In Whose Interests

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Any organisation’s plan for a top-down review of development would ordinarily be welcome news. Self evaluation, or even better independent evaluation is an ongoing process amongst professionals, individually and collectively alike. In the case of the SFA however a healthy scepticism is required. We are after all dealing with people who are the poster boys for self-interest and short-termism.

The SFA had previously commissioned a thorough review of the game (decades ago) by Rinus Michels, the inventor of “Total Football” and his report was largely ignored, partly because it implied criticism of the then current regime, and partly because it would cost money. A “Total Shambles”.

Henry McLeish also famously recommended (again after being commissioned to do so by the SFA) a more balanced approach to governance between the SFA and SPFL. This would have required a blazer or two having less say in the running of the game – and was therefore ignored.

Mark Wotte, the prominent Dutch coach hired as performance director at Hampden also suggested during his tenure that, in order to improve technique, more ball time should be provided for players in games.

He recommended seven a side competitions as the norm for u-15s (less players – more participation).

To accommodate this, club infrastructures would have required expensive upgrading, and coaches in clubs, not responsive to new ideas lobbied hard for the status quo.

The upshot is that we carried on with the same eleven-a-side games where many players hardly got a kick.
And in this classic Einsteinean definition of insanity, no overall improvements were to be found in the national team’s fortunes.

No wonder Wotte fled the scene in 2014 after three years.

Of course the details are debatable and subjective, but experience tells us;
Anything that
a) costs money or
b) upsets old boys’ networks
has a tendency to be hidden out of sight.

The recent “announcement” is merely a reaction to a couple of poor results, caused in part by inaction in the wake of previous reports’ recommendations.

An increasing number of observers of our game refer to an inferior mindset amongst players in Scotland, that we accept losing as the norm.

Hardly surprising that such a mindset is prevalent amongst professionals.
They must despair at the chronic self-interest, ineptitude and fecklessness of the “leaders” of our sport – an organisation that appointed Gordon Smith as CE (think about that for a minute) based on who his pals were, where McGregor and Petrie can become senior officers – “because it’s his turn!” – despite being unqualified squares in a round ball game, and where fairy-tales take precedence over reality.

As long as the blazers have a seat on the SFA bus, nothing will change.

45 COMMENTS


 

  1. JC / eJ, as our 'SFM legal eagles', with your extensive knowledge of the legal proceedings around the RFC/TRFC saga…

     

    There is, IMO, a rather explosive blog today on the JJ site.

    I don't know if this content has been discussed before, but…

     

    would either of you be able to corroborate this content – or even, what is your opinion on the content?

     

    It just doesn't read true because it is SO damming of the Scottish criminal legal system and the Police, and on multiple levels. 

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  2. StevieBC 11th September 2019 at 13:10

    JC / eJ, as our 'SFM legal eagles', with your extensive knowledge of the legal proceedings around the RFC/TRFC saga…

    There is, IMO, a rather explosive blog today on the JJ site.

    I don't know if this content has been discussed before, but…

    would either of you be able to corroborate this content – or even, what is your opinion on the content?

    It just doesn't read true because it is SO damming of the Scottish criminal legal system and the Police, and on multiple levels. 

    ===============================

    I have already read David Whitehouse's submission to a Scottish Government inquiry into the operation of the COPFS. It dates from October 2016.

    Sadly the "inquiry" failed to publish DW's submission on the Scottish Government's website, unlike those of others, including one from DW's colleague David Grier, whose submission was from a different viewpoint and tame in comparison.

    https://www.parliament.scot/help/101143.aspx

    DW's submission certainly doesn't miss its target(s), and I would like to hear those allegations with supporting evidence to be aired in open court.

    Whether of not that happens will, in part, be dependent on the outcome of the current appeals to the Inner House of the Court of Session into the immunity of COPFS officials.

    JJ has posted DW's submission previously, but I would guess that he has only repeated it today because of me posting about yesterday's proceedings in Whitehouse's and Clark's appeals. 

    In keeping with his previous blogs, JJ takes no cognisance of legal proceedings that are ongoing and thus risks both fairness and contempt of the court processes.  I think he is wrong to approach the legal issues as he does.

    Edit: JC is having IT issues with commenting on the blog at present, so we will have to do without his input for the time being.

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  3. StevieBC 11th September 2019 at 13:10 

             JC / eJ, as our 'SFM legal eagles', with your extensive knowledge of the legal proceedings around the RFC/TRFC saga… There is, IMO, a rather explosive blog today on the JJ site. I don't know if this content has been discussed before, but…

        —————————————————————–

         Appointing PC Bungle to lead the investigation was certainly a faux pas by the high heid-yins Stevie, or………..

       A master-stroke in how to cover up a billion quid nicked from the bank……………….But that would be on another level. 

           That would obviously mean there is a lot more silk, involved in the general make-up of the so called "fabric of society", that needs protecting, than you would think. 

         Could those inept buffoons at the SFA really control the media?….Really?

    Think about it……  

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  4. JC & I were again in court for the second day of the appeals of Whitehouse and Clark at the Court of Session.

    The start of proceedings was delayed until 10:30, to allow Lord Carloway to deliver the Inner House's decision on the proroguing of parliament. 

    We were fortunate enough to be in court to hear that judgement.  In addition to the usual legal teams, there were a number of Journalists, MPs, other legal bods and members of the public present.

