Scottish Football In Decline

With no further Scottish involvement in the European competitions this year, many are wondering what has happened to the beautiful game north of the border - as if this is a sudden development. I'm very sorry to say, Scottish football has been in decline for years.

Perhaps it is the Ally McLeod effect, but Scots always seem to think we should be mixing it with the big boys. Why? Other than the odd aberration, it's been a long long time since we even came close to doing that consistently.

The standard of football in Scotland is appalling. The skill levels of those playing in my homeland are woeful. The style of football is dire - route one works if you can pass accurately over the distance and have the skills to control the ball when it arrives, neither of which is in the skill set possessed by most players plying their 'trade' in Scotland.

I'm old enough to remember when virtually all the teams in the top flight in England had strong Scottish back bones. Now, you'd be hard pushed to find a handful of Scots playing regular first team football in the English Premiership.

Much of the blame has to lie with the short term view of many of the clubs; the structure of the game in Scotland where too many clubs are chasing too few supporters; and the inability of the authorities to encourage home grown talent through whatever means.

Then of course, there is money. When the SPL was awash with TV money, relatively speaking, too many clubs thought they could buy success by bringing in second rate foreigners - with the inevitable rise in wage bills to go with it. I know it sounds terribly jingoistic but if these players are not good enough to secure a place with a top club in England or Spain, why do Scottish clubs insist on replacing second rate Scottish players with their foreigner counterparts at much greater cost? Surely it would be better to spend that money developing home grown talent over a longer term.

Put it another way, why would any foreigner come to play in Scotland if they have the talent to compete in the English Premiership? What sane person would want to sign for the Old Firm say, only to find themselves in Paisley playing against St Mirren on a freezing cold Wednesday evening in December? Quite frankly, it beggars believe!

Sorting out Scottish football is an almost insurmountable problem. It needs a complete rethink, and I'd start with the kids. I'd scrap this ridiculous dumbing down of sport in our schools where the loony brigade have forced non-competitive sport on our children for years. Sport is meant to be competitive you morons! If a kid doesn't like being beaten so what? They can try others until they find one they are good at. Not everyone can be a top class athlete but the State shouldn't try and 'include' them at the expense of the ones that have the potential.

Encouraging the clubs to take a longer term view is essential as well. In many ways, the current economic climate may well force them to do that anyway, but I won't hold my breath.

I'm not claiming to have all the answers to a very complex issue. There's certainly no easy, quick fixes. One thing is for sure. My fellow countrymen should stop being so deluded regarding our place in the footballing world. We're crap and we've been so for years and it will take many years to get back to anything like where we were when I was a boy.

1 comment:

Chris said...

"I'd scrap this ridiculous dumbing down of sport in our schools where the loony brigade have forced non-competitive sport on our children for years."

This hasn't happened and there's no such thing as "the loony brigade". Stop reading tabloids.