Les Says It is Time to Ask The Audience?

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Saying the last couple of weeks has been colourful for Scottish Football would be an understatement.

We are now in a position where we have a Taskforce co-chaired by the heads of two clubs to look at what needs to be done in the Covid 19 landscape right now and into whatever future unfolds.

Representatives of the clubs first convened last Monday and Graham Tatters, Elgin City chairman told BBC Saturday Sportsound that the 2nd division has already agreed unanimously to back 3 leagues of 14 as their preferred option.

On the same show Iain McMenemy, Chairman of Stenhousemuir effectively told us among other things that nothing in Scottish Football is ever easy, and mentioned that he believed the fans should be involved in any process.

Around the same time a very welcome conversation was underway between Les Gray, Taskforce co-chair and Paul Goodwin of the SFSA with Les asking for and welcoming fan input.

Dave Allen Called Our Future Years Ago

His oft quoted “I wouldn’t be starting from here joke” is a remarkable insight into where we find ourselves.
Our game is on the cusp of internecine war following the confusing combination of events we’ve all see playing out.

The hastily convened Taskforce has co-chairs who have also been quoted in the MSM as having different agendas, one for an immediate solution and one for a long-term plan.
Nothing wrong with that, in fact brilliant, we need both because they are interrelated.
Collectively we have to ask not just how do we minimise the economic and social impacts of the pandemic but also how do we start to shape our game for a better future?

Both these needs are right nows and both are the remit of the current Taskforce.

Now is the Time to Circle Our Wagons

This unique, open-ended, revenue-winter hit our clubs unexpectedly and overnight.
It is already brutal and will get worse with no current exit plan and no future certainties.
We know Dave Cormack’s Aberdeen is currently burning £1M per month.
No club has Covid immunity and a world of salary reductions, deferrals furloughed staff, little in the coffers and no exit strategy or road map out is a stark reality.
It’s hard to imagine that footballers have become liabilities rather than assets in a blink of an eye.
But it’s not hard to foresee that the financial stress on our clubs will see casualties.
Never before have we needed inter and intra-club teamwork for the common good.
But not in Scottish Football where an internecine spat is about to flare big time.

Civil War Breaking Out?

The record will show the recent SPFL Good Friday vote got an 80% plus backing vote from the clubs but in reality became a farce as Dundee eventually changed their “casting” vote.
This was paralleled by the “whistleblower” outburst by Rangers interim chairman Douglas Park demanding immediate suspension of Neil Doncaster and Rod McKenzie and an independent inquiry that sort of happened but not to the satisfaction of some.
One week later it rages on in the media with words today like “damning evidence, serious concerns, lack of fair play, coercing and bullying” being the vocabulary fed to the MSM to share with their audiences.

It seems some clubs have become unhappy with how our game is run and want to do something about it, so welcome to our world guys, – us fans have been saying that for a long time.
Our game needs big change but it won’t happen overnight and a pandemic crisis is maybe not the best timing for internecine strife.

Closing Down 2019 – 2020

This season is already ended for all Scottish clubs outside the Premiership.
UEFA didn’t do much to help and could have been more proactive in stopping inter club squabbling but plus ca change.
Most football people I have spoken to (with their self-interest hats off) were not totally happy with the implications of closing the season early and pro rata-ing points to decide champions but pragmatically accept it is the best answer or the least worst solution.
Asked about teams being relegated while having a bona-fide chance of fighting back there is less support and indeed genuine heartfelt pushback.

Some more enlightened leagues like the Lowland League who took the decision to avoid further damage on some of their members at this time through a no relegation policy and a wait and see what’s best are seen as wiser.

What Needs To Be Done Today?

We all know that out of the Budge/Gray Taskforce there will be a few options put on the table.
There is always the status quo of 4 leagues 12, 10, 10, 10.
A 14, 14, 14, setup was discussed and voted on by the current second division clubs last Friday.
Our own similar suggestion published on your SFM was 14, 14 and a bottom league of 16 to keep the integrity of the pyramid.

Two weeks on, a more pragmatic option and one to be considered by all might be to agree no relegation for now and to wait until more is known over the next crucial weeks.
We have time on our hands and no need to rush.
Why not take our lead from the sages at the Lowland League?

As a fan what do you think?

Should we plan for an interim period?
Should it be status quo?
Do we apply parameters (like no relegation) but accept that any other plan has to be kept flexible till more is known and agreed?

Your insights and views are welcome by Ms. Budge, Mr. Gray and their team either on this forum where I’ll read and collate them or if you prefer sent to me at
andrew@scottishfsa.org

What Needs To Be Done for Our Tomorrows?

We live in the real world and that means money is and always will be the prime driver and starting point.
Money is entwined with self-interest, status, power, politics and sometimes greed.

A given is every club will always want more and that is the easiest of several elephants in any room when looking at change to impact positively on the future of our game as a whole.

But maybe, just maybe now is different.
Post Covid many clubs will be on their knees financially and it will be a different world.

Les Gray’s Million Pounds Question For all Fans

No surprise it’s not an easy one
If you were charged with helping to create a sustainable and healthy future for Scottish Football is what would you do?

How would you advise Les, Ann and their Taskforce team about the right moves to make?

Once again insights welcome on SFM or to
andrew@scottishfsa.org

As a starter for 10 some stuff that has come up in previous SFSA fan surveys about our game (in alphabetical order) includes –
Better Communication, Bigger Leagues, Community Involvement, Council Telly live games, Gate Sharing, Grass Roots Investment, Fairness, Family Friendly, Fewer clubs, Integrity, Kids Free, Leadership, Less leagues, No Bigotry, Openness, Outside expertise, Same rules for all, Schools Football, Simplicity, Standing Sections, Summer Football, TV Kick-off times, Regional Lower Leagues, Reserve League, Strict Liability, Transparency, Wholesome Sponsors etc.

The list is not exhaustive. Please feel free to add any others.
Some will be contradictory, some nice to haves but the crucial thing to do is to find the smartest moves and build on them.

We’re responding to Les and Ann in good faith

Never before have we the fans been asked in such an open way.

Collectively we have a short-term end of season issue and a need to set up our game for what comes next which might include an interim period.

The background to any responses you offer is uncertainty exacerbated by growing internecine chaos and increasing vitriol.

I’ll end with some wise and hopeful words by a Taskforce Co- chair

Without openness, transparency and pragmatism we will simply keep making the same mistakes.

Ann Budge

708 COMMENTS


  1. I have always found Stewart Robertson's position a mystery.

    As others have said he seems to be viewed as a safe pair of hands and measured in his actions. Yet we now have the impression of a screaming banshee on the loose.

    I have often said as soon as you get to the top of the marble stair case you get injected with some WATP juice that takes over all sensible thinking.

    The fact remains, however, that I am guessing many of us have sat in boardrooms and meetings year on year (filled with folks who would describe themselves as 'professional people' with 'experience') being somewhat amazed at the goings on, decision making and incompetence but kept our mouths shut anyway for various reasons.

    At some point, some people do break and say enough is enough.

    Folk like Budge have come into the game with some having the hope of maybe seeing a change but perhaps the whole running of the SFA and SPFL is so set in stone its hard for anyone to make an impact in terms of real change.

    Why Robertson, why this argument and why now? Who knows, but we can all have a guess.

    Either way he is probably looking at an exit door somewhere and my guess is he will probably be glad of it closing behind him.


  2.    If Third Rangers is the game, weakening the competition to which they would "return", makes perfect sense…..From a morally corrupt despicable point of view. ……..All for the good of the game old chap. 


