The debate over Old Firm ‘colt’ clubs entering League Two was on the agenda again this week. Despite initial negative grumblings, I’m looking forward to seeing how the rest of the lower league clubs react. I was previously party to a negative reaction of a proposal I made to change the league structure in 2009 when I approached David Longmuir, the Scottish League chief executive when I was working for the SFA.

My idea was different and more detailed in many respects from what is being proposed now but I still found it amazing that it was rejected immediately without any further structured discussion being initiated. My proposal was to have the two lower leagues regionalised so that the clubs could have two new advantages: less travel and more match income each season. So, there would be a League 1 North and a League 1 South. I can’t believe this hadn’t already been considered as I feel it would offer such an obvious financial advantage. There would then be play-offs at the end of the season to see who wins straight promotion to the Championship and who makes the play-off with the second bottom Championship club.

The second part of my proposal was to have each league extended by adding six Premiership ‘B’ teams to each. These would be added geographically so that the six most northerly Premiership clubs were in League 1 North and vice versa. My proposal was that the B teams were reserve teams and not ‘colts’ teams. Lower-league clubs would get increased gate money from Prem clubs playing at their stadium with some first team players. The Premiership clubs would also benefit as it’s long been my opinion that their young players would develop much quicker playing alongside senior players and against them too.


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I am fully aware that the leagues would have to be adjusted each season as the Premiership will lose one or possibly two teams through relegation. So with the teams being assigned geographically there could be a change to the ‘B’ teams on a regular basis. This obviously could also be the case regarding the promotion and relegation featured at both Championship level and incorporating the pyramid system, where there would be play-offs to see if the Highland or Southern league winners win their way into the league system. This might sound complicated, but I think it would be an easy adjustment at the end of each season.

The final point I made regarding my idea was that the ‘B’ teams played all their games away from home as they can’t win promotion anyway and don’t require home matches. This means that in a 30-match season for League 1 North and South, the clubs would have nine away games and 21 home matches.

What logical objection did the lower division clubs have to my proposal? They were going to have less travel, both in distance and the amount of trips required. This would have benefited them in terms of travel costs and time dedicated to fulfilling fixtures. The possibility of more derby matches and 21 home games with Premiership ‘B’ teams was almost certain to generate more interest to boost gate revenue for each club. However, they rejected my proposal in 2009 so who knows what they would think of it now in relation to what is being put forward by Rangers and Celtic.


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I was sorry to hear this week about the death of the great BBC commentator Alastair Alexander. We worked together for over 10 years and enjoyed many foreign trips together. We got on really well off air but on-air is was a slightly different matter. Alastair was commentating for years without having to share the on-air time with a summariser and I think this made it awkward for him to get used to working with one. I quickly learned that I was just a noise to him while I was giving my analysis. I experienced this when we were working on the Celtic v Raith Rovers League Cup final. At the penalties the referee made Paul McStay re spot the ball before he took his penalty. Alastair said “there must be a problem with how he put the ball down” and I said “yes, I think the ball was upside down” No reaction from Alastair made me realise he wasn’t listening to me. When I told him about it after the game he was in hysterics. It was a pleasure to know Alastair.