DUTCH GREAT GULLIT FINDS IT ‘BIZARRE’ COVE AND EAST KILBRIDE DON’T GET AUTOMATIC PROMOTION
TOP TRIO: Ruud Gullit, chairman Keith Moorhouse and Tam Cowan at the Cove Rangers dinner held at the Marcliffe Hotel.
DUTCH football legend Ruud Gullit believes it’s wrong that champion duo Cove Rangers and East Kilbride haven’t been rewarded with a place in the SPFL’s League Two next season.
Breedon Highland League champs Cove face the Lowland League winners at the K-Park Training Academy this afternoon in the first leg of their Pyramid Play-off semi, with the return at Balmoral Stadium a week today.
But whoever wins on aggregate then has to take on the side who finish bottom of League Two, most likely to be Berwick Rangers, over two legs for the right to make the step up.
Former Feyenoord, PSV Eindhoven, AC Milan and Chelsea star Gullit, who was the headline speaker at Cove’s annual fund raising dinner in Aberdeen last night, believes that’s out of order.
“I heard that Cove had won their league but then there is this strange play-off system,” said Gullit, who also captained the Holland squad that won the 1988 European Championships and enjoyed spells as manager of Chelsea and Newcastle United.
“Any side that wins their league should be going immediately up to the next level.
“I understand the reasons for having the first play-off but there should not be one after that.
“The side who finish bottom of a league should not get another opportunity, there must be a reward for the side that has shown ambition.”
The Dutch also have a Pyramid System in place and changed their rules in 2009 to ensure the semi professional side who win what is effectively their third division automatically replaces the team who finished last in the second.
“The team who end up second bottom then also have to play the side second top in the lower division in a play-off,” said Gullit.
“That’s the fair way to do it, what you have in Scotland is bizarre.”
Gullit was speaking ahead of earning a rousing ovation from the audience of 350 at Aberdeen’s New Marcliffe Hotel after entertaining them with tales about his career at the Cove dinner, which is now one of the most popular events on the north-east sporting calendar.
Comedian and broadcaster Tam Cowan also spoke at the event.
Cove chairman Keith Moorhouse said: “I would like to thank Ruud and Tam for a very special evening. Everyone had a fantastic time.”
Cove Rangers are already taking bookings for the equally popular Christmas Lunch, which will have former Spurs manager and I’m a Celebrity winner Harry Redknapp as guest speaker when it is held on Friday December 6th.
Further details can be obtained from Cove Rangers commercial manager Angela Bruce at Balmoral Stadium
LOOK OUT FOR THE FULL INTERVIEW WITH RUUD GULLIT ON THE COVE RANGERS WEBSITE NEXT WEEK