charity Regulator. As I said in my earlier post sports clubs should be reflective of the community they represent, the Broomhill area and surrounding areas are decidedly middle class, as is most of Glasgow these days. It would seem to me that BSC have created a club that is reflective of the community needs and demands. Indeed, if there was no demand for these services then they simply wouldn't exist as a club in the first place. If the issue you have is that people are spending money then do you complain when Andy Murray wins grand slam titles because his parents paid for private tennis tuition in Spain? Or what about the plethora of footballers whose parents spend a fortune on travel and other things putting them through the pro-youth set-up? How about all the successful Commonwealth Games athletes who paid for access to Swimming Pools, Velodromes, Gyms etc.? Broomhill and the West of Glasgow which is where most of their participants/club members live. Just because their first team squad play in a different town doesn't mean they no longer represent Glasgow, they have existed in Glasgow for 14 years now - I've no idea why they chose to play in Alloa though when there's a few licensed grounds in the greater Glasgow area. Kirkie Rob Roy play in Cumbernauld, Rossvale played in Glasgow for a while, Yoker play in Clydebank despite being from Glasgow. Cove are playing in Inverurie at the moment. It doesn't mean that these clubs cease/ceased to represent the area that they originated from.
  14. It's worth pointing out that BSC Glasgow are a community football club that have achieved the SFA's community development award. Broomhill Sports Club have over 700 children participating in a variety of sports with many of them playing football at various age levels for BSC. They are embedded within the Glasgow community and do lots of great work. To suggest that they are a diddy football club without a home or that they have taken an easy route to licensing/senior football is a fallacy. Unfortunately there just isn't a suitable home ground for them in the Glasgow area at the moment. They are not really comparable to Edusport in any way - a wholly opportunistic bunch. Also, BSC, East Kilbride, Cumbernauld Colts etc. aren't "glorified boys clubs" who jumped ahead of the queue - there was no queue at the time they applied. Many of the senior or soon to be senior non-league clubs in Scotland have a far greater impact on their local communities than many on here would give them credit for. There are many senior, amateur and youth clubs that have a far more positive impact on their respective communities than many junior clubs do. Inverkeithing Hillfield Swifts are a great example of this, they have 450 people participating in football from under age football through to over 35's and walking football. 450 is just shy of 10% of Inverkeithing's population. When you add in their 100 voluntary coaches it's actually over 10% of the population participating regularly in football. IHS are one of 49 clubs (only 49!) in Scotland to have achieved the highest community award from the SFA. There's not many junior clubs on that list. Hutchie Vale BC (the youth section of LTHV) have produced 100's of players that have gone on to play professionally, many of them at international level - Darren Fletcher, Leigh Griffiths, Kevin Thomson, Jason Cummings, Derek Riordan, Steven Whittaker, Allan McGregor, Danny Wilson, Gary Naysmith, Gary Caldwell, John Collins, Gary Locke, John Hughes and even Icelandic international Alfred Finnbogason - to name just a few. How many junior players have made the jump up to international football in recent years? The only argument against junior clubs joining the senior structure seems to be the wholly jargonistic "junior identity" terminology, suggesting that their is some inherent quality prevalent in junior football that doesn't exist outwith the junior structure. At no point though has anyone put forward any quantifiable method in which we can measure this self-proclaimed inherent quality. Instead we see petty squabbles about attendances and nostalgic anecdotes about how junior clubs have existed longer than other non-junior clubs and are therefore more deserving in some way. If simply existing longer and getting a few more people through the turnstiles is considered a genuine measure of success then, in my opinion, that would suggest that something, somewhere along the lines has gone horribly wrong in junior football. No doubt this complacency has been encouraged by the incompetent people running the SJFA, the SJFA do not seem to have the best interests of junior clubs or the communities they serve at heart - a point which is consistently made by junior fans themselves. All a country needs to be successful in a particular sport is - a willingness to participate, encouraging (preferably qualified) coaches, decent facilities, a clear pathway to the top and clubs which reflect the local culture. It's hardly rocket science. The SFA licensing scheme, the SFA Community Award Scheme and a fully integrated pyramid structure would seem to be the things that would give individual clubs and Scottish football what it/they need to be successful heading into the future. Unfortunately, what is essentially an argument over terminology, fuelled by the vested interests of certain self-preserving individuals and certain clubs, has halted progress for well over a decade of "pyramid discussion" now. This, for me, is an abdication of responsibility toward the communities that these institutions are supposed to be serving. Maybe that's just indicative of wider Scottish society.
