Written by @transferfeed
Although the standard may have slipped in recent years with the influx of money in football the Scottish Premier League (now known as the Ladbrokes Premiership) was once one of the best leagues in the world with Celtic & Rangers competing for European trophies. This year marks a decade since a Scottish team reached a European Final (Rangers in the 2008 UEFA Cup final losing 2-0 to Zenit Saint Petersburg) with this year also marking 34 years since a Scottish club won a major European trophy (Aberdeen winning the 1983 European Cup Winners Cup with a 2-1 win over Real Madrid).
Adding insult to injury, our national team has also massively failed. Put it this way, the last time we qualified for a major tournament: an apple was still an edible object & not a fancy gadget, if someone said to you Manchester City were going to win the UCL they’d probably send you to some sort of asylum as they were 14th in the 2nd division at the time & current Celtic star and candidate to be Scotland captain, Kieran Tierney, wasn’t even born. That was the 1996 Euros. And it wasn’t as if we have fond memories from England. Oh no, we crashed out in the groups. So what are the fundamental problems in the fall of Scottish football?
FOOTBALL HAS CHANGED & LEFT THE SPFL BEHIND
The days of household names of Henrik Larsson, Paul Gascoigne & the like playing in cold hard fought wins against Raith Rovers are well & truly over. Ok, your normal avid football fan could name you a selection of Celtic’s talents but bar Celtic we don’t have many talents on our shores.
This is down to money in the Scottish game. This problem is the SFA’s fault and no one else’s. Why would anyone in the right mind reject a £45m tv deal with Sky (massive at the time) to get a deal with Setanta Sports & then try & make their own TV channel. The obscure Setanta then went bust, putting many of the SPL clubs on the brink of extinction due to TV payments not being made to the league. Now you get the odd Celtic & Rangers away games on the TV along with a very short list of other, probably making the SFA chips compared to the billions in the EPL.
And on the topic of money. You earn £3m prize money for winning the Ladbrokes Premiership. You gain a measly £100m for getting relegated in the English Premier League. If you won the Ladbrokes Premiership 33 years in a row you would make the same as West Bromwich Albion prize money this year for coming last. Says it all really...
Throughout this article you’ll see a running theme. MONEY! As the old saying goes, money can’t buy you happiness but what it can buy you is a half decent footballing system.
Scottish football actually only had one sponsor for the major competitions - William Hill (Scottish Cup sponsor) for a few years recently with Clydesdale Bank cutting their ties to the SPL & Coca Cola cutting their ties to the League Cup. We have got sponsors back for our League & League Cup in recent years (Ladbrokes & Betfred) but the Chief Executives actually came out & said they would like to get rid of sponsors for our competitions & it was all part of the plan. If you’re struggling for money in the first place the best plan is to plug your sponsorships, which is your main source of dolla at the time, eh SFA?
THE FALL OF GIANTS
Rangers & Gretna have both went into liquidation in recent years with Hearts, Livingston & Motherwell all went into administration. Gretna, Hearts & Rangers all for the same reason - trying to challenge in Europe.
Gretna now go by the name as Gretna 2008 going out with a tragic story. After recruiting players like Jake Livermore & getting to obscure club up to the SPL & Scottish Cup final but it all went t*ts up from there with Gretna’s owner falling ill & being forced to cancel his investment in the club.
Hearts & Rangers were more common stories.
Hearts were sold an idea by owner at the time Romanov that they would win the UCL & the SPL during his tenure but a lack of money saw Hearts fall into administration & having to play kids in the 2nd division. Hearts have since made their way back to the SPFL’s top flight. Romanov is now in hiding being tracked down by Hearts fans.
Rangers’ story is a bit more complicated. The club had been exploiting EBT’s (Employees Benefit Trust) & taking out loans they couldn’t afford. It all caught up with them in 2012 with f*** ups from Craig Whyte, Charles Green & the lot now seeing the club gone, whatever way you look at it.
The new club The Rangers or the old club Rangers (whatever way you look at it) had to start from the bottom again & now there is little to no competition for Celtic.
MP’s have actually said government funding in football (the countries most popular sport) should be cut altogether & sports we’re better at like Tennis (if I’m being honest the Murray brothers are our only creditable racket lovers) & curling should be exposed to kids more. Although only £80m is invested in Scottish football a year with Dutch football getting a small investment of £862m. Of the £80m Scottish football get a year £10m reportedly go to professional clubs’ academies whilst £20m goes to youth programs & grassroots.
SMALL POPULATION? I THINK NOT
You may argue, but your a small country with a small population, you can’t expect great things!
Uruguay has 1.5 million less people than Scotland with their national team winning 15 Copa America’s & 2 World Cups. Scotland have won nothing. Zilch. So growing our populations can’t be the answer to our national team’s success. Neither is Alex McCleish on that note.
So what are Uruguay doing that we aren’t? Uruguay put all their focus in Youth football, providing such talents as Suarez, Caceres & Cavani whilst we are stuck with Allan McGregor, Jamie Murphy & Jason Cummings.
LACK OF INTEREST IN MANAGERIAL JOB
In recent years Craig Levein & Alex McCleish have been Tartan Army manager. Credit to our last manager Gordon Strachan who just missed out on World Cup qualification but let’s be real.
Levein & McCleish are never going to take a country forward. Alex McCleish was appointed Scotland manager in January - his last job was in Egypt with Zamalek were he flopped. Even Rangers fans don’t particularly like him & he won them several league titles! & Craig Levein. The man thought playing a 4-6-0 is a good idea!
In recent years we’ve been playing players like Barry Bannan, Darren Fletcher, James McCarthur, Matt Phillips, Russell Martin, etc. who are consistently terrible on the international stage but seem to be the 1st names on the team sheet for years. Now we have Jamie Murphy & Jason Cummings starting....
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