Football in Scotland today can be considered a paradox: more funding goes into into it than any other sport in the country. Specifically, £550,000 of National Lottery good cause funding is aimed at helping change the lives of young people through sport; and, in December 2017, the UEFA donated 50,000 euros to the Scottish Football Partnership Trust, following a nomination from the Scottish FA, to fund a project catering for nearly 500 young people across Scotland. So the question must be asked – why has the Scotland team not made the last 10 major tournaments?
Despite not achieving anything on a national level, football is widespread across the nation, and a love of it firmly ingrained in Scottish culture. Young boys in particular are encouraged to play and watch football from the moment they’re able to walk. Therefore, at first glance, Scotland has all it needs for success: good funding and a passion for the sport. But, the fact of the matter is, we are just not hitting the winning formula – something is amiss.
The reason for Scotland’s lack of success can potentially be attributed to a growing ‘lad culture.’ As with most places in the UK, football is typically played by Working class communities and is used as a tool to keep young boys off the streets and out of trouble. Traditionally, rugby is more likely be implemented through private school education and football through a public school education. A growing trend in the current climate, is young players becoming good, going onto play for Scotland youth teams before kicking the bucket in their final years of school as they become sucked into a ‘lad culture.’ Friday nights are no longer for training, they’re for pints and chatting up girls. Regardless of their talent, football falls by the wayside in favour of prowling the streets with their mates, drinking and taking drugs. Thus, overall, a very small percentage of the good footballers, which have benefitted from Scotland’s excellent football schemes, are progressing onto a national level due to this ‘lad culture’ and a fear of missing out.
Ultimately, something needs to be done to encourage young boys to keep playing the sport. It is an achievable goal with a win-win outcome: less drug and knife crime in Scotland as well as an up and coming generation of football players, which will completely rejuvenate Scottish football.
-Lucy Donaldson, Online and Features Editor