Sending an elevator

Date: 3rd November 2020

The latest blog from SFSA writer Donald Stewart:

When some people suffer a lack of creativity, they often look abroad for some.

This may feel like an unfair criticism, given the state of our game but when we are not managing to find success, we often look to others to see if they can provide us with the pointers that could circumvent a plan we don’t fancy any more.

In my years as a fan I have heard about Holland, Spain, Italy, Iceland, and Wales being the types of processes we need to follow. I have listened to many tell us it’s the infrastructure and it’s the weather, it’s the games weans play, and the lack of resources adults provide for them.

What we don’t get is a solution and my worry, if we do qualify for the Euro’s is that Steve Clarke shall have proven to some, that we don’t need to change a thing…

But now and again we do see abroad or down south something that makes sense.

This week I was intrigued by an FA scheme in England where the FA Cup prize money is to be shared with the losing teams. 25% of the money will go to the losing teams where they got nothing before. Now we are only talking about £5K each but I cannot think of a more deserving cause in football than the lower reaches of the leagues where clubs who are not filled with Millionaires or even backed by them, should benefit from the largesse that has been accrued for a competition that has the mystique and the reach of the FA Cup.

If we are to copy anything from anywhere, please let it be how the minnows in our leagues survive.

I can already hear the cull debate about 42 professional clubs being far too many for a country of our size. I can hear the concerns being raised by those clubs down the lower levels of League Two who may be finding life incredibly tough and if administration is not on the horizon then a hole in the communities they serve must be beginning to appear; it shall be obvious if we are to lose them.

In Scotland we have a thriving scene under the SPFL with a new pyramid system in place that is creaking under the weight of the pandemic as clubs are starting to announce they cannot compete this year – let us hope they are there next year.

In fact, let’s not hope.

Let’s plan for it.

Let’s look at what money there is and harness the communities that support our lesser clubs and try to bring them into a room where the dominance of the Premiership is reduced to that of a concerned participant rather than as an entity to which other ought to aspire.

This is a great scheme – it is so great in fact that I would like to take my usual objections to looking at others for inspiration and be inspired by it.

I fear, though, for some, it may be too late.


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