    Indeed, Douglas Fairlie QC representing Paul Clark was sitting immediately behind me. As soon and Lord Carloway said the word "unlawful", all I heard from Fairlie was "wow!". It was a response shared by many others in the court.

    Getting back to today's appeal proceedings, we were subjected to another full day of dry legal argument from Gerry Moynihan QC for the Lord Advocate, with many references to historic case law, with some going back as far as 1579. 

    I have previously cautioned on reading too much into legal submissions until you hear both sides. Yesterday, I felt that Roddy Dunlop hadn't been wholly effective in getting his arguments across. Today I felt that Gerry Moynihan fared just as badly, if not worse.

    This time it was Lord Carloway who asked the difficult questions that Moynihan struggled to answer.

    At one point Lord Carloway commented that he was surprised that no-one had challenged whether or not Lord Guthrie had made an error in law when making his the decision in the Hester case.  He added that he felt that Lord Guthrie's decision in that case was based on "thin air" or at least a "rarefied atmoshpere". The suggestion was that Lord Guthrie had conflated criminal proceedings with civil proceedings.

    That intervention seemed to put Moynihan on the back foot for a while and it seemed as if he was doing Dunlop's work for him, asking about alternatives to Hester, e.g. immunity except for "malicious prosecutions", immunity for actions done in "good faith", or that the Lord Advocate's liability would be met by the "state".

    Moynihan's submission improved in content during the afternoon, although not in listenability as JC dropped off at one point and was only woken by his notepad falling from his grasp.  He finished his defence of the Lord Advocate's immunity in common law in mid afternoon.

    Unfortunately he wasn't finished for the day. 

    I should have pointed out earlier that there are actually two appeals on the go following on from Lord Malcolm's immunity decisions back in September last year. Firstly, DW and PC were appealing the decision that the Lord Advocate had immunity in common law as confirmed by Lord Malcolm, but conversely, the Lord Advocate was appealing Lord Malcolm's decision that he had no such immunity for breaches of Articles 5 & 8 of the European Human Rights act and that those claims could proceed to proof.

    Moynihan droned on for the rest of the day in support of the Lord Advocate's appeal finishing his submission (hopefully) just after 4pm.  Doulgas Fairlie will respond in defence of Lord Malcolm's Human Rights decisions tomorrow morning, then I believe that Roddy Dunlop will get a final opportunity to respond to Moynihan's submission, before the Inner House judges set about making their decision (which could easily go one way or the other, as we experience first thing this morning)  

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  5. BP your blog is spot on: I think even the most generous of the long suffering Tartan Army members would acknowledge that material change for the better is just not going to happen under the SFA.

     

    We know that whatever the SFA grass roots strategy is/was – it's not really been working for 20, 30, ? years.  We can see the evidence on our own club pitches – and subsequently in the national team.

     

    But whether it's grass roots, or club level, or national level or refereeing, or administration, or communication, leadership, or Customer Service… etc.

    …the SFA has proven beyond all reasonable doubt that as an organisation, it simply doesn't have the answers.

     

    Tinkering here and there is pointless: a totally new, professionally run and independent governing body is long overdue.  To state the bleedin' obvious.

     

    But, the clubs won't effect radical change at Hampden until they feel the financial pain, and/or the SFA is facing a financial crisis.

    Further, paltry crowds at Hampden might help…

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  6. Short, sharp and on the mark Big Pink.

     

    The self serving institution that is the SFA isn't just managing the decline in Scottish Football it is actually exacerbating it with its archaic structures, dearth of talent and ingrained habit of trying to replicate the past.

     

    The world and the football world have left us behind but the SFA has not embraced meaningful change and those in control are more interested their own positions than the health of the game.

     

    The constant failure to treat fans as bona fide stakeholders is for me the SFA's biggest failing.

    Supporters Direct are funded by The SFA and are a joke and The Scottish Football Supporters Association are seen as a threat and constantly cold shouldered.

    Maxwell and Petrie are simply not the people to bring the fundamental and strategic changes our game needs. 

    Neither are visionaries nor leaders.

     

    But you can be sure they will do everything they can to protect their own share of the gravy train that comes from being a senior blazer at the SFA.

     

    I remember Barry Hearn being invited to speak at an SFA meeting in 2014.

    He was unpaid.

    He did his research.

    And he called it just about right. 

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/30324888

     

    Plus ca change.

     

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  7. JC & I were back at the Court of Session for the third day of the appeals hearing between Clark/Whitehouse and the Lord Advocate.  Unfortunately, I could only attend the morning session due to other commitments. 

    Gerry Moynihan completed his submission on behalf of the Lord Advocate in the first half hour, taking the court through a series of historical references about the development of immunity granted to those serving working in legal and judicial positions. They started in 1579 and went through 1797, 1864, 1906 and onto 1961. It was interesting enough, but what is being questioned is the relevance and weight that should be given to these precedents in 2019.

    Douglas Fairlie representing Paul Clark indicated that he would adopt the arguments expressed by Roddy Dunlop earlier in proceedings in respect of the Lord Advocate's immunity in common law and that he would mainly respond to the arguments put by Gerry Moynihan about the Article 8 (humans rights) legislation.

    However, he firstly provided a quick and, I thought, effective rebuttal of Moynihan's arguments on some of points raised about immunity in common law.

