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JTS98

Would you change our league?

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The away ticket price thread has had me thinking in the last few days that while it's true that our league is over-priced in various ways that people mention; quality of football, fan experience (no standing, bevvying etc), views at the game (hello Parkhead and Pittodrie), I think the main reason that it's over-priced is frequently over-looked even though we all know it to be the case. I'm just wondering where people are with this.

Celtic's pumping of Ross County on Saturday was quite timely for my argument as I think it nicely underlined the main problem with our league. Basically that it is completely uncompetitive. It raised no eyebrows that Celtic beat Ross County 6-0. Why should it? They've already beaten St Johnstone 7-0 and scored five at Motherwell. This time last year Celtic were in the middle of a run of four wins in a row in the league where they scored 20 goals. A few weeks later they pumped Killie 5-1. Back to this season, Rangers, level on points with Celtic have won three of their last four games by scorelines of 4-0, 5-0, 5-0 and also beat Hibs 6-1 earlier this season.

While I agree with the Twenty's Plenty campaign, I think much more fundamental change is needed to make our league something worth watching.

Most people will read the paragraph above about Rangers and Celtic's effortless wins and wonder what the fuss is about. That's just how it is. They're big clubs so they beat all the wee clubs. But this highlights the fundamental problem with how we view football in Europe.

We have this obsession with two things that I think ruin football and only by removing at least one of them can we actually have the kind of competition we really want.

1) Leagues. We are obsessed with home and away, equal fixture leagues. It's 'fair'. Doing anything else is unfair, obviously. Winning a title any other way would be wholly illegitimate. It's a crazy idea.

Except it's not fair. Celtic can punt millions of pounds on a striker and Ross County can't. Celtic get more money from the tv deal than Ross County do. That's not 'fair'. That wealth propels Celtic to European football on a regular basis where, even if they utterly fail, they return with yet more cash to dominate Ross County again and perpetuate the cycle. It's not fair, of course it's not fair, but we accept it.

So why are we obsessed with home and away league formats that only entrench the unfair competitive advantage of the rich clubs? Why are we obsessed with sticking with a format that means you can pretty much look at the wage bills at the start of a season and know who is going to win.

A system where before a ball is kicked almost all of the teams and their supporters know they cannot win.

In what sense is that a sport?

2) Free markets. It was reported last year that Celtic's wage bill was about 59 million quid. About twenty times that of some other clubs in the league. But we accept that, because of course clubs can spend what they want on players.

But why do we accept that? Other competitions don't. Plenty of sporting competitions have a salary cap or some other way of regulating what competitors are paying their staff. If you stand back from it, this makes perfect sense as it's supposed to be a sport. A sport. Not simply a comparison of chequebooks.

The NFL has a salary cap and uses a play-off system to crown its champions. It is one of the most successful sporting organisations on the planet. NRL in Australia uses a salary cap and a play-off system to crown its champions and is also extremely successful. Nobody has won back-to-back Superbowls in 15 years. By my count there have been seven different champions in the last decade. The NRL title was recently retained for the first time this century. Again, seven different champions in the last decade.

Yet, we sit here with our league where Celtic are chasing their ninth title in succession, where I'm 35 and can only ever remember two clubs winning the championship, and we turn our noses up at the systems that prevent that kind of dominance emerging. The arrogance is astounding! The stupidity is astounding.

So, my two suggestions for things that would transform Scottish football are a salary cap and/or a play-off system. I know most people disagree with me on one or both points, but I'd be keen to hear any other ideas people have or things they'd like to see to improve what we watch. Real changes that would actually give us a sporting competition worthy of the name.

Edited by JTS98

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4 hours ago, JTS98 said:

So, my two suggestions for things that would transform Scottish football are a salary cap and/or a play-off system. I know most people disagree with me on one or both points, but I'd be keen to hear any other ideas people have or things they'd like to see to improve what we watch. Real changes that would actually give us a sporting competition worthy of the name.

Won't quote the whole post.

I agree with the sentiment but the fundamental problem is the capitalist nature of football.

The clubs, the SPFL, the SFA see us as competing in a global market, not simply growing a domestic one. That means having our top teams competing in Europe to attract investment, tv deals etc and everyone, except the fans of course, reaps the rewards.

A salary cap on the OF in particular means Scotlands days of competing in European football are over, so no one in power will sign up to it. No one. Similarly ditching leagues for a more of a lottery might see a total diddy team take our CL spot, which again, no one will sign up to it.

Your ideas are feasible if a) Scottish football operated in a bubble and b) if boards of directors owed a duty of care to the fans and not predominantly the shareholders and their investments.

The clubs have signed up to this to such an extent that a lot can't survive without tv money and the pay day that a visit from the OF brings, so they are too far down this road. 2012 was the chance to make real change, it's gone now and we're back to business as usual.

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I agree with the sentiment but a salary cap wouldn’t work.
The NFL and Aussie Rules are practically one country sports and those titles the top achievement most clubs and players could ever win. Impose it hear and top players can move elsewhere.
Some sort of collective agreement where the SPFL licensed marketing (eg strips, ticket income etc) was spread more evenly may work, but I can’t see clubs agreeing to it.

