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  1. #61
    Capped Player nigel-harps1954's Avatar
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    For what it's worth, I think the First Division should stay as it is, and if another tier was introduced, that would be regionalised, second division north/south, allowing B teams to enter that, and not any higher than that.

    The biggest problem, as Stu alluded to, is that teams don't want to risk the jump into the LOI, failing, and having to start at the bottom of their regional leagues again. There needs to be a bit of work done with various junior/intermediate leagues to allow the provision of teams stepping up to LOI level, not being penalised for being 'relegated' back again.

    Football across all levels in Ireland is so stupidly disconnected, that should be a higher priority for the FAI right now than any LOI problems. Connecting up the footballing jigsaw from top to bottom should be absolute priority now.

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  3. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by nigel-harps1954 View Post
    The biggest problem, as Stu alluded to, is that teams don't want to risk the jump into the LOI, failing, and having to start at the bottom of their regional leagues again.
    Whilst I agree with the broad sentiment there, it's important to acknowledge that this is a choice, not a necessity. The Leinster Senior League has not forced ex-LOI clubs like St James's Gate and St Francis to re-join it at the bottom, for example. I doubt it would do so with Cabinteely if (and in my view, when) they drop out of the LOI either. Whatever the clubs in the league - or more realistically, the few officers who run the league - decide should happen is what happens. There is no universal rule on this.

  4. #63
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    The FAI were a disgrace allowing that to happen to Tralee Dynamos, obviously one of JD's allies who he didnt want to crack down on at the time and allowed Tralee to suffer.
    Hopefully the new FAI wouldnt allow that **** to happen.

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  6. #64
    First Team EalingGreen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EatYerGreens View Post
    NI and Scotland are not directly comparable to the LOI. Football is the biggest sport in both of those countries. It is Scotland's national sport, and if NI had bothered to pick one it would have gone for football too. Both places have a very long tradition in football, which very few places in ROI outside of Dublin have (and even in Dublin it's a chequered picture). The strongest part of the island of Ireland for football has always been the north-east, hands down. And no accident that the game was brought to there from Scotland. You can't hold up a place where football is at its strongest and claim there's no difference between it and places where the game is clearly not as strong.
    You are conflating 3 separate, if related, factors here.
    1st is Attendances, where football may lag behind the other codes (Though Hurling? Club rugby?);
    But the 2nd is Participation where, when you count male and female and all age groups, it most definitely isn't 4th;
    And 3rd is Interest, where huge numbers follow the game (Celtic, Man U etc); meaning even if it doesn't transfer to LOI, should still offer potential for the LOI to grow, if ever it got properly organised.

    And re Attendances, the situation is different from it was, say, 30/40 years ago, when almost all club revenues came from the turnstiles. Now you have Commercial, Sponsorship, Advertising and TV/Media etc, plus European Prize money (also the International game). And I daresay the Govt has far more money for football, incl LOI, than it did in years past.

    Quote Originally Posted by EatYerGreens View Post
    I'm not sure I'd describe the NI football pyramid as healthy btw, as it's basically a dead zone below the top tier when it comes to crowds. It is, however, stable in terms of both finances and membership - which is an important strength of the northern system vs the south. But it was that way long before the pyramid was introduced there. So it's not the pyramid that is making it a more stable structure. And my argument is that a pyramid on its own would actually INCREASE instability in the LOI, by adding in new clubs continually who just aren't in a position to compete.
    Again, you fixate on crowds, as though that is the only factor, and one which can never be improved.
    Fact is, it is perfectly possible for p-t clubs with modest crowds to participate & contribute even in the company of bigger, better-supported f-t clubs in the same league. (Re contribution, see my earlier eg of Institute FC, who have recently produced Gibson, McClean and McEneff for ROI)

    And as for new clubs increasing instability in the LOI, well yes, if they're the wrong clubs, admitted for the wrong reasons. But a carefully introduced pyramid should reduce that fear, not worsen it, since clubs should have to prove themselves at the lower level before being admitted to the next level.


