OPINION: Time to build a showpiece into league reconstruction

Hampden could host the All-Star game giving other pitches an extra week to be treated during the winter
Hampden could host the All-Star game giving other pitches an extra week to be treated during the winter

David Oliver thinks adding in a showpiece event would help facilitate a mid-winter break and lead into a revamped League Cup final.

Last Sunday was the Superbowl. The 50th gridiron extravaganza which an entire country – the third biggest in the world – tuned in to.

This weekend is the NBA All-Star weekend, where the best basketball players on the planet combine and play one another in a match and a series of skill challenges.

It is HUGE.

It’s a break from the norm, a change as good as a rest, and the fans lap it up. It’s also enjoyed by the players. They wear All-Star call-ups as badges of honour. As a marketing concept, it works too.

Now a few weeks ago these very pages ran suggestions for league reconstruction after Falkirk FC chairman Doug Henderson rekindled the great debate.

The League Cup revamp has been a welcome move, an edging towards meeting the results of fan surveys, but what about an All-Star weekend, as part of the proposed and inevitable winter shutdown?

With the new League Cup, have it finishing earlier in the season, have the weekend written off for it. The following weekend, or preceding day, have an All-Star match also at Hampden.

Have the winning Championship manager and the winning Premiership manager select a team each from a pool across the leagues dictated to them by Gordon Strachan or whomever the national team manager is. Ease the players back into action for an afternoon.

Make it a carnival. Have old pro’s from the Tennents sixes, playing small sided games behind the goals or on the pitch at half-time. Have skills challenges for free-kick takers or acrobatic finishes, or footballers trying their hand at multi-sport events.

Wee boys and families would lap it up. Fans could sit side by side in a family atmosphere, supporting different players, different teams. And it would give other players and teams a break while keeping TV companies happy with a weekend of entertainment to screen.

If they’re considering a USA-style draft for players, here’s another Stateside concept thata could entice more families back to football.