  3. Maybe some folk think the new club has/should have the same clout as the old club , and are upset that it doesn't . And Mr Robertson seems angered that the rules didn't allow TRFC/RIFC's preferred outcome . There's still nobody with the cojones to tell Mr Park that he is nothing to do with the football club , he is merely the chairman of the holding company .


  4. StevieBC 8th May 2020 at 13:38

    AJ, thanks I missed that;

    “…but we will return to this important issue in due course…”

    Still think there are more than sufficient grounds for his immediate suspension though.

    However, the SPFL certainly doesn’t seem to be rolling over this time for Ibrox – which is refreshing. 

    They don’t need to roll over because they know TRFC will be gone soon. This time there is no obvious route back for them given the level of “football debts” they have accumulated in winning the Petrofac Cup. But fair play to the SPFL for standing up to them and shame on Hearts and Stranraer for hitching their relegation wagons to this toxicity.

    TRFC have obviously had a conversation with Doncaster/MacKenzie about their predicament and impending insolvency event and they have been less than helpful because they have seen this self induced demise before.

    Mibbes during discussions the 5 Way agreement has come back to haunt them with a 25 point deduction for insolvency because of the continuation charade. If that happened they would drop to 5th place and receive significantly less prize money as well as no Euro footie or money next season (if there is one).

    Even if they could negotiate Admin and exit by CVA (which I believe they won’t) they would have to have trimmed their cloth and would be a shadow of the Institution they imagined they were but they would still owe football debts of £28m.

    Even a Sevco2 would have to carry that debt and after assessing their destructive behaviour would the other 41 clubs want them back?

    Scottish football is in crisis and will undergo substantial restructuring and because of Covid-19 everything is up for grabs (including governance reforms, effective FFP etc). But its clear there is no value to be derived from the cheating angry blue pound.


  5. wottpi 8th May 2020 at 13:48

    I have to say I am starting to see Stewart Robertson in a different light. I genuinely thought he came across as a reasonable person. Things like everyone anyone, whilst unlikely to succeed with a lot of the support, was at least going in the right direction, or so it seemed.

    His latest performance has been enlightening and if he has indeed breached the confidentiality of company on whose board he sat then I hope it is reported to the relevant authorities. At the very least it calls into question whether his is fit and proper to hold the position of director of a limited company.

    Maybe the SFA should consider his position within Scottish football.

    However I doubt if any action will be taken against him, TRFC, Park or RIFC. No matter how the vote goes.


  6. The letter to UEFA is strange and poorly explained by the SPFL response today. Vast majority want to call it early? Rubbish. I would be astounded if any premiership club and all fans didn’t want to finish on the park. Even now, never mind on April the 4th. As a Celtic supporter I will be gutted if we don’t get the chance to win 9 in a row and a 4th treble in a row on the pitch. We’re in football dreamland at the moment and our players absolutely deserve to finish things off.


  7. Homunculus 8th May 2020 at 16:47
    However I doubt if any action will be taken against him, TRFC, Park or RIFC. No matter how the vote goes.
    ……………….
    Some action will have to be taken, otherwise it opens a door for anyone to start a bit of mud slinging.
    Like the last time an ibrox club had action taken against them the punishment will not fit the crime, when rules were in place to kick them out the game a small fine was imposed. A look down a list of punishments now, the one at the very bottom will be it. That is if they are around long enough to recieve it.


  8. Homunculus, you are not the first person to express that initial opinion of Stewart Robertson.  I think he may be the best of a bad lot if I’m being kind.  He did sit on the same board with a known criminal at the helm.  Not sure I’d be too comfortable with that!  And to tolerate the likes of Traynor being the ‘mouthpiece’ for the club, Really?  Now a member of the DUP as a spokesman, why on earth?  Imagine if Celtic brought over a member of Sinn Fein!  Yet Robertson was party to that controversial decision.  

    The club have never been close to break even during his tenure.

    Not his fault?  Doing as he was told?  That would be a puppet.

    No. Not for me.


  9. I need to edit my own post. Apologies.

    TRFC and its fans will very much want to stop now. The noise from them to finish the season on the pitch is bluster. They will love it if we don’t play another game.

     


  10. Shock horror gasp  ……… I didn’t see that coming. Aye right! angel

    @Kheredine@Kheredine2018
    One chairman outwith the top flight fuming at a call he’s just had; sounds like today’s Premiership meeting has ruled out 14-14-16, 14-14-14 or any kind of any league reconstruction. Looks like next season, whenever it starts, will be 12-10-10-10 as per with @JamTarts relegated

    @Kheredine@Kheredine2018
    Breaking : @spfl league reconstruction scrapped. Highland league confirms the “dissolution of league reconstruction working group”, calling that news “disappointing and frustrating in equal measure “

    from @AberdeenFC chair @CormackDavie on @spfl league reconstruction talks collapsing: “whilst the (Premiership) sympathises with the..situation relegated teams are faced with, it concluded this isn’t the right time to consider immediate reconstruction in the midst of a crisis”


  11. David Low tweeted "Happy to confirm the Rangers led EGM resolution has already failed. Stewart Robertson’s inept and disingenuous performance yesterday formally sealed its fate. No one has any respect for this type of behaviour from a member club. No respect."

    I assume David has been able to establish already the number of clubs who will vote against the Resolution. 

    However, in my view it has far from failed in the only way it was ever intended to actually succeed. Smears and innuendo have cast doubt on the integrity of at least three men with no proof given. The Head of the SPFL allegedly 'can't stand' Rangers, and the national broadcaster seems happy to constantly throw licence fee payers money towards backing their case.  These continued smears are going to make it difficult for Doncaster and MacLennan to continue in post in my view. 


  12. upthehoops 8th May 2020 at 18:47

    It will have achieved what it sought to achieve when season ticket numbers are at a reasonable level.


  13. As much as I dislike Doncaster, it would actually be good form, IMO, if other clubs now step forward to make supportive noises in the SMSM for him, McLennan and McKenzie.

    (At the inevitable risk of being portrayed as 'Lawwell supporters: so what?)

    And oh, to be a fly on the wall in the Blue Room right now?!

    I have visions of an Ibrox version of that 'Hitler in the bunker' video – except everyone in the room is throwing a fit!

    Has TRFC scored the most spectacular own goal in Scottish football history?

    Has the club blown all its potential, Hampden life lines in one go – with this stoopid, showboating, 'Secret Dossier' move?

    It's all getting a bit tasty…  broken heart


  14. Homunculus 8th May 2020 at 19:04

    It will have achieved what it sought to achieve when season ticket numbers are at a reasonable level.

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

    That will be a big part of the plan for sure. 

     


  15. upthehoops 8th May 2020 at 18:47 

          David Low tweeted "Happy to confirm the Rangers led EGM resolution has already failed.

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

       Confirm is a strong word UTH, but coming from DL I'm happy to accept that as quality inside info. I was listening to Alex EBT Rae on the tranny there, and he reckons even if voted down, Sevco will take the SPFL to court……I think he might be half right, but has confused who will be taking who to court. 

        Serious unsubstantiated allegations have been made, of which a dossier of evidence was to provide support. It hasn't. 

           


  16. Corrupt official 8th May 2020 at 20:19

    ———————–

    Neil Doncaster is a lawyer, as of course is Rod McKenzie. They have had their characters smeared with no evidence provided to back it up. Who knows where this will end up. 