    Quote Originally Posted by EatYerGreens View Post
    What is very telling in NI football is its demographics. Only about 10-15% of the clubs in the 3 divisions at the top of the NI pyramid are from areas which would be considered to have a majority nationalist background (and one or two more which would be evenly balanced/neutral) The rest are in areas which are very strongly unionist - Coleraine, Ballymena, Larne, Carrick, Ballyclare, Loughhall, Dundela, Ballinamallard, Portadown, Ards, Bangor, Knockbreda, Banbridge, Tobermore, Limavady, Portstewart. I could go on, but it's clear that the vast majority of teams in the Northern pyramid system are from very unionist-dominated areas. Which basically makes one of my key points for me - about the impact that football being only the 4th most popular spectator sport in the south has. Unionists turn their backs on the GAA (no breaking news there), so it's not a competitor in large swathes of the north. But in the places where GAA is strong, Irish League club football is weak or non-existent. So the north proves the point re the impact football in the south faces from having a uniquely high number of more popular spectator sports. And as someone who wants football to prosper, it is deeply worrying how polarised the senior game is in the north. Especially when you consider that NI itself is at demographic parity, and about to have a catholic/nationalist majority population. The Irish league is becoming a bit of a minority entity in terms of participants and supporters, which is in no-ones interests. I wouldn't call any of that healthy in such a divided place. And I don't see the pyramid system there changing it either.
    There is so much about that which is simplistic, misguided, outdated or plain wrong that I barely know where to start!

    Fortunately I needn't even try, since it is also pretty much irrelevant to the situation in ROI, where demographics are entirely different. That is, you don't get people eg cleaving to GAA and shunning Soccer on the basis that the latter is a "Protestant sport in Protestant areas" (to use a crude stereotype).

    Quote Originally Posted by EatYerGreens View Post
    You've ignored Cobh. They never 'failed'. They were in the LOI for 24yrs, were relegated from the Premier Division when it was reduced in size in 2009, dropped out for a few years to sort themselves financially. and then came back again and have been in the LOI ever since. Ironically they had to wait a few extra years to do so because they lost a play-off against Salthill Devon in the period when the LOI did have a 3-tier pyramid. That's Salthill Devin btw - who joined the LOI in the short window when it had a 3-tier pyramid (losing the promotion play-off but getting in anyway when Kildare dropped out) ; lasted 3 seasons where they finished bottom of the FD each time, and then dropped out of the LOI.
    OK, I forgot Cobh. But if anything, they prove my point, not yours, which is that if a small, provincial club is properly managed, it can survive in senior football in ROI. (Same with eg Sligo Rvrs or Finn Harps).
    Meaning that if they can do so, why cannot others, even if it takes time to nurture and introduce them? After all, we've seen the same in NI with eg Dungannon, Carrick, Ballinamallard and Warrenpoint.

    Quote Originally Posted by EatYerGreens View Post
    Cork should indeed never have not had a top level club in the LOI. In the same way that Derry should never not have had a top level club in the IL (which it doesn't currently btw).
    And your point is, Caller?

    Quote Originally Posted by EatYerGreens View Post
    This has been discussed ad infinitum on here previously. The LOI is a financial killing zone for intermediate clubs. There is quite a step up in terms of talent and finances required to be genuinely competitive. And a lot of clubs just don't see the benefit of distracting themselves from their core stuff that they do currently to join a league where they'll struggle to make much progress and it'll just end up bleeding them dry of money. The FAI need to make it less financially suicidal if it wants more intermediate clubs with real potential to aspire to be new entrants. And then there's the issue with Tralee Dynamoes, who were essentially punished for joining the 3rd tier/Championship level in the LOI when they had to go back to the Kerry system again at a lower level. So why would any club want to take the organisational, financial and footballing risks involved ? . It's telling when you look at the 4 applicants the LOI received this month. One is basically a replacement for the Limerick that dropped out last year ; one is trying to usurp the existing Wexford club ; One lasted only 5 seasons in the LOI previously, and appears to be motivated at least in-part by a desire to not be carved out of the academy system and enforced linkages between LOI clubs and the junior system ; and the fourth seems a bit bonkers, and has no players or stadium. It's a rather dysfunctional pool of suitors by any objective analysis.
    No-one is discounting the problems faced by the set-up in ROI (and you forgot the summer/winter split too, btw).

