Welcome to the Scottish Supporters Network newsletter, brought to you by Supporters Direct Scotland. This newsletter aims to bring our members closer together and better informed of news and best practice from across the network.

B Teams in SPFL League Two?

Plans to introduce Celtic and Rangers B teams into League Two for the start of next season are being finalised for a vote by SPFL clubs. We have engaged supporters on this topic in the past, but were keen to know whether the opinions of Scottish football supporters had changed.

Fans of all 42 SPFL clubs completed the survey, along with fans of Highland and Lowland League clubs. As well as gauging the level of support for the current proposals, we also asked fans whether they believed the introduction of B teams would improve player development, and what other changes might help to achieve this goal.

We shared interim findings from this survey with both the SFA and SPFL prior to their recent board meetings, and have now updated the results to share with you.


Survey Results

Overall, just 23.2% of Scottish fans are in favour of these proposals - with a sharp divide between the views of Old Firm fans and fans of other clubs. 88.2% of Old Firm fans are in favour, but only 11% of other fans support these proposals. Support is lowest (8%) amongst fans of the other Premiership clubs, with 11.3% in favour in the Championship, 10.4% in League One, 17.6% in League Two, and 37% support from Highland and Lowland league fans.

Of those in favour of the proposals, we asked whether promotion should be possible through the divisions. Around three quarters of these survey respondents agree that promotion should be permitted, but most feel that promotion should be limited to League One (25.1%) or the Championship (34.6%). Only 14.1% of these respondents believe that B teams should be allowed to reach the top division.

Regardless of their response to previous questions, we also asked fans whether they would watch their team play against a B team. Again, the responses from Old Firm fans were starkly different from fans of other clubs - 80.3% of Rangers and Celtic fans would watch these matches, compared with just 16.2% of other fans (a combined response of 26.3% overall).

Similarly polarised responses were received when we asked whether the introduction of B teams would result in improved player development - 88.9% of Rangers and Celtic fans believe that player development would be improved, compared with 11.2% of other fans (23.4% overall).


“How else do you think Scottish football could improve the development of elite young players in Scotland?”

Almost 2,500 fans took the time to answer this question - many at great length! This gives us a lot of food for thought, and while it will take some time to analyse it fully, prominent themes appear to be the loan system, academy infrastructure, a reserve league, limits on foreign players and targets for the inclusion of home-grown players.

The end of the strangest season ever draws close...

Despite every challenge thrown in front of Scottish football, a full programme of Premiership matches is nearing completion, one of the most competitive Championship campaigns on record has most teams in contention for play-off battles at both ends of the table, and a busy month ahead for League One and League Two after a lengthy mid-season break.

We would like to congratulate Brora Rangers and Kelty Hearts for back-to-back title wins - both worthy champions despite the limited number of games possible in the Highland League and Lowland League.

Perhaps, though, the biggest achievement this season is that all of our clubs have made it through the toughest challenge ever, and are still around to welcome us back eventually. The personal and professional sacrifices made by so many people to ensure the survival of their club is inspiring; and beyond that, we are immensely proud of Scottish football clubs for continuing to play an active role in supporting their communities despite the very real threat to their own existence. Football is more than just a game.

Bet Regret is back

As a partner of BeGambleAware, Supporters Direct Scotland is pleased to support the next stage of the Bet Regret campaign that launches this weekend. In this campaign bettors are asked to tap out of their betting app and pause, take a moment to think so they can avoid Bet Regret. This is a major campaign running across TV and BVOD, radio, digital, social and is supported by celebrity talent David James and Josh Denzel.

Bet Regret is the sinking feeling you get the minute you make a bet without thinking it through. Often when drunk, bored or chasing losses. It’s about avoiding those impulsive bets you kick yourself for as soon as you’ve made them.

Tap out and take a moment is a simple tip to use every time you bet. Tap out of your betting app before you place a bet and then take a moment to think – this could be by making a cup of tea, deciding what you want for dinner or just by putting your phone down for a minute. This gives you time to really think it through and decide if it’s a bet you should avoid or not.

For this campaign BeGambleAware have chosen to really focus on the process of tapping out. How to do it, what to do while you take your moment to consider, and what benefits come from taking that time to avoid Bet Regret.

Check out the new campaign and watch Barry learn the value of taking a moment to think before placing a bet. www.begambleaware.org/betregret

Watch this space for more news on the campaign and support from David James and Josh Denzel.

Support our 2021 Activities

Help us strengthen Scottish football

Like most organisations, the financial pressures on SD Scotland intensified during 2020, and posed a real threat to our ability to continue our work with supporters groups and grassroots sports clubs. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic we began re-thinking our business model, and were working to expand our commercial activities. Our goal was, and remains, to reduce our reliance on grant funding whilst continuing to advocate for greater supporter engagement and involvement in the governance of our clubs and of the national game.

However, the commercial environment has changed and this has impacted us significantly. We have therefore expanded our Patreon crowdfunding programme, and any contributions (as small or as large as you can afford) that you are able to make to our work will make a massive difference to us. We have introduced three new tiers, with merchandise featuring our "football without fans is nothing" graphic in order for us to recognise your contributions:

  • Bronze tier supporters (donating £5 per month) will receive a sticker
  • Silver tier supporters (donating £12.50 per month) will receive a coffee mug
  • Gold tier supporters (donating £20 per month) will receive a t-shirt

Patreon supporters automatically become Associate Members of SD Scotland:

  1. You’ll be joining a network of fans and supporters groups working to ensure that supporters' voices are heard and influence positive change within the game.
  2. Receive regular updates on issues affecting Scottish football and/or its fans.
  3. Get free access to our events such as Annual Supporters Summit.
  4. Get involved in the democratic structures of Supporters Direct Scotland as one of our three Associate Directors.

Sign up as a Patreon supporter here.

And finally...

Articles, podcasts and videos from the archive

As part of our objective to better connect fans, share best practice within Scottish sport, to promote supporter dialogue and promote sport clubs through which positive societal change can occur, here we share some relevant recent stories.

  1. Supporting Scotland Together
  2. A Scottish Football Utopia
  3. Scottish Government Shouldn’t Bow Down To UEFA Pressure Regarding Euro 2020
  4. Scottish Football Authorities Need To Sort Out Own Problems Not Scottish Government
  5. SPFL & SFA Need To Figure Out Lower League & SWPL Plans
  6. Premiership Should Have Goal-line Tech, We Need A Route For Lower Leagues & Fingers Crossed For Euro Fans

You can also check out our back catalogue of podcast episodes and subscribe to Behind The Goals using your favoured ‘podcatcher’ here, and subscribe to our YouTube channel here.

Supporters Direct Scotland are committed to helping football supporters enjoy responsible gambling; for many this is an integral part of their match day experience.

We have selected GamCare as our recommended support service for the prevention and treatment of problem gambling. GamCare operate the National Gambling Helpline (whose advisers are available on 0808 8020 133 or via web chat at www.gamcare.org), provide treatment for problem gamblers and their families, create awareness about responsible gambling and treatment, and encourage an effective approach to responsible gambling within the gambling industry.

Supporters Direct Scotland

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