  17. Corrupt official

    Peter Martin (on PLZ Soccer  Football Show last evening) was convinced that Sevco would take this to court if their Resolution fails – totally ignoring Hugh McDonald's point about the potential cost to them by going down this avenue.

    Then I thought of the shafted face painter, together with the fact that in Govania, they don't seem to bother with fines, court costs etc.

    The SPFL, on the other hand, would have their fees paid for them by clubs (including, ironically, SEVCO?)

    As I've commented  previously, I believe the SPFL now has the upper hand here – reminding me of the old saying from Murphy's Laws…

    "Never play leapfrog with a unicorn"


  18. The Lowland League has it's say about the collapse of the Reconstruction talks

    Official Statement: SPFL Reconstruction

    08/05/2020 By Media Team

    We were today notified by the heads of the SPFL reconstruction group that talks regarding this were at an end.

    This followed a meeting of SPFL Premiership clubs, where it became clear that there was “no appetite for a restructuring of the pyramid at this time”.

    The SLFL are disappointed in the extreme that Scottish football has failed to grasp a golden opportunity to enhance and develop the Pyramid system. We view this as extremely damaging to the integrity of the competition and that football supporters across the country have been hugely let down.

    We understand that these are uncertain times for everyone, however it would seem that the overall welfare of the game has been cast aside in favour of short term gain.

    The league are particularly disappointed that our champion club, Kelty Hearts, have been denied an opportunity to progress from the Lowland League.

    We will continue to do what is right for our clubs, and explore all available avenues to protect the interests of our members.

    ——————————————

    A succinct comment from Brora Rangers chairman William Powrie:

    'I would have thought league reconstruction would be part of the solution and not part of the problem.'

     


  19. upthehoops 8th May 2020 at 20:23

    Corrupt official 8th May 2020 at 20:19

    ———————–

    Neil Doncaster is a lawyer, as of course is Rod McKenzie. They have had their characters smeared with no evidence provided to back it up. Who knows where this will end up. 

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

    I know it’s not possible at this stage, but what a laugh it would be if those two made moves to ring fence funds at Rangers* in anticipation of damages! 🙂

    Scottish Football needs a strong Arbroath.


  20. UTH, Bec, Red, 

       As you say UTH, A lawyer. Possibly in the habit of recording his calls.  I don't think the SPFL are in the mood for egg-shell walking with Sevco anymore…

        If Sevco know they are for the broth pot I don't suppose they have anything more to lose…..But if the SPFL also know they are for the broth-pot….Neither have they.!

          Suddenly every other club takes on more importance. (I don't mean that disparagingly). 

        The maths are completely different from 2012. Club numbers are significantly more important than fan numbers this time… 

    https://www.thescottishsun.co.uk/sport/football/5574788/spfl-rangers-park-threat-defamatory-doncaster/?utm_medium=Social&utm_source=Twitter#Echobox=1588941182


  21. If T'Rangers suffer the same fate as the previous version then who will be Club 12. Perhaps that's what will save Hearts and no reconstruction is therefore necessary.


  22. EJ. 

        Dont be disheartened about reconstruction. I've been saying since day dot recon talks are futile without knowing how many building blocks will be available. 

        There may be a Club 13, 14, and 15 to add to Club 12 in the provisional fixture lists. If and when a re-start nears. 

        I was listening to David Low on a pod last night, and he painted a worst case picture of a top league of 5 or 6, with the numbers made up by invitation. 

        The talks may be abandoned, but I have always thought reconstruction WILL be necessary. It will just have to wait until nearer a start date, and be cobbled together from the basket of assets the SPFL are left with. ….In that respect Hearts are in the same boat as every other club. Just hang in there buddy. I don't think there is anybody out there who doesn't want the Jambos involved. Relegation may well be a non-issue. 


  23. Corrupt official 8th May 2020 at 21:59

    EJ. 

        Dont be disheartened about reconstruction. I’ve been saying since day dot recon talks are futile without knowing how many building blocks will be available. 

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

    I’m not disheartened by it, as it was an inevitable decision, particularly when you look at the self interest of a number of Premiership clubs.

    See Falkirk’s statement, which refers to six clubs not willing to consider ANY reconstruction at this time.

    https://www.falkirkfc.co.uk/2020/05/08/club-statement-12/

    “At this time” is a convenient excuse for those clubs, e.g. Dave Cormack who said today that he was sympathetic to those clubs being relegated. If he was so sympathetic, then why did he vote for the SPFL resolution in the first place. 

    It’s the “wrongs” of the original SPFL resolution that I’m more angry about, with Hearts, Partick, Stranraer and a few promotion hopefuls, including tier 5 clubs all determined to be little more than collateral damage.

    If the current existential crisis is severe enough to stop consideration of the promised meaningful consideration of reconstruction, they why the hell did the SPFL Board seek to implement such a wide ranging resolution that was always create division and self interest, in the same exceptional circumstances.  

      

        


  24. CO

    Was just about to say the same thing.

    Just can’t shake the feeling that the recent troubles are the precursor to an announcement by TRFC that it will not take part in season 20/21.

    Think it is likely that a number of clubs will run the numbers and decide that they couldn’t make it through the season.

    Would TRFC supporters see taking a year out as a principled decision to destroy the SKY deal – or would they recognise the economic realities for their own club?


  25. I should have added that I'm probably a bit old fashioned in terms of my views on football.  It is a game primarily about players and fans,  Since the money men have got involved, the interests of the fans has diminished. Decision making is now more about financial considerations rather than footballing ones.

    When football does resume, you can be assured that I will take more interest in non-SPFL and youth football, rather than the products of the trade association that purportedly represents the collective interests of 42 clubs, but in actuality only seeks to implement the agendas of a handful of those clubs.  


  26. The season is not over for the SPFL Premiership.

    There is still the possibility of clubs going into administration and because the division is still going being penalised this season. 

    St Johnston, 7th in the division are on 36 points.

    Hearts, 12th in the divisions are on 23 points.

    The current penalty of administration is 15 points. 

    In fact, as the split has not taken pace it is worth remembering that Hibs are on 37, so a 15 point deduction would put them on 22.

    Realistically it is in the best interest of everyone other than Hearts and Rangers to finish the division as far as I can see. Hearts because there is still the possibility of staying up and Rangers because there is still the possibility of Champions League football. 

    Even if games are not played administration for another club could see them meet that goal. For Rangers that would have to be Celtic. 


  27. JIM SPENCE: It’s time for Scottish football to hammer Rangers for bringing the game into disrepute

    https://www.thecourier.co.uk/fp/sport/football/1315761/jim-spence-rangers-fc-spfl/

    I never like to return to a subject two weeks in a row, but it’s time for Scottish football to hammer Rangers for bringing the game into disrepute.

    Any other club would have been fined heavily by now for the scurrilous and scandalous allegations they’ve thrown around, like the pennies which used to be flung at an old wedding scramble.

    The unhinged behaviour from those at Ibrox is a deadly threat to the cohesion and fabric of our game at a time when it’s facing a challenge to its very existence.

    I’m not a fan of the way television football broadcasters call the shots in our game but with a new TV deal starting in August, which could be a financial lifesaver for many clubs in the current crisis, the Ibrox club seem unconcerned about starting a conflagration which could burn the whole football house down.

    The SPFL board, though, look like they’ve had enough of this stooshie, in which Rangers have alleged coercion and bullying along with their demands for an enquiry into the running of the SPFL, and the suspension of the chief executive and its legal counsel.

    With a new £160 million TV contract on the table which may be the difference between life and death for our game, those charged with running our football would be right to be nervous about the reaction of paymaster, Sky television.

