Are the SPL’s Intentions For the Good of the Game?

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In a change for Ibrox Noise, this week’s blog features a guest entry
from Marc Payton, a maiden writer who has some interesting views on league
reconstruction and the possible motives behind them.
David Longmuir has revealed the
SFL/SPL “working party” are closer to agreeing a plan for
reconstruction.
He said:
            “I feel that we’ve established a lot of
common ground between all parties and that’s what we’re going to take forward
and build on.”
Nearly everybody is in agreement
that something needs to be done to move Scottish football forward. The game is
dying and everybody can see it. Even the ones who spend their days trying to
convince people that “Armageddon is great” can see it. As far as
Rangers fans are concerned, the SPL is a ‘busted flush’ and should be
disbanded.
The SPL’s inaction and
willingness to damage Scottish football just to have a kick at Rangers looked, at
best incompetent or at worst, just plain corrupt. As a Rangers fan I hoped the
SFL clubs would stick together and fight for their own 16-10-16 team league
reconstruction plans. Personally I quite liked the SFL format; there would be a
bigger top tier, which most fans want and the second tier would have 4 play-off
places at the top and bottom, making the entire division exciting and would
give a club in the bottom tier a chance to get to the SPL after 2 seasons.
David Longmuir said today on
Radio Scotland:
            “The only way to get full agreement on
reconstruction…”
…was to back the SPL’s plans, which
are two leagues of 12 and a bottom tier of 18.
When the SPL format was first
mooted the plans were for a 12-team SPL1 and a 12-team SPL2 which would consist
of SFL clubs who would be invited to leave the SFL and join the SPL. This was a
veiled threat to clubs who dissented that they would be cut adrift. This is how
the SPL rolls.
David Longmuir also indicated
that there will only be one league body. Again, most people agree there is no
need for two league bodies but the SPL will be desperate to stay in control
and, if they succeed in gaining complete control, it will be bad news for
Rangers. We would have no option but to join their league setup and give them
free reign over us, which, in my opinion, will embolden their title-stripping
plans and allow them to withhold any amount of prize money they need to keep
their league afloat.
The way Mr Longmuir’s statement
came across to me is that the SPL are digging their feet in and refusing point-blank
to accept SFL plans and SFL clubs are happy to be dictated to, again.
 For a lot of Rangers fans this
will look like the SFL are caving in, even though the SPL is financially weak
and the SFL has the biggest club in the country and the ‘Rangers pound’ backing
them. Viewing figures suggest that Longmuir is also holding the aces in
negotiations over TV rights.
So why do the SFL clubs seem to
be lying down over reconstruction?
If the SPL’s 12-12-18 plans are
put in place and, as SPL chairmen seem to be desperate to point out at every
opportunity, ‘there’s no plans for Rangers to be fast tracked up the leagues’
where is the ‘sweetener’ for the 18 clubs at the bottom?
The SPL has no money to pay
bribes…unless Celtic are going to pay it out of their Champions League
income. Being the great “love me” club that they are, you never know.
According to Mr Longmuir no
details have been agreed yet, so any figures are only speculation. But one
thing that is guaranteed is the loyalty of Rangers fans. We stand by our team
and are happily funding our team via season tickets, match tickets and the
share issue. We’re a defiant lot.
So how are Peter Lawwell and his
sidekicks in the SFA and SPL managing to win the votes of the clubs who will be
left outside the top 2 divisions?
Are they using the Rangers fans’
loyalty and money to sweeten chairmen of the bottom 18 clubs?
If the SPL plans get the go-ahead
we will need to play every club again at least once in their own grounds on our
way to the top, and something that is almost guaranteed when Rangers come to
town is a huge following and a big payday, unless you are one of the few SPL
clubs who spent the summer actively trying to hurt Rangers, as Dundee and Hibs
recently found out.
I think Rangers fans are being
taken for granted and being used for the self-preservation of the clubs in the
Self Preservation League.
Rangers fans are perfectly happy
to put money into the clubs at the bottom of Scottish football. For some it is
a way of repaying the clubs for inviting Rangers into their league and to pay
something back into the game after the damage Whyte did in Rangers’ name. And
for others it is about earning our place back at the top.
But if the details show that we
are being taken for granted and used by the people who have done all they
can to hurt our club should we threaten to withdraw our money from the leagues
altogether and just support our club at Ibrox? If these clubs are happy to give
up the chance of proper reconstruction for one payday maybe they are not
thinking about the good of Scottish football.
Marc Payton
You can follow Marc on Twitter via his account @marc15277