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A Scottish Football Utopia

Date: 9th March 2021

Supporters Direct Scotland have been asking fans to write down their idea of a Scottish football utopia, you can add your thoughts on this page

The idea got me thinking about the things I’d like to see more of within our game and initiatives that would (in my opinion) make our game better. 

Some of these ideas might be pie in the sky, some will be short term goals that are manageable and others would take a bit more time. 

Here goes: 

Let’s Rebrand The SPFL

When I say this I actually mean let’s take it back to where it was before.

I’ll always call it the Scottish Premiership, while that is the official name but too many out there still call it The SPL (The Scottish Premier League). Try and type out Scottish Premiership on Google and it will predict the Scottish Premier League first, that’s after how many years of trying to get people to call it the Premiership? It’s a losing battle and we should go with the name that will enhance the brand and that’s the name more people still call it by. 

I also think we need to give all the individual leagues their place to brand themselves better. Each league should have their own twitter page, Youtube page and the like. I believe the SPFL at times focuses far too much on the top tier and don’t cater enough for those outside of the Premiership. 

Get More Games/Highlights On TV

With more fans becoming interested in the women’s game, why don’t we see more live games and a highlights show on the telly? 

The same can be said for our lower leagues. Pretty much every club has cameras at games, can we not at least have a compressive lower league online show that gives us plenty of content from games? 

There Should Be A Better Educational Programme To Deal With Prejudice 

Football can also do more to fight against racism, sectarianism, sexism and homophobia. As each Supporters Direct Scotland survey shows us, these issues continue to blight our game and match day experience. 

It’s in the interests of clubs to open themselves up and make themselves as inclusive as possible to the whole community. I know a few clubs, with help from supporters groups and their own charities/foundations, have made inroads in battling these problems but more can be done. It should start at schools with clubs sending in representatives and explaining to kids what makes football great and why we shouldn’t insult others. We should also have a greater eduction programme out there that looks at offenders of such abuses and tries to rehabilitate them (Rangers have used this in the past).

If you improve the match day experience for everyone, then guess what? More people will be inclined to buy tickets and go to football grounds! 

Every Club Should Look At Having A Fan Representative On Their Board

If this pandemic has shown us anything then it should be that football really is nothing without the fans. Some (possibly most) clubs would have ceased existing without a significant backing from their supporters. Clubs should recognise this and welcome more input at board level.

I think it has worked really well at clubs like Motherwell and St Mirren, so we should have more fans in boardrooms to give the most important stakeholders a voice. You could hold bi-annual elections where supporters groups elect a member to put forward the fanbase’s point of view and find out about the big decisions that clubs are making. 

Make Our Game More Environmentally Friendly 

Let’s make our game paperless. Or at least use recycled paper for things such as tickets and physical programmes.

Clubs could create their own energy using things like solar panels. This would give them the possibility to generate more income, saving on costs and reduce the stadium’s carbon emissions. Using LED lights would see teams using 30% less electricity than using normal ones.

Clubs could also recycle rain water (we get plenty of it in Scotland). Harvesting rain water would see Scottish football save on yet another utility bill and would also see them not being a burden on their area’s water supply. Doing more to eliminate single plastic use inside stadiums would be a huge step forward for our local environment.

We should also look at sourcing as much of our produce from local sources. As well as being environmentally friendly, it would also help out the local community and forge strong business links. 

Produce Better Centre-Backs And Wingers

Ok this one’s a bit fanciful and possibly the most unrealistic.

I remember days when we had fully committed and disciplined centre-halves who played at a very high level. It made us a country that was hard to beat. I think we are getting better options coming through but we still miss that commanding leader at the back. 

My grandfather would love to talk to me about the days of Willie Henderson and Jimmy Johnstone. Scotland had two world-class wingers who would have fans up off their seats (if they were ever on them) with dynamic direct runs that would terrorise defenders. I’d love more individual talents like that or a Davie Cooper out there to take our hearts! 

We would love to hear the things you’d like to see that would make Scottish football all the better. 

By Scott Johnston 

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