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 Scottish Football
Mr. Pither
Posted: Aug 24 2009, 11:03 PM


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A pretty good article on the decline of Scottish football over the years:

The Decline of Scottish Football

What I like about this piece is it just does not simply lament the failure of Scotland to produce players like Denis Law, Billy Bremner, Kenny Dalglish, Alen Hansen and Graeme Souness anymore but gives some ways in which the game can be improved in Scotland. And some of the suggestions come from the most prominent Scot in world football today, Alex Ferguson,

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Is enough being done with the ball? I mean, that is absolutely essential. You simply have to work relentlessly with the ball. It's just like general education. If the grounding is right, kids progress and become good students and achieve academically. Those with natural high intelligence will be high achievers. Kids who work with the ball will become good players and those blessed with outstanding natural skill will be exceptional players."


For those alarmed by the poor condition of the Scottish game Ė predictably, most of the managers directly involved tend to be ludicrously defensive in public, testing the credulity of fans by accusing media critics of damaging hyperbole Ė there is some hope to be drawn from the SFA's recognition of the decline.

Gordon Smith, the chief executive, agrees with Ferguson that concentration on ball work among the young is imperative. He is also aware, however, that the number of kids playing football has dwindled over the years and that this problem must be addressed.

Proper development and coaching, of course, requires financing and the recent collapse of the broadcaster Setanta seems to have damaged a number of SPL clubs. The new contract negotiated with Setanta would have brought an increase of £60m on their previous agreement, covering four years from 2010. Even with the new deal not due to start for another year, several clubs are said to have budgeted in expectation of the new money that will not now be forthcoming (about £1.25m per annum for each). One or two could be in serious trouble.

At the SFA, however, Smith and his team are determined to push ahead with their plans to arrest the deterioration and, if possible, return the production line to something like its former competence.


Money indeed is the biggest drawback but if small nations like Uruguay, Denmark and Portugal can still produce talented players then why can't Scotland?


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P-I-T-H-E-R ...as in Brotherhood, but with PI instead of the BRO and no HOOD
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Sporting
Posted: Aug 25 2009, 01:58 AM


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This subject is also discussed in the online fanzine When Saturday Comes. Many of the contributors make some very interesting points:

Link
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raconteur
Posted: Aug 25 2009, 12:48 PM


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An interesting topic, well Scotland did compile a star less but tenacious national team which took the two World Cup finalists, Italy and France down to the wire in qualifying for Euro 2008. But that good run seems the exception rather than the recent rule as Scotland have failed to qualfy for any international competition post 1998.

I read the links provided and to me it is a question of giving Scottish players the chance to play which is why I like the proposal to have Rangers and Celtic form reserve teams to compete in the Scottish lower leagues. Look at the rosters of even the so called Scottish giants, Rangers and Celtic, there are not enough Scottish players there plus even English clubs do not have many Scottish players anymore. Gone are the days when Ipswich or West Ham let alone Liverpool or Manchester United fielded several Scottish players in their everyday starting teams. While the elite of English players still find space in the top clubs in England, the best of Scotland have difficulty geting that opportunity and it is even harder for the younger players to get a chance. Thus to me the overall level of the national team goes down. In comparably sized countries which Mr. Pither named, Portugal, Denmark, Uruguay, those countries' elite players get a chance to play locally before the best head to foreign clubs.
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Mr. Pither
Posted: Sep 3 2009, 10:59 PM


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raconteur you make an interesting point, in a place like Scotland domestic players best chance to see playing time is with a lesser club like Dundee, Motherwell or if they are fortunate at alarger club like Hearts or Hibs.

NeverMissPens was writing in the English Lower League thread about a childhood memory of his watching Spurs play and seeing Alan Gilzean score although at the time he thoight it was Dave McKay. That got me to looking up some more on Gilzaean and I found ths link about him playing alongside his fellow Scot McKay on Spurs' 1967 FA Cup winning side.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FA_Cup_Final_1967

Spurs beat Chelsea in the final and apart from some famous names on each team like Pat Jennings, Jimmy Greaves, Mike England, Jimmy Robertson, Terry Venables, Peter Bonetti, Ron Harris and Tony Hateley (Mark's father) each club had 3 Scottish players in their starting team. You just don't see that anymore. 3 French or Portuguese players perhaps but not three Scots and that helps explain why Scottish football has fallen on lesser times.