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The extent to which it's wholly uncompetitive is debatable when "Plucky Kilmarnock" ended up with the most points in the year ending 31/12/2018.

Examine results from around the continent in terms of champions vs newly promoted come the end of the season, and I don't think you'll find Saturday's mauling was too far above the line.

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26 minutes ago, Estragon said:

The extent to which it's wholly uncompetitive is debatable when "Plucky Kilmarnock" ended up with the most points in the year ending 31/12/2018.

Examine results from around the continent in terms of champions vs newly promoted come the end of the season, and I don't think you'll find Saturday's mauling was too far above the line.

That's kind of the point. The whole system is broken.

Also, Kilmarnock's impressive calendar year counted for absolutely nothing. It might as well not have happened.

Under a system designed to embrace competition they may have ended up as champions. It would have been richly deserved.

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1 hour ago, Dons_1988 said:

The clubs, the SPFL, the SFA see us as competing in a global market, not simply growing a domestic one. That means having our top teams competing in Europe to attract investment, tv deals etc and everyone, except the fans of course, reaps the rewards.

 

51 minutes ago, Dunfermline Don said:

I agree with the sentiment but a salary cap wouldn’t work.
The NFL and Aussie Rules are practically one country sports and those titles the top achievement most clubs and players could ever win. Impose it hear and top players can move elsewhere.
Some sort of collective agreement where the SPFL licensed marketing (eg strips, ticket income etc) was spread more evenly may work, but I can’t see clubs agreeing to it.

I agree the4 global nature of football is a problem for the salary cap idea. However, I still think a reasonable system could be implemented without some crazy 'brain drain' driving players abroad. How many Scottish players want to go abroad? It's not as if they'd be on poverty wages.

And, as I mentioned above, I think either change alone would have a huge impact. An end to the absurdity of a 'fair' home and away league season between totally mis-matched clubs would be a good start.

After five years of play-offs people wouldn't be able to believe it took us so long to have them.

Leagues were invented in a completely different era. They are totally out-dated and don't work in the modern game. Not in the top flight, at least.

Edited by JTS98

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5 minutes ago, JTS98 said:

That's kind of the point. The whole system is broken.

Had a similar conversation with a mate here when leaving the Aarau game on Friday night. He was moaning about the shite standard of the Swiss game and the fact that only 2 teams are capable of winning the league, slaughtering the whole set up as a joke.

It is what it is. Unless you play in a league where there is a huge TV contract and the money is distributed relatively evenly, the clubs with the biggest support will more than likely always be the clubs that have the most money and are winning the league. While not the only factor that decides games, having more money certainly gives you a huge advantage. There isn't really anything that can be done to combat that at a local level unless there are changes across the whole continent.

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Restrict all clubs to:

18no players >21yo

18no players 18-20yo

18no players 16-18yo

Perhaps even a return to 4 foreigners rule.

Agree that a salary cap wouldn't work, although would like to see Clubs work within a % of their turnover.

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4 minutes ago, Ross. said:

 

It is what it is.

This is where I disagree. It is what it is because we accept it and don't question it. We accept that it has to be the way it has always been.

I think that's a lie. And the funny thing is, I very rarely speak to anyone who actually likes the way football is currently organised.

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The introduction of strict liability would probably lead to a more evenly balanced league.

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1 minute ago, JTS98 said:

This is where I disagree. It is what it is because we accept it and don't question it. We accept that it has to be the way it has always been.

I think that's a lie. And the funny thing is, I very rarely speak to anyone who actually likes the way football is currently organised.

I don't particularly like it but I can't see a way to change things on an individual league basis. There will have to be wide scale, systematic changes or we will only end up disadvantaging ourselves.

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11 minutes ago, JTS98 said:

 

I agree the4 global nature of football is a problem for the salary cap idea. However, I still think a reasonable system could be implemented without some crazy 'brain drain' driving players abroad. How many Scottish players want to go abroad? It's not as if they'd be on poverty wages.

And, as I mentioned above, I think either change alone would have a huge impact. An end to the absurdity of a 'fair' home and away league season between totally mis-matched clubs would be a good start.

After five years of play-offs people wouldn't be able to believe it took us so long to have them.

Leagues were invented in a completely different era. They are totally out-dated and don't work in the modern game.

I don't disagree but there's some fundamental issues to address to get clubs on board. Clubs priority is to grow revenues and investment in the game, not necessarily presenting the most competitive domestic game. TV is where the money is, not mugs like you and I coming through the gate.

Presumably a playoff system includes less games, which means less people through the turnstiles for all clubs and significant shrinking in revenue, same for TV money. Regrettably, it means less OF games and Sky/BT lose interest immediately. Where do clubs make up that shortfall in cash, you'd just see a mass exile of the top players in the game, maybe a price worth paying short term but doubt clubs would see it that way.

