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Here's an interesting article i read on the AFC website..

As an exiled Dons fan living in Texas, i found this idea rather interesting.

I'm all for it. :up:

Letter From America | Blogs | Blogs | Blogs | Aberdeen

There will be a new name on Major League Soccer's championship trophy on Sunday, after Jamie Smith's Colorado Rapids have played F.C. Dallas in the 15th MLS Cup Final in Toronto. Although Dallas ended the regular season nine points behind table-topping Los Angeles Galaxy in fourth place and the Rapids finished another four points back in seventh, the two teams have carried their impressive late-season form into the play-offs. In MLS, that's all that matters.

It's a system that irks the country's soccer aficionados who would rather see the team that finishes top crowned as champions. But it does create much-needed excitement. Last year, Real Salt Lake were in 12th place entering the final round of league games. They won, sneaked into the eighth and final play-off spot on goal difference, and went on to lift the title. As competition and attendances in Scotland plummet, SPL executives could do worse than adopt a similar league structure.

Celtic and Rangers have shared 12 titles equally since the SPL was founded in 1998. Only once has another team split the Old Firm, when Hearts were runners-up, 17 points behind Celtic, in 2005-06. The team finishing third has trailed the champions by 29 points on average, resulting in terminal staleness that manifests itself in increasing number of empty seats at Pittodrie, Tynecastle, Easter Road, Tannadice, and even Ibrox and Parkhead. Something needs to be done to arrest the slide.

So how would an MLS-style play-off system work in Scotland? A 16-team league has often been mooted as an ideal number for the SPL, so promote four teams from Division One and move to a 30-game regular season. The top eight teams qualify for the play-offs while the bottom two are relegated, ensuring that almost every game remains meaningful.

The first round of the play-offs would pit first versus eighth, second versus seventh, third versus sixth, and fourth versus fifth, to be played over two legs with the highest seed playing at home in the return game. Last year, this would have given St. Johnstone the chance to knock out Rangers, while Hamilton would have faced Celtic.

This is where the real excitement is in Major League Soccer. In the last four seasons, the higher seeds have faltered as often as they have progressed. A recent example from last month saw New York Red Bulls, with their $15 million payroll including Thierry Henry, Rafa Marquez and Juan Pablo Angel, ousted by the unfancied San Jose Earthquakes.

Such upsets are probably less likely to happen in Scotland, given the financial disparity between the Old Firm and the rest, but St. Johnstone managed to record a famous 4-1 win over the Light Blues at McDiarmid Park earlier this year - a result that would have put them in a great position for the second leg at Ibrox.

From there, the four survivors would again be paired according to their league positions. Assuming from last season that the higher seeds progressed, Rangers would have met Hibernian and Celtic would have played Dundee United. The ties could either be another two-legged affair or one-off games at Hampden Park. The championship would then be decided on the last day of the Scottish football season at Hampden - a far more enticing curtain call than some of the recent Scottish Cup finals.

The Scottish Cup could retain its current format, but be moved forward so that the final takes place before the focus shifts to the play-offs. The League Cup would return to its post-Christmas format, possibly even with a small group stage to compensate for the reduced number of league fixtures.

It's a radical idea, but it's not crazy. Mexico uses a play-off system to determine its league champions, and even splits the season into two distinct halves with an opening and closing championship. Closer to home, it's long been accepted that the sixth-best team in the English Championship can earn promotion to the Premier League. And it isn't all that long ago that Liverpool, the fifth-best team in England at the time, became European champions.

And I'd guess that play-offs would generate far greater excitement than any "Top Six" split ever will.

- Ian Thomson is an exiled Dons fan living in New York City.

Discuss. :gringo:

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I would actually quite like that idea. Good article.

The current set-up is dire and needs changed. The proposed changes are even worse though.

Plus, the Old Firm would never entertain those changes, it would be so much better for Scottish football though. End of season games are usually abysmal. In saying that, most games are abysmal right now.

It'll never happen though. Boo.

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Play Offs are great. Knockout football on a whole is far, far more exciting than league football anyway. They did it in Rugby League's top flight, and it's great that the team who finishes 8th can be Champions.