    I’ve written recently that we should try to wean ourselves off TV money but that would be a long and tough process.

    Frankly, it’s as likely as Mike Tyson’s proposed comeback, at the age of 53, ending in anything other than disaster.

    With the new TV agreement kicking in this August, our clubs and the SPFL board face potential Armageddon if it is threatened in any way.

    Rangers may think that the rest of Scottish football are engaged in a plot to hand Celtic a ninth title in a row, which they are almost certain to win anyway, but that’s frankly bonkers.

    The ‘smoking gun’ evidence in their 200-page dossier presented on Thursday – which they hoped would blow the lid off an SPFL board they think is out to get them – turned out to be the equivalent of alcohol-free beer.

    The SPFL board are engaged in a battle to protect the safety and income of the game.

    That income will be the difference between keeping the Sheriff officers from the door of clubs all over the country when the bills can’t be paid and watching the managers desk and tactics board disappear into a removal van.

    Rangers might be happy to see Scottish football crash and burn round their ears.

    But I’d say to them, it’s now up to you to decide whether you want to pursue a scorched-earth policy for which Scottish football will never forgive you or come to the table like mature adults and call a halt to this civil war.

    As a well-known former journalist who the Ibrox club employed might say: “It’s your call.”


  28. Homunculus 8th May 2020 at 22:51

    The season is not over for the SPFL Premiership.

    There is still the possibility of clubs going into administration and because the division is still going being penalised this season. 

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

    I have no desire to inflict insolvency on any club, whether it benefits Hearts or not.

    Any points penalty would be appealed in any event, as being the result of force majeure. The SFA/SPFL could hardly reject such an appeal given their acceptance of the SPFL's QC's opinion about force majeure in respect of the Sky and BT contracts.


  29. https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/thousands-raised-scots-football-club-21857364 

    EJ, Talking about juniors, Bellshill Athletic’s ground got attacked by vandals about a month ago.  They burned down the building which contained the turnstiles, changing rooms, stores and catering kiosk.  

    I’d never heard of them but felt this was shocking for a junior club.  I sent a small donation to their Go Fund Me appeal.  So far they have raised £6595.  

    They were aiming for £8k I think.  hope they make it.

     

     

     

     


  30. jimbo 8th May 2020 at 23:19

    EJ, Talking about juniors, Bellshill Athletic’s ground got attacked by vandals about a month ago.  They burned down the building which contained the turnstiles, changing rooms, stores and catering kiosk.  

    I’d never heard of them but felt this was shocking for a junior club.  I sent a small donation to their Go Fund Me appeal.  So far they have raised £6595.  

    They were aiming for £8k I think.  hope they make it.

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

    I was aware of it on the day of the fire. It's just mindless vandalism. A few other semi professional outfits have similarly suffered incidents of arson or burglary over the last few months. That I'm afraid is nature of the society that we live in. 

    I'm sure that Bellshill will be OK given the support they have received to date.

    I'm looking forward to the 67 WOSFL clubs joining the pyramid next season. It will add a new dimension to the Lowland League the following season, and hopefully help inject some new life into the lower reaches of the SPFL beyond that.

    All 63 West Juniors have been accepted into the new league along with, Bonnyton from the SOSFL although they come from Kilmarnock, Glasgow University who play at Airdrie's Excelsior stadium, an amateur side in Drumchapel Utd who play at the Donald Dewar Centre and ex-juvenile side St Cadocs, which is based in Newton Mearns but will start off ground sharing with St Anthony's. 


  31. Homunculus 8th May 2020 at 22:59

    From your post of Spence's press piece:

    '…..The unhinged behaviour from those at Ibrox..'

    """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""

    And 'unhinged' it seems to be. 

    As unhinged and viciously lunatic as Adolf and his Reich were, even when that evil and cowardly bast.rd  of a madman had already killed himself, and his 1000 year Reich failed after less than two decades.

    Mad dog lunacy – except that the lunatics are besuited 'respected'  businessmen of some social status and standing 

    As, of course,  was Dr Mengele.

    Here's to VE day!broken heart

     


  32. John Clark 9th May 2020 at 00:06

    I'm not really sure what you are trying to say with that, however I find the comparison abhorrent. 


  33. HirsutePursuit 8th May 2020 at 22:35

            I think that clubs who make it to the starting blocks (whenever) with suitable cloth-cutting, and perhaps a few struggles, will see out the season with a splash of camaraderie and understanding. The fact is that whatever they got by/needed, in the past will have to go further as fan expenditure will be reduced. That will be right through the card at every level. Put simply there will be less money throughout the game. I expect broadcasters money, including solidarity payments will also be reduced. 

        It's if and when variable, but odds on, some won't make the starting blocks. 

    WRT Sevco, their unfathomable erratic behaviour is still subject to the same issue they have always had. When they stop pulling money from a hat they are gone. I don't see a year out as an option for them. Neither did Chuckles in 2012.  I don't see another Charlie coming along in 2021 hoping to fill his big hands from a threadbare game, while eating huge start-up costs. ….At least with smaller clubs mothball costs are minimal.

        Celtic will also need to downsize to an extent unknown, but have an absorbtion capability. As long as there is a league to play in I'm not too concerned about that, as I see it being echoed pro-rata internationally. 

        Clubs who have margins and contingencies are best placed. Sevco have neither. 

       They are acting like a club with no future, other than to amass a p in the £ payout pot for at least some sort of return….With none of the tried and tested feel-good factors, being fitba's "Mons Meg" is all they have.  Firing blanks, but noisy as hell.

         I doubt the relaxation of insolvent trading laws will prove a good thing for Sevvie ST buyers.  Close Finance and Tesco may be negotiating as we speak…..I imagine they too will have contingency plans, as will those awaiting court judgements. 

        They will be making ring-fencing moves the minute they smell something to ring-fence. 

    Its a bit like reading a book with pages missing, but knowing the characters involved, and trying to fill the gaps……I think the last page is in tact though. yes 

        


  34. Corrupt official 9th May 2020 at 00:34

    Why do you assume Broadcasters will be less able to support the game.

    They are coining it in. It might not be the same ones who buy the game after reconstruction..

     

     


  35. easyJambo 8th May 2020 at 23:49

    '…..I'm looking forward to the 67 WOSFL clubs joining the pyramid next season. ……'

    """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""

    eJ, I cannot be alone in admiring and being affected by your knowledge of and enthusiasm for the very essence of football as a sport. 

    I think it was Auldheid who described his ( imaginary?broken heart) goal on Glasgow Green, a description that maybe for most of us stirred up memories of great moments in our own football playing days. 

    My last game of eleven-a-side football was in 1969, on a pitch on Glasgow Green, playing for the office team. 

    I did not cover myself in glory, coming off early with severe cramp in both legs while pretending that a hamstring had gone. ( Was I utterly unfit? Certainly)

    But the sheer enjoyment of playing football was the thing, the thing I had enjoyed as a wee boy playing in Cuthelton Street Glasgow in 1951 or so.

     

     

     


  36. Celtic will also need to downsize to an extent unknown, but have an absorbtion capability.

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

    With their cost base and no income they are most at risk.


  37. Homunculus 9th May 2020 at 00:16

    '..I'm not really sure what you are trying to say with that, however I find the comparison abhorrent.'

    """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""

    Well, basically, no more than that bad b.stards are bad b.stards!

     

     

     

     


  38. John Clark 9th May 2020 at 01:00

    Then you should be ashamed of yourself.

