Re-Structuring of Scottish Football – The Wrong Answer to the Wrong Question? Guest Post by mcfc

I’ve been thinking about reconstruction and what I would do if parachuted into Hampden. Here are a few suggestions that Mr Doncaster et al are free to act upon. Although, further advice will be charged at my usual rate of pies and beer!

The first problem I see is that the SFA/SPL/SFL execs are caught is the classic exec conundrum – things are going tits up on their watch and things must be turned round quickly and dramatically without losing face – or their jobs. Their instinctive solution is dramatic re-structuring – WRONG.

You see it in big organisations all the time. Re-structuring lets you start at year zero, resetting all the inconvenient measures and metrics. But does it create a better business– usually not – but often the execs responsible move on before reality bites again.

The key questions for the execs are

  • how did we get in this mess
  • what did we do
  • why didn’t it work
  • what are we not understanding
  • where will our current trajectory take us
  • what is a reasonable and realistic alternative outcome?

Now, the first barrier to this approach is humility – big execs have big egos and there are lots of other big egos waiting to take your job – such humble introspection requires rare strength of character. In fact leading a complex organisation out of trouble requires immense skill, inner strength and hard work.  Many big organisations change execs to solve problems like football clubs change managers – again starting at year zero – But does this create a better business – not unless the new skill-set and experience are significantly better. So here are the first 4 steps of my 12 step plan.


One sometimes gets the impression that this is what the organisation of the football re-structuring is like behind the scenes!

One sometimes gets the impression that this is what the organisation of the football re-structuring is like behind the scenes!

Step 1

  • A man needs to know his limitations
  • Forget about revolution
  • identify what is wrong and fix it
  • change needs to be slow and predictable to reduce resistance and build trust
  • make small, informed changes- evaluate results
  • make further small changes
  • reverse if necessary
  • success breeds success
  • confidence breeds confidence
  • small failures are easier to recover than big ones
  • Evolve.


Step 2

  • No man is an island
  • need to bring clubs together as a team
  • competing for fans’ time and money against a million other recreational activities
  • clubs rise together or fall together
  • It will take time and effort but there is no alternative.
  • Big clubs won’t be big clubs for long if the little clubs disappear.


Step 3

  • Acknowledge that all money in football comes from fans.
  • No fans = no season tickets,
  • No fans = no gate money,
  • No fans = no TV deals,
  • No fans = no sponsorship,
  • No fans = no merchandise.
  • All money in football comes from fans.
  • Ergo – football needs more fans, attending more often, happily spending more money each time.


Step 4

  • Identify the key success factors for the business AND understand what fans love and hate
  • this is common to all clubs
  • make gradual changes over 3-5 years
  • remove meaningless mid-table matches
  • gradually change league numbers, promotion, relegation and all notified well in advance.
  • Manage financial impact of relegation – parachute payments etc – sudden shocks wreck businesses
  • Motivate teams to play every match like a cup final with revenue sharing based on points, goals, cards
  • Gradually re-distribute revenue allowing clubs to plan and adjust
  • Ring fence revenue for player development and train for high skill levels as in Holland, Spain etc
  • Be imaginative attracting more occasional customers through value pricing, family discounts, group deals, event packages etc
  • Demand high standards in all aspects of the game e.g. Zero tolerance to anti-social behaviour by fans, diving, getting in ref’s face, bringing the game into disrepute  etc  etc
  • Set a standard Scotland can be proud of.


Step 5 – The perfect league structure is . . . .


Posted by mcfc



Filed under Football Governance, Guest Posts, SFA, SPL

56 responses to “Re-Structuring of Scottish Football – The Wrong Answer to the Wrong Question? Guest Post by mcfc

  1. Summer football , good pricing , games played Friday evening to Sunday evening ( not the two same teams Mick) massive investment in schools and grassroots football ( get fat Alex to stump up ) , Rangers to be awarded 20 point start of every season , by to all cup finals , referees and officials to be of an approved lodge .

  2. cam

    Turn the pitches into tennis courts and sit back and watch two tribes ruin a beautiful game!

