84% of fans feel alienated but still believe in football

Date: 16th May 2020

The views of SFSA chairman Andrew smith on recent events regarding the SPFL:


84 Out of Every 100 Fans Feel Alienated But Still Believe in Football


Another week without football, more civil war, and with all that is wrong in our game in plain sight.

Even Stewart Regan has been quoted and probably for the first time,  I agree with him when he said:“Self-interest has to disappear”.

None of us can dispute that and I don’t believe many can find fault with Gerry Britton of relegated Partick Thistle calling for a major change in the set-up of the SFPL.

Gerry sees a better future with our game being run with“an executive board with no club affiliations”.


A cynic might think this is just a bad reaction to his club being dumped out of our championship but Gerry sums up the key problem in how our game is run, that being individual club agendas.


“An independent board would remove this self-interested angle which every director on the SPFL board that is connected with a club must have,” he said.


In the meantime peace has not broken out and our civil war is still playing out in the mainstream media and in particular on BBC Scotland radio.


An outsider looking in would see our SPFL is run by a board that can’t seem to be able to manage getting the content right, nor the process of a smooth end of season vote which became The Good Friday Disagreement.


Even allowing for the difficulties running any business in a time of home working and furloughing, it was still at best a very bad day at the office for Neil and Co.


What was worse was the SPFL board’s decision somewhere along the line to disrespect the pyramid.


This did two things.


First it sent a message to all the aspirant clubs who are revolutionising our game at community level.


Big mistake.

The realities are the top two clubs in our SPFL league 2, Cove Rangers and Edinburgh City are recent pyramid winners and the pyramid is starting to really work and integrate football all over Scotland.


Second, it effectively hung out to dry one of the SPFL board who is also chairman of Brechin City who were in play-off position and who have thus escaped.
He has been accused of self-interest in a world where self-interest abounds.


We at SFSA are on record as saying we think the vote was badly set-up.


At a time of chaos we would have preferred  a no relegation policy and agreed to arrange an interim period on resumption. (The Lowland League also came to this conclusion).

We could foresee our clubs having enough trouble to deal with in the Covid-19 revenue freeze and the fact is that nobody knows when the next season will start, what will have happened to our clubs and how we will be able to best move forward.


At this time of major uncertainty The SPFL constructed a Taskforce to look at how best to manage these issues.


Lots of people from the game were hastily gathered and worked on plans under the co-chairmanship of Ann Budge and Les Gray.

Les even phoned our Paul Goodwin and asked for input, that we then asked you for in our recent supporters survey regarding league reconstruction. The results can be found on our website.


The Taskforce however was quickly dropped as our top clubs decided that change was not on their individual and collective agendas.


So much for that wee plan.

What a waste of time.

How disrespectful too.


In the meantime, these facts that came out of the FanQ Panel survey are a relevant and  genuine insight into what fans thought about where we were and where we should be going.


Among our findings –


83% of fans want larger leagues.

87% believe that listening to the fans would make our game better.

84% feel they have no say and are alienated by how things are run.


Damning, honest statistics from a game run by two institutions, both overrun and hampered by individual club self-interest.



That would have been my depressing sign off but something happened.

Something that demonstrates that football can be bigger than the top-end machinations in our game where every club wants more and more and more.


Football can be a real power for good


This dropped into my inbox yesterday and is worth the three minutes to see what our small clubs are doing right now in their communities.


It is the kind of football landscape I want to see and be part of.

Keeping the community going – https://t.co/gaZjnlPmDL

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