ALAN Stubbs knows that English football casts a long shadow over their poor neighbours but the Hibernian manager says that in time the Scottish game may see some shafts of light.
The latest multi-billion pound deal struck with television companies will see the English Premier League raking in cash but unless they can find a way to spread the wealth and unearth a better way for it to filter down the divisions, the Scottish game could be an unlikely beneficiary.
“I don’t think it helps to have a big monster close to you that can clamour to get the money and the players, but you need to make the best of your own game. To judge it against the English Premier League is a non-starter,” says the man who operated at the top end of the English game prior to his summer move from Everton to Easter Road.
“It is going to make it harder for the young players you are trying to develop break through because it is going to produce more money at the top end. There will be bigger transfer budgets and that will filter through to the academies and lower league teams.
“You might find more players in the wilderness and maybe that’s something the authorities might have to look at in terms of loan agreements. You have the other side of that, where teams might be able to have too many loans – and I’m not going down that road!
SCOTSMAN TABLET AND MOBILE APPS
“I think only time will tell whether it affects Scottish football. As far as I’m concerned it doesn’t affect my job. Hopefully, you may be in a position to get a few rough diamonds that have passed through the system and you can polish them up and turn them into players – there could be value for us in that regard, rather than through a TV deal. Academies can be like sponges: they soak everything up, but sometimes they are not too worried about where they come out on the other side.” But he acknowledges there is a flip side to that, with talented Scottish youngsters possibly being lured south earlier and earlier in their careers, dazzled by the growing cash incentives.
“A lot of this is determined by agents, rather than just clubs. Agents are a powerful influence on the game. Where there is money, there are people getting their heads turned. That’s not going to change. We just need to try and find our best solution.
“If you were in it, you wouldn’t complain. When you are out of it, you complain. The Premier League will say: ‘we deserve this for our appeal worldwide’. BT wants to outbid Sky, Sky want to keep BT at bay, and the offers are sometimes ridiculous in order not to miss out. But it is very difficult to try and compare the English game to the Scottish game because it’s not a level playing field. The Premier League has just become a massive animal. The clamour for it worldwide is just beyond everybody’s expectations.
“When you’ve got that demand, the money is only going to go in an upward spiral. Look at the last three deals, from £1.9 billion to £3.1 billion and now £5.1 billion. It speaks for itself.
“But I think that will have a knock on affect everywhere. Hopefully the teams lower down can bear the fruits of that because there shouldn’t be such a big divide between the top and the bottom. When they have just made such an obscene amount of money, there needs to be more trickling through.”