    He went on to provide a pretty robust rebuttal of Moynihan's arguments about Article 8, then provided his own justification for the engagement and a breach of Article 8 in the current case. In doing so he made reference to the media frenzy outside Glasgow Sheriff Court when Clark and the others first appeared on petition, that being the result of his well publicised involvement in "the Administration and sale of assets of Rangers Football Club".

    I left court shortly afterwards, just before the lunch break.  I don't think Fairlie had a lot more to say and would finish early in the afternoon session, before Dunlop had his chance to respond to the main part of Moynihan's submissions on the common law element of the appeal. I expect that the hearing would conclude this afternoon, but I will have to wait for confirmation from JC. I think that it will be several weeks before we get a decision, given the volume of information the the judges will have to consider. 

    Edit: I mentioned to David Whitehouse about JJ’s latest blog. He didn’t appear overly concerned and said that he knew he had published the same information a while ago.

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  8. Can't argue with what's been written by BP, but I think there's been two other events in the last thirty of years which have damaged the development of home-grown players. I refer to Freedom of Movement as enshrined in the Maastricht Treaty of 1992 & the Jean-Marc Bosman case in the ECJ in 1995.

    Scottish football embraced freedom of movement to the detriment of local, homegrown players. I'm sure everyone reading this post who supports or follows a specific Scottish team will have a tale or two of the numerous 'furrin diddies' signed because they were exotic & fashionable (and probably available on a 'Bosman'!), rather than they were better footballers than boys who had been locally trained & coached through the ranks. This happened not just in the top tier, but down the leagues as well. 

    Please don't construe my comments as anti-European or racist: I'm neither. Scottish professional football, from top to bottom, chose short-term-contract imports over homegrown youth for the wrong reasons in too many cases. Perhaps most of two Scottish footballing generations have been lost to date in many clubs’ rush to sign someone who’s played a few games in Ligue Un as a free-agent in preference to someone homegrown.

    I don't think it was a soundly-thought-out financial decision for many clubs either; it was simply  'keeping up with the Joneses' & being 'on trend'… 

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  9. BP – A very topical blog and valid questions about the ability of the SFA to govern the development of the game.

    As someone who watches pro-youth football from U11 upwards almost every weekend, I don't believe that there are any significant problems with the coaching and development of kids up to U16 as Scotland is pretty competitive with other countries in those age groups given the size of our gene pool. 

    We used to play 7 a side at U11 and U12 then jump straight to 11 a side. Now it progresses through 7, 8 and 9 before going to 11 a side, each step with commensurate increases in goal and pitch dimensions.  I think that is the right approach in adapting to the youngsters' physical and mental development.

    I don't believe that the SFA's performance schools or indeed the bigger clubs' own performance schools really add much to the outcomes (preparing players for first team football) though.

    The biggest problem is translating success at the younger age groups into comparable success at the top tier clubs and international football. I therefore believe that the problem lies more in the coaching and development of players in the 16-19 age brackets

    We are all aware of strategies developed in other countries, e.g. Netherlands, Germany and most recently Belgium.  The common element in the strategies of those countries is the willingness of all  clubs and the national team to adopt the same systems and styles of play.

    Scotland has a multitude of approaches, mainly as a result of the disparity in the wealth between clubs and access to recruitment and other resources. I can't see either Celtic or Rangers agreeing to adopt a common strategy for the common good anytime soon. That is illustrated by the recent decisions of some of the bigger clubs to withdraw from the Development and Reserve Leagues. There is far too much self interest.  There is also evidence of the bigger clubs stockpiling youth players to the detriment of other clubs.  

    Going back to the coaching aspects, I recently spoke to a former Hearts youth coach who had attended sessions with one of the Belgian coaches who had helped implement their new strategy. The Belgian had watched a number of pro youth games in preparation for the event.  His main point was on the need to adopt common systems of play at all levels. However, and perhaps more pointedly, he was critical of the in game communication between coaches and players, sometimes with two coaches giving different messages. He thought that all it did was confuse players and stop them playing their natural game and using their own intelligence, press, squeeze, first ball, second ball, hold, time, turn, one-on-one et al ……… and that's before the parents offered their advice. 

    That said, I know that Hearts youth coaches are encouraged not to coach excessively during play, to enable the players to think and learn for themselves. The coaching is done during the week and adjustments during games are only made at natural breaks and at half time.  That is most definitely not the case with most of the other pro youth clubs.

    I don't have a ready made solution to Scotland's ills but, based on the experience of other countries, we ware unlikely to progress as a small country without a common strategy across all clubs.

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  10. Am I being received? If my machine continues to behave itself  I'll try to get my Court report done tomorrow.

    There was a nice little jest from Lord Carloway today. When Mr Dunlop QC was discussing 'malicious prosecution' he referred to to a situation in which someone might be bringing a prosecution against someone out of a deep loathing for that person.

    Lord Carloway suggested that it would be all right to prosecute someone for whom one felt a deep loathing as long as it wasn't done out of malice. [Chuckles all round]

    Hope this post gets 'posted'

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  11. John Clark 12th September 2019 at 20:52

    Am I being received? If my machine continues to behave itself  I'll try to get my Court report done tomorrow.

