I've thought long and hard about this and taken into consideration what I've heard from fans, clubs and commentators.
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Most fans seem to want a top league of 16. Obviously that would mean clubs playing each other only twice, and the clubs feel that wouldn't give them enough games.
16-10-16 looks odd and unbalanced. Some have suggested the Old Firm having B teams in the league, others have asked why that should be restricted to just those two clubs.
My suggestion is a league structure of 16-16-16. That's six teams more than now, of course, and I envisage those being B teams from bigger clubs, although those could be mixed with teams from the Highland/East/Junior leagues if that were preferred or if not enough top clubs had the resources and/or desire to enter a second string.
That would give everyone 30 games a season; not enough, so how would those games be made up? Through the League Cup, which used to start with a group phase.
I see eight groups of six being played before the New Year (but not as the first games of the season, as used to be the case).
Each group would consist of two teams from each division playing home and away, which would give everyone an extra 10 games for a total of 40 guaranteed games; teams from lower divisions would be guaranteed four home games against sides from higher divisions, middle tier teams would have two against top teams, while Premier teams would be expected, but not guaranteed, to progress to the knock-out stage, which would be played after the New Year.
Promotion and relegation could be a mixture of automatic and play-off places as desired, but there MUST be a pyramid structure involving Highland/East/Junior league clubs.
A more redistributive income pattern could be negotiated between the clubs, and the precise shape of the calendar would be put in place to suit.
This seems to me to satisfy most, if not all, of the most commonly heard desires and requirements. It has a mixture of new and old, radical and traditional, even of playing twice and playing four times.
I can't see any drawbacks in it, but no doubt they exist and no doubt others will be only too keen to point them out...
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