    But looking at it from a Northern pov, there is no good reason why the ROI couldn't develop a thriving pyramid which would benefit the overall game. For when outlining the historic strengths and advantagesof the game in the North East etc, you imply that it is basically the same, monolithic set-up which has always existed.

    Whereas, there has been progress, if at times at a glacial pace, in modifying and updating the system down the years. For example, after the foundation of the IL in 1890, they then introduced an Intermediate League (the 1920's?), followed by a major reform with the introduction of the (senior) "B" Division. This subsequently split into two, divided between independent clubs and a Reserves League.

    There were further modifications in succeeding decades, until in the mid-90's the top division was split into two divisions. In 2003, the IFA took over the running of it, the senior league reverted to one enlarged division for a period, albeit with promotion/relegation to the revamped Intermediate set-up, before reorganising again, admitting some new teams and developing the pyramid further down to Internediate and Junior level, a process which continues to this day.

    All this was achieved against the backdrop of two World Wars; the loss successively of the Dublin clubs, Belfast Celtic and DCFC; 30 years of The Troubles; growing interest/accessibility in GB football & the huge demographic changes you outlined.

    Meantime, ROI was (thankfully) spared this, while seeing big population/economic growth.

    All of which suggests to me that it shouldn't be inherently impossible to introduce a proper pyramid in ROI, as seen in all other of UEFA's 55 Members.

    Rather it reflects a lack of vision, leadership, ambition and basic organisation over the prolonged period needed to implement it.

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  8. #65
    Biased against YOUR club pineapple stu's Avatar
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    I think just to look at this in more detail - I'm not sure how much help any of it would really be in practical terms.

    Quote Originally Posted by EatYerGreens View Post
    1) Conduct an analysis of locations around the country which don't currently have an LOI team, but on-paper would have a chance of making one last. Looking at population, strength of the game locally vs other sports, distance form existing LOI teams etc. (e.g. Navan, Tralee, Mullingar, Castlebar, Tullamore ?)
    Fine - let's go retrospective with it and say Kildare and Wexford are identified as gaps in the market.

    Quote Originally Posted by EatYerGreens View Post
    2) Look at what existing junior or intermediate clubs in that area could have the potential to take the step up over time. i.e. are well-run, ambitious, have decent facilities - or at least have some of those qualities.
    OK - Newbridge Town and Wexford Youths.

    Quote Originally Posted by EatYerGreens View Post
    3) Approach those clubs directly, say that the FAI wants the League to expand to X teams by 2025 and Y teams by 2030, and ask would they be interested in being one of a number of 'contender/candidate clubs' for that. That's not a commitment from either those clubs or the FAI that they WILL join the LOI btw. Just a commitment that they'll go on a journey together to improve themselves so they're in a position where they could potentially join in the future
    95% of clubs will say "Fķck off ourrada." They're happy being big fish in small ponds. They don't want to take the financial risk. Whatever the reason - that's the answer most clubs will give. You've not done anything to address that, and that's an initial key weakness imo.

    But let's say Kildare and Wexford are interested.

