So the SPFL’s reconstruction group has now held its first meeting. But how would you change the makeup of Scotland’s senior leagues?
BBC Scotland asked you to get in touch with your ideas so let’s look at some of your suggestions. Oh, you also have the chance to vote on your favourite option below…
Let’s start with the option that has been reported as the likely solution. We’ll get to your views in a minute…
This one is pretty straightforward, as it involves the top two from every division going up with no relegations. Highland League champions Brora Rangers and their Lowland League equivalents Kelty Hearts would also come up to League Two to make up the numbers.
Who benefits? In theory, everyone’s a winner. The top two in the lower leagues all come up, and there are no clubs punished through relegation, which would certainly ease the worries of Hearts, Partick Thistle and Stranraer, with the latter two having been demoted and the former under threat of it.
What are the issues? It’s Scottish football, there are always issues. First of all, this would involve adding two new clubs, so the bar is higher for any vote to pass.
Furthermore, this could prejudice the chances of four Old Firm games – something that, depending on who you believe, is sacrosanct in the SPFL’s new TV deal with Sky Sports. Mind you, it doesn’t have to depending on how you sort the fixtures. An eight-six split would still allow for four Glasgow derbies.
The Danish top flight operates that model and involves play-offs for Europe and relegation. Sounds exciting…
Three leagues of 14 teams
Tony’s proposal is to just get rid of League Two altogether and have three senior leagues of 14. Seems harsh. What has the fourth tier ever done to you?
Anyway, that would also involve Inverness Caledonian Thistle joining Dundee United in going up to the top flight. Then the top six in League One would join the Championship, leaving League Two to merge with the remaining four to make a new bottom tier.
Who benefits? Inverness, clearly. Plus the top six in League One – Raith Rovers, Falkirk, Airdrieonians, Montrose, East Fife and Dumbarton – who would find themselves with games against the likes of Dundee, Dunfermline Athletic and Partick Thistle. Thistle would still find themselves in the second tier, likewise Hearts would stay in the Premiership. And no new clubs would be added, so only nine top-flight clubs need back it.
What are the issues? Cove Rangers might be a bit annoyed. Despite winning League Two, they’d still find themselves in the bottom tier playing against much the same clubs. Stranraer would technically avoid relegation as they’d still be in League One, but would be just one bad season away from slipping into the Lowland League. It depends on your perspective.
Kelty and Brora, who should be entitled to a shot at the SPFL via the play-offs, would have to stay put for now. But as the pair don’t get a vote, they’ll be low down the priority list. Sorry guys.
Tony also wants each division to split into a bottom seven and top seven after everyone has played home and away. The issue with that is every round of post-split fixtures would involve a team sitting out, and some teams would finish the campaign before others. Not ideal with titles and relegation on the line.
George wants even more teams in the Premiership because, well, why not? So the top four in the Championship go up, and the rest of the league merges with the whole of League One. Then you add Kelty and Brora to the bottom tier to make it up to 12 teams. Simple, eh?
Who benefits? Is this the one Dundee managing director John Nelms has been holding out for? You’re not a Dundee fan, are you George? Because it would see the Dens Park club and Ayr United jump up to the top flight and, again, no relegation for Hearts. Thistle would also probably be content as they’d remain in the second tier.
What are the issues? This solves the grievances of Stranraer, Kelty and Brora from the last example. But Cove might not be best pleased because they would be in the bottom tier despite winning League Two. But could you then swap them for Stranraer, as was due to happen under the current proposal? There would also have to be a split of some kind to ensure enough home games for clubs and those Glasgow derbies. And, again, more teams. This is all getting a bit complicated. Next…
The English model
Michael wants just two divisions. Madness! A top flight of 20 – yes 20 – and a second tier of 22. This is more akin to the English model, with bigger leagues. But that is a much bigger country.
He says three should come down from the top flight, with two automatic promotion places for the second tier and one up via the play-offs.
Who benefits?: As crazy as it sounds, nobody loses out from a structural point of view. All clubs would either be in the tier they were in anyway, or higher, and there are no new members, so it would be easier to pass.
What are the issues? Where do we start? A top league of 20 won’t allow four Old Firm games, which those clubs and the broadcasters want. It would also mean lots of clubs in mid-table will have nothing to play for by January. It’s not a great prospect for fans, though the variety of away trips would be.
Like all these options, it could be made more exciting depending on the number of relegation places, and the introduction of play-offs for Europe.
Got all that? We don’t envy the taskforce examining this, that’s for sure.