One, er, Two Rules to Rule Them All

Why the SPFL Decision to Deduct Points from Clyde FC For An administrative Error is Raising Eyebrows In Social Media and Encouraging Dancing Around The Lord Nimmo Smith Elephant in the Main Stream.

It was reported in the news that Clyde have been deducted points for fielding an ineligible player in two matches, news that has raised supporter eyebrows when a comparison is made with SFA and the then SPL treatment of ten years of imperfect players registration by the then Rangers FC and caused a bit of dancing in main stream media around the LNS Elephant.

When the existence of side letters that formed part of a players remuneration contract was revealed in March 2012, it prompted an investigation by the SPL into the eligibility to play football of players who had been provided side letters by Rangers FC that indemnified them from any loss should the ebt schemes , through which their main remuneration flowed, be deemed unlawful by HMRC.

The issue for the SPL then was were those players properly registered under SPL rules?

The common belief held until then being that incorrect registration made a player ineligible to play and any game an incorrectly registered player played in was void:

  1. Presumably on the basis the errant club had gained an on field advantage from incorrect registration and/or
  2. to act as a deterrent to clubs to deliberately conceal full registration details from the football authorities.

The result of games in which such a player played was treated as a 0-3 defeat and the 4 points gained deducted and 3 points each granted to their opponents.

To get answers the SPL, after seeking evidence of side letters accompanying any type of EBT from Rangers FC, established the Lord Nimmo Smith (LNS) Commission to identify if a breach of registration rules had occurred and what were the consequences in sanction terms.

It is interesting therefore to compare the following from the LNS Commission in respect of sanctions against Rangers FC for a breach covering ten years of incorrect registration with the sanctions against both Clyde FC over 2 games and Hearts over one game, based on what Lord Nimmo Smith said in his findings at 107 and 108 of his Decision.
Findings that 7 years later have caused social media eyebrows to raise to Roger Moore levels because of apparent contradictions arising from the justifications given for a financial sanction only in the LNS Decision.

LNS Decision basis 107 /108

We nevertheless take a serious view of a breach of rules intended to promote sporting
integrity. Greater financial transparency serves to prevent financial irregularities. There is insufficient evidence before us to enable us to draw any conclusion as to exactly how the senior management of Oldco came to the conclusion that the EBT arrangements did not require to be disclosed to the SPL or the SFA. In our view, the apparent assumption both that the side-letter arrangements were entirely discretionary, and that they did not form part of any player’s contractual entitlement, was seriously misconceived. Over the years, the EBT payments disclosed in Oldco’s accounts were very substantial; at their height, during the year to 30 June2006, they amounted to more than £9 million, against £16.7 million being that year’s figure for wages and salaries. There is no evidence that the Board of Directors of Oldco took any steps to obtain proper external legal or accountancy advice to the Board as to the risks inherent in agreeing to pay players through the EBT arrangements without disclosure to the football authorities. The directors of Oldco must bear a heavy responsibility for this. While there is no question of dishonesty, individual or corporate, we nevertheless take the view that the nondisclosure must be regarded as deliberate, in the sense that a decision was taken that the sideletters need not be or should not be disclosed.

No steps were taken to check, even on a hypothetical basis, the validity of that assumption with the SPL or the SFA. The evidence of Mr Odam (cited at paragraph [43] above) clearly indicates a view amongst the management of Oldco that it might have been detrimental to the desired tax treatment of the payments being made by Oldco to have disclosed the existence of the side-letters to the football authorities.

[108] Given the seriousness, extent and duration of the non-disclosure, we have concluded that nothing less than a substantial financial penalty on Oldco will suffice. Although we are well aware that, as Oldco is in liquidation with an apparently massive deficiency for creditors (even leaving aside a possible reversal of the Tax Tribunal decision on appeal), in practice any fine is likely to be substantially irrecoverable and to the extent that it is recovered the cost will be borne by the creditors of Oldco, we nevertheless think it essential to mark the seriousness of the contraventions with a large financial penalty. Since Issues 1 to 3 relate to a single course of conduct, a single overall fine is appropriate. Taking into account these considerations, we have decided to impose a fine of £250,000 on Oldco.

Compare this with the Clyde FC case where ineligibility was admitted from the outset so there was no question of dishonesty yet they received a sporting sanction in form of a points deduction, whilst Rangers avoided such a fate on account of the Bryson interpretation that meant that a player whilst not fully and correctly registered was nevertheless eligible to play until the errors were discovered.

What Clyde FC said in their defence of their error was

“We are deeply disappointed with the outcome of yesterday’s hearing as, despite the fact that we admitted the breach of the SPFL rules, we feel that we put forward a robust and cogent case as part of our defence. The case concerned a player, Declan Fitzpatrick, who has been registered with Clyde since September 2018 and was recently on loan at Clydebank.
“The breach occurred as a result of a genuine oversight and a gap in the administrative procedures. This error was not the fault of any individual.
“We feel that the sanction imposed was unprecedentedly harsh.

The result of Clyde honestly admitting to an administrative error was a twin football and sporting sanction of £1500 and 4 points deduction for being honest.

Hearts had a similar administrative error defence when they said:

“ Due to an administrative error on the club’s part at the end of the January transfer window, Andrew Irving entered the field of play in the 65th minute as an unregistered player. Andrew was given an extension contract in January, 2018 and his extension paperwork was all properly completed and in order. However, it was not loaded onto the online SFA registration system at the time. His official registration, therefore, ran out on 9th June, 2018. Unfortunately, this was not picked up in advance of last night’s game.”

