HeraldScotland poster Stuart McGarragle, who describes himself as a long-suffering Ayr United fan who's fed up with the SPL closed shop, joins the debate with another radical suggestion
I was thinking the 12-12-18 league is obviously not radical enough, and 14-team leagues don't give enough games or unfair splits, and 16 teams is not enough games.
I may have come up with a solution. the main problem with the 12-12 into 8-8-8 is too many seemingly meaningless games in the top and bottom 8 after the split, and obviously what we need is more excitement and things to play for.
So I've come up with the following. On the face of it, it seems extremely complicated, but is in fact pretty straightforward:
Three leagues of 14 to be called SFL 1, 2 & 3 (premierships and championship and national leagues just sound like we are copying England, and these are shiny new leagues, not copies).
Everyone plays each other twice, giving 26 games, then there is a split into seven leagues of six clubs as follows:
A League - Top 6 of SFL 1 playing for the title and European places. If we get extra euro places, 4th or 5th will play off against the top team from the B league for the last place.
B League - Teams 7-12 from SFL 1 - top team may have play-off for Euro place and the bottom team will enter a play off with the 3rd place from C League to decide place in SFL 1 for next season
C League - Team 13 & 14 from SFL 1 and teams 1-4 from SFL. Two top 2 teams enter SFL 1 for the next season and 3rd place plays off against bottom of B League for last place.
D League - Teams 5-10 of SFL. Too to be fair, not much to play for apart from places and prize money, so as everyone said we needed bigger leagues to have meaningless games to blood young talent, each team must have five players under 21 in their squad, and will be permitted an additional three players on loan that are under 21.
E League - Teams 11-14 of SFL 2 and 1&2 from SFL2. Top three get place in SFL2 for the next season and 4th place enters play off with winner of F League for last place.
F League - Teams 3-8 of SFL 3. Winner plays off against 4th in E league for place in SFL2
G League - Teams 9-14 of SFL. Three bottom teams play off against winners of regional leagues for place in SFL 3 in the next season.
So that gives everyone 26 and 10 games = 36, which is what we have at present, no loss of games or increase, and hopefully more teams having something to play for at the end of the season than the 12-12-18 would provide.
Under that there would be regional leagues, West , East and North, with winners playing off against one of the three bottom sides.
This would be on the provision they met ground standards, and also if they actually wanted promotion (ie promotion does not have to be taken and clubs could stay in the regional league), if top teams does not enter the play off the place is handed down to 2nd or 3rd if they meet requirements but no further. If no team from a league goes forward to the play-off, 3rd bottom is saved from relegation.
Under the top regional leagues, there will be a proper pyramid (ie in the west region below top league it would be split between a Glasgow and district league and a Ayrshire and Dumfries&Galloway league).