My Sporting Week: Open proves summer football would be a washout

Floodwater stopped play at the Open in St Andrews. Picture: Ian Rutherford
Floodwater stopped play at the Open in St Andrews. Picture: Ian Rutherford
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The Open golf championship in St Andrews should provide a fatal blow to the argument that Scottish football should switch from its traditional season to a vague concept known as summer.

The scenes broadcast around the world last Saturday of groundsmen sweeping away floodwater from the Old Course greens while spectators shivered in the stands was a pertinent reminder that summer is more of an aspiration than a reality in the northern parts of these isles.

Ask your nearest climate change expert and they’ll tell you the long, dry summers you remember through thick rose-tinted spectacles are unlikely to return

Yes, the evenings are lighter and the average temperature might rise to the low teens rather than hovering above freezing. But the Scottish climate in June and July is still capable of blowing away any sporting fixture, including football, as the Open proved.

The fact is we can expect a lot more of such perennially overcast and damp weather all year round. Ask your nearest climate change expert and they’ll tell you the long, dry summers you remember through thick rose-tinted spectacles are unlikely to return.

Battleship grey rather than sky blue is the vista you can expect when opening the curtains in the morning.

Proponents of summer football offer grand visions of mid-table second tier matches being played out in front packed stadiums simply because the sun is shining.

The argument that attendances will rise because it happens to be a different month is so naive it’s laughable.

Most families holiday during the existing close season and this would be unlikely to change because the SPFL has decided to rearrange the deckchairs once again.

Fans want to watch good football. And they can do that every second summer already when the World Cup or European Championships kick-off.

The current football calendar is far from ideal, as clubs like St Johnstone prove when they fall at the first hurdle in European competition.

But ripping the game from its roots to take advantage of a season that is more myth than reality would be folly.