The incredible Celtic sacrifice for reconstruction as the former Hearts chief urges the FBCL to avoid “moral bankruptcy”


Seven years ago, Celtic was ready to sacrifice almost a million dollars in prizes to try to rebuild the reconstruction plans.

But a man tasked with proposing this vetoed proposal in 2013 estimates that a new configuration could cost our game just £ 82,500.

And David Southern believes that Scottish football should seize the opportunity to shake up the leagues and save themselves from moral bankruptcy.

The former head of Hearts and Dundee United was at the center of the reconstruction talks after being appointed to a four-person SPFL task force.

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Scottish football crisis

A 12-12-18 structure was proposed with the two best leagues divided into three divisions of eight in the middle of the season and a redistribution of wealth to clubs in the lower league.

Southern recalled how Parkhead CEO Peter Lawwell accepted a huge cash cut for the top flight winners – at a time when the Rangers were out of the division – with the money to filter.

He was always deported when St Mirren and Ross County voted against before coming back around the table and then gave the green light to the promotion and relegation barrages.

Southern admitted that this was an example of the difficulties they faced and has so often been the case in an organization riddled with personal interests over the years.

But he hopes the current SPFL task force of his former gaffer Jambos Ann Budge and Hamilton’s Les Gray will not face the same resistance.

Scottish football is rarely straightforward when it comes to getting clubs to get along, but for once a fair solution seems to be facing them after the farce of the vote.

An expanded top flight in a 10-14-10 configuration is the obvious proposition to ensure that Hearts, Partick Thistle and Stranraer are not relegated without the season ended and that Inverness, Falkirk, Edinburgh City, Brora Rangers and Kelty Hearts do not miss the chances of promotion.

In addition, a division of the Scottish Premiership dividing into first six and last eight will preserve the four matches of Old Firm to keep broadcasters happy with the added bonus of keeping the Edinburgh derby for the start of the £ 150m contract. sterling with Sky Sports.

After all the acrimony and bitterness over Dundee’s no / yes vote, this is a chance to bring everyone together for the greater good – a chance not always grasped in Scottish football.

The Southern football industry advisor spent nine years at Tynecastle as general manager and five years as director of operations for Dundee United and discussed how the reconstruction talks could go.

And he bet on the line when he said, “Gambling in Scotland has one last chance to avoid this moral bankruptcy and it is a positive reconstruction.

“There is an opportunity for the game in this country to potentially redeem yourself morally if not reputationally and it is by accepting a positive reconstruction that allows Hearts, Partick and Stranraer not to be buried under the waterline.

“I don’t think the events of last week are a true reflection on the reality of gaming in this country, but it is a shameful episode.

“It is extremely difficult to get Scottish clubs to agree, especially when you talk about reconstruction, and I know from experience that I was involved in the restructuring committee set up by FBCL in 2013 .

“But the 10-14-10-10 configuration that everyone expects to offer is not as complicated as what we had seven years ago when we were talking about the whole structure of the setup and the progress of the cash league.

“In 2013, Celtic effectively dropped £ 1 million to allow money to be filtered to other member clubs.

Peter lawwell
Peter lawwell

“The Scottish Premiership winners got about 18% of the total prize money, or around £ 3 million, but Celtic has agreed to cut that number to 13.4% at present.

“And the clubs have to shake their heads – not necessarily give up the money – rather than shake their heads and Peter Lawwell and Celtic deserve a lot of credit for that.

“There is a bit of a distortion here where people talk rather lazily about clubs giving up money but in terms of 14-10-10-10 we are only talking about two more clubs at the bottom of the pyramid.

“And if you wore the current financial model, you only talk about £ 82,500 during the season.

“Brechin City is currently 10th in Ligue Two and all their money for this final position is £ 45,000, so if Brora Rangers and Kelty Hearts slip into it, you just have to find £ 42,500 and £ 40,000 as additional price.

“And you’re not telling me you can’t find £ 82,500 in an organization that has £ 22.5 million!”

“I would keep the Scottish Premiership prize money exactly as it is for the top 12 teams and places 13 and 14 could get what was paid for in positions one and two in the championship.

“In the elite, I would have a division of six at the top – teams that will aim for the title and Europe while preserving your four Old Firm games – and eight at the bottom.

“This scenario also means that you don’t lose the Edinburgh derby and you win the Highland derby that you wouldn’t have otherwise.

“The TV deal is more important, so take £ 82,500 and place it in the new positions at the bottom of League Two, where Kelty and Brora would run.

“If people bring their sensible heads to meetings, there should be no obstacle to this reconstruction.”

In theory, it seems much easier than in 2013, when Southern emerged from heated discussions to exclaim: “It is as if we were all in a building in flames, but there are certain people who will not go out because it’s raining. “

As he pondered the difficulty, he said: “We were extremely close to delivering a completely new model – a configuration from 12-12-18 – we all felt it was a transformative movement for Scottish football , but it failed by a vote.

“There is a herd mentality that exists in Scottish football and it is motivated by the survival instinct we have seen in the past seven days.

“The main instinct of clubs is” How can I get the same money or more and how can I get the same chances or less relegation? ”

“We looked at models that we think could improve the 42 member clubs and the game as a whole.

“We ended up falling back on the play-offs that were introduced and sometimes it’s like it’s a herd of cats. In my opinion, you need the four C. Communication, a cool head, concessions and money and when everyone is very emotional, you have to keep an ultra cold head if you are a member of this committee. ”


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