Thursday, 8 April 2010

Scottish - Danish Football cup

I think it is important Scottish football has another cross border competition so that their clubs can get more experience of playing teams from other countries. In the last 10 years, of sides outside the old firm, only Aberdeen and Hearts have gotten past round 1 once in Eurpoean football. That was once each. That is an abysmal performance. The reason for this is party that Scotland is a small country. But another reason is surely lack of experience. Most Scottish clubs will have one year in Europe then go 3- maybe even 10 years without being in Europe again. How is that supposed to build up experienced sides and management teams, and playing structures, with a rich experience of European football to draw on. How can they learn how to cope with playing teams outside their own nation, in matches early in the season?
What we need is another competition for sides in the SPL that have not qualified for Europe. So that it is not a big step to go and play in the major European competitions if they play in smaller European trophies each and every year.
A trophy between 8 SPL (and one or two SFL sides to make up the numbers) with the 8 Danish premier league sides who did not reach the Europa cup and champions league would give a good quality of sides with good stadiums and support for Scottish sides to play.
I think games against Danish sides would attract crowds as it is something different to the usual fare.
16 teams would mean 4 rounds. I would have the first leg as two legs. Every team would pay a foreign side in the first round. So every team has a home game. Followed by the Quarter final and semi final being one match with the luck of the draw deciding who is at home. Followed by a two legged final.
16 (two legs) , 8 (1 match) , 4 (1 match), 2 (two legs). This would equal 6 matches at most.
Before anyone says this would lead to fixture congestion, well Motherwell had 3 rounds of European football at the start of this year and it did not cause them to collapse in anyway.
I would start the torunament before the season starts as the early rounds of the Europea cup do. So teams get used used to such apparent difficulties. Then finish the tournment before the group stages of the Europa cup have started.
This way every Scottish club would get used to playing some European matches early in the season. Every Scottish club would learn how to cope with travel to another country, coping with playing some European games before the league season has started.
We could have the trophy against the Danish or we could have Norwegian - Scottish cup or a Swedish - Scottish cup. Any small nation in the region.
I am not pretending for a second this would get the crowds of playing AC Milan, Lyon. But I am sure it would get higher crowds than the league does, that would cover travel expenses.
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