Feb 1 2013 by David Wren, Kilmarnock Standard
Michael Johnston has revealed the club lost £300,000 this season without Rangers in the SPL.
But the Kilmarnock chairman believes league reconstruction is the way forward.
The Standard spoke to Michael Johnston on the back of all 12 SPL clubs unanamously voting in favour of the 12-12-18 plan put forward by the SFA, SPL and SFL.
He insists they will improve the Scottish game.
He said: “This new system creates an intriguing play-off situation at the end of the season.
“It gives the exciting prospect of four teams being promoted as well as four teams being relegated.”
Johnston also revealed SPL teams will be giving up a chunk of prize money through these new plans.
“Although it may seem far fetched, the SPL teams are actually giving up money for the good of the Scottish game.
“Right now the winner of SFL1 receives £70,000 but through new plans the winner will receive a sum of around £400,000.”
New plans will see the bottom four teams in the SPL play the top four teams in SFL1 from January until May in a play-off system, home and away.
This could add an element of risk to clubs like Kilmarnock, St Mirren and St Johnstone who are one bad result away from slipping in to the bottom four.
However, Johnston remained upbeat about the new league structure.
He said: “Kilmarnock are fourth in the all time points tally of the SPL.
“We showed in 2010 when we played Falkirk in a relegation battle the character that this club has.”
Glasgow giants Rangers have been against league reconstruction plans from the beginning and Johnston admits the SPL have missed the Ibrox club on a commercial level.
He explained: “Two of our busiest home gates are the Rangers games.
“We have lost an estimated £300,000 on gate receipts alone due to Rangers not being in the league.
“We have also seen a lack of interest from sponsors as well as poor viewing figures for SPL football that has been broadcast on Sky.”
The chairman does think it has improved the level of competition in the league this season.
He said: “The league has become more competitive than ever. We now see Inverness in second place behind Celtic as well as mid-table being very close too, so I think from a footballing point of view we are in a better way.”
With all SPL clubs agreeing to new plans it now falls to the SFL clubs to also agree in order for the reconstruction to be concrete. Michael Johnston believes that it is a great opportunity to improve Scottish football for good.
He added: “I think these plans will give us more variety and create a new exciting league.”