By Scott Binnie – @SBinnie19
We are potentially on the precipice of a major power struggle within Scottish football. The 12-12-18 proposals are receiving strong opposition from several members of the Scottish Football League, managers and chairmen alike, whilst there are whispers of dissent within the Scottish Premier League ranks as well.
There has always been one powerhouse in Scottish football, controlling decisions and bullying the other 40 member clubs into submission – the Old Firm. That cabal now finds themselves split, sitting at opposite ends of the league structure following the summer of you-know-what-by-now, with Celtic in the SPL and Rangers in the SFL.
SFL chairmen and managers predominantly do not want the new reconstruction plan of 12-12-18. It renders this season absolutely meaningless for those in the Third Division, Rangers and Annan alike, and in the case of half of the Second Division, it thrusts relegation onto them when they may have had the playoffs in their sights. Many fans will have been buying tickets for competitive games since August under false pretenses, with fixtures nothing more than friendlies for those in the fourth tier.
Before now there has never been a voice strong or loud enough to speak out for the SFL, not against the Old Firm-led SPL at least. David Longmuir could and should have been that man, but he turned his coat quicker than a washing machine.
Despite Longmuir’s treachery, there is still someone perfectly positioned to unite the Scottish Football League and lead them on this issue – Rangers Chief Executive Charles Green. The outspoken Yorkshireman loves a press conference and a dig at Celtic, the SPL and the SFA. That’s great and all if you’re a Rangers supporter, but he’s also a terrific PR man and a fantastic leader. Not so long ago the Gers fans were ready to boycott the club if he remained as owner, but now he is adored by the Ibrox faithful for his “come and have a go” attitude to the top-level of the Scottish game. That abrasiveness, that raw aggression, and that passionate leadership now have to be used for the good of the game, not just that of his club.
Jim McInally, manager of Peterhead, has said yesterday that he hopes Green can bring the dissenting SFL voices together and make a stand, and I have to agree with him. The Gers chief has issued a statement today with Rangers’ own suggestions for reconstruction, a 14-14-14 set-up which has been touted and supported by far more people than the dreaded 12-12-18. Could Green have sounded out some or even all of his fellow SFL bosses already about this plan? We must hope that he spends as much time engaging with the likes of Stuart Brown, Turnbull Hutton and Donald Findlay as he does writing his press releases.
Rangers have been welcome at every single ground they’ve visited this campaign, with these so-called “diddy clubs” ecstatic to be welcoming one of the two biggest clubs in the nation to their small, polished grounds. The financial incentive is a big one of course, but after the amount of money the SPL has taken away from the SFL, it’s probably fair for these clubs to get their pockets lined a bit by the Gers.
Green simply must go to bat for these clubs now. He’s the only one who will be heard by the powers-that-be, the only one who can bring them all together, and the only one who can force real, productive change for our game. As repayment for the open arms his club have been received with this season and last summer, it’s time for Charles to help the SFL. We’ve all seen what Green wants out of reconstruction – promised promotion to the second for Rangers should they win the Third Division this term. Fair or unfair as that may be, having the other SFL bosses behind him might stop him from pushing too many Rangers-centric allowances in any plans.
There are 30 member clubs in the SFL, with 29 able to have a vote on reconstruction plans with Rangers operating with an associate membership, as agreed during the membership transfer from the old company to the new one last year. Green has won over tens of thousands of Rangers fans in a little over six months, how quickly can he win over 29 chairmen? How many are already in tune with him?
Can Green unite Scottish football? Tweet us @talkingbaws or comment below.