  15. I was reading through the various comments on this thread today and took note of some of the concerns/issues that people have about their clubs joining the non-league structure and the flaws in the structure as it currently stands. The main issues seem to be the potential cost of travel, the disparity between probable regions from tier 6 and below (SoSL at tier 6 etc.), the loss of traditional rivalries and some clubs getting cut adrift without a relevant senior league to play in. When it comes to population within regions and the disparity of the number of clubs that operate within these regions there is, unfortunately, nothing which can be done about that. Scotland's population distribution would make it impossible to create regions that have roughly the same number of people and clubs in each region. However, it is possible to create four regions from tier 6 downwards that cover roughly the same geographic area and retain most of the traditional rivalries that exist in the current senior and junior set-ups respectively. Assuming there is going to be no revision of the Highland/Lowland boundary, which is currently set at the mouth of the Tay, a North West, North East, East and West structure could be implemented with the NW and NE clubs feeding into the Highland League and the other two into the LL. Each region would cover these council areas: North West Senior League: Highland, Argyll & Bute (North), Na h-Eileanan Siar , Shetland, Orkney. North East Senior League: Aberdeenshire, Aberdeen City, Perth & Kinross (North Tay), Dundee City, Angus, Moray. East of Scotland Senior League: City of Edinburgh, Fife, West Lothian, Falkirk, Perth & Kinross (South Tay), Scottish Borders, East Lothian, Stirling, Midlothian, Clackmannanshire, Borough of Berwick-Upon-Tweed (England). West of Scotland Senior League: Glasgow City, North Lanarkshire, South Lanarkshire, Renfrewshire, Dumfries & Galloway, North Ayrshire, East Ayrshire, South Ayrshire, East Dunbartonshire, East Renfrewshire, West Dunbartonshire, Argyll & Bute (South), Inverclyde. Area of these regions: NW: 31,186 km2 (Excluding vast underpopulated areas and areas that have no senior or junior clubs: approx. 15,000km2-17,000km2) NE: 12,979 km2 EOS: 13,710 km2 WOS: 20,050 km2 (Excluding Argyll & Bute which currently has no senior or Junior Clubs: 13,141 km2) These regions are about as even as you could possibly make them in terms of size when Scotland's complex geography is taken into consideration. In the West and North West there is always the possibility that an outlier club may want to join in the future, say a club in Dunoon wanting to join the West for example. In that scenario it would only be one difficult/costly away trip a season for the other member clubs in that region. Likely Greatest Distance Between Member Clubs (taking into consideration all current Senior & Junior Clubs): NW: Fort William to Kirkwall = 220 Miles (Fort William to Thurso 170 Miles) NE: Dundee to Burghead = 140 Miles EOS: Tweedmouth to Tayport = 120 Miles WOS: Wigtown to Greenock = 110 Miles In the West even if the SoSL and Juniors were merged into the one regional set-up those clubs would be playing in the second smallest area and possibly have the least amount of travelling to do. Total Number of Clubs by Region* (SPFL, HFL, LFL, NCL, EoSL, SoSL, SJFA & Glasgow University included): NW: 20 Clubs: (2 SPFL Clubs + 6 HFL Clubs + 9 NCL Clubs + 3 North Region Junior Clubs) NE: 68 Clubs: (9 SPFL Clubs + 12 HFL Clubs + 31 North Region Juniors + 16 East Region Juniors) EOS: 82 Clubs: (14 SPFL Clubs + 11 LFL Clubs + 12 EoSL Clubs + 1 West Region Junior Club + 44 East Region Junior Clubs) WOS: 100 Clubs: (17 SPFL Clubs + 5 LFL Clubs + 14 SoSL Clubs + 63 West Region Junior Clubs + Glasgow University) Total Number of Clubs by Region* when Junior Clubs that Responded 'No' to Pyramid Survey are Excluded (SPFL, HFL, LFL, NCL, EoSL, SoSL, SJFA & Glasgow University included): NW: 19 Clubs: (2 SPFL Clubs + 6 HFL Clubs + 9 NCL Clubs + 2 North Region Junior Clubs) NE: 53 Clubs: (9 SPFL Clubs + 12 HFL Clubs + 21 North Region Juniors + 11 East Region Juniors) EOS: 72 Clubs: (14 SPFL Clubs + 11 LFL Clubs + 12 EoSL Clubs + 1 West Region Junior Club + 34 East Region Junior Clubs) WOS: 71 Clubs: (17 SPFL Clubs + 5 LFL Clubs + 14 SoSL Clubs + 34 West Region Junior Clubs + Glasgow University) *Excluding reserve teams - Stirling University, Stranraer & Annan Athletic. Number of Clubs to be Integrated from tier 6 and Below*: NW: 11 (9 NCL Clubs + 2 North Region Junior Clubs) - one division of 11 Clubs NE: 32 (21 North Region Juniors + 11 East Region Juniors) - two divisions of 16 Clubs EOS:47 (12 EoSL Clubs + 1 West Region Junior Club + 34 East Region Junior Clubs) - two divisions of 16 + one of 15 WOS:49 (14 SoSL Clubs + 34 West Region Junior Clubs + Glasgow University) - two divisions of 16 + one of 17 *assuming no junior clubs have a change of heart and all senior clubs would be willing to participate in new regional structure The only big disparity in terms of number of clubs appears between the NE and NW but you couldn't expect clubs from Dundee and Perthshire to travel to Thurso and Orkney at tier 6, the only reasonable solution is to have those two separate regions feeding into the HL - from tier 5 upwards clubs should be expected to/be capable of travelling further distances anyway as preparation for potentially moving up into the SPFL. Obviously there are double the number of clubs in the Lowland area than there are in the Highland area. In time that anomaly could be dealt with simply by increasing the number of promotion places to the SPFL to 2 and having a play-off in which the LL champions play the HL runners-up and HL champions play the LL runners-up with both winners being promoted to the SPFL. That way if the LL becomes far stronger than the HL due to the area having more clubs then the difference can be settled on the pitch.
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