    Quote Originally Posted by EatYerGreens View Post
    4) For those who are interested - develop a clear strategy for what they are currently good at and less good, and what they need to do to get themselves ready for the senior game in either 5 or 10 years time. FAI funding would help with the facilities aspect, but the clubs would also be expected to raise their own money to show they can become sustainable. They should also be helped on youth academies, revenue-generation, etc etc
    This is time wasted imo. Revenue generation on the promise of being considered for FD admission in 5-10 years' time is a tough sell. If the club had any decent players, they won't hang around for 5-10 years either. Straight off, you're hamstringing the club. And of course, if you do parachute them in in 5-10 years' time, there's no guarantee they'll be strong enough on the pitch to compete - which is what we've seen with Wexford, Kildare and Cabo (one or two seasons aside). That's the key problem with just making clubs up or bunging them in from nowhere. They're often great on paper but crap on the pitch, and the latter kills crowds. A club promoted by rights is going to be in a far better position to build on that.

    One of the points of a pyramid system is that clubs should always be looking at what it'd need to take the next step up. It's clear that if they get promoted, there are so many additional requirements, and you can plan from there. So this planning process becomes an ongoing item - which most clubs don't have because they're happy being Wicklow District Champions or whatever. The FAI's role then is to encourage clubs to want to be promoted.

    Approaching a club and saying "Look - in ten years we want you to be ready" doesn't make any sense. Compare the LoI ten years ago to the LoI now for example. Additional underage requirements, much less in the way of sponsorship, insurance costs in particular going way up - and that's before you get to the question of will it be a 10 or 12 or 5 or 17 team league in ten years. A plan that far ahead as a base requirement isn't really reasonable.

    Quote Originally Posted by EatYerGreens View Post
    5) Review the progress of these clubs on a regular basis, and not be afraid to say to any of them where they're under-performing, or if it just isn't going to happen for them realistically.
    This has worked well with licensing. Politically, it would also be a nasty Sword of Damocles to be holding over clubs who might put in a lot of work only to be told that actually, their face doesn't fit.

    Quote Originally Posted by EatYerGreens View Post
    6) Let these clubs enter the League Cup automatically after a few years, to start blooding them against senior opposition. And also hold an annual tournament amongst all the candidate clubs to encourage them all to step up vs each other.
    This again would achieve nothing. Let them aspire to being in the League Cup in five years? For what - one, maybe two, games against an understrength LoI side? Or a tournament against candidate clubs? What would be the point? And what would be the difference to, say, the LoI B Division or the A Championship, which were also tournaments for candidate league members against each other? You're talking about a tournament with less profile than the First Division Shield.

    Quote Originally Posted by EatYerGreens View Post
    8) The clubs that go through this process - all or part of the way - will be left in a better position as a result, even if they don't join the LOI. Football will have been improved even if it ends up adding no-one to the league.
    They'll be in a better place by planning for promotion to a league that most don't want to join (because it's a basketcase with no practical way out, the key issue which hasn't been addressed) and in the space of 5-10 years they'll have played maybe one League Cup match against a mix of UCD's first-team and U19s and also a roundrobin tournament against Carlow, Monaghan and Irish Sea?

    Sorry - doesn't stack up.

  9. #66
    The Cheeto God Real ale Madrid's Avatar
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    Big issue for me is how do you convince the Pike Rovers' / Bunratty's / St. Michaels' of this world to compete in an MSL with the clubs from Cork? Without forcing them to that is.

    I don't know much about the LSL but down here football is generationally so disjointed at this stage that I'd say it's nearly impossible to fix without disenfranchisement of some.

  10. #67
    Biased against YOUR club pineapple stu's Avatar
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    Arguably there's a shift already starting which could help that happen, and that's that people nowadays are going to the gym to keep fit rather than playing team sports. I think - happy to be corrected here - that a fair few of the county district leagues are shrinking badly enough at this stage. Surely at some stage, consolidating some of the leagues will be beneficial, if not essential?

    I agree it's not an easy one though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Real ale Madrid View Post
    Big issue for me is how do you convince the Pike Rovers' / Bunratty's / St. Michaels' of this world to compete in an MSL with the clubs from Cork? Without forcing them to that is.