  3. mick

    @MCFC well academicilly put m8 a have a div2 player in our hut a builder and they have two find sponcers for kits that to me is shocking we need the sfa to supply players and teams with cash for nescietys such as these ,we all know the whole sfa structure and its application is wrong but the trouble is who do we get them out and men like turnbull hutton and auldhied in to replace them ,a feel scotland has the talent to run the sfa as a charity with no fees at board level the board could be made up of explayers lawyers academics that love the game and would do it for free this money freed up would sort the cash flow and we could have fans reps on board theres lots to be looked at as for number5 what is wrong with the league now nothing it would be fair to leave reconstrution till sevco are back in the spl as we dont want div2 to miss out on a payday next year when the bears come to town for the div2 part of there climb back then in to 1 then back in spl that would be fair and no1 would miss out on the sevco pound

    • Still looking for the mighty Rangers pound ! just because the greatest fans in the cant fill stadiums they want the country’s premier club to fill the void , no problem , stand aside and let the big boys sort out your problems .

      • Steven brennan

        Your big boys certainly sorted out your problems.
        Is every post you make designed to antagonise ?

        • tykebhoy

          when you see this rubbish you will understand the answer is always

          • mick

            @tykebhoy he really is mcmurder and delutional putting it mildly a see carson is over on it agian

          • Cregganduff

            Read that TB
            Seems to me that McMurdo and Leggo are engaged in a pissing contest for the title of Chief Rangers Bigot. They don’t seem to realise, or more likely don’t care what type of brain dead morons they are appealing to, or that they are dragging the name of their team further down the sectarian gutter. Things can only get worse.

        • ecojon

          @Steven brennan

          I seem to remember that the Big Boy Rangers Investors walked away from saving their club and the mystery overseas investors did the job and nine months later Ranger fans still haven’t a clue who these people are or what reward they got for their investment,

        • Budweiser

          Personally I think, having been away for a glorious week, and skimmed through the intervening posts. that ecojon is correct in his assertion that replies to carsons’ posts is a waste of time and effort.
          carson claims to be an ‘old soldier’. My father was in the gun crews [oerlikon or pom- poms] in corvettes and destroyers in ww2 and sailed in the atlantic and murmansk convoys. My grandfather returned from France in ww1 with burn scars on his throat ,chin and cheek from gas attacks and had them till his death aged 86. My point is, I suppose ,that I could never, and I tried really hard, to get them to talk about combat or their time in the services in any meaningful way. Real soldiers don’t , in my experience, flaunt ,brag or even talk about their time in service except to other servicemen who understand what the war experience was like.
          Although they are both now dead, I feel that carson would be a cause for severe embarrassment to them and they would seek to ignore him totally – which I will now do.

      • mick

        not that big 2 nil at half time with dun.utd.

        • Cregganduff

          And its All Ireland in Cardiff.

        • Cregganduff

          “A chastening experience for Rangers this afternoon.”
          I wonder what the annual budget at Dundee United is?
          Red Card for Naismith and now Ian Black, no dignity, can’t take their beating. What a shambles, mighty Rangers my arse.

      • Sweeney Hughes

        The usual piss and wind, bluff and bluster!
        More of the same please, I honestly never dreamed things would come to this, hilarious!
        ‘Big boys’ lol!!!

        God bless the sleekit, though a tad dim, sally .

      • Jamie

        A few more results like Saturday’s you’ll have trouble filling your main stand nevermind the void.

  4. JamboCol1874

    Strong leadership that thinks only of the good of the game.

    I find it incredulous that all four of Ogilvie, Regan, Doncaster and Longmuir (who I just don’t understand why he is getting all the plaudits he does) are all still in their positions.

    If trying to blackmail clubs into allowing a liquidated club as far up the league structure tree wasn’t bad enough, they then tried to ‘negotiate’ the stripping of awards (what fans really hold most dear) to allow a club an associate membership, without going through due process.

    I’d put myself forward but I’m rooting for Hearts, Scotland, Dundee United, Raith Rovers and Aberdeen this weekend. And only Ross County of all their opponents have I even the most smidgeon of respect for.

    • arb urns

      Spot on JC in para 2 how these four remain in post just stinks, the president of the sfa right up to the betty swollox in the biggest scandal scottish sport has ever seen. longmuir plaudits i find incredible when it came to cometh the hour in their ‘scheme’ from memory i think he produced two votes, he is to blame for this whole fiasco, how he never fessed up before the sfl vote is beyond the pail,now he pitches up on gers tv at 99p a lob and admits to the nation he has a teddy bear collection at home. the other two are ‘morris dancers’ and they have flat feet.

      nobody in authority seems to realise fans have a choice in respect of attendance even after the summer warning they are still pissing about 9 months later.