Most top flights would benefit from this, but obviously the top clubs won't want to 'share the wealth' as it were. Along with the SPL, La Liga could really benefit from something similar.

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I appreciate everything is crap but I'm a traditionalist! The team who amass the most points over a season should win the league.

That was my initial thought but the more I think about it the more I like the idea. It would be particularly delicious if there was that 40 point gap between the OF and the rest and then they fucked it all up in the play offs and Killie or someone qualified for the Champs league. I'd LOL.

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Would it affect our co-efficient in any way, regarding Euro competitions?

Seems like a good idea, certainly no worse than what's already in place or been proposed.

Summer seasons and prolonged investment are needed just as badly as a new format.

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That would be arse I think. It's never sat right with me that the team that finishes 6th in the championship can be promotoed to the EPL ahead of the team that finishes 3rd. I think this would make Scottish football a biggery mockery than it already is.

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Stating the obvious probably, but nothing will ever change in Scottish football until the OF are forced out or go under their own steam. They have almost all of the media and supporters on their side, therefore almost all of the money.

And they would never agree to that system in a month of Sundays.

:down:

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Guest idol_wild

I like the article and like the idea, but I sit largely with Lucky Rathen and Shaki on this one; the team with the most points over the course of a season should be crowned Champions. That means the most consistent team who (more than likely) won the most games, will win the league. And rightly so.

There's no team other than Aberdeen that I would ever like to see win the SPL, and I'm pretty certain Aberdeen will never ever win the league again (even if this MLS blueprint was adapted to Scottish football - Aberdeen are in serious trouble, and but for a slightly worse Hamilton side, The Dons would probably get relegated this season). So I don't actually care if Rangers or Celtic constantly win the league. It would make no difference to me if any of the other Scottish clubs won the title.

Scottish football is thoroughly ding, and I doubt this system would aid it much. That said, it'd be interesting to see it pan out over a period of 5 or 6 seasons to see just how it worked out. I still think Rangers or Celtic would come up trumps and provide the league winners every season.

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I am always very underwhelmed when the season ends and a team wins the Premier League. It always feels like an anti climax after months and months of games. Even when it goes down to the last game, like it did last season and even when you hear about the trophy being in a helicopter between the two stadiums, it's still an anti climax, because it's always pretty easy to predict who is going to come out on top, and it's always the same two or three teams in most top flights that do it every season.

You look at the American sports which employ the play off systems, and titles are rarely retained. It's different teams winning it year on year, and the favourites rarely go on and win it back to back, or even appear in the final.

It goes against tradition, but it could be the only way to spread the success. Hoping for the Old Firm to leave or fold would essentially take away any sort of media attention the SPL gets. Non-Scottish people wouldn't be interested, nor would Sky/ESPN.

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Hoping for the Old Firm to leave or fold would essentially take away any sort of media attention the SPL gets. Non-Scottish people wouldn't be interested, nor would Sky/ESPN.

You're absolutely right, and that's fine by me. Why should Scottish people feel the need to give a toss about the Prawn Sarnie League, and vice-versa?

Short term it would be a backward step without a doubt (and there would be a finanical hit), but the mid to long term benefits could be really positive if done right: a more open and competitive top division with realistic ambitions and wages, one where league teams using the Raith Rovers full-part time hybrid could easily survive/challenge on a sustainable footing, getting more live terrestrial coverage, better league structure to give smaller clubs half a chance in a second (of 3) tiers, removing the closed shop approach right at the bottom, and bringing through the best of the young Scottish players playing week-in and week-out at the top end with no danger of being sold to the OF to then go on the bench.

Again, none of the above will happen, sadly.

:down:

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You're absolutely right, and that's fine by me. Why should Scottish people feel the need to give a toss about the Prawn Sarnie League, and vice-versa?

Money. The league is clearly in dire need of it. Take the Old Firm out of the equation and you take away any sort of interest outside of Scotland, so I can't imagine Sky would want to be involved in that. The SPL may well continue without them, but it wouldn't just take a hit financially. It wouldn't stand to be recognised as top flight division in Europe anymore. League winners would probably have to go through the minnow European qualifications, and probably be unsuccessful.

