Thursday, April 22, 2010

With the first part of ex East Fife star Henry McLeish's Scottish Football Review due to get published tomorrow, Supporters Direct today took the opportunity to publish the findings of their fan review of the state of the game in the country.

In September last year, Supporters Direct launched a survey to try to measure the views of supporters on a range of issues facing football in Scotland. The 20 question survey drew a response from more than 1300 football fans representing 31 Supporters Trusts across Scotland. It was less than the 2000 responses they had hoped to achieve, but stll enough to gauge a very valid opinion of fans' views on the game at present.

The questions posed included how happy fans were with their individual clubs, the league structure, administration of the game and youth development.

The League structures are pretty much debated every year and when you have a season like this one where two First Division sides reach the Scottish Cup semis, and one the final, it's a subject that will never go away until the necessary changes are made.

Of course, what these changes should be is hard to get everyone to agree to. But we do seem to all agree that there HAS to be changes and soon.

Should teams play each other two, three or the current horrendous four times a season? An overwhelming 83% of repsondents went with the twice a year option, which we at AFTN also favour. 13% went with three, always ridiculous I feel with regards to fixture fairness and home advantage. 4% wanted four times as at present. Those respondents obviously haven't been at the spate of East Fife-Brechin and East Fife-Arbroath games in recent seasons.

Most pleasing to me in the survey results though was that 84% of fans would like to see some kind of pyramid structure introduced into the game in Scotland, akin to the wonderful English system that gives hopes to any club and club owners that show ambition.

With proper promotion and relegation, some of the dregs of the Scottish game will be forced to change and improve or let others who offer more to the game step forward. Yes, survival of the fittest is harsh but it is for the greater good of the game in Scotland, and yes, I do appreciate this affect our beloved East Fife somewhere down the line.

Other stand out results of the survey were that 90% of fans want more streamlining when it comes to administering football in Scotland, but sadly 91% of fans feel that they have no power to influence change in the game, although they feel they should have that chance.

That's where Supporters Trust are so important and why Clubs like East Fife have benefitted from our Trust's involvement. If you're not involved with the EFST or your own club's Trust then there is no better time to seek that involvement than now.

Strong Trusts and a strong Supporters Direct will benefit everyone. We all want the same fundamental thing at the end of the day - our club and our national team to prosper.

The full results should be up on the Supporters Direct website shortly.

The results shouldn't come as too much of a surprise to us, the fans, but whether any of the idiots that are currently running the game will do anything about them is open to debate.

With McLeish's review also likely to be hard hitting tomorrow, it's now finally reached the stage where they shouldn't be able ignore the calls for change any longer.

And let's be honest. It can't get too much worse in the Scottish game than it is at present.

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