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Published: March 28, 2012
Last night saw Premiership and Champions League Champions Manchester United sweep aside Scottish Champions Celtic in a match that they didn’t even need to get out of second gear for just showing the vastness of the different quality that both leagues contain. It brings up the very important topic of whether or not Scottish teams will ever be able to compete on the same level as English teams ever again.
There was a time when Rangers and Celtic were linked with a move into the Premiership as they looked to try and take advantage of their brand to make more money. At the time this was getting banded about the Scottish clubs would very unlikely have been able to compete with the top four but they wouldn’t have been scared of all the teams in the Premiership as they were still able to get good quality players north of the border. However this has changed very quickly in recent years and the gulf between the talent in Scotland and England looks bigger than ever and even more worryingly it looks like it is increasing.
Scottish clubs simply can’t afford to pay the transfer fees or wages that even the lower end of the Premiership can which has been highlighted further this year with the huge fees paid for players. Rangers managed to get to the UEFA Cup final with a mixture of hard work and luck, they knew they had a team of limited ability but they played to their strengths and it worked but this feat is unlikely to be repeated anytime soon and it looks like there may need to be a change in focus from Scotland’s top teams if they are ever to challenge for European honours ever again.
Scotland will never attract the money that England does and even if it was to get a whole host of billionaires willing to invest in the clubs it doesn’t matter because the simple fact of the matter all the best players want to play in England and why not? It is one of if not the most competitive leagues in the world watched by millions every weekend and even if you play for a small team you have your glamour ties against the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea I can’t see a player of Robinhos quality or anything close coming to Scotland to play away at St Mirren. Scotland needs a change if they are to compete and there is one country that comes to mind that they could follow…… Holland.
The Dutch have competed at European level continuously ever since i can remember and although they are not at present as strong as they once were they have a whole host of top quality players that have played at some point in Holland before moving on to bigger clubs. Dutch teams even the big ones are effectively feeder clubs for other leagues they bring through their own native youngsters and even bring in youngsters from all over the world and with the right training and competition the players can turn into quality players.
I hate when my team get a youngster through only for him to get snapped up by a bigger team down south i admit that but it is what needs to happen for our game to improve and for Scotland ever to compete again. We need to nurture our young talent and pick up bright prospects abroad and work a system that allows these players to shine and possibly move on but if they can regain some glory for Scotland before they do it was worth the effort. Arsenal pick up youngsters from nowhere and turn them into superstars, I don’t think the clubs in Scotland will ever be able to recreate what Wenger has down there but we can go some of the way and clubs around Europe are doing it just now. We need to change our mentality and get back to basics as it is the only way Scottish football can not only survive in the future but also progress.
One argument that has been made against this is by Rangers manager Walter Smith who says that he hardly ever brings a youngster through for one of two reasons the first being that most of the time they are simply not good enough and the second being that it is too much of a risk to bring them through when teams like Rangers are expected to win every week. I don’t believe there is no talent out there, every other county has young talent and finds it and makes use of it we don’t find it or we don’t use it properly. I would have no worries about throwing a sixteen year old into a game if he showed promise after all you are only going to know if he can cut it when it is tried plus if you are going to be good enough you will know by that age, I’m not saying they can’t improve but the best players in the world didn’t go from being rubbish to brilliant on their twentieth birthday.
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