    There was a nice little jest from Lord Carloway today. When Mr Dunlop QC was discussing 'malicious prosecution' he referred to to a situation in which someone might be bringing a prosecution against someone out of a deep loathing for that person.

    Lord Carloway suggested that it would be all right to prosecute someone for whom one felt a deep loathing as long as it wasn't done out of malice. [Chuckles all round]

    Hope this post gets 'posted'

    =========================

    He also made a quip about a "minister of state lying" as an example of breaching Article 8 when Fairlie was taking about the Georgian case.

    I was pretty sure that he was thinking of someone nearer to home with his example.

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  12. I don't know enough about what Belgium etc did to really argue with you EJ, but I can't understand this claim/statement that we can only improve if we implement a common strategy across all clubs. If every team chose or was forced to play the same style – be that 4-3-3, say, or a high pressing style etc etc – surely the competition in the league and among managers/tacticians would be very much lessened. Every club or manager has their own tactics (sometimes based on budget) e.g. Livi are imo quite long ball; St Johnstone will sit in and hit on the counter etc etc. Are you/the Belgian guys saying they can't do that anymore? That would mean the buying power of Celtic would mean their players, being better/more expensive would win more often than they do already, does it not? I know that the Scottish league and international team is anything but perfect so I might be arguing against myself here because if Livi improved at a Scotland-wide preferred style, that might help them and the Scottish national team, but I really don't see that happening elsewhere. In Spain – a competitive league and succesful international team – all teams don't play the same way. Hell, even their top 3 of Barca, Real and Atleti each has a very different style. In Germany, which is one of the countries that claims to have reset, Bayern and Dortmund don't play the same. Without knowing the Belgian league very well, I imagine that teams play different styles. For every passing, probing team in the EPL a la City, there's a fast counter attacking team like Liverpool or a defensively-strong yet creative Spurs. I can absolutely understand a club insisting on a preferred formation throughout all age groups, or even a country with their chosen elites at all age groups doing the same (as with England, I think), but this suggested panacea that Belgium, Germany etc made everyone adopt the same style is untrue imo. I think perhaps it's just within the National teams set-ups, rather than across the whole competitive league. 

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  13. nawlite 12th September 2019 at 21:58

    ———————————————

    I think the Belgian model was based on a 4-3-3 which was adapted to a 4-5-1 when a more defensive shape was required. I believe that all clubs and national sides agreed to play that way. It may have changed to cope with individual circumstances, but I believe that the basic model has been maintained.

    Players based outside Belgium (most of their squad) will obviously play in the style of their home clubs, but they know what formation they will be asked to play if selected for their national team.

    Obviously not all teams will play identically on a player v player basis. Each team will have its own more or less skilful players, those with and without pace, dominant defenders etc., so each game will play out and look different, but the basic system will be maintained, e.g. a dominant 4-3-3 formation may find its opposition adopting a more defensive 4-5-1 shape.

    The benefit is viewed as having their home developed players always knowing what is expected of them when they play a particular role and also what they can expect from their team mates, no matter what age group they play in, or on progression to their first team or into the international sphere.  

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  14. A Comment lifted from a Guardian article on Scotland's demise in international football;

    "ChrisGordon

    Apparently there is a dodgy scam E Mail doing the rounds at the moment.

    It promises two free tickets for Scotland's next home game.

    Don't open it.

    It contains two free tickets for Scotland's next home game."

    =====

    indecision

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  15. We all know that nothing will improve with the self serving SFA and all its cronies , An empty Hampden on international days is the only real weapon we have as our cowardly clubs have no stomach for it ……………Cmon the Tartan Army you hold all the aces

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  16. easyJambo 12th September 2019 at 17:12

    I don't have a ready made solution to Scotland's ills but, based on the experience of other countries, we ware unlikely to progress as a small country without a common strategy across all clubs.

    ===========================

    Any 'common strategy' would need buy in from fans who buy season tickets,who in my view are entitled to buy one with a view to investing in what is best for their club, not the long term future of the international team with the possibility things could get even more mediocre for their club in the interim period. Also in my view there is zero chance of any common strategy without first a complete root and branch reform of every aspect of the SFA, which needs to be rid of the bias and nepotism which runs from top to bottom, as well as a Refereeing appointments system which ignores the laws on diversity and inclusion, with the same close knit fraternal influences moving into the Referee supervisor system.

    I have often opined on matters such as strict liability that Scotland as nation would be unable to apply such a system fairly across the board. This is because old prejudices and unhealthy media influence would in my view be factors in its application, just like they are in the current disciplinary processes. Any attempts to develop a common strategy for player development under the current shambles of the SFA would be subject to the same influences. 

    Maybe I just look at things too simply. Most people thought Stevie Clark was the right man for the job. He has not had a great start to say the least but much time was wasted under the nepotism inspired appointment of Alex McLeish, who was clearly well past his sell by date. Clark's power is in his organisation and the likely play off opponents for Scotland will not in my view be unbeatable, especially with Clark having had more time. Sometimes you just need the right Manager. Ask Kilmarnock fans. 