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hobbes
Posted: Sep 5 2009, 01:03 AM


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I follow Scotland as a second team and have bemoaned and listened to the moaning over the lack of development of real quality players for years.

I think the utter dominance of Rangers and Celtic hurt the development of Scottish internationals, but I think more importantly hurt the SPL. Perhaps critically. If youíre not from Glasgow who do you support? And as a youngster what joy do you get in watching your lot muck around with a bunch of other also-rans and then get slaughtered by the big two.

I should have a rooting interest in the SPL, but I donít care. I canít imagine why any youngster would learn to passionately love Kilmarnock or Clyde. I do wonder how popular the game is compared to how it was.

And the SPL is not good for developing talent. The big two have enough money they have no interest in domestic talent and the rest of the league play a scrappy brand of soccer (often in crap conditions on crap pitches) that doesnít necessarily lend itself well to the international game.

Scottish players are always willing, they play with pride and are avidly backed and some nights thatís enough, but not often enough. I remember the 04 Euro playoff where they bravely managed a 1-0 win over the Dutch at home and were absolutely and completely played off the park in the Netherlands to the tune of 6-0.

Itís telling to me that almost all of the serious Scottish fans I know donít support either of the Old Firm. Iím not saying there arenít any, but the ones who really get behind Scotland and travel are usually fans of Hearts, Aberdeen, Hibs, etc.

I really think that the key to Scotlandís success may be getting more youth players into England. I know thatís herasy, but they need somewhere where they can get a game, but still have it be a good game.

I definitely agree that right now the most exciting talents are blossoming at smaller clubs.

McFadden came through at Motherwell, Davey Weir came up through Falkirk, Christian Dailey at Dundee United, Kenny Miller was from Hibs. Darren Fletcher is the exception. I remember when McFadden was young, I really wanted him to get the call, but no one really trusted that this guy that was knocking them in in 4-1 and 5-2 losses for Motherwell could produce internationally.

When Scotland reached the final of the UEFA U19s in 06 I thought maybe they had finally produced a decent generation. After a dismal showing at the U20 WYC I was less enthused. But that squad is still telling. On the 20-man roster were four Celtic players and one from Rangers. Only one from outside of Scotland (and of course, they were born in England).

And most of the top players werenít from the big two. Graham Dorrans was with Livingston (heís now with WBA), Steven Fletcher was at Hibs, Calum Elliot was with Hearts. Ross Campbell who scored at the tournament is now playing in Sweden.

Scott Cuthbert captained that U20 team and spent five years with Celtic and never got a game. Heís now at Swindon. Compare that to Mark Reynolds who was his defensive partner who is the same age and has played 100 games for Motherwell. AIR Cuthbert was the better player then, now two years on that may have changed.

Sorry for the late night rambling.

cheers,
hobbes


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ďUnd ich habe der Mannschaft gesagt: ĎWer sich nicht bewegt, kann nicht mal gegen Kanada gewinnen!íĒ - Joachim LŲw
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Winslow
Posted: Sep 7 2009, 08:35 AM


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QUOTE (hobbes @ Sep 5 2009, 01:03 AM)
I think the utter dominance of Rangers and Celtic hurt the development of Scottish internationals, but I think more importantly hurt the SPL. Perhaps critically. If youíre not from Glasgow who do you support?

And this is even a problem for some Glaswegians who don't want to get involved in the Old Firm's godawful sectarian nonsense. Billy Connolly tried to finess it as a boy by supporting Partick, Glasgow's third team--his joke was that he believed the club's full name was "Partick Thistle Nil." (It didn't last--Connolly is now one of the more prominent celebrity Celtic fans.)

Can we go back 20 years and blame some of Scotland's troubles on England's European ban, when several top English players played for Scottish clubs in order to get a shot at European play? I think that's a bit remote, but...
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Simon
Posted: Sep 8 2009, 03:04 AM


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Even these days when Scotland are doing moderately well, it's though blood and guts and 'braveheart' attitude. Okay, that type of football is borne out of necessity when you are playing teams who have greater quality than you in all 11 positions, but I wonder at what point it becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy. In days gone by, Scottish footballers were among the most skilful to be found anywhere in the world, but Kenny Dalglish was the last of a dying breed. There used to be a saying in England that if you were short of a bit of talent in your side, all you needed to do was go and whistle down a Scottish coalmine and two or three world class footballers would come out!

