Scottish football is broken. That’s been true for a long time, but it seems that only the terminal downfall of Rangers has made people waken up to thatreality.
There are too many divisions, too many teams and too many governing bodies. Rangers and Celtic have (or did have in the case of Rangers) too much power and their dominance of Scottish football since the early 90s has had a devastating effect on the overall quality of the game. In the 60s, 70s and 80s, Scotland was capable of producing top class players like Jim Baxter, Denis Law, Jimmy Johnstone, Kenny Dalglish, Graeme Souness and many more, but the number of players in that kind of class has dwindled dramatically, and it is almost impossible for teams outside the Old Firm to keep their best players beyond their first contracts with the club, and because the reputation of the game in Scotland is so poor, it’s difficult for those clubs to get value for money too.
A recent example of this is David Goodwillie, who left Dundee United to sign for Blackburn Rovers last summer. He moved to the Premier League for a fee of £2million with the potential for United to receive a further £800,000 if certain contract clauses were met. Compare his fee with that of Jay Rodriguez. Rodriguez left Burnley earlier this summer to sign for Southampton, for a fee believed to be around £7million. Their goalscoring records before moving are similar, and they are around the same age, but because the Championship is perceived to be of better quality, Burnley received almost four times as much as Dundee United did.
The much documented problems at Rangers as they have plunged into administration and most recently, liquidation, have stunned Scottish football (and been enjoyed by many supporters) and many big questions are now being asked. But they are being asked far too late in the day, with the damage already done. SPL clubs are stuck in catch 22 situation, with their supporters telling them they want the Rangers Newco to be prevented from rejoining the SPL, while knowing that they will lose a lot of money without 2 home games against Rangers each season if they do vote against Rangers (as several teams have already announced they will do).
Meanwhile, talks have been ongoing between the SPL and SFL as they attempt to push through plans for league reconstruction, in order to allow them to put Rangers into Division 1 and minimize the damage done without them. Without Rangers, not only would clubs lose out on revenue generated by visiting Rangers fans, but there would also be the possibility of Sky’s TV deal being renegotiated, losing clubs even more money. The reconstruction talks would change promotion and relegation between each division, with the SPL expecting that Rangers would still have enough quality to win promotion at the first time of asking, and potentially allowing another Division 1 club to be promoted with them.