Hearts, as a result of their honesty, were deducted two points and fined £10k.

Yet in the case of Rangers FC, LNS judged the decision to withhold side letters was deliberate and because, as a result of non-disclosures of evidence to the contrary, he was able to decide there was no question of dishonesty.

The size of the penalty £250k recognised the longevity of what he was able to treat as an administrative error, but because LNS treated it as such and because the SFA advised that a flawed registration, apparently even if deliberate dishonesty was the reason for that flaw, was accepted by a blindsided SFA, then a player was eligible to play and so no points deduction sanction was applied.

The question of the validity of a deliberate and dishonest registration was never address by LNS although he did say in para 88 of his decision:

“There may be extreme cases in which there is such a fundamental defect that the registration of a player must be treated as having been invalid from the outset. But in the kind of situation that we are dealing with here we are satisfied that the registration of the Specified Players with the SPL was valid from the outset, and accordingly that they were eligible to play in official matches.”

What exactly constitutes an extreme case?

Had LNS seen the HMRC letter of 23 February 2011 or the HMRC letter of 20th May 2011 (that incidentally should have been in the SFA’s hands immediately on receipt under UEFA FFP rules before UEFA were notified of clubs granted a UEFA licence in 2011) would he have been duty bound to consider if a fundamental defect had taken place?

In those letters HMRC justified their pursuit of the wee tax case liability of £2.8M under their Extended Limit rules on basis that when they sought evidence of side letters for DOS ebts in April 2005, Rangers had responded dishonestly and that on sight of that response Rangers QC Andrew Thornhill advised them in early March 2011 not to appeal.

Does that evidence, which was not disclosed by Rangers Administrators Duff and Phelps to then SPL lawyers in April 2012, not point to such a fundamental defect in registration that a player’s registration should be regarded as being invalid from the outset?

However regardless of the rights or wrongs in the construction of the LNS Commission and subsequent Decision based on that construction, the salient point is that Clyde FC and Hearts were deducted 4 points and 2 points respectively, after both admitted to an honest mistake in their registration process and both received twin financial and sporting sanctions. Why Hearts were not deducted the 3 points gained as a consequence of beating Cove Rangers is unclear, although a 3 point reversal would have made qualification out of the group impossible.

Hearts were able to overcome the effect of the two-point deduction and still qualify for League Cup final stages so are unlikely to want to revisit the SPFL decision of points deducted.

However a £10k fine for an honest mistake in one game might be worth appealing on the basis that if a £250k fine for every match Rangers fielded incorrectly registered players was apt in the circumstances that LNS was led to believe existed that on a pro rate back of a fag packet basis this amounts to £695 per game over 10 seasons of 36 games a season, a £10k fine is excessive but would Anne Budge budge?

Anyhoo lets compare the three cases to highlight why eyebrows were raised.

Clyde FC

  • honest mistake admitted – financial sanction and points deduction

Hearts FC

  • honest mistake admitted – financial sanction and points deduction

Rangers FC 

  • Deliberate decision taken not to fully register a player’s details with SFA.
  • Evidence of dishonest motivation to not fully registering a player registration concealed by Rangers
  • financial penalty but no points deduction.

It was always going to be the case that what took place in 2012 under the cloak of the Lord Nimmo Smith Commission would unravel in time as it set a precedent that flew in the face of sporting integrity principles and a common held belief that incorrect registrations attracted a sporting sanction, a belief rekindled by the recent decision to deduct points from Clyde FC.

Perhaps there is a rules based difference that justifies the LNS Decision that can be used by the SFA to explain to the common man why no sporting sanction was applied, but what the common man will ask is it more or less likely that in light of the LNS Decision clubs will be honest with the SFA in future if a player falls foul of the registration process or will appeal on the basis that LNS set a precedent against which all clubs should be judged and then sanctioned.

In a nutshell if an honest mistake is admitted how can a points deduction be justified unless the SFA can show the mistake was a deliberate one carried out by a club to give them a sporting advantage.

The LNS Commission was always a can of worms waiting to be opened which is probably why the SFA rejected the SPFL’s request of September 2017 to revisit the SFA handing of Rangers use of ebts and side letters. Have the SFA introduced a moral hazard in the form of the LNS Decision that will continue to undermine the integrity of Scottish football as long as they allow it to?

Oh what a tangled web we weave eh?


  1. wottpi 21st March 2019 at 19:04

    Who would have thought a Levein 4-6-0 might be an option come San Marino!!…


    I think McLeish should develop Levein's unique formation further still… and go with a 0-0-0.

    Just give the ball to San Marino and walk away from international football for the duration.


    Use the time out to start again: a total review and rebranding, restructuring, outsourcing, and shake up of the SFA and its place in Scottish football – including responsibility, accountability, real transparency – and formal fans' representation and involvement. 


    So, when the squad returns to Glasgow, absolutely nothing will change – except many more fans will have drifted away from supporting the national team.


    Ultimately, the diddies at the SFA are 'just passing through' but their incompetence and mismanagement – especially since 2012 – is having a long term, if not permanent, negative impact on the Scottish game, IMO.

  2. easyJambo 21st March 2019 at 16:43

    '…I know Lord Malcolm heard the cases both against Police Scotland and the Lord Advocate, but I don't know which decision is being appealed. Lord Malcolm produced a lengthy opinion about the immunity of the Lord Advocate