Monday, January 28, 2013

If there's one subject likely to draw both consensus and discord amongst Scottish football fans, it's League reconstruction.

The consensus is there in that the vast majority of us know that there has to be change of some sort and the discord comes with none of us being able to agree exactly what that change should look like.

The latest proposals on the table from the governing bodies just don't cut it.

There should not be change for changes sake. We've waited long enough for this to happen so it has to be the right proposal that gets accepted.

A 12-12-18 set up is not that proposal.

The few plus points, such as the redistribution of wealth and some sort of pyramid system being in place, are far outweighed by the ludicrous mid season splitting of the divisions and other issues that feel like they were drawn up on the back of a beermat.

The numbers in the top two divisions still do not address the complaint of over familiarity with opponents. Continuing to play the same teams at least four times a season is not going to get the punters flocking back through the turnstiles.

It may do in the Third Division, sorry, National League, where at least we would get a bit of variety, although hopefully that would not be the place we would regularly be finding ourselves.

At the time of writing this, there is still a lot to discuss. By the time you read this, it may already have been done and dusted. We can only hope not, for if it has been, then they've gone for the quick fix and the wrong one.

However this plays out, any change should not be implemented midway through a campaign.

You can't change the goalposts when the thing that everyone thought they were playing for from day one no longer exists.

So what do we at AFTN feel is the way forward?

Well obviously we don't have the magical cure either, but looking at an even 14-14-14 split makes the most sense to us. I'd even be happy with a 12-16-16 and the addition of two new teams to freshen things up from the start.

Maybe we should all take a step back and take a look at the past.

I know times have changed and there are so many different ways that people can spend their time and hard earned cash on a Saturday now, along with the lure of televised games, but the numbers we got at Scottish League games years ago were phenomenal at times.

Apart from it being a different time and mindset, something must have happened to capture the fans' imaginations and get them to keep coming back in numbers week after week.

Let's look back the Fife's glory years and take 1947/48 and 1948/49 as examples.

There were two main divisions and a bit of a mish mash of a third. In that first year we won the 'B' Division. the following season we finished fourth in the 'A' Division.

32 clubs. Two divisions. A 16-16 split, with a further 12 clubs (including some second teams) in the C Division.

Those numbers worked then. Football worked then. East Fife worked then. What changed?

Maybe we should stop looking too much to the future and learn some lessons from the past.

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