Colts: the future Scottish subsidiary
It’s a term I thought was redundant, but I’ll have to use ‘Od Firm’ as a joint moniker in the following case due to Celtic and Rangers (the new incarnation) uniting to ‘help Scottish football’.
McCart & Mulholland
The proposed project is a ‘pilot’: the only comparable initiative to date in Scotland has been the failure of Colt sides in the Challenge Cup to attract increased crowds, the opposite has been the case.
Evidence, only including OF clubs: 216 at Celtic Colts v Annan… 449 at Cowdenbeath v Celtic Colts… 324 at Rangers Colts v Stenhousemuir… 278 at Annan v Celtic Colts… 389 at Dumbarton v Rangers Colts. Some crowds have not reached three figures where Colt sides have been playing.
Yet the experiment in that minor cup competition has been praised as a success by SPFL representatives.
To state “the ‘B’ team concept works successfully in many other countries” doesn’t make it true. Where is the evidence of this? Figures bandied around concerning Spain and Germany are misleading. Some players who played a match for their B sides to regain fitness are included. Looking at the last Scotland squad, possibly each and every player has made an outing for their respective team’s second string.
Then there’s Norway and the Netherlands: B sides evidently operate there with ‘great success’. Apart from, Norway hardly ever qualifies for the World Cup or Euros. The Netherlands are in a huge trough right now: the only evidence from there is that since B teams have been introduced in 2013, the national team has done worse. I’ll be watching out for Norway and The Netherlands in Russia this summer.
Iceland will be there: there are no ‘B’ sides operating in the senior league system there. But there are in Andorra.
In terms of ‘Football Development’ the document states Scottish players fail to reach their potential by the age of 21 ” as a result of not playing first team football”, and that “all of the Scottish football family are responsible for playing their part.” Perhaps we should look at the clubs who aren’t allowing these players of great potential play first team football! And stating Malky Mackay fully backs the proposal is no endorsement, is it? Maybe Malky should be asking his Ibrox pals why they are not “playing their part” this season in the Development League.
The financial projections, stating clubs will be guaranteed £15,000 needs clarification. For example, who is paying this, the OF, the SFA or the SPFL? And there is an assumption that gates will increase: on what basis? As illustrated above, fans have no appetite for watching B/Colt/U21 teams playing their sides. Also, 6 home games for the fourth-tier clubs against teams which are not actually in competition with them means almost one-third of all home games are almost meaningless. The assumptions made are truly nonsense.
With no promotion or relegation for the Colts (in the pilot…..but we’ll see…..) this means the third bottom side could tumble into the Highland or Lowland Leagues, while third top could be ‘Champions’ and sixth place in a promotion play-off. League integrity? I don’t see it. Looking at the present League Two, three clubs could change by the start of Season 2018-19, so should the Highland and Lowland League clubs, and those in League One not also be part of these initial presentations? And wait a second, don’t the present league rules prevent second string clubs operating at an level higher than the sixth? A game of leapfrog is being suggested here.
In any case, alterations to a league system should always be planned for the season following the next, in the interests of ‘league integrity’.
The 250 tickets at £10 nonsense should also be called for what it is, bearing in mind that no club in League Two charges as low as this for adults. And, as mentioned, who is paying for these tickets?
The cash on offer is a bribe, and should be called out as such. And will more cash be paid out (again, who is funding this?) if Aberdeen, Hearts, Hibs and so on want to join in? What size of a league would we then be looking at?
Now, all this is without thinking of the present paying customers supporting League Two sides. These fans are making their feelings quite clear on forums and social media: the vast majority will not attend if the proposal goes through, with some stating they will stop going to watch the Scottish game.
An explanation of the sub-title above. All I see this proposal as being is the maintenance of a Scottish presence should the Glasgow two manage to get into another league system. If there was a bit of honesty about this, some fans might find the idea more acceptable. I wouldn’t.