     

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  17. I am currently residing in Belgium and have done for over 11 years , I was in Germany before this for 5 years and had a season ticket for FC Twente Enschede in the Eredivisie as I preferred Dutch football to German . The infrastructure in the NL and Germany is excellent and has contributed to their high levels of success over the years , Belgium in comparison despite the success of its national team has invested little at grassroots level . Sometimes nations just hit a purple patch due to a handful of decent players. I have always thought the Belgians were over rated and carried by Hazard and Courtois in particular . The quality of the Belgian league is slightly better than the SPL overall but I believe Celtic would win it if in that competition. The one similarity to Scottish football came at my local club RAEC Mons who declared bankruptcy in 2015 and whose assets were sold and returned to the lower leagues as RAQ-Mons….. if only they had a spare holding company , an incubator and some spare succulent I could still be watching the original club*

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R.A.E.C._Mons

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  18. TRFC do like a Friday evening statement, don't they?

    I suspect that Allen's position became very difficult when he failed to sell any or all of Morelos, Tavernier, Grezda or Foderingham in the last transfer window.

    I also wonder how much input (if any) he had into the signing of Kent & whether that was the final straw?

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  19. Good point JJ @20.59 If he was told to sign Kent for the reported 7m then his position and judgement are being undermined, he must also question why those same funds weren't made available to him earlier for players HE actually wanted . It's now stated he is leaving for family reasons and to explore new opportunities which is a standard excuse given . I would be surprised if he hasn't had some payoff even if it's for a non disclosure agreement deal. 

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  20. Timtim 13th September 2019 at 21:31

    '.. I would be surprised if he hasn't had some payoff even if it's for a non disclosure agreement deal.'

    +++++++++++++++

    One of the many problems that RIFC plc/TRFC Ltd have is that their very existence is predicated on untruth.

    Charles Green did not buy the Rangers of 1872, but founded a new club entirely.

    The football club whose shares were bought by investors in RIFC on the basis of the IPO prospectus was the new club which was admittted to the SFA in 2012, not the 'the most successful club in the world' ,as the Prospectus implied.

    I mentioned months ago that I had written to the CEO of the Financial Conduct Authority about my belief that they had failed in their statutory duty when they approved the prospectus issued on behalf of the IPO made by RIFC.

    Not having received any acknowledgement from the CEO, I wrote to the Chairman. Not having received any acknowledgement from him I sent a reminder using Royal Mail tracking.

    I got a  letter back from the 'Customer Contact Centre' dated 6 September and received by me on , I think, on Tuesday 10th.

    This letter said that they could not find my letters, and could I send a copy of what I sent.

    I emailed on Thursday all the letters I had written to them. 

    I await a reply.

    And in the interests of absolute truth, I have to say that I had put a partially wrong postcode on the envelope of both my initial letter and reminder, so perhaps the delay is my fault

    But whatever the reply, at least the CEO and the Chairman know that RIFC plc is the holding company of a football club created in 2012, and not of 'the most successful football club in the world'.

     

     

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  21. And I wonder: has there been any action taken against a lawyer that was publicly outed as having lied to the Court?

    How would you or I find out, against that protective , selfserving barrier that the legal profession has set up?

    Isn't there some journalist out there prepared to ask?

    It's a simple enough question: what happens when a company secretary who is a lawyer, is said by a judge to have been economical with the truth in Court?

    We have  a Court that has said that the feckin Prime Minister lied!

    And there's not  cheep in the 'papers' about a relatively insignificant wee company secretary of  a lawyer having lied in Court!

    Aye, man, it fair makes you wonder.broken heart

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  22. I've just been told that Mark Allan 'Warburtoned' himself as he's expected to be announced as Manchester United's Sporting Director (Edwin Van Der Saar having declined the post) sometime next week.

    Watch this space, I think, on that one!

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  23. Finloch 12th September 2019 at 14:22
    But you can be sure they will do everything they can to protect their own share of the gravy train that comes from being a senior blazer at the SFA.
    …………..
    Good post.
    And in that part is what is wrong with the whole of scottish football,protecting their own part of the Gravy train.
    In 2012 and before part of that gravy train looked to be heading to the buffers, when that happens the wagons are circled to protect the carriage.
    Lies and dammed lies are produced to protect ones easy life. Even if it damages the game they are men’t to protect. With the mindset if i do a favour here, it does not matter if it goes wrong as someone will do me a favour down the line.
    What we need is a clear out.
    And what we need is transparency of who does what, how much they are costing the game, what they do for their money, how many freebies do they get, what they have done on a monthly basis to improve our game. And a low down of expenses by each individual.
    But as we know these things will never happen as no one in authority wants to upset the gravy train.

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  24. finnmccool 11th September 2019 at 01:15
    We all know the importance of the message regarding sporting integrity. But without other content to engage Scottish football fans, this message will never get across.

    Where are the League tables? Where are the links to match reports, fan websites, relevant news stories, the SFA financials, the SPFL website? Just for a start. I could go on. And on.

    If you build it, they will come. As Confucius said.
    …………………
    Here is a link to how the ibrox saga was reported (and some not reported) at the time.(2012 to still updating)A lot of scrolling back, but my God some of the things you forget.If the SFM can use it, very happy to oblige, if it is of any use to readers.
    https://twitter.com/ClusterOne2/media?lang=en
    ……………
    Hope it works.

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  25. I said the other day that I would try to get my kind of Court report of the Whitehouse & Clark damages cases done yesterday. Fat chance of that, I now realise. The kind of notebook I generally use is the kind styled 'shorthand reporters notebook' .There are about 25 lines on a page. My  barely legible scribbles from the start of the hearing at 10.30 on Tuesday until conclusion at 4.00 pm on Friday cover 65 pages.