    Comparing any of this to what happened with Hitler, the holocaust and in particular what Mengele did is appalling.

    I really thought you were better than that.


  39. Bogs Dollox 9th May 2020 at 00:46

    Corrupt official 9th May 2020 at 00:34

    Why do you assume Broadcasters will be less able to support the game. They are coining it in. It might not be the same ones who buy the game after reconstruction..

    I suspect that subscriptions will reduce, both domestically and commercially, and the reduction in viewing figures to have a knock-on effect with advertisers and sponsors. It is not just fitba' that will feel the squeeze. It stands to reason that if fitba' is bricking it that broadcasters will claw-back for lack of viewing hours, broadcasters will suffer a similar claw-back to their income streams.

    ————————————————————

    With their cost base and no income they are most at risk.

    —————————————————-

        I would say they have most to lose, but not the most at risk, having decent comparable cash reserves.  They do have the highest cost base but not zero income. Gate money may be lost, but incoming transfer instalments, sponsorship and limited retail movements all prolong the absorption sustainability period. Additional cash would most likely be made available if there is a league to play in. Assets may be sold to play in it. but enough assets retained to maintain a quality threshhold over the remaining opposition.   


  40. easyJambo 8th May 2020 at 22:25

       Sorry for the delay in getting back to you EJ.  I think the important bit is the bit in bold.

           “As you know I have been working with the SPFL reconstruction group over recent weeks and I received a call late this afternoon informing me that six Premier League clubs had indicated they would not support any league reconstruction at the present time.

         I think reconstruction in some shape or form is guaranteed, but quite simply cannot be agreed on at the present time. Everybody has a preferred configuration as to a way forward, but I genuinely believe working to a framework of 42 clubs is running before we can walk. There may not be 42 clubs, so any configuration proposals “at the present time” will be for nought if 42 don’t make it. When more is known I think it inevitable that change will follow. I don’t see it as misleading, and don’t believe disingenuous of the league. I reckon they know it to be inevitable too, but need to let the dog see the rabbit first.. It’s the not knowing that is causing the cloth touching, but the reality is nobody knows…

    Not yet.

       

        


  41. Not a Fan of the Daily Record but i thought Chris Suttons Article hit the nail on the head.
    The great pretenders and great deflectors.


  42. easyJambo 8th May 2020 at 22:25

    I’m not disheartened by it, as it was an inevitable decision, particularly when you look at the self interest of a number of Premiership clubs.

    See Falkirk’s statement, which refers to six clubs not willing to consider ANY reconstruction at this time.

    https://www.falkirkfc.co.uk/2020/05/08/club-statement-12/

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

    EJ, I read the Falkirk statement with mounting anger.

    “You will share my anger at this latest injustice, the failed promises and the general mismanagement that has occurred at the top of Scottish football for many years.

    The handling of this entire situation has been farcical ranging from the decisions made by the SPFL board to those clubs who have, what could only be charitably described as, misled and deceived.

    This current situation has its roots in 2012 when a new club was allowed to claim the history of a cheating club consigned to liquidation. A new club that was ushered into the Scottish Leagues in total contravention of rules and regulations.

    Warnings given by fans at the time went unheeded. Problems do not go away, they just fester and grow.

    This is the time for the long awaited announcement of the investigation into Rangers* being granted a European licence. This is the time for the publication of the 5WA, the announcement that club histories cannot be bought, that tax cheating brings undoubted footballing advantage and trophies won by such means are illegitimate.

    This is time for Rangers* becoming Asterisk FC.

    Scottish Football needs the courage to grasp this nettle.

     

     

     


  43. Gordon Bennett!  smiley​​​​​

    Or more accurately: John Bennett, the vice-Chairman of RIFC.

    In a Q&A article in the DR today he has turned the vitriol up to ’11’.

    No conciliatory noises – at all – in the run up to the EGM on Tuesday: just doubling down on the discredited dossier contents – and the permanent, Ibrox victimhood.

    This aggressive approach might sell a few more ST’s in the immediate term, but TRFC is rapidly burning any bridges left at Hampden and other clubs, IMO.

    Desperate times in the Blue Room?


  44. redlichtie @ 10.40

    Quite frankly, there’s no point in Falkirk, and like minded clubs, cryin’ over spilt milk noo.

    Where in tarnation have they been this past decade in particular during the ‘general mismanagement … for many years’ of this member organisation- as they themselves put it?

    A bit late (morally speaking) to ‘put their head above the parapet’ ?


  45. Homunculus 9th May 2020 at 01:16

    '…Comparing any of this to what happened with Hitler, the holocaust and in particular what Mengele did is appalling.'

    """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""

    Come now, Homunculus!

    I don't think I was making any comparison between the evil that Adolf, Mengele and the Nazis generally perpetrated: there has never been such evil as came from such as those!

    The comparison I make is with the lying state of mind and the mad-dog lashing out of frustrated cheats whose 8- years- long nonsense ( the propagation of which was aided and abetted by the SMSM) is perhaps about to end in the same way as SDM's nonsense ended.

    I feel the same revulsion for those besuited 'businessmen' (and the 'journalists' who propagandised on their behalf) as I do for the Nazis, whose defeat we celebrated yesterday.

    I do not equate the sufferings and deaths of millions with the piddling matter of football!

     

     


  46. Corrupt official 9th May 2020 at 02:25

     “As you know I have been working with the SPFL reconstruction group over recent weeks and I received a call late this afternoon informing me that six Premier League clubs had indicated they would not support any league reconstruction at the present time.

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

    As far as I'm concerned this is the ideal time, while we have a hiatus with no clear indication of when it will end.

    Scottish football made a big mistake in 2013 when it merged the SPL and SFL.  In doing so the SPL moved away from a single league of 12 full time clubs, to four divisions comprising 42 clubs, with around 20 full time and 22 part time clubs. 

    The apparent and laudable inclusivity of that step created unintended consequences. The financial settlement (primarily to accommodate TRFC) and the voting structures put in place left a disproportionate amount of power in the hands of the part time clubs, e.g the votes of six lower league clubs can block efforts to change the financial distribution or league structure.

    Immediately before RFC's demise, there were moves to create an SPL 2.  It would have created a much more compact league structure comprising of a large majority of full time clubs. The number of clubs in the new league structure would be appropriate for of country of Scotland's size. It would be sustainable with the financial backing of the broadcasters.  

    Don't get me wrong, those smaller clubs have a place in Scottish football, but not at the top table.  As semi professional clubs, they are primarily community focused and do provide an opportunity for players to find a level appropriate to their ability and for fans to support their local clubs.  To that extent they are little different to the 240 or so clubs (Senior and Junior) that survive outside the SPFL

    The SFA, to their credit for once, established in 2013 a league pyramid below the SPFL involving the Highland, Lowland, East of Scotland and South of Scotland Leagues. It also allowed Licensed clubs direct entry to the Scottish Cup and eligibility for promotion to the SPFL. In recent seasons the pyramid has strengthened and developed immeasurably with the inclusion of 25+ former East Junior clubs a couple of seasons ago, and will expand further next season with the 63 former West Juniors and another 8 East Juniors making the switch.  There will be approximately 195 clubs in the non-SPFL pyramid next season. 

    The carrot of Licensing to the ambitious clubs among those ranks has led to a huge improvement in facilities at many of those grounds, involving the provision of cover, seats, floodlights, toilets and disabled facilities. 