    I don't know much about the LSL but down here football is generationally so disjointed at this stage that I'd say it's nearly impossible to fix without disenfranchisement of some.

    Travel cost only would be mental and wouldnít work without large funding from fai. Also put an end to Sunday morning fixtures.

  12. #69
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    The Tralee example keeps popping up and it shows how stupid having the elite playing summer season and most others playing winter is. Fai need to grow pair of balls and change 1.

    And if a club leaves itís local league for the LOI and it fails they should be placed back into the division below in the league they left might encourage more to take a gamble, make it a directive from FAI and it would have to be followed country wide. (If we donít have a pyramid)

  13. #70
    The Cheeto God Real ale Madrid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. football View Post
    Travel cost only would be mental and wouldn’t work without large funding from fai. Also put an end to Sunday morning fixtures.
    I don't think travel Costs would be a huge deal tbh. Its not as if you are travelling from Goleen to Nenagh. Most top clubs would be only a few hours both ways max , the odd one would be longer. If you could get a Motorway built between Cork and Limerick even better.

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    First Team EalingGreen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Real ale Madrid View Post
    I don't think travel Costs would be a huge deal tbh. Its not as if you are travelling from Goleen to Nenagh. Most top clubs would be only a few hours both ways max , the odd one would be longer.
    Reluctance to meet the cost and time required is often cited as a factor - in NI as much as anywhere - but if you have a properly run, competitive competition, then the more progressive teams (at least) will respond.

    Besides, you only need look at sparsely populated countries like Norway or Sweden who somehow cope with far bigger distances.

    Or closer to home, the Highland League in Scotland, some of whose teams have seized upon the chance to rise through the divisions towards the SFL.

    A few weeks back, the BBC highlighted this Brora Rangers player and the trek he regularly makes just for home games, never mind this away cup game in Edinburgh:

    Part-time players are used to days off work and long trips to pursue their football dreams, but how about a ferry journey and a two-and-a-half hour drive before the team bus sets off for another three-hour haul?

    That's what Brora Rangers defender John Pickles has to look forward to when the Highland League champions travel to Hibernian for Wednesday's League Cup tie.

    And then there's an overnight excursion from his home in Finstown, Orkney, to Dingwall on Saturday for a Covid-19 test before he's even allowed to play at Easter Road.


    As he said himself:
    "Games like this are such fantastic opportunities. You want to test yourself against the best opposition possible, you want to go to the big stadiums. It is a good trip for boys like us who don't get to play in places like that every week, so it is very exciting."
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/54376917



    The village of Brora is in Sutherland, about 50 miles north of Inverness on that map.
    Last edited by EalingGreen; 24/11/2020 at 11:01 PM.

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    The posts above are getting bogged down, so I'm keen to keep things at the principle stage.

    There are two conflicting points of view here. The first (Pineapple Stu, Ealing Green) is that a pyramid will make the LOI more stable in terms of new clubs. It appears to be based on a belief that a pyramid will somehow whip clubs who want to join the LOI into better shape for when they do get the chance to join. However - my point question is how ? I point out again that the majority of clubs who've been admitted to the league over the last century (especially in ones and twos) have bene the best in the Intermediate game at that time. Some even tried on multiple occasions to join the LOI in the years before they were admitted (e.g. St James's Gate). Yet they were still in no stronger position for when it did happen. Gate were a Top 1/2 LSL side at the time they joined, and had recently done well in the FAI Cup too. Likewise St Francis. If there had been a pyramid in-place in the early 1990s they would actually have joined the LOI EARLIER than they did in the end (which was when Gate were expelled in 1997), because they were romping the LSL every year. But when they did take the step up events proved that they were in no better shape for having waited longer to enter or for being the best in the Intermediate game at that time. So I'm really not seeing how a connected 3rd tier will magically make Intermediate clubs better suited to take the big step up to the senior game. Just like the facet there is a clear route from the FD to the PD provides no guarantee whatsoever that clubs who get promoted will somehow be better equipped to survive in the top tier. So can it credibly be explained how linking the intermediate game into the LOI will suddenly make clubs more viable, stable etc ?