    If I tell you that my notes are not only very hard to read, but are so scant as to require a great effort to make sure that I have properly understood what I was recording.(you think at the time that a couple of words or phrases will bring back to memory a  whole elaborate five minute disquisition!)

    I began earlier today to type up my notes as from the beginning. I have reached only page 8 of my notes!

    eJ's excellent summary took us up to lunchtime on Thursday. I think that I should just have followed on from then, and leave the earlier days for later.

    I'll do that. But not tonight, except to say that Mr Fairlie referred to averments having been made about an email from a fiscal to others of the Lord Advocate's staff.

    He said "The terms of that email   ..there is a quote from that email: "we are confident about Whyte, Withey and Grier…" This could be taken " Mr Fairlie  said, "as an acknowledgement that they would be confident in time [about other 'suspects'] And six days later there were arrests.!..  . This, I suggest, suggests that there was an improper purpose without probable cause"

     

     

     

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  26. John Clark 14th September 2019 at 00:46

    "Not having received any acknowledgement from the CEO, I wrote to the Chairman."

    ++++++++++

    Just for fun, here is what I wrote:

    3/08/19

    Mr C Randell CBE,

    Chairman,

    The Financial Conduct Authority,

    12 Endeavour Square,

    London E1 1JNDear Mr Randell,

    I have read the “Financial Conduct Authority Annual Report 2018/19 for year ended 31.3.19”

    I note that in your foreword to that report you remark that “Change is here to stay for all of us, so the FCA must change too.”

    May I suggest one simple, inexpensive change that you might consider bringing about?
    It is a change that you can effect in about five minutes of your time!

    It requires nothing other than that you ask your CEO, Mr Bailey,

    -to respond to my letter to him dated 25th June; or at least acknowledge receipt of the reminder I sent to him which he received ( good old Post Office tracking!) on 30th July! and

    -to put in place a simple administrative mechanism that will ensure that letters from folk who take the time and trouble to write to the FCA are at least acknowledged!
    It's such a pain,as well as being the mark of a rude indifference,when an individual or a company or a public body does not acknowledge receipt of a piece of correspondence from any quarter.

    When that piece of correspondence is alleging some serious fault on the part the organisation to which one has written one's suspicions are aroused that the organisation is unwilling to consider the allegation, wishes not to open any can of worms and hopes by simply ignoring the allegation that it will somehow just go  away.

    I hope that as well as securing for me an acknowledgement from your CEO you will have a wee look into the matter raised in my letter to him.

    Yours sincerely,

    That , I confess, was probably unfair, if Mr Bailey did not in fact receive my letter and reminder because I had put a partially wrong postcode on the envelope.

    And what I am really saying here, I think, is that the whole SDM/Rangers saga  has made me ultra suspicious of anything and everything that any organisation says.

      I am ready now from the off to assume that 'organisations' of any kind will lie; that spokespersons and PR people will always be ready to lie, if occasion demands.

    I believe that the SFA has lied, and continues to lie. I believe that the BBC shares in that lie. And, of course, I believe that the SMSM happily propagates a particular lie.

    And in a way that was foreign to me in a previous existence, I am ready now to challenge anyone who is or may be a lying bast.rd.

    In which connection I read with some amusement that the big Murray development plan for Gogarburn near Edinburgh airport is facing difficulties.

    There is the Royal Bank man stripped of his knighthood, and calls for that (to me,irritating) Boycott to be stripped of his.

    And there's SDM. 

    Enough said.

     

    View Comment

  27. JohnClark@00.08

    At the risk of causing your blood pressure to go through the roof I wonder if you noticed the publication of Theresa May’s honours list as departing PM? The Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police received an honour as well as a businessman who until fairly recently was being investigated by the Met over allegations of serious fraud. What a coincidence eh?

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  28. I have to admit I love a good conspiracy theory, especially when at a loose end on a Sunday night, awaiting the delights a new working week brings. So it has not escaped my notice that some theories on Mark Allen's surprise departure from Ibrox are emerging on social media. Most of them relate to the transfer of Ryan Kent, and range from Allen being overruled as he knew Kent is injury prone and has a bad attitude, to Liverpool reporting Rangers as they have not paid the first tranche of the fee. I am happy to accept 99.9% of this could be rabble rousing, made up p*sh, but the suddenness and timing of Allen's departure I believe does allow us to think there may be more to it than meets the eye. Rangers official statement on Friday night was never going to be questioned by a compliant media, who also guaranteed Allen sugar coated coverage for his entire time in Scotland. So when it is announced on a Friday night that he has left a job where he was not subject to any critical analysis whatsoever you do have to wonder what the real reason was. 

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  29. upthehoops 15th September 2019 at 19:48
    I have to admit I love a good conspiracy theory, especially when at a loose end on a Sunday night,
    So it has not escaped my notice that some theories on Mark Allen’s surprise departure from Ibrox are emerging on social media.
    ………………….
    The bigger surprise that i have not seen asked is will he be replaced?
    Down ibrox way they like a good comparison and a link to some name that they have no hope of getting over the ibrox threshold.So far no link to anyone, very strange as this gets the smsm free reign to link the ibrox club to anyone and everyone and fills the back pages.