    Why does all that matter?  The reality now is that the best of the clubs in the non league pyramid now present a threat to the standing and future of the part time clubs in the SPFL.  We have seen Cove Rangers and Edinburgh City and both join the SPFL in the last few years and now top League 2, with East Stirling and Berwick Rangers going in the opposite direction. In the Scottish cup this season, Bonnyrigg, Broxburn and Penicuik all beat L1 or L2 sides. Once clubs such as Auchinleck and Pollok get their SFA Licences then the pressure for change will become irresistible. 

    This season has seen more than £1.4m in SPFL fee payments go to L1 and L2 clubs (ranging from £125k to a minimum of £45k). The HL and LL sides get nothing from that cake. Access to those sort of sums could be transformational for the non league clubs, or their absence would see traditional L1 and L2 clubs lose their financial advantage. 

    So what does the SPFL do in the current circumstances? The lower league sides close ranks and, for reasons of self interest, block off entry to L2 and protect their future fee payments for another season, leaving Brora and Kelty kicking their heels. They also joined fores to reject any reconstruction proposals that would allow for the entry of new clubs at the bottom tier of the SPFL. 

    Getting back to the original point, I think that now is exactly the right time for radical change to the league structure and make the split between the full time and semi professional games, while maintaining the means of progression for ambitious clubs to move up from any point in the pyramid right to the top tier. However, I can't see it happening anytime soon while the tail retains the ability to wag the dog.

          


  47. StevieBC 9th May 2020 at 10:46

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

    Their strategy will pay some sort of dividend though in my view. They almost certainly won't get their resolution through, but they have managed to get permanent stains on the integrity of Doncaster, McKenzie, and Maclennan. I expect over the next few months all will move on. Rangers have enough public and media support to make the mud stick. It's probably already job done on that count.  

    The question is who would replace them though? Effectively if they don't meet with Rangers approval do they become a moving target right away? 


  48. ‘StevieBC 9th May 2020 at 10:46

    …Desperate times in the Blue Room?’

    #################################

    I posted the following on 27.04.20 at 1109hrs:

    ‘I don’t think that RIFC/TRFC (whichever entity is driving this scheme) is any more upset than is the norm for that organisation. What’s different at the moment is how that ‘upset’ is being managed, particularly without the input (Steadying hand? Ah-ha!) of DCK & Traynor. 

    I think RIFC/TRFC’s actions are driven, like many bullies, by fear; fear of being seen as ordinary, fear of their perceived WATP lead-dog position being replaced by being one of the pack, fear of losing ‘credibility’ with their foot-soldiers (and hence the ‘Ulsterisation’ that’s occurring to ‘spice up’ their following), fear of skeletons tumbling out of closets &, perhaps above all, fear of being skint to the extent that they seemingly are.  

    I suspect that things are very-much on the knife-edge at Ibrox. World events have diminished the perceived/inflated values of Morelos/Barisic/Tavernier/Kamara/Goldson et al. Those same world events have chased away the blessing of unicorns, all with £10m bank drafts impaled on their horns, which were almost ready to be corralled for ‘fresh investment’. Debts are due to be serviced, but the cupboard’s bare.

    They’re in the sh!t up to their oxters & they know it. They think their best way out is to splash about & spread the contaminant over anyone close by. It really isn’t & D. Park & co. should know that, but their mindset sees that as their only option.’

    It’s now two weeks further along the road with minimal/zero cash coming in. The financial pressures that TRFC was feeling then has been ramped up even higher. Their dossier appears, in the main, to be a busted flush. D. Park has worries with his other business interests. Robertson has been scapegoated by his own employers. Gerrard is understandably absent, but where’s McAllister? They have no functioning PR (although it appears Jimmy Bell is doing his utmost in the role!). 

    They are currently depending on lashing out & deflecting. They’re doing both with the utmost vigour, assisted by their SMSM placemen.

    Edit: I read somewhere that one of Robertson’s complaints about the SPFL board was that he was often the only dissenting voice & that votes were frequently 8-1. He seems not to understand that’s how committees & boards work. Perhaps TRFC’s one vote should have counted as 10 votes to ensure that his/their view always prevailed? Sobering not being the ‘big dog’ in the kennel?

     


  49. Two days after the Order (colour unknown but suspected to be Orange) from the top of the Marble Staircase to “Unleash Da Dossier” I don’t know which bit, coupled with subsequent commentary, impresses me the least.

    One bit which catches the eye is T’Rangers fulminating about Rod McKenzie making four Cease and Desist requests to Douglas Park, Not The Chairman Of The Football Playing Wing Of …T’Rangers…, on 10th and 11th April 2020. 

    After trying to jigsaw what T’Rangers are on about I’m none the wiser. Which may, in and of itself, be a good thing. However, between Robertson, MD/CEO but sadly no EBT, stating on radio T’Rangers have never used certain words only to have those very words pointed out in a Club (or was it Company?) Statement and the SPFL letter outlining what happened on 10th and 11th April 2020 I now know slightly more.

    T’Rangers (or Douglas Park) got four STFUs. T’Rangers issued “We will not be bullied into silence”. T’Rangers reissued about five minutes after the SPFL gave their “Is that it?” response to Da Dossier. The SPFL have had to disclose Douglas Park said something to Neil Doncaster and threatened some course of action which led to Neil Doncaster consulting Rod McKenzie to issuing said STFUs.

    What I find striking is that four weeks on from 10th and 11th April 2020 we’ve heard nothing. Silence. T’Rangers have desisted. T’Rangers have ceased. It’s almost as if Neil Doncaster had a point and Rod McKenzie was well-entitled to make the four requests.

    We have the word of T’Rangers that the silence is not the result of bullying so it must be the result of something else. Like prudence. We can only hope that we hear nothing further. It would be unfortunate if someone were stupid enough not only to fail to let sleeping dogs lie but to rouse them and jab them with a sharp stick. It might be the case that the dogs had legal training, or were currently legal practitioners, or had professional and personal reputations to maintain, or were fed up listening to pish being spouted (sound familiar?) and decided one way to sort it out would be a very public retraction and apology and a big cheque. Such might or might not require the involvement of a Court. It all depends on what sort of chap Douglas Park is. Maybe he’s the reasonable sort.


  50. Apart from Hibs, who are the six clubs who voted against reconstruction at this time?

    Asking, because I still think it's wrong and should not be beyond the wit of man( even within Scottish Football) that teams are being relegated. Wrong is wrong, wrong ain't right just because someone wears a blue jersey or a green jersery or even a maroon one


  51. Good afternoon everyone. It must be about six years since I last posted on here although I'm still a regular reader.

    Apologies if I've missed this, but has anyone anywhere suggested a transitional league structure for next season with 14 top division clubs and then three divisions of 10? This would obviously avoid any relegations this season while still maintaining promotions, including those from below the SPFL.

    All hypothetical anyway if the Falkirk statement is an accurate reflection of the position among top division clubs.


  52. Cygnus X-1 9th May 2020 at 12:03

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

    The relegation issue in my view is grossly unfair. Perhaps if Anne Budge had not tied her flag to Rangers mast without even seeing their so called evidence, who knows. 

    However, I don't believe reconstruction is completely dead yet. Once the season is decided and the economic impact is more established, reconstruction might become necessary to give the game a boost. Although right now self interest is a primary factor, events may simply force clubs to get together and genuinely work for the good of the game. Broadcasters I am sure would rather have a top league with Hearts in it. Only my view. 


  53. dpj 9th May 2020 at 13:22

    Brilliant statement from The Jags.

