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A Look At League Reconstruction

Date: 10th April 2020

It’s looking increasingly likely that the Scottish 2019-20 football season won’t come to a natural conclusion. 

My preference has always been to wait it out and finish the various league campaigns whenever lockdown finishes. But alas due to player contracts, conflicts with European football and a possible fixture pile up it just doesn’t seem possible to fit in the remaining fixtures. 

I’m still pretty uncomfortable with naming champions after an unfulfilled fixture list but I’m even more unsettled at the prospect of relegating teams that didn’t get a full opportunity to save themselves. 

Later on today the SPFL will have a vote on the fate of the lower leagues and finishing them as things stand. That would see the likes of Dundee United, Raith Rovers and Cove Rangers promoted as league champions. It would also see Partick Thistle and Stranraer relegated. The Jags will feel most aggrieved because they’re just two points away from survival. 

In League One, Falkirk will also feel miffed given that they’re just a point behind Raith Rovers and will feel they were on course to take that particular league title. 

The SPFL plan would also see a scrap to the play-offs giving other teams zero chance of promotion and closing the professional league off to lower league sides like Kelty Hearts and Brora Rangers. Closing our leagues off at the bottom doesn’t offer much hope for sporting integrity. 

It would also set a dangerous precedent for Hearts in our top flight as they’ll suffer their own relegation if the same happens in the Premiership

The more and more I look at things I think league reconstruction to all our top leagues could be the best, fairest and most positive solution to this unexpected mess! 

We have to remember our greatest stakeholders in all this… The Scottish football fans. They don’t need or want to see their beloved teams suffer anymore than they have done already due to this crisis. 

With that in mind, for one season, I believe we should have a 14 team Premiership, a 10 team Championship, a 1o team League One and a 10 team League Two. 

That means there would be no relegations, so no team suffers in that regard.

The top two in the Championship; Dundee United and Inverness Caley Thistle would get promoted to the top flight. Each team would play each other three times, then we could have a seven team spilt and we have six more fixtures. 

In total we’d have 45 top tier games. Yes that’s a lot but fans have been starved of football and we could play more in the autumn months. The reasoning for so many games is that it would give Sky their 4 Celtic/Rangers games that they insist on (although again -Sporting Integrity?)

In The Championship, Partick Thistle would remain in that league and they’d be joined by both Raith Rovers and Falkirk. That successfully keeps both League One challengers happy. They could then play each side four times.

Stranraer would stay in League One and Cover Rangers plus Edinburgh City would come up. 

In League Two, no one drops out the professional leagues and they can also welcome Highland league side Brora Rangers and Lowland League leaders Kelty Hearts would come up. 

Then at the end of the 2020-21 season, we can revert to the current set-up of 12-10-10-10. The bottom three of the Premiership would be relegated. The title winners of The Championship would win promotion, while the bottom three would be relegated. The League One champions would be promoted and they’d see three teams relegated. Then in League Two, one side wins promotion, bottom two automatically relegated and the third bottom side in the league would play in a play-off with pyramid winners. 

Or if we like it, we can keep the 14-10-10-10 format. 

As it stands, I honestly think league reconstruction (even it’s just for one year) is the best solution we’ve got that will bring any sort of harmony back to Scottish football. 

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