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  30. @ Cluster One 15th September 2019 at 20:43:

    I'm struggling to think of a RRM (ex-player or manager of RFC/TRFC, as it may be time for the Boards of RIFC & TRFC to 'circle the wagons') who would be qualified to be (or would want the position of) DoF at Ibrox.

    Level Sinko may also be scratching its singular head over that conundrum, hence the lack of speculation in the media.

    Possibly this will be another example of how the Group Chairman is not an asset, but a liability…

     

     

    View Comment

  31. I was trying to access the SFA financial accounts to do a bit of analysis.  Was too tight to pay for access online, but got some key highlighlights off Duedil.

     

    I simply couldn't find the published accounts anywhere on the SFA site for The Scottish Football Association Ltd. indecision

     

    However, the SFA does provide a very limited view on their financials in their "Annual Review" segment of their website.

    This Review is almost exclusively focused on footballing performance rather financial.

    Anyway, point is that perhaps this latest 'grassroots review' is simply a convenient time to announce some high profile cost cutting at the SFA?

     

    The SFA accounts show that total revenue is relatively flat in recent years at c.£37M, whilst making a c.[£0.5M] loss in the last financial year to 31/12/18.

     

    [Interestingly, the accounts were submitted to Companies House in June – around the time that Petrie was publicly confirmed as the new President. Lots on the SFA website about his appointment but nothing about financial loss.]

     

    In the SFA's "Annual Review" for 2018, there are a couple of graphics covering financials for the year to 31/12/18.

    For expenditure there is a % breakdown – but no actuals.

    But a large slice of the – literally – Pie Chart displayed…

    is 24% of SFA expenditure for "Staff Costs".

     

    Which equates to a ball park of c.£9M of c.£37M income being spent on salaries, pension costs, etc.

    [And of course, these staff costs wouldn't include travel costs, hotel costs, per diem, etc. for any free-loading blazers attending e.g. away fixtures around the world.]

     

    Also, the staff headcount actually INCREASED at Hampden last year – slightly – to a total of 196 people.

     

    Now, with supposedly only 32K attending Hampden for the Russia game and only 20K for the Belgium game, the SFA must be expecting historically low numbers for their next home games.

     

    They can't put all their eggs in one basket and pray that Clarke – somehow – achieves qualification via the Play Offs in March.

    They have to start cost cutting, IMO.

    In fact, they probably should have started cost cutting long before now anyway.

     

    Mibbees the SMSM could find the CEO Maxwell, an ask him;

     

    – is the SFA expected to make a bigger loss this year?

    – has the SFA taken on even more staff this year?

    – what is the SFA doing to manage overhead costs, when total income is flat or declining ?

    – could some of the 24% of expenditure on 'Staff Costs' be better used for grass roots level development?

    etc.

    [I am pretty sure there will be a few other pertinent questions to be easily gleaned from the accounts lodged at Companies House.]

     

    View Comment

  32. EJ
    The Belgian model seems to have paid dividends with the national squad, but not in terms of club successes in Europe. Could be coincidental either way of course, but at least they have a structure.
    I don’t believe there is any congenital lack of talent in Scottish schools though, so the question needs to be asked, “why do countries of comparable size almost invariably outperform us at club and international level?”
    Street football is in decline because other pursuits are becoming more popular with kids – and anxious parents. The authorities need to address that in a marketing sense, and also deal with the lack of ball time available to kids who are serious about their game.
    As EJ says, they haven’t followed through sufficiently on the latter point. Goes without saying that they have a marketing crisis when it is apparent to anyone that the game in Scotland is in the hands of amateurs. Kinda puts prospective professionals off.

    View Comment

  33. UTH

    I thin there is an element of wishful thinking on Twitter and elsewhere on the Kent issue.

    I don't think there is any good reason why TRFC wouldn't have paid the first instalment of the Kent transfer.

    In fact the loud whispers we heard alleged that the 6m or so was the total value of the deal over the four years of the contract. That would make the fee £2m – £3.5m depending on the add-on triggers being exercised. So a less arduous task to pay LFC than one might think (if true).

    For sure though, the financial stability of TRFC is a tenuous one – and although I am still of the opinion that admin is extremely unlikely, they may only be one drama away from a crisis.

    View Comment

  34. In the interests of accuracy / pedantry…

     

    I couldn't edit my post above in time, but;

    the 'c.£37M SFA revenue in recent years', is the rounded, average annual total over the 3 years to 31/12/18.

    View Comment

  35. Just to give some very brief account of how Mr Fairlie continued last Thursday:

    Thursday 12th September: (following on from eJ's report on the earlier part of the morning)

    Mr Fairlie QC for Mr Clark:

    asked for recall of the Lord Ordinary's decision and substitute proof [ed: a Proof hearing?]

    said he aligned himself with Mr Dunlop's presentation of the Whitehouse case (unless something new emerged with which he disagreed), and said he would leave it to Mr Dunlop to address the common law position while he, Fairlie, proposed to address the Article 8 issue.

    The background to the Clark case was the seizure of documents which the police had been told were subject to legal professional privilege. There had been months of discussion between the Crown office and the legal advisers of Duff and Phelps. By November of 2014 no consensus had been reached,

    In a meeting in November, the Crown said Clark would be arrested. At no time had the Crown intimated that Clark and Whitehouse were suspects.