There was a good line from the veteran Scottish sports writer Hugh McIlvanney on the subject of the lack of good players available to Scotland these days. He said that the job of Scotland boss was akin to that of head gardener on an iceberg!
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Mr. Pither
Posted: Sep 11 2009, 10:19 PM


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QUOTE
There was a good line from the veteran Scottish sports writer Hugh McIlvanney on the subject of the lack of good players available to Scotland these days. He said that the job of Scotland boss was akin to that of head gardener on an iceberg!


laugh.gif

It is not just Scotland who have dropped but also Wales and Northern Ireland and I think they, like Scotland, have fallen victim to the post Bosman era which opened the English Premier League up to EU players which thereby cut the opportunities Scottish, Welsh and Irish players. And as hobbes points out the Old Firm Scottish clubs alos became filled with players from outside the UK further hampering the opportunities for Scottish, Welsh and Irish players.


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raconteur
Posted: Oct 24 2009, 09:29 PM


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I did not realize Rangers were in such dire financial position. Their club chairman stepped down and with debts in excess of 30 million pounds they are currently being run by a bank and have not bought any new players since August 2008!

Rangers' Financial Troubles

The club are on the lookout for a new owner but this financial situation helps me understand better why they have struggled so much this season in the Champions League.
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Mr. Pither
Posted: Oct 25 2009, 01:40 AM


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Your last sentence says it all raconteur. Here are more reasons why Rangers, and Celtic too, just cannot compete at the top levels. A large fan base and sold out stadiums are not enough to guarantee the revenues to form a strong team able to compete in Europe. At least to Rangers credit they have not continued spending mindlessly once they got themselves in such large debt unlike some Spanish and English clubs we all know!


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Yogi
Posted: Feb 4 2010, 10:56 AM


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Rangers economic problems have still not been resolved,

Walter Smith's Concern Over Rangers' Finances

At least they are doing well in the league with a 10 point lead over Celtic, a margin which forced Celtic to acquire via loans Robbie Keane from Spurs and the Dutch defender Branfheid from Bayern Munich to try and keep up. But rangers did have to sell midfielder Pedro Mendes to Sporting Lisbon to help the books.
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Merengue
Posted: Apr 25 2010, 05:43 PM


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I am not sure how their finances are now but Rangers just won their 53rd Scottish league title!

Walter Smith said with their reduced squad this season and their other obstacles this was one of his most satisfying league championships,

Rangers 53rd League Title


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Sammy Maudlin
Posted: Jun 9 2010, 03:37 PM


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QUOTE
A consortium bidding to buy Rangers have announced they are in "advanced negotiations" to gain control of the Scottish football champions.

RFC, a consortium led by the former chairman of English lower league Northampton, Andrew Ellis, issued a statement on Wednesday.

The statement stressed no timeline was in place for RFC to buy out current Rangers owner Sir David Murray.


It may just be blowing smoke but perhaps some help is on its way for Rangers.

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Dr. Z
Posted: Mar 6 2011, 10:01 PM


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In the Mexican forum we had a new poster telling us agout Efrain Juarez, a Mexican international, time at Celtic. So I decided to get this thread going again to discuss what is going on in Scotland. After a wide Cup game midweek between Celtic and Rangers where Rangers had 3 players sent off, Rangers have closed the gap to 5 points between the big two in Scotland although Rangers still have two games in hand. Looks like the title race is set to be closely fought between the two. Here is a review of the weekend's play:

http://sports.yahoo.com/soccer/news?slug=a...stmirrenrangers


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Poniendo el pecho a las balas!
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raconteur
Posted: Mar 7 2011, 08:29 AM


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What is kind of interesting to me is how several CONCACAF area players are finding homes with Scotland's big two clubs. Dr. Z wrote of Mexico's Efrain Juarez who currently is on the bench with Celtic but Honduras' Emilio Izaguirre has become a revelation at left back for the same club. Meanwhile across town the US' Maurice Edu, now that he is healthy, is a regular starter with Rangers.

I think the Scottish league gets overlooked as a destination for some players from areas like CONCACAF or Asia. In fact there are two Koreans also doing well with Celtic Ki Sung Yeung and Cha Do Ri. Cha has been in Europe before as he played in Germany but for the others this is their first time in Europe and here they are doing well at clubs where the pressure is always on them. It makes the Scottish league a good entry point from players outside of the mainstream football exporting regions.
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