Should the SPFL consider a move to summer football?

Yes, it should says Graeme McGarry

MOTHERWELL’S Alan Burrows was right when he said that if you were starting Scottish football from scratch today, the most logical time of year to play would be in the months from March to October or November.

People may say that in Scotland we get adverse weather throughout the year, and whilst that is true, surely we should be giving our fixture calendar the best possible chance of proceeding uninterrupted.

The washout at the weekend was predictable, and whilst it’s always disappointing to see games being cancelled, the question must also be asked as to what the experience would have been like for the paying punter had the games gone ahead?

Paying over £20 to sit on a plastic seat in a concrete stand for over an hour and a half in pouring rain and howling gales is perhaps only marginally preferable to braving the gauntlet of Christmas shopping on a Saturday afternoon, but the fact it is even a close contest should set alarm bells ringing.

No one is saying that a switch to ‘summer’ football will be a cure to the many ills in Scottish football, but it will not only give our games a better chance of going ahead, it will also improve the experience of the fans who are attending in ever-decreasing numbers.

Glasgow Times: An early pitch inspection deemed Firhill unplayable on Saturday. Picture: SNS

There is also the issue of safety. A lot was made of the hazardous conditions on the A9 as Celtic took the road to Inverness a couple of weeks ago, but it should also be remembered that the Highland clubs need to make that journey every other week. It is hardly the fault of the SPFL that the road is notoriously dangerous, but asking supporters and players to make the journey when conditions are at their most hazardous certainly is.

From a playing perspective, there is an argument that it may also increase our chances of doing well in European competition as our clubs would be well into their competitive season by the time they come to play qualifiers in June or July.

There are enough positives to moving the fixture calendar for it to at least be considered as a viable option, but there seems a reluctance at the top of our game to move out of step with the English season.

It is said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results. But try telling that to the people running Scottish football.

Not until there is more of an appetite for change, says Chris Jack

THERE is nothing surer in the aftermath of a series of postponed fixtures than the calls for a switch to summer football starting up.

The debate is right up there with those surrounding league reconstruction. For some, it is cause worth championing, for others it a topic of conversation they would rather avoid.

Until there appears to be a real desire within the corridors of power at Hampden, the words spoken by many mean little, though.

There are many things that are wrong with our game and solving the myriad of issues will take collective thinking, time and money. In that wide-ranging conversation, the idea of changing our calendar will inevitably come up.

But the chances of summer football being introduced in Scotland are still slim. There may be a growing consensus that it is the right thing to do, but it would be a huge move for the Scottish move to make.

Glasgow Times: Frozen pitch

Yes, there are times when sitting in the cold, with the wind howling and the rain lashing watching a fairly drab encounter isn’t exactly the best way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

But there is no guarantee that everyone would flock to stadia across the country during the summer, or what is classed as one in Scotland, should we make the switch.

We won’t all suddenly be able to watch the action with the sun beating down on our faces and a beer in hand. The product on the park will still be the same, and clubs will still charge the same prices, which is a bigger problem in our game, for the privilege of seeing the action unfold.

The run of fixtures over the festive period is always a crucial one in any promotion chase or relegation battle. When other leagues across Europe are in hibernation for the winter, we have plenty of football on offer and it is exciting time of the campaign for everyone involved.

We need new ideas and fresh thinking to help save our game, but the traditional calendar should remain in place. Our game is broken, but the schedule doesn’t need fixing.