Watching the news unfold about the SPL planning the reconstruction of Scottish football is almost reminiscent of looking on as a chess Master prepares and plans a cunning strategy. It also manages to evoke symbolism and imagery of an ancient Chinese military General plotting & scheming creative, yet devious ways to win an epic battle by brokering or blackmailing deals with opposing clans in order to strengthen his forces. Stop and pause for a moment to reflect on the current situation. Think very carefully about what has actually happened, where Scottish football currently stands and what is now being manipulated and planned by those in the SPL and Hampden corridors who helped bring us to where we are today.
Perhaps the old adage about not being able to see the woods for the trees is appropriate to use here because while it might not seem so at first glance, I think that there's some incredibly deceptive and deceitful plans being drawn up by Scottish football's top flight in our absence. To consider what might aid a blurring of vision we can't look at the almost refined "all's fair in love and war" type genius of Kasparov or Sun Tzu. No, instead we need to imagine a scummy cauldron at Hampden surrounded by cloaked, broomstick wielding figures with long noses and evil grins rubbing their hands as they cackle and caw "SPL", "stronger", "Sky", "ESPN", "more money", "SPL", "more money", "share", "fair play", "sporting integrity", "no Rangers". #seriously
Can you see the picture? No? Right, never mind the symbolism and imagery then, let's just take a look at the known and absolutely irrefutable facts. Since the breakaway from the SFL and the SPL's inception almost 15 years ago, Scotland's Premier League now finds itself at it's weakest, lowest ebb since it's beginnings in the late nineties. The SPL finds itself at this seminal low point in strength for a number of reasons, some of which so-called experts can't even put their finger on because it's not an exact science. The primary and most important reason of all though, is that the SPL - under the full, watchful attention of the SFA - kicked Rangers out of our league this summer amidst a blood-fueled hysteria of lies and propaganda.
They could easily - with the SFA's blessing if necessary - have transferred our club's rightful league share to Charles Green and the club's new 'corporate vehicle' (aka 'the company') immediately without taking council from crazed fans or holding rigged SPL boardroom votes and just simply and fairly punished our club with a huge point deduction in order to relegate us to the 1st Division. But no, that was too easy. Instead, those remarkably clever people running our game allowed the print and broadcast media to brainwash Scottish football fans nationwide into a blood lusting, mindless feeding frenzy and threw our club to their complete lack of mercy or reason.
The result of that SPL & SFA incompetence under the tenures of Stewart Regan and Neil Doncaster (both still here for some bizarre, unknown reason), was them leaving the countries' greatest football club without a league to play in and themselves without a massive chunk of their revenue stream. So now there they are, with their media manipulated - but fan-sanctioned - severely weakened Premier League, twelve teams in number and here we are in the strengthened and rejuvenated faithful old dog known as the SFL, thirty teams in number and this dog can hunt!
So where's the mess cleaner-uppers? Where's the emergency vehicles or damage repair specialists? Never mind that! Where's the bloody magicians or even better the alchemists? How can the 12 team SPL at it's poorest and weakest in it's 14 to 15 year existence plan and orchestrate a fix? It's a fix for the whole of Scottish football remember and not just for the problem the SPL has created for itself.... honest! Well, it comes as no surprise that there's a fiendishly, dastardly clever aspect to the SPL proposals that's befitting of the Wacky Races. Yes, there's a slight of hand on the cards.
You see, the SPL know that by in large Scottish football needs and wants some form of reconstruction since discussions about it have been on the agenda for several years. Even although the SPL haven't previously been fully in sync due to not being keen on losing their stranglehold of the game, changing the status quo now is mutually beneficial to them in their weakened form. They can also make a lot of Scottish clubs and their fans happy by playing ball on reconstruction and offering things others have wanted. Reconstruction? No problem! Three leagues instead of four? No problem! An 18 team league? No problem! More promotion and relegation places? No problem! More interesting play-off and/or split structure? No problem! More money for you, you and you? No problem!
There IS a problem though and it's a BIG problem as far as this Bear's concerned. Underneath all the sparkly, glittery goodness of it all, the SPL wants to strengthen it's weakened position and weaken the SFL's strengthened position. They're going to try to dazzle and bamboozle clubs in the SFL with some rose tint and the promise of some extra wonga, some thrill and adventure into pastures new. It has to be said that there's a fair chance of enough SFL clubs falling for the slight of hand and allowing the SPL to basically take over Scottish football completely because they almost all need extra cash and want a change in the game's structure.
That's where the SPL has them hook, line and sinker, so for those of us against the SPL's reconstruction plans all we can hope for is that the SFL as a majority is wise enough to the SPL's self-serving scheming and plotting to see that they want to take complete control of the game with a 24 club to 18 club majority. That's what it'll be because there won't be any SPL>SFL merger under serious discussion. The idea of serious merger talks will just be another dangling carrot. Now you see me, now you don't.
Another deciding factor for a fair number of the small SFL clubs voting on the SPL proposals (assuming it gets that far) is that they'll get to keep Rangers down there in the proposed 18 team 3rd tier because there's probably very little chance that the SPL will fast track us into their new setup. I think it's pretty fair to predict that we will be the big carrot for the current Division 2 and 3 SFL clubs, the money shot if you will.
A lot of Gers fans won't have a problem with that either from what I can tell because there seems to be a sentiment similar to the defiance that was present when saying 'let's go to the 3rd'. It's similar in the sense that a lot, if not most of us don't want fast tracked back up or any special treatment. That's despite the fact that we feel hard done by with everything that's happened and the way we've been treated, so it's not hard to argue that it's admirable, although I don't count myself as having ever thought that we deserved to be going down to the 3rd Division.
Anyway, I'll finish off this wee Friday rant of mine by saying to any of you reading from other SFL clubs that you should keep in mind the SPL isn't planning to help you, it's planning to help itself by strengthening at the SFL's expense. Maybe you're happy with that, maybe you're not. It's your decision.
Finally, to the Bears & Bearettes reading, I want to focus down on this: What does OUR club have to gain from these reconstruction proposals from the loony brigade? If it were to be agreed on and rushed through and we were in the 18 team 3rd tier, we'd be playing against the same teams next season that we're playing this season plus 8 more. Ok, so we're making new friends down here in the 3rd and that's great, but playing them all again next season would be taking the piss would it not?
Think about it...
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