Here we go again. This week sees another meeting at Hampden where the SPL and SFL seem likely to agree about the future structure of our leagues. Is there no place for the opinion of the football fan? If there is one area of agreement between supporters of our different teams it is that the avoidance of four league meetings with the same opponent is desirable. Oh, and an octet is a group of eight musicians, computing bits, or at a stretch the set of shoes needed by an octopus; we have no need for three octets in Scottish football. The favoured option is 12-12-18. Without wanting to sound like a hardened cynic, it won't work. This can be said with near absolute certainty because despite the love held by Scottish football's administrators for making minor tweaks, they shy away from making real change. There have been several changes in the past decades but in reality only two of any note have ever been made – the addition of a second division in the early 20th century and the reformation of a big league to a wee league in the mid-70s. The 'top' clubs – that is those who happen to be in the SPL at this moment – will refuse to countenance the loss of income which would come with an expansion of the league and that means the deck chairs can be re-arranged on the Titanic once more. The money spent on printing the latest suggestions would have been better spent on youth development. Keir Murray, writing on the BBC website highlighted the real problems with our game. "There are many aspects of Scotland's struggling national sport that will not be fixed by a change in the league format. Among those are high ticket prices, unfavourable kick-off times, a decline in the standard of player, the lack of indoor training facilities, losing young players to English clubs, dwindling crowds, the resurgence of crowd trouble and an excessive number of senior clubs for Scotland's population." A new league setup is not required to effect a redistribution of commercial income. A change in the style of play is unlikely to develop if managers spend most of their time looking over their shoulder fearful of the next drop. A determination to effect the proposed change will only widen the divide between fans and those who run the clubs. The efforts of supporters had an effective influence last summer; it looks like another blast of fan power is needed.
In Motherwell's case it might be time for the Well Society to sound out members' opinions. We don't have control of the club's vote yet but we should make sure that our voice is heard at the top table.
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