  5. Jon

    There is no perfect structure Paul so what we must aim for is the best structure that will produce the best players because this will ultimately provide better entertainment. Football is first and foremost a sport but as a business it is in the entertainment business.

    By definition a perfect structure has no flaws so whatever the best structure is there will be one or two areas where some people are not happy and I think the biggest barrier to change is the perception of meaningless mid-table matches.

    I, on the other hand, am a big fan of these matches because they are essential to the development of the game and indeed the future prosperity of every club. It is local lads playing for their local club who live out the dreams of the supporter – not foreign imports, however talented they are, and I want to see these kids develop into quality players.

    In bygone eras when Scotland produced a lot of outstanding footballers, how many made their debuts as teenagers in meaningless mid-table games? Lots I would imagine.

    In recent years perhaps the greatest example of a group of genuinely gifted young Scottish players was the Hibs team of 2000 – 2005 when the likes of Kenny Miller, Kevin Thomson, Scott Brown, Ian Murray, Derek Riordan, Steven Whittaker, Garry O’Connor and Steven Fletcher all performed as teenagers for the men in green went on to play for Scotland.

    Whilst most of these players enjoyed their best spell under Tony Mowbray, many became regulars playing under Bobby Williamson, the current manager of Uganda. Williamson who was forced to turn to youth because the club was heavily in debt.

    Fast forward to 2013 and the club has a new stadium, its own training ground and debt contained pretty much to long-term mortgages. In terms of infrastructure, Hibernian is a model club. The problem they have is being able to fill the stadium but that is not an exclusive problem

    But staying with Hibs, I recall when they were relegated in 1998, they went on to win the first division by a record margin, the crowds were up and they returned to the top tier with 9000 season ticket holders. Why did the crowds return? I think it was simply because they were winning more often than they were losing. Watching football at Easter Road became a good day out once again.

    Scottish football needs meaningless games for young players to flourish. It needs a bigger league so the yo-yo clubs can find some stability and plan three to five years ahead. It needs the likes of Aberdeen, Dundee United, Hearts, Hibs, Motherwell, Kilmarnock etc to be able to go on 7,8,9 game unbeaten runs to attract the fans back. It needs a greater sense of occasion to big games that playing four times a season fails to deliver and only a bigger league can achieve these aims.

    With regard to ticket prices – that’s up to individual clubs but visiting fans should be charged a fixed price throughout the game. Rangers and Celtic fans in particular have been fleeced for years and it is not fair so do away with categorizing games for the purposes of pricing.

    A more even distribution of league income from TV and sponsorship is paramount and a model similar to the Premiership in terms of percentages would suffice.

    Regards TV, a better selection of matches is essential. There is no point putting on fixtures with 3,500 people in attendance because it is embarrassing to the SPL. If at least 10,000 people can’t be bothered to turn up then why would the viewer at home bother to switch on? The highlights package also needs to improve – it’s cheap and tacky which might befit the current standard of play but it is still an advert for the game and requires more cameras and greater analysis. It hardly inspires people to want to go out and watch their team.

    And a word on agents – they represent players and should be paid by those they represent. Clubs should not give agents a penny or entertain signing on fees – just agree a wage and let the player pay the agent from their wages. The prospect of signing on fees makes agents engineer moves that often neither benefit club or player.

    There is a futility about football in that most clubs will always have to sell their best assets but that is nothing new. The important thing is to keep producing talent that can be sold to safeguard the club for future generations to enjoy and playing in a league that allows young talent to flourish by not playing in fear has to be the way ahead.

  6. Why the need for reconstruction ? sponsors queuing up to throw cash away , football in fantastic , tv can’t get enough if the premier clubs , attendances going through the roof , what’s the problem ?

  7. Allfanstogether

    Very good post. Although nobody has hit the nail on the head why
    Scottish football is in such a sorry state, or, who caused it to be, IMHO, two reasons have caused the demise. (1) cast back to the middle eighties, when Scottish clubs could hold their heads up when playing in Europe, enter SDM when his only thought was to borrow and borrow to inflate his own ego, and the same of the supporters of his club, his actions are what caused other Scottish clubs to live beyond their means. (2) far to many Rangers minded persons involved in the running of SFA, SPL, SFL, Referees, the Media, and Officials etc of most other clubs, this holds up by the amount of Officials, Referees, Media people, that have all come out of the closet recently.

    • ecojon


      I think we tend to look at this in a negative sense by blaming football for the declining attendances. We have to remember that in recent years there ha been a continual growth of tons of other so-called minority sports which not only draw spectators but also participants. And there is a helluva lot of sponsorship money in this area.