    In the Lord Ordinary's summary judgment it is recorded that “the decision to place him[Clark] on the first Petition was to serve the ulterior and improper purpose of… and the second Petition was served to gain time”

    Averments were made about an email from a Fiscal to others of the Lord Advocate's staff. A quote from that email is: “ .we are confident about Whyte, Withey and Grier…” This could be taken as an acknowledgement that they would be confident in time”. Only six days later the arrests were made, suggesting an ' improper purpose without probable cause.'

    The concerns expressed by Mr Moynihan [QC for the Lord Advocate] appear to have no relevance to 'improper purpose without proper basis', and there is no concern about the 'chilling effect' unless there was an 'improper purpose which equates to 'malice'-all that the Lord Advocate needs to do is to tell his deputes and officials NOT to act maliciously! [ed: “ In a legal context, a 'chilling effect' is the inhibition or discouragement of the legitimate exercise of natural and legal rights by the threat of legal sanction']

    In relation to Article 8, Mr Fairlie handed up a copy of the Guide to Article 8, which he referred to.It is not binding, of course, but it gives an up-to-date summary on protection of 'individual reputations'

    Mr Fairlie then discussed several European Court judgments –Denizov v Ukraine,Jishkariani v Georgia. These address issues such as unfounded allegations of criminal conduct, the degree of seriousness of damage to reputation depending on the 'status' of person making the allegation [eg, if a Minister of state makes an allegation , that is serious. How much more serious if allegations are made in formal Court documents, the hypothesis being that the charges are without foundation?

    Mr Fairlie noting that Mr Moynihan accepted that 'reputation' fell within Article 8, but not where there were criminal allegations, and expressed his surprise, because it suggested that a section of society cannot get the benefit of the Convention , such that a 'lay-about' [ed: a word used by Mr Moynihan] could not get the benefit of Convention rights. No examples were cited: and secondly, it ignores that Article 8 is routinely used in domestic courts in defamation cases.

    If the European Court recognises that unfounded accusations are capable of being included in Article 8 then the impact on reputation is a consequence where there is a serious negative effect on private life, for example, financial consequences for family, business relationships and the individual's reputation.

    Mr Clark falls into this consequencew-based situation.

    [ All along, of course, each of the judges asked searching questions [ ed: they know their stuff!] For example, among many questions asked,Lady Dorrian asked about 'Facebook' defamation ; and whether the Icelandic case was relevant,and Lord Carloway referred to Denizov and asked what if you don't have a professional reputation?, and whether allegations have to be unfounded to meet the Article 8 criteria.

    Mr Fairlie made answer to all questions by reference to the cases cited and the 'guide'.

    Mr Fairlie also mentioned that the Gilberg (?) exception in Article 8 is not relevant in this case. The exception is where one's own actions (in committing crime) have given rise to the damages claim: in this case the allegations were made for ''improper purpose and without probable cause'

    After some more rather abstruse (to me) questions (e.g from Lady Paton about whether there was any dove-tailing between common law and the Convention), questions that Mr Fairlie fielded well, Mr Fairlie finished .

    After lunch, he did not need to continue,and Mr Dunlop  began his response to Mr Moynihan's arguments on common law.

     

     

     

     

     

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  36. Jingso.Jimsie 16th September 2019 at 11:08
    12 6 Rate This

    @ Cluster One 15th September 2019 at 20:43:

    I’m struggling to think of a RRM (ex-player or manager of RFC/TRFC, as it may be time for the Boards of RIFC & TRFC to ‘circle the wagons’) who would be qualified to be (or would want the position of) DoF at Ibrox.
    https://rangers.co.uk/news/headlines/mark-allen-appointed-dof/
    “He is a man of vision who has achieved great success with Manchester City’s Academy. He has excellent contacts in football but also the business world and he will be a great asset to Rangers.
    “We said we would not rush into an appointment as we wanted the right candidate and we feel Mark is the best man for the job. We look forward to working with him closely in the years ahead in what will be an important role at the Club.”
    ……………………
    Big shoes to fill whoever gets the gig and there first job will be to try and offload a few at ibrox.Maybe they are just taking their time not to rush into an appointment as they want the right candidate. Who would take it though?

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  37. If anyone is looking for some light reading before the start of tomorrow's Supreme Court (with a bench of 11) I can recommend the Note which has been lodged on behalf of the successful party at the Court of Session.

    It can be found on the Twitter account of Jo Maugham QC: @jolyonmaugham although there's a link on James Doleman's Twitter account.

    You might think they would just point at the unanimous 68 page Opinion of the Inner House but you'd be wrong.

    I say light reading; it runs to 92 pages and apart from a couple of typos it doesn't miss and hit the wall. Parts of it wouldn't sound out of place if read in a Mel Gibson Braveheart voice.

    John Clark and EasyJambo can only dream of being supplied with background papers like this.

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  38. LUGOSI 16th September 2019 at 22:31

    John Clark and EasyJambo can only dream of being supplied with background papers like this.

    ——————————————————-

    I've already read it. The submissions seem to jump from the Inner House decision and its validity to a fairly substantial discussion on Scotland's constitutional history and back again to the current case. 

    However you are right, it would be great if we could see all the papers in advance of a hearing. That way we would at least have an idea about what the QCs are talking about.

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