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Money. The league is clearly in dire need of it.

See your point, but the Prawn Sarnie League is a false (and dangerous) financial model.

The problem is (and I think always will be) is expectation levels in this country, regardless of who or what causes them. When the Self Preservation League was formed in the late 90's, the head honchos went 'chasing the dream' of running a league of an outrageously higher standard than where it should have been, and clubs went bat-shit mental spending money on players (and in ours and several other cases, grounds) in accordance with projections which went way, way ahead of the 'product' value. 5 years later, the shit began to hit the fan with clubs going into admin willy-nilly when they begun to wake up to what the situation was actually like, and there was another ripple caused by Sultana TV going tits up a few years after that.

The EPL is in a country with 10/11 times our population, to have even tried to keep up with that level of boom-and-inevitable-bust was absolute fucking madness. The trouble is that a lot of football fans are idiots who want things done too quickly, and now with the internet and such-like, have no problems with getting their often-bullshit opinions out. The media and the nation as a whole needs to get a bit of perspective (it's easy to get a bit taken in with the atmosphere close to national games, I get sucked up in it to a degree, of course), we simply do not have the same level of players coming through as we did before, hence the national side will not be regularly doing as well as previously.

Nowadays you have clubs like the Lavvy Franchise Scum (who, if it had been any other type of business would have been wound up by now), Airdrie MkII and Clyde playing in big white elephant stadiums barely a tenth full and not fit for purpose, no-one able to spend sizeable wages/transfer fees outside the OF (Dundee excepted, but we all know what happened there!), and still the same old joke premier league which only the two most vile, disgusting teams can win it, and they happen to be the only two for whom the Saltire is not their first choice of flag! It's a fucking joke, and the falling attendances show how many people are gradually being lost to the game as ticket prices go up and the quality of the football becomes more erratic

(TLDR perhaps, but I will summarise with something more simple:

FTOF)

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The SPL may well continue without them, but it wouldn't just take a hit financially. It wouldn't stand to be recognised as top flight division in Europe anymore. League winners would probably have to go through the minnow European qualifications, and probably be unsuccessful.

That's probably where we should be at, being 100% honest.....

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Scottish football needs changing but I'd be completely against the playoff system. Firstly as has been stated the point of a league is that the team with most points is the champion. We have cup competitions for knock out football. Play-off's would only serve to make many (if not most) regular season games less meaningful and often pretty dull. Plus it would still be won by an old firm side in the end anyway. I'm not sure how the play-off system would give us that much of a greater variety in winners. Salary caps and the trading and drafting of players in US sports are what provides the variety.

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See your point, but the Prawn Sarnie League is a false (and dangerous) financial model.

It's called the "English Premier League", by the way.*

(TLDR perhaps, but I will summarise with something more simple:

FTOF)

:up: :up: :up:

*See the 'Pet Hates' thread for further info

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Scottish football needs changing but I'd be completely against the playoff system. Firstly as has been stated the point of a league is that the team with most points is the champion. We have cup competitions for knock out football. Play-off's would only serve to make many (if not most) regular season games less meaningful and often pretty dull. Plus it would still be won by an old firm side in the end anyway. I'm not sure how the play-off system would give us that much of a greater variety in winners. Salary caps and the trading and drafting of players in US sports are what provides the variety.

The play off system surely contributes to variety in american sports. Play-offs give teams in the middle of league something to play for, gives games more meaning instead of the season being over (nothing to win/lose) months before the end of the season. Incentive being during the regular season games is to get home/easier draw come knock out time. Im, sure you are aware of these points already.

wont happen here.

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I'm sure it does in part, it really is hard to make accurate comparisons when those sports are structured so differently in many ways to football in Europe.

But really even if it did increase variety in winners, I wouldn't be happy with it. I might just be stuck in my ways, but I think the league system is fine and it genuinely rewards the best team in a country over the course of (almost) a year.

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