Also I return to my European football point, if it makes it possible that say an Aberdeen (or any other diddy) goes into the CL qualifiers instead of Celtic, the OF will shite on it immediately.

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2 minutes ago, Dons_1988 said:

 

Presumably a playoff system includes less games, which means less people through the turnstiles for all clubs and significant shrinking in revenue, same for TV money.

Almost certainly fewer games, yes. But it's not hard to see how a finals series would be more attractive to tv companies than what we have now.

How many post-split fixtures in a typical season are actually of interest in terms of tv? Not that many. A finals series would be much more tv-friendly and would give the league a selling point.

Also, if the finals series gate receipts and tv money etc were split exactly evenly throughout the league, I reckon most teams would do ok relative to where they are now. Celtic and Rangers would lose out, but they can afford to. Their loss would benefit the game as a whole and shying away from change because two clubs (and we often forget they are only two out of many) wouldn't like it is silly.

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Across almost ever league in Europe there is no longer competition. The Champions League has made the rich richer by its very nature. The obvious and natural conclusion to this will be a breakaway European League in the near future where the elite will play a euro wide competition and leave their respective home countries behind. Since this won’t affect St Mirren, let them get on with it imho. However the situation in Scotland will not change as neither of the bigot brothers will be invited to the top table but will slaver away endlessly about how they should be. The reality is that they won’t be

 

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47 minutes ago, JTS98 said:

Almost certainly fewer games, yes. But it's not hard to see how a finals series would be more attractive to tv companies than what we have now.

How many post-split fixtures in a typical season are actually of interest in terms of tv? Not that many. A finals series would be much more tv-friendly and would give the league a selling point.

Also, if the finals series gate receipts and tv money etc were split exactly evenly throughout the league, I reckon most teams would do ok relative to where they are now. Celtic and Rangers would lose out, but they can afford to. Their loss would benefit the game as a whole and shying away from change because two clubs (and we often forget they are only two out of many) wouldn't like it is silly.

Again, I am supportive of change but is the finals series really more tv friendly? They'd sooner have an extra OF game than see Aberdeen v Hearts in a playoff. TV is about the mass market, which is the casual observer who wants to see either a) elite level football or b) some sort of novelty circus with lots of noise and colour or hatred and anger. Since a) doesn't exist in Scotland b) becomes the selling point.

You can see it already this season, every result each team gets is framed around how it affects the other. Whilst we compete in the global market we'll be doing what the tv companies tell us they want. How many people watch in England and beyond matters more to them than what the vast majority of match going Scottish fans want. Our domestic game is not built for the likes of you and I anymore really.

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Had this argument a thousand times. It is what it is because we have two disproportionally large clubs in a small country. In many other countries, at least there’s a three-way ‘in with a shout’ situation. Even in somewhere like Spain, there’s obviously Barca and Real Madrid, but Atletico Madrid are hardly diddies - look at their new stadium, their fanbase, they have achieved some real success. The Netherlands have Ajax, Feyenoord, PSV Eindhoven. Portugal has Benfica, Porto, Sporting Lisbon. Greece and Turkey have more than two genuinely big clubs.

It isn’t changing. I reckon I’ve got maybe 25 years tops left to live in this crazy life... I do not think anyone bar two clubs will win the title in that period.

Yo, ho, fcuking ho.

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15 minutes ago, Dons_1988 said:

Again, I am supportive of change but is the finals series really more tv friendly? They'd sooner have an extra OF game than see Aberdeen v Hearts in a playoff. TV is about the mass market, which is the casual observer who wants to see either a) elite level football or b) some sort of novelty circus with lots of noise and colour or hatred and anger. Since a) doesn't exist in Scotland b) becomes the selling point.

You can see it already this season, every result each team gets is framed around how it affects the other. Whilst we compete in the global market we'll be doing what the tv companies tell us they want. How many people watch in England and beyond matters more to them than what the vast majority of match going Scottish fans want. Our domestic game is not built for the likes of you and I anymore really.

I think the tv companies would see it as something they can sell. They love showing the Old Firm play anyone, so showing them play someone in a game that actually matters would appeal.

Games like Hearts v Aberdeen would be along for the ride, but hardly anybody actually watches football on subscription tv these days anyway. The audiences are pitiful so I don't think anybody would bother too much about the actual viewing figures. There's no reason to assume it would have too much of an impact on the finances of our game. We'd probably only be one televised game down, since all play-off games would obviously be on tv.

In play-offs arranged properly every team would get a cut of the crowd and tv money for that section of the season and those not involved would lose 2-3 home games. For sides in the bottom 6 those crowds wouldn't be huge and their cut of the money from the 9 play-off games would go a long way towards replacing that. It's hard to imagine anybody ending up massively out of pocket here. Some teams would do a great deal better.

Edited by JTS98

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2 minutes ago, tree house tam said:

f**k salary caps and the like, just rearrange the league to a top 14/16 to start at the end of this season please.

 

 

Please.

How does that help? Surely just more teams for Celtic to batter?

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