      I think we are seeing a cultural change taking place causing falling attendances and the governance of the game as well as the actual game and all the clubs need to be subjected to a radical marketing approach.

      This shouldn’t be about just arresting the general decline and needs to go beyond football by creating sports hubs at the stadiums where other sports can be added an increase profits but also provide year round income rather than the current feast or famine football income model.

      Ancillary businessess could be added based on services already provided for footballers like physio, training fitness classes and so on. There is also whole community spin-off by attracting more and more youngsters – boys and girls – and introucing them to sport, healthy nutrition and exercise. There must be ways to finance this side which could possibly also benefit from charitable status.

      I just feel that unless we find a bold new marketing vision that football attendances will continue to decline and reducing incomes will slowly devalue our premier league no matter what name it is given.

    • Jon

      I think any league with an income distribution model like the SPL would fail – regardless of the amounts of money involved. What’s more, the SPL voting structure is geared towards protecting a cartel at the top and yet, since that cartel was broken there has been no change to that voting structure. Are we content to sit back for three years in order to resume the old order? I sincerely hope not.

  8. Sweeney Hughes

    It still amazes me that when the benefit cheats were mopping up ever spare penny, through fair means or foul, the current set up was just fine and dandy and any talks of reconstruction, in any of the permutations currently being banded about, was mocked, from just about everyone from Peter Lawwell to Derek Johnstone!!!

  9. arb urns

    one thing we dont need is more clubs- guess what we will get in this latest re-con- more clubs. what is the combined salaries of these two morris dancing chief execs, there’s a start mcfc.

    terracing is a must.

    last season i offered a scottish football club £25 for father and son tickets to a cup-tie as last minute walk ups, standing in a q which we joined before the 2.30 cut off ,guess what we didnt get in refused tickets at 2.32 alongwith at least 15 others behind us. the crowd at the game was 2172.

    today we have one farcical football club calling on their fans to boycott a fellow SFA members ground in the SFA’s prestige competition , THE WORLDS OLDEST CUP COMPETITION, will anything be done about it.

    re-construction of the brain at control HQ urgently rqd.

    wha’s like us.

    its all cams fault hows the timeless game o’monopoly going c.

  10. mick

    sevco got put in there place in dundee what a game and what a slagging sally and co got there bubble was well burst lol haha well done utd

  11. arb urns

    ” a thought the ref was terrible not nearly enough added time totally scuppered ma plans o’ gettin down to 7 men, abandonment, and a replay”

    • mick

      @arb urns it would have been nice for johnny to get a hattrick a couple of min. due to fouls a think the ref just wanted it over and done with most like due to the fact hes sevcoian lol

      after watching the game it is safe and factual to say they are a nonentity apart from the large crowd debate a cant see them winning anything for years and while they are in lower leagues a new firm will emerge just like in the later part of the last centuary with aberdeen and utd taking center stage only this time a feel big tel bhoy will be part of it ,with green to pay backers and sally buying slackers and hackers the damge done via financial doping and mismanagement of the tax and income in and out there doomed for decades as they climb back the spl will get stronger and when they appear they will be in religation fights or mid table like the 80s ,lets not forget the last time the 2 meet at sevco dome utd done them with there full squad so its all doom and gloom over there also add in greens a spiv and has investors to pay dividends 33% on wages and all that its just great to watch after all the trouble they have caused and well done to utd for the atmosphere it was just 1 of the highlights of the season if not the best ,when we come to play them agian it will be a breeze and a joy to watch sally must stay as a think he set a new world record today with the amount of cups he has been dumped out of ,on and of the park utd were brillent today and deserve a lot of credit and have shown back bone on how to deal with bullys and cheats well done to them

    • martin c

      Rangers fans are asking what was the point of the boycott? Through the match they were an embarrassment and were embarrassed.

      To have such a spectacle shown on premium television takes nothing away from DU who went about the job with true professionalism. Any person of influence watching, I’m sure, would think “boycott” we don’t do boycotts, we are a business with joint commercial interests. nobody likes them anyway, they don’t care.

      If I was restructuring a league system the contract would state that all team are there to benefit the economics of all teams involved.

      • mick

        @martin they really are an embaressment on and of the park look at the drama from them they will hit a brick wall soon as greens a spiv

      • ecojon

        @martin c

        Tbh I thought that clause was already there and I can’t be annoyed looking at the rule book.

