Celtic, Rangers, Aberdeen, Hearts, Dundee United and Hibs should all have reserve sides in the SFL. In Spain the big clubs all have reserve sides in the Spanish second division to give their players early experience of competitive football.
Jock Stein suggested in the seventies that Celtic reserves should have a team in the second division so that the Scottish youth players could get some experience of first team football matches. In that day it was Scottish older players blocking the talented youths. So it should make even more sense in this day and age as there are even more players blocking the progress of talented youths at the big clubs.
At present Hearts, and Aberdeen are starting to buy in more foreign players so once again even more big clubs will block talented Scottish youth players.
This is done in Spain and it doesn't make the Spanish league a joke.
I can't see how this is an insult for SFL clubs. Considering the first teams of Athletic Madrid, Celta Vigo and Real Villareal have been in the Spanish second division in recent years and they are all bigger than any SFL club and in fact bigger than Aberdeen, Hearts, and Hibs. So how can it be an insult to SFL clubs to play reserve sides. Whenever big clubs send reserve sides in the cup or friendlies against SFL sides the SFL teams get big crowds. So don't pretend playing a reserve side is an insult. Anyway Celtic and Rangers have plus records against every SFL club so this would allow a the chance for a club in the SFL to have a plus record against the old firm.
The reserve teams would be limited to under 24 players. Also reserve teams would be banned from promotion and the top non reserve sides in the SFL would still be promoted. And don't tell me that club can't be promoted if it doesn't Finnish top. Every year in England due to the play offs English clubs in sixth get promoted while the side in third doesn't. And Swindon Town once got promoted to the premiership when Sunderland were banned from promotion.
And don't tell me how can players play in two different trophies in the same year. Already players can play in the SPL, league cup, SFA cup, reserve league, reserve league cup all in the same year. Players can even play for three different clubs in the league in the same year.
How else can we guarantee Scottish youth players get first team matches. Expecting the old firm to fill their clubs with Scottish players is sci fi in this day and age. Even English premiership clubs are filled with foreign players. Even Aberdeen, and Hearts are starting to do the same again. Buying in eastern European players.
We can't expect clubs to loan out entire youth teams so lets just put the entire youth team in the competitive league.
Anyway loaning out doesn't allays work. Surely it makes sense to have extra poor clubs that create more opportunities.
We need more clubs not less clubs, more pro opportunities. I am fed up with the way big club finance bosses keep pretending we need less clubs well try saying that to Scottish rugby union that the answer is to have less clubs and less players. We need more clubs at all levels. And giving more money to the big clubs just means buying in more foregin imports. We need the big clubs to have more teams so they give more opportunities.
If a player does not get match experience then how are they supposed to develop. They will not learn what they need to work, on they will not learn composure for the big matches.
The reserve league is not useful for developing players. Even Celtic struggle to get above crowds of 100. How can that develop players for international or competitive football. And the standrd is lower. Just look at Inverness Calley Thistle in the SPL, or teams that get relegated to the SFL. This is not English premiership. The fact is the Scottish premier reserve sides apart from occasionally the senior old firm reserve sides, are not as talented as top SFL clubs.
And even the old firm youth teams will struggle in the SFL first division.
If it makes sense to loan out players to the SFL then surely it makes ense to stick the entire youth team there. And why did Jock Stein (one european cup, two european cup finals, two word cups, 10 league titles) think Celtic reserves should be put in the second division. That is reason is enough for me to do this idea. And the problem if the old firm doing to well can be stopped with restrictions.
The big problem with Scottish football is lack for first team opportunities for youth players. This will create a risk free system where Scottish youth players will get regular first team football.
I think home matches would get big crowds but even if they don't the reality is away games will get big crowds so will be useful experience for youth players.
How else can we guarantee, and I mean guarantee not hope that Scottish youth players get early experience of competitive football. The big clubs can easily afford this. By leaving the premier reserve league.
I can't see how this is offensive to SFL clubs.
This can be done by expanding the SFL first division to 18 teams and bringing in 3 non league clubs. Also wouldn't the SFL clubs rather have big clubs, in the league but make sure it is not clubs that can take their promotion place. So we can increase standards in the SFL but not create a rival for promotion to the premier from other SFL clubs. It will also make our league more continental.
This is how to get Scotland back to being ranked with Eire, Sweden and Denmark as dark horses for championships.
Another idea would be to create a fourth and fifth division. Where more sides could have reserve sides, up to perhaps 20 sides from Celtic to Ross County. Then stick 20 non league and junior sides in the league. So we could have two leagues of twenty, with relegation and promotion but a ban on promotion for reserve sides to the third division. Or the two new divisions could be north and south.
This could also be done for English football with Chelsea, etc: having reserve sides in the championship or league one.
And Cardiff City could have a side in the Welsh league.
Jose Mourinho, and Rael Bentiez have said in the past they supported English top sides have such a system so why do we not do this in Scotland. I think Arsene Wenger said it too. So many top managers have voiced this an idea.