I’ve been hugely in favour of league reconstruction for a long time. However, I’m getting the sneaking feeling now just isn’t the right time.
That might come as a surprise to people who have read this column over the past few weeks and
witnessed me calling out for change.
It seems like we are slowly moving toward the game eventually restarting.
Yesterday’s announcement of the Premiership being called with Celtic champions and Hearts relegated came as no surprise.
There was no other credible option.
The Jambos will, obviously, feel aggrieved and so will some Rangers fans but it is the right call.
I said from the start of the shutdown that reconstruction is the only way to ensure no club is unduly affected by leagues ending early.
And I still stand by that.
However, the situation we are in now a couple of months down the line leads me to pause for thought.
Clubs are in such dire straits right now, nobody really knows how many might go to the wall before the game restarts.
If we’ve already agreed reconstruction and, say, five clubs go under, we have to start the whole process over again.
The decision-makers in the game have shown over the past few farcical weeks that there’s a real
possibility that it will be a disaster for Scottish football if reconstruction is rushed.
I can see where the Premiership clubs were coming from when they canned the revamp talks 10 days ago.
It looks like a mammoth job to get football back on the pitch sometime soon, even if the SPFL are planning to restart again in July.
With that in mind, I’d prefer reconstruction talks were put on the back burner – not binned, by any means – and talked about in a measured fashion over the next few months.
Start the new season as normal – even if things have to wait a few weeks to get the green light – and then get a plan in place for the season after.
That way, the new set-up comes from a foundation of stability rather than the uncertainty the game is surrounded by right now and what the future might hold.
At the very least, clubs can now plan for the season ahead, knowing who they will be facing even if there are still doubts around.
The big thing for all clubs is getting that stability back, that certainty to then plan ahead.
It feels like that’s coming – once it’s back, start talking reconstruction to improve our game in the long-term.
I felt for a couple of my old team-mates who were released by their clubs over the weekend.
The coronavirus pandemic is obviously a difficult time for everybody but being without a job through it is horrible.
Particularly when there’s no prospect right now of finding another employer.
Normally, I’d expect them to have plenty of offers to think over this summer.
Swanson (top) is one of the most talented players I’ve ever seen in training.
He was superb at Tannadice.
He obviously hasn’t played so much at St Johnstone for whatever reason, leading to his departure.
Conway, meanwhile, has had a really successful career since leaving United.
He was always such a fit guy and a great lad to have in the dressing-room, he’d normally find a new club no problem.
Right now, though, nobody knows what will happen.
I was pleased to see Dundee say they were extending some contracts.
Christie Elliott’s for another year, a clause he had in his deal, and Paul McGowan, Josh Meekings and Tom Field till July. Even though that’s just a few weeks, it sends the right message – that they are going to look after players.
I don’t imagine every club will be doing that.
A lot of players will have a stressful summer coming up with no club able to sign them.
The return of football with the Bundesliga starting at the weekend was very much a step in the right direction for me.
It might have been a bit strange without the crowds but needs must. It’s a bit of light at the end of a long tunnel.