Friday, 26 August 2011

Footbawl 2020

Depressing times for Scottish football. No teams left in European competition (although Celtic might just sneak back in if Sion are booted out) and it's still August.

I remember the wailing and gnashing of teeth in 1990 when we were dumped out of the World Cup by Costa Rica amongst others. Well it's 20 years later and we've gone backwards. Time to wake up and smell the coffee. Here's a quick guide to fixing Scottish football, the good news is it should all be doable by 2020.

1. First and foremost develop a new style of play. I know Craig Levein & Mark Wotte are already working on this but all clubs in Scotland need to sign up to it. Football has changed in the last 20 years. It's all about technique and athleticism today. That's what we need to focus on with the very youngest players. By 2020 some of them should be pushing through into the senior sides. NB All the points below are of secondary importance to this.

2. Become an export industry. Rangers and Celtic aren't going to win anything in Europe. Ever again. Accept it. Indeed, embrace the fact. Success will instead be seeing our players performing for clubs at the highest level. The SFA should have in mind an initial target of at least 30 Scottish players playing regularly for clubs in the English Premier League, Bundesliga, Serie A, La Liga and Ligue 1 by 2020. Look how many Dutch players are in these leagues - that's the level we need to get to. Part of developing young players should be to prepare them for living and playing abroad.

3. If point 2 is achieved then the real proof of success should emerge, namely Scotland youth and senior sides qualifying regularly for European Championships/World Cups again. Choosing a team from 30+ players who play top level football every week would certainly help.

4. Summer football. The season should run from March to November. Better weather means better pitches, in turn better football and perhaps then bigger crowds and TV audiences and the money that goes along with them. A mid-season break would easily allow us to accommodate the major international tournaments (assuming we were participating!).

5. End Mickey Mouse league format. 16 teams in the top division, they play each other twice home and away. Automatic relegation for one team, second and third bottom play off with the second and third from SPL 2. Allow Rangers and Celtic (plus others if willing & able) to field reserve teams in SPL 2 with the proviso that they can't be promoted. Proper pyramid system down to junior/highland league level.

6. Minimum standards for entry to SPL 1, e.g. SFA-accredited youth training scheme, proper training/medical facilities to include (ideally indoor) 3G pitch. Standards to be enforced in season starting March 2020. Gives clubs 9 years to sort this out, surely enough time.

7. If all else fails, splash the cash on some top drawer youth coaches from Spain, Holland or Germany and wait 10 years for the results. If I was the owner of Rangers or Celtic I'd be investing my money there rather than in the Rafael Scheidts of this world.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Salmond accused of globicide

The planet Earth has now reached the same position relative to the Sun TWICE since Kenny MacAskill's decision to release Abdelbassett's Murray Mints Megrahi on compassionate grounds. This is a monumentally significant cosmic alignment.

A Labour spokesdroid with serial number 1a1n Gr4y said: "The movement of Megrahi from North Britain's northerly latitude to Libya's tropical climes may well have shifted Earth's centre of mass significantly toward the equator. As the equator is closer to the Sun this causes an extra gravitational pull that may inexorably be moving Earth's orbit inwards, too far and too fast, in a tortuous death spiral that will be the ruin of us all.

We can only speculate at Alex Salmond's motives for damning us all to be vapourised, but figures that we made up suggest that we might enter the Sun's corona in the second half of this parliament thus conveniently getting Salmond out of holding his referendum that nobody wants.

Salmond himself will of course probably flee in his escape pod, cunningly disguised as a wind turbine, in order to pursue his narrow ideology of independence for the universe.
A Freedom Of Information request we submitted to ask whether Donald Trump and Rupert Murdoch have seats reserved in the escape pod has been refused on highly questionable grounds. Repent ye voters!

Oh, nearly forgot the positive bit.
We are calling for immediate action to increase the number of apprenticeships for parasol makers. I used to be a physics teacher y'know..."
Earth's certainly possible doom at the hands of the SNP
Source: Labour Hame's Spurious Haverings Investigative Team

Lonely Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie cried: "Remember me?"