    The other contrasting view to this - which I'm giving - is that we SHOULD have a pyramid system, but acknowledge that in-of-itself it isn't a silver bullet. So allied to it there should also be a strategically planned process of ensuring that interested clubs with the raw ingredients to succeed and compete at a higher level (catchment area, facilities etc) are worked with over time to get them into a better shape to take the step up to the senior game if results on the pitch enable them to do so. This is particularly important as it is likely that the top teams at the Intermediate Level won't want to take the step up to the LOI (because it is currently financial and organisational suicide to do so). So unless the next place is willing to go up in their stead, the pyramid becomes a farce.

    In summary - both approaches believe in a pyramid. One believes it will magically make clubs more stable, whilst the other believes that history shows it won't and that it should therefore be combined with a strategy and plan to ensure that likely contenders ARE in a better shape to survive for when they take the step up. One approach is essentially throwing the dice and hoping things will somehow be better than they have been for the last 100 years. The other approach is about loading the dice so you're more likely to get a positive outcome. People can decide for themselves which they think is likely to result in more stable new entrants, and to reduce/finish the endless revolving of the LOI over the last century.

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    First Team EalingGreen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EatYerGreens View Post
    In summary - both approaches believe in a pyramid. One believes it will magically make clubs more stable, whilst the other believes that history shows it won't and that it should therefore be combined with a strategy and plan to ensure that likely contenders ARE in a better shape to survive for when they take the step up..
    Can't speak for P.Stu, but I certainly don't believe in "magic" or Silver Bullets etc.

    But as I said previously, you don't start with the top tier(s) and try to build down i.e. by plucking clubs from below.

    Rather you build from the bottom up. And if this means amalgamation and regionalisation of existing leagues, plus a move away from the imbalance of provincial associations (Leinster vs 3 x Ulster counties?), then get to work.

    This can be achieved by a combination of carrot and stick i.e. for the former, funding and support goes to the progressive leagues, with these being withdrawn from those leagues which decline to join in. At worst, the FAI could refuse recognition or affiliation of recalcitrant clubs/leagues, whilst withholding coaching and facilities grants, at the same time as lobbying the government to do the same. Ditto with referees and coaches - push these towards recognised leagues and withhold them from unrecognised leagues, all to the benefit of those leagues and clubs which do play ball (sorry).

    Of course, this is not going to happen overnight, which is why it needs to be part of a medium-to-long term plan, so players, clubs, leagues and administrators can "get their ducks in a row" over time. But if they know what they're building towards, then they're far more likely to sign up.

    Then once you've got a functioning Junior and Intermediate set-up, you can start to integrate them into the upper tiers of the pyramid, with full Promotion and Relegation.

    You're probably talking about a minimum of a decade to see results, but that's just better reason to start now.

    Then once it's firmly established, you could even start thinking of an amalgamation with the IFA set-up and form, say, an all-Ireland league!

    How's that for thinking outside the box?
    Last edited by EalingGreen; 24/11/2020 at 11:37 PM.

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    Capped Player nigel-harps1954's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EatYerGreens View Post
    The posts above are getting bogged down, so I'm keen to keep things at the principle stage.