    Hibs, St Mirren, Ross County, Dundee Utd & Aberdeen against reconstruction according to BBC Sportsound.

    What an absurd and miserable mess. 


  54. So much for “Les Says It is Time to Ask The Audience?” then!

    I wonder how Andrew Smith (writer of this blog and Chairman of the Scottish Football Supporters Association) feels? Let down? Betrayed? Duped? A little bit silly? After all, this is a man who trusted Scotland’s football authorities, when we all knew on here they weren’t to be trusted.  

    He believed that ‘the SFSA has established a positive dialog with the SPFL’S league reconstruction task force’ and that Les Gray and Ann Budge were now realising that the voice of the fans had to be heard. Remember we all contributed to their survey, whose outcomes were trumpeted that 84% of fans don’t want to play the same teams 4 times a season; 64% of fans think relegations as planned by the recent SPFL vote is unfair and should be revisited; 70% of supporters say now is the time to restructure the game – not just a quick fix. These were the messages that were to be taken on board by the SPFL.

    When will fans (and fans organisations) realise that being nice is seen as being weak by the authorities and clubs in charge of the(ir!!) game? I realise I’m sort of playing the man (SFSA) and not the ball here, but I had concerns about the SFSA as soon as their first inaction on trumpeting their arrival was to NOT call out the 5WA, RES12, use of EBTs, the Big Lie etc. Their rallying cry of being independent – unlike the equally useless Supporters Direct – means nothing if they won’t tackle the issues that most of their membership want them to attack. Being nice means you get ignored by the sort of people running our game, as Partick Thistle’s letter today proves.

    Sorry, I’m angry!


  55. LUGOSI 9th May 2020 at 11:44
    T’Rangers (or Douglas Park) got four STFUs. T’Rangers issued “We will not be bullied into silence”. T’Rangers reissued about five minutes after the SPFL gave their “Is that it?” response to Da Dossier. The SPFL have had to disclose Douglas Park said something to Neil Doncaster and threatened some course of action which led to Neil Doncaster consulting Rod McKenzie to issuing said STFUs.
    ………………
    I always read the Park, Rod McKenzie exchange as, McKenzie trying to do park a favour.Basically, if you keep this up without any evidence produced you will be fined or worse for bringing the game into disrepute, this is not the right way to do things.
    And we have not heard from park since instead each day brings out a new poodle from ibrox, i wonder if they have a game of musical chairs to see who is puting out the next crazy statement.


  56. Clubs vote in their own interests i don't think reconstruction had a chance.

    Sorry mess we are in with no happy ending in sight heart


  57. I can't see Hearts taking legal action directly at this time, mainly because of the risk and cost of losing the case.

    However, there is always the possibility of getting legal advice then submitting a "letter before claim" to the SPFL outlining the reasons for and an indication of the quantum of any claim (the value of the full claim might not become clear until the end of next season, or even the following season). It should also leave open the possibility of a settlement figure being agreed through mediation.

    Hearts could then sit on it for as long as they want to see if it prompts the SPFL into some action.  It would require the SPFL to acknowledge the claim in their accounts and possibly delay or reduce the distribution of funds to all clubs as a result of the contingent liability. It might not achieve much in the long run, particularly if Hearts gets promoted at the first time of asking, but it would certainly serve to disrupt the operation of the SPFL in the short term.

    The cost of taking such a course of action would be a fraction of that if they were to take the case to court and lose. 


  58. Nawlite 9th May 2020 at 14:24

    So much for “Les Says It is Time to Ask The Audience?” then!

    I wonder how Andrew Smith (writer of this blog and Chairman of the Scottish Football Supporters Association) feels? Let down? Betrayed? Duped? A little bit silly? After all, this is a man who trusted Scotland’s football authorities, when we all knew on here they weren’t to be trusted.  

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

    I've just had an e-mail from the SFSA pointing to their news story 'Are The Fans Revolting".

    This e-mail says : "So reconstruction has been kicked into touch wether (sic) we like it or not. At least there were positive signs along the way that fans might  just have more say in future. We can but hope!"   

    Are these guys on the same Deludamol as those of a blue persuasion? 

    I commented at the time of Andrew Smith's podcast that the SPFL, etc have nothing to fear from his organisation. I was hugely underwhelmed by what he said.

    The complete ignoring of their letter to Les Gray provides categorical evidence that his organisation is seen as irrelevant.

    Instead of seizing the initiative ('Together We Can Make A Difference' they claim) and telling the SFA/SPFL that the fans are revolting and demand representation otherwise there is the potential for a boycott which Scottish Football can ill afford, the SFSA just rolls over. "We can but hope!" they say!

    The positive for clubs is that getting fans properly engaged can lead to initiatives to provide some fan funding and other support in the difficult months ahead. And fresh ideas from outwith the 'smoke filled rooms' that haven't worked well for a long time.

    Scottish Football needs a fan organisation that actually stands up for fans in a time of crisis. Speak truth to power.


  59. Yeah, I got it too, RL, just after my post. I joined thinking they might be willing to carry the fight. Was I duped too?!


  60. There were strong hints today on Sportsound that  the 2019-20 premiership will indeed not be re-started. For example, Accies Chairman suggested that they won’t have enough players in June or July to play if they were required to re-start. Are Celtic to be denied a chance to win the title on the park and Hearts to be relegated because some clubs can’t field a team?

    Absolutely fair enough if it is still not safe to play in 6 or 8 weeks time, but surely not because of not having enough players in your squad? That can’t be right for a professional football league.


  61. There is no doubt that our clubs don't deserve us.

    This is a copy of the SFSA letter to Les Gray from the stuff they sent me today.

    Listening on BBC Shortbread to the anger today from the Brora Chairman, the Stranraer Chairman and others who all feel let down by the clubs, the SPFL and the SFA.

     

    I wish we could bottle it.

     

    Maybe Les and Ann Budge were duped too and we need a right good civil war to clear the decks.

     

    And who knows where dry land will be whenever the new normal emerges.

     

    Between now and then there will be a lot of pain and heading into our most challenge have no leadership 

    and dominant self interest driven clubs especially at the top.

     

     

    Are the customers revolting?

    Date: 7th May 2020

    Are the Customers Revolting?

     

    Thanks to all those at SFM who along with many others completed our recent FANQ research in astonishing time and also responded both through the SFM blog or direct to my email address.
    I’ve had several conversations subsequent with fans as far away as Vancouver, Australia, Kazakhstan, over the border in England and from all corners of Scotland.

     

    I have also discussed our survey results and pointers with people running SPFL clubs

     

    Scottish fans will seldom agree about anything or everything but it is loud and clear that both those running the clubs and the fans share deep concerns about where we have been, where we are now (if anyone actually knows) and most of all with where we are heading.

     

    Ann Budge’s “keep making the same mistakes” statement was oft commented on and mostly liked.

     

    Nearly all fans agree100% with what she is saying, especially her “openness, transparency and pragmatism” plea to the SPFL, and I guess the SFA too, but some were more cynical saying that words are cheap.

    The kind of words we only seem to hear when there is a crisis before it all gets forgotten.

     

    In the meantime our game and our clubs are blindfolded, wheeching down the slippiest steep slope to the biggest full-blown crisis our game has ever seen.

     

    All are deeply concerned but there is no hindsight or experience to look back on.

    It’s all scary and very, very real new territory.

     

    Panic is on the horizon.

    Perhaps the biggest manifestation of this is the current war of words and posturing in the MSM that has erupted since the SPFL Good Friday vote.