        Wording a bit different along the lines of no club will cause detriment to a fellow club or some such.

  12. gubbed!!!
    not post match interview by mccoist?
    we demand to know what he thinks!

  13. sage jim predicts within 5 years sevco will be no more, fans will be scattered to the four divisions,every season they will depart heads bowed, tails between there legs howling at the moon at the injustice lol

  14. Yes the mighty Rangers were outclassed today , no argument from me , the better team won and good luck them in the next round , not the referees fault , not the linesman fault , no Masonic conspiracy , no dodgy penalties just a game when the best team won , how refreshing .

  15. mick

    black makes signs to fans when leaving the field reacting to the fans baiting him this is a sfa offence and should be disiplined at the end of above video the commentator says what is he on that sums the player up
    it will be intresting to see if the sfa take action ?

  16. What will be even more interesting will be what liewell takes action , if any , against the young “lady” who attacked a mother of three on a train for asking her to stop singing sectarian songs , while the young ” lady ” was on here way home from watching septic .

    • I cannot believe this post got a thumbs down ! lol! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ! Pmsl !

      • arb urns

        its not all bad news c. montrose peterhead and queens p have all dropped points

      • Sweeney Hughes

        I think you’ll find that Peter has put her first team place on hold, though making it perfectly clear that if she were to take the stp up to throwing homeless folk into fountains while Non Educated Delinquents of an age to be fathers and grandfathers squeeled like wee lassies wetting themselves with delight at the sight she would be transfered to some semi pro team in the fouth tier of Scodditch football imediately!!!

    • John C

      Did the mother of three have any pets, I like people who keep pets, not too fussed about children, can take them or leave them but a pet owner now she would probably get my sympathy.
      Do we know if it was actually a sectarian song ?
      We know how easily political songs are misrepresented as sectarian in Scotland, could she have ment offensive ? I mean why go to all the bother of changing the laws to obfuscate sectarianism and racism when they can’t even get the basics right.
      I did so enjoy Tinkerbell FC getting pumped today.

      • No I didn’t expect the young mother of three to get any sympathy , just merly pointing out the hipocracy of the septic support , you would probably have turned a blind eye , ignored it , hoped it didn’t happen , swept it under the carpet , now I’ll let you get back to your cats.

      • Steven brennan

        What would you have done if it was your mother/ sister/ wife who was subjected to a violent assault while going about her life.
        No excuse for this

    • Steven brennan

      I read the article about this young female thug, she epitomises all that is wrong with west Scotland society.
      I hope the full wrath of the court send a message to all the horrid bigots they will not be tolerated in our society.

      • Budweiser

        Steven brennan
        I agree with you 100%. If you read any local or national newspaper incidents like this, and much worse, happen on a daily basis.
        But ask yourself this: Why , in a debate about football restructuring, does carson bring this particular case to our attention? If it involved a rangers supporting person do you think he would have mentioned it, or been similarly outraged?
        He is dangling bait so that he can open his own poisonous can of worms, and you unfortunately are ‘biting’. Please think about it.

        • Steven brennan

          I appreciate the fact he is an eejit, but I also know if the girl on the train had been of the same persuasion as him then someone else on here would have brought it up.
          The fact remains she was wrong.
          The fact also remain (agenda man) brought it up to anatgonise.
          And I bit.

  17. allyjambo

    Excellent blog, and very well structured. Sadly it is far too sensible for the geniuses (in their own combined egos) that run Scottish football to stop smirking long enough to consider. Your point that it is easier to recover from small mistakes than big ones is so obvious that massive egos would never be able to grasp it. Just ask Rangers/Murray, they know the value of taking the big risk… with other peoples money! Well I hope they do now (though I suspect not).

  18. John Burns

    Look, all these many words are fine and dandy regarding the so-called ;’state’ of Scottish football…..however –

    If all was the same AS NOW and the Ibrox brand was sweeping the boards – THERE WOULD BE ABSOLUTELY NO DISCUSSION ON THE STATE OF SCOTTISH FOOTBALL.

    These ‘peepell’ have destroyed themselves and simply want to bring the organisation of the game down to their level.

    Probably you would still get 40,000 turning up at Ibrox if they were playing on a Tuesday afternoon in the Glasgow Shopkeepers League… is not about football with these ‘peepell’ – their agenda starts with supremacy, driven by sectarianism and bigotry.

    We may all offer ‘the hand of friendship’ BUT, they will ‘bite it off’.

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