    There are two conflicting points of view here. The first (Pineapple Stu, Ealing Green) is that a pyramid will make the LOI more stable in terms of new clubs. It appears to be based on a belief that a pyramid will somehow whip clubs who want to join the LOI into better shape for when they do get the chance to join. However - my point question is how ? I point out again that the majority of clubs who've been admitted to the league over the last century (especially in ones and twos) have bene the best in the Intermediate game at that time. Some even tried on multiple occasions to join the LOI in the years before they were admitted (e.g. St James's Gate). Yet they were still in no stronger position for when it did happen. Gate were a Top 1/2 LSL side at the time they joined, and had recently done well in the FAI Cup too. Likewise St Francis. If there had been a pyramid in-place in the early 1990s they would actually have joined the LOI EARLIER than they did in the end (which was when Gate were expelled in 1997), because they were romping the LSL every year. But when they did take the step up events proved that they were in no better shape for having waited longer to enter or for being the best in the Intermediate game at that time. So I'm really not seeing how a connected 3rd tier will magically make Intermediate clubs better suited to take the big step up to the senior game. Just like the facet there is a clear route from the FD to the PD provides no guarantee whatsoever that clubs who get promoted will somehow be better equipped to survive in the top tier. So can it credibly be explained how linking the intermediate game into the LOI will suddenly make clubs more viable, stable etc ?

    The other contrasting view to this - which I'm giving - is that we SHOULD have a pyramid system, but acknowledge that in-of-itself it isn't a silver bullet. So allied to it there should also be a strategically planned process of ensuring that interested clubs with the raw ingredients to succeed and compete at a higher level (catchment area, facilities etc) are worked with over time to get them into a better shape to take the step up to the senior game if results on the pitch enable them to do so. This is particularly important as it is likely that the top teams at the Intermediate Level won't want to take the step up to the LOI (because it is currently financial and organisational suicide to do so). So unless the next place is willing to go up in their stead, the pyramid becomes a farce.

    In summary - both approaches believe in a pyramid. One believes it will magically make clubs more stable, whilst the other believes that history shows it won't and that it should therefore be combined with a strategy and plan to ensure that likely contenders ARE in a better shape to survive for when they take the step up. One approach is essentially throwing the dice and hoping things will somehow be better than they have been for the last 100 years. The other approach is about loading the dice so you're more likely to get a positive outcome. People can decide for themselves which they think is likely to result in more stable new entrants, and to reduce/finish the endless revolving of the LOI over the last century.
    You're forgetting something very important when you reference the likes of St Francis and St James Gate there.

    With a pyramid, you don't just get promotion, you get relegation too.

    The likes of Mervue, Salthill, St James Gate, St Francis, Wexford, and many others would have got the chance to drop a division, instead of stagnation at the bottom of the closed first division, never getting a chance to grow as a club, seen as the perennial losers.

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    Biased against YOUR club pineapple stu's Avatar
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    EYG - I've already said that I don't see a pyramid as a silver bullet. I don't know why you keep saying that I do, but it does indicate that you're not really engaging in a proper debate, which is disappointing to be honest. So can I ask you to stop putting words in my mouth and arguing points that I'm not making?

    You say that you're arguing for a pyramid system as well - but you're not. You're arguing for a franchise-based system where clubs are identified on strategic grounds and parachuted into the league regardless of on-field ability. That's the exact opposite of a pyramid. You're arguing that you sit down with a few clubs, give them 5-10 years to do up a bit of fundraising plan, throw a couple of quasi-competitive League Cup games at them and things will work out - but there isn't the remotest idea as to why this should happen. Or what will happen if things don't work out.

    You say -

    One approach is essentially throwing the dice and hoping things will somehow be better than they have been for the last 100 years.
    But that's your approach. You're picking clubs based on population area, inviting them to the league and hoping they take off. The only thing you've done is told them to go off and do a strategic plan and think about fundraising. Other than that, it's the exact same reason Wexford, Cabo, Kildare, Tralee, etc, were in the league.

    Nigel makes a key point on relegation. Yes, Gate were a very good LSL team who would have made the step up to LoI earlier in a real pyramid. But they'd also have been booted out earlier. They joined (most recently) in 1991/92. They had two top-half FD finishes in their first two seasons and for a while you could say they had the potential to build on something. Then the next three years they were last, last and second last. In at least two of those years (depending on one or two relegation places), I would say they go back to LSL and let someone else have a go.

