Malky Mackay the new SFA Performance director has called for the reintroduction of the reserve league. His voice adds to many who have voiced there views that the the U20 development legaue is not helping in our developing of talent.
Its a bit like when you play mates every week down the local 5 a side centre. You ain’t going to improve or test yourself against new and better players. I remember the Scottish Premier League reserve league it was of a good standard and actually it was an honour to win the league . But more importantaly it aided the 1st team by keeping there players fresh, developing new young players and a means to get injured players fit quicker.
In days gone by the reserve league was played on a Saturday while the first team was playing away. This provided extra income and for fans an opportunity to see some football without travellling away. Young players were able to devleop quickly as they had to learn how to play against some fairly seasoned professionals or wee talked through games by veterans. Some healthy attandances were ahieved in the reserve league as its often remebered, an Old Firm reserve game which got over 35,000 attending it.
Nobody expects us to go back to those days as squads are smaller and fans have other options where to spend there Saturday afternoon. But Scottish football cannot rest on its laurels. The development league has not worked. Any young talent is fast tracked to the 1st team and any talent ends up moving south. we have to be innovative. The reserve league can be rejuvenated to enable talent development and actually stimulate some excitement into a fairly stagnent game at the moment.Finances will dictate this but if fixtures are arranged at an alternative time and fans offered incentives, like children for fee. we could develop an attractive alternative to the current set up. This is not innovative as it going back to the original set up but it could well differeiate us from other leagues around.