I WANT IT ‘ALL SHOOK UP’

10/11/11. John Devlin.  Stirling Uni. FFC training ground. Steven Pressley collects manager of the month award.
10/11/11. John Devlin. Stirling Uni. FFC training ground. Steven Pressley collects manager of the month award.
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u FALKIRK boss Steven Pressley re-iterated his desire for an expanded Scottish Premier League in the wake of his side’s 3-1 defeat to Ross County.

But that could remove £20m from the national game according to the Scottish Premier League.

Saturday’s match, between the top two sides in the Irn-Bru First Division, pulled in more than 4,000 supporters despite the long trip north for the away support and Pressley says the weekend’s match of the day deserved to have been played on a bigger stage.

But SPL chief Neil Doncaster - who has discussed a 16 or 20 team league with the Bairns boss - told The Falkirk Herald Elvis’ big desire just isn’t feasible and risks taking £20m out of the game.

“Our game on Saturday was a tremendous game of football with real high quality,” said Pressley.

“I have been told the reason for a 12 or 10 team league in Scotland was to maintain a best versus best scenario where the best teams play against each other - but where’s the limit on the numbers?

“Leagues around Europe have 20-team leagues and they have their best 20 teams playing against each other - why not us?”

But the SPL chief executive has responded telling The Falkirk Herald calculations based on a 16-team league could remove about £20m from the national game in gate money and TV revenue.

“There would be fewer big games in terms of TV coverage and teams would only be visiting each other once a season - and that’s how we’ve calculated the figure.”

More derby games would be created by Pressley’s ideal scenario, and that could be attractive to fans

“The supporters are voting with their feet and attendances are dwindling - and what do we do when TV leaves Scottish football and the supporters have gone too?

“We need to get more supporters through the gates and they’ve told us what they want in the poll.”

“That suggested almost 88 per cent of supporters don’t want a small top flight, and Pressley - who has spoken out on the subject before - says merging the top divisions would create derby games that are attractive to supporters.

“We could have derbies in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee the Highlands, Ayrshire plus Falkirk and Dunfermline.”

The Bairns boss also forecast the “death knell” of Scottish football in discussions with the SPL chief.

“I told Neil plans for a smaller league would be the death knell of Scottish football.”

And Doncaster said a smaller set-up had been ruled out by fans.

“The poll said fans didn’t want a smaller league. Our clubs rejected a bigger league.

“A bigger league would also take take more money away from the league below and we need to bring the leagues closer in terms of revenue, not widen the gap.

“Until fans tell us they want a ten-team league, or clubs agree to a bigger league we have the 12 we have at the moment.”

Scottish football league bosses are attempting to lure more fans back with the success of Friday night football.

The plan proved popular in a match at Partick and the SFL plan to repeat the idea between Thistle and Hamilton at New Douglas Park on January 13.