    And this is why a pyramid system is essentially more stable than what we have now - which is to all intents and purposes what you want to keep. Once again, I'll cite the Tralee case - which you keep ignoring - as an example of inherent instability of a system where you have to leave your league, wait six months for a game, and you know that if things don't work out you'll have to leave the LoI, wait another six months for a game, and get relegated back to the bottom tier of the local league you came from. That's unstable. So much so that it's too much of a risk for many clubs to take - and that's exactly what we're seeing.

    Effectively, a pyramid system is about Darwinian natural selection finding the best teams on and off the pitch to come up to LoI level, while relegating the likes of Wexford who (with all due respect to them) have been wasting everyone's time the last couple of years. It can't be helping them grow the club down there to see them regularly ship eight goals to UCD and they would arguably be better off regrouping at a lower level where they can again be competitive and generate a bit of interest. You say "history shows" this won't happen - but it can't show that because a pyramid scheme has never been in place in this country.
    Last edited by pineapple stu; 25/11/2020 at 9:21 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Real ale Madrid View Post
    Big issue for me is how do you convince the Pike Rovers' / Bunratty's / St. Michaels' of this world to compete in an MSL with the clubs from Cork? Without forcing them to that is.

    I don't know much about the LSL but down here football is generationally so disjointed at this stage that I'd say it's nearly impossible to fix without disenfranchisement of some.
    Ah it's pyramid time again, it's been a while! Without getting into the nitty gritty, the only way it happens if is the FAI refuses affiliation to all of the smaller leagues, you're either in the FAI league, which is junior (basically along the lines of county leagues with a reduced number of random leagues all over the place), intermediate, which could have a couple of levels, slightly expanded to neighbouring counties, before the top level of provincial. If you're not affiliated to the FAI pyramid you don't qualify for major grants, or get the use of facilities or referees etc.

    It would take a strong will from the FAI and I'm not sure how you get around the fact that it would probably mean some powerful junior leagues voting themselves out of existence (or at least being forced to rebrand and restructure).

    Tallaght Stadium Regular

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    Biased against YOUR club pineapple stu's Avatar
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    I'd agree with all that.

    Though what you describe wouldn't be an unprecedented step in that it's very similar to what happened the LoI in 2006.

    Appreciate though there's a lot more politics and votes at play in doing it at the lower levels. Which is silly, but true.

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    The Cheeto God Real ale Madrid's Avatar
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    To be fair to the lower leagues in some instances - its more than just politics and votes - there is no attraction to a team in Limerick playing in a 10 team MSL with 9 Cork teams.

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    Quote Originally Posted by passinginterest View Post
    Ah it's pyramid time again, it's been a while! Without getting into the nitty gritty, the only way it happens if is the FAI refuses affiliation to all of the smaller leagues, you're either in the FAI league, which is junior (basically along the lines of county leagues with a reduced number of random leagues all over the place), intermediate, which could have a couple of levels, slightly expanded to neighbouring counties, before the top level of provincial. If you're not affiliated to the FAI pyramid you don't qualify for major grants, or get the use of facilities or referees etc.

    It would take a strong will from the FAI and I'm not sure how you get around the fact that it would probably mean some powerful junior leagues voting themselves out of existence (or at least being forced to rebrand and restructure).

    Yes and every plays on the calendar.

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    Biased against YOUR club pineapple stu's Avatar
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    Yeah, and I think there's a similar thing in Leinster because the LSL is mostly Dublin and then you've Wicklow leagues, Wexford leagues, etc.

    But a full Munster league would be stronger than the MSL (if you add one team from Limerick, it would have to be stronger). I get the feeling there's a lot of clubs happy being big fish in small ponds, and I don't think that's a good thing as a general rule. It means there's no reason to push yourself as a club and try improve.

    I think that bigger picture is more important, though it's definitely correct to note that it wouldn't be an easy switch. But the current system is daft.

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