     

    At the same time the well-respected Dr John Mclean was talking recently in deeply chilling terms about just what social distancing means for our game. Without a vaccine or other game changer there is no easy path forward.

    Dr Mclean’s vision of a dystopian world should be all we’re all talking about and preparing for.

    Players will not be able to play.

    Fans would not be able to attend.

    Paying customers will have less money to spend because the economy will have a tumble            after an initial sharp boom.

    Club revenue streams will be decimated from all directions.

    Long established clubs will run out of money.

     

    In the meantime we continue to see a lot of running round like headless chickens trying to achieve all manner of things based on historic thinking and practices that have been rendered as useless as Andre Maginot’s famous line.

    A defence line that became obsolete overnight and useless when needed.

     

    That is where we are right now.

    No real defence or strategy as a football community against the indeterminate financial chaos that is descending.

     

    A world with extreme revenue challenges about to hit a system that some feel is dominated by self-interested members trying to play by the old mantras and allegiances.

     

    Not a great place to be for all of us.

     

    It was against this and in good faith that we submitted our collective response to Les Gray last Friday.

     

    We know our football world will have to be rebuilt bottom up and we don’t pretend to have all the answers.
    We do know that independent fan involvement will provide a framework that ensures Ann Budge’s plea for openness, transparency and pragmatism becomes more than rhetoric.

     

    Not so Much as Revolting as Never More Needed

     

    (Draft Response on behalf of Scottish Football Supporters Association)

     

    Hi Les,

     

    In a time where you will be being bombarded with stuff from all directions here are the abbreviated findings and recommendations from our fast research FanQ panel with further qualitative insights from two group sessions.

     

    To use the old adage I’m not going to bore you with statistics because these are not boring statistics.

     

     

    Headlines 

     

    87% of fans believe their on-going representation in what happens would be a benefit to Scottish Football.

     

    84% of fans believe they currently have no say.

     

    75% of fans agree that ending the season under UEFA guidelines is the best path.

     

    64% of fans think relegations as planned by the recent SPFL vote is unfair and should be revisited.

     

     

     

    When interrogated further we see that fans accept that there are two requirements.

     

     

    1 An end to season 2019-2020 and a plan for football returning.

     

    2 Changes to how the game is set up and run.

     

     

    1 Ending Season 2019 -2020

     

    (Set against the reality that right now nobody knows what the situation really is or will be. With no certainty of any start date or how social distancing might evolve pre-vaccine, fans believe we should build in flexibility to agree the specifics for next season when more is known and indeed it might be more like the first season after WW2 than a normal year. 

    The better-informed fans think the situation is much more complex than the reported discussions so far).

     

     

    SFSA Recommendations 

     

    Award titles on a pro rata basis as per UEFA

     

    Agree a no relegation status for all clubs.

     

    Respect the pyramid at the bottom end.

     

    Consider providing extra help for clubs (in the way a parent company would help out a subsidiary at time of strife).

     

     

    Football Returning

     

    Having last week hear that League 2 have already endorsed a 14,14,14 set up fans are confused to where their certainty to do this has come from.

     

    As of now there remain too many unknowns.

    There is now a deep seated and growing point of view that the first season back will have to be interim because of the start date uncertainties and to allow for any club casualties in this economic winter.

     

    By all means have a plan to keep status quo of 12,10,10,10 if that is what clubs want or 14,14,14 as voted last Friday by some clubs.

    We would advocate a 14,14,16 to respect the pyramid as a starting point and indeed fourteen team leagues would stop the iniquity of the current 2/3 home game options post-split we have now.

     

    But we would counsel SPFL not to commit in anything more than principle and to build in flexibility to avoid chaos downstream. An open plan is fine.

     

    Truncation with clubs not surviving or being severely damaged is more likely than not and government driven fan control and safety policies will have a huge impact on logistics and revenues.

     

    There are just too many unknowns to come up with anything more than guidelines.

     

     

    2 Changes to how our game is set up and run into the future.  

     

    (All fans deep down accept that money has become the main driver in any football business discussion and have a love hate relationship with the power of TV.

    There is a body of opinion that thinks post Covid 19 revenue streams and business plans will be different. Footballers wages will fall and at some clubs previous player assets will have become liabilities).

     

    Consumer spending power will have fallen, sponsorships and hospitality will be harder to engage, fans will drift away and big contract game-changing providers like Sky may even play hardball and seek to reduce the agreed payments.)

     

    Larger leagues would be welcomed by fans as 83% of fans don’t like playing the same opposition 4 times a year.

     

    But a successful future has to be based on more than a tweaking of the current leagues.

     

    Ann Budge, Task force co-chair recently was quoted as saying “Without openness, transparency and pragmatism we will simply keep making the same mistakes”.

     

    Fans like what she has said but there is cynicism that the last things people in power in football want are openness, transparency and pragmatism rather than the current self-interest driven scenario.

     

    Elephants in the Football Room of Change

     

    These are in alphabetical order and have all come from various SFSA surveys. Some are contradictory.

     

    Better communication from SFA and SPFL, Bigger Leagues, Community involvement, Different allocation of prize-monies, Fairness, Family Friendly, Fan Friendly, Full financial fair play, Gate Sharing, Grass Roots investment, Kick off times, Fewer Clubs, Independent national referee provision out-with SFA, Integrity, Kids free, Leadership, Less leagues, No Bigotry, Openness, Outside expertise, Same rules for all, Schools football, Simplicity, Standing sections, Summer Football, Regional lower SPFL leagues, Reserve Leagues, Strict liability, Transparency, Wholesome Sponsors……

     

    There are so many issues but unaddressed they will all keep coming back and sucking up resource and energy.

     

    It’s the openness transparency and pragmatism thing again.

     

     

    SFSA Don’t Have All the Answers

     

    We are independent and that is important.

     

    We understand that in every winner/loser champion/relegation situation we have fans on both sides.

     

    We advocate the only way to address any situation now or moving forward is logically and openly.

     

    We know fan input can make a positive impact to the current SPFL issues and into the future.

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  62. I understand on Sportsound today it was stated that what is currently happening is 'far worse' than anything that happened in 2012.

    They are going to get someones head on a spike with their continued allegations, innuendo and smears. We should expect better from the BBC, but perhaps that ship sailed some time ago. They can't even say what they actually want out of this.


  63. I struggled to listen to today's Sportsound but persevered. After lots of the usual unhelpful discussion it did become clear that the way forward MAY be for some financial compensation scheme to be created for those teams suffering loss due to relegation.

    What would SFM contributers think if clubs were to asked give a commitment to contribute to a compensation scheme with the expectation that they would contribute on a pro rata basis in line with their league placing next season? Payments would be made when funds were distributed by the SPFL. 

    Maybe Celtic could show willing first of all on the understanding that all the other clubs would follow suit. 


  64. nawlite 9th May 2020 at 14:24

    Finloch 9th May 2020 at 18:56

    ———-

    I also receive emails from the SFSA. They aren't the first to have been listened to, patronised and ignored by the people with the power. Perhaps the lesson has now been learned and they realise that the only way to loosen a grip on power is to demonstrate one's strength, and that they will have to organise and muster that strength and show a willingness to exercise it if the SPFL and SFA are to be persuaded to pay attention. They need to find their Lenin.


  65. adam812 9th May 2020 at 20:28

    ————————

    As I said earlier I don't think reconstruction is dead. We are still dealing with many unknowns, particularly how club finances will be affected. Reconstruction to boost things may well appeal to some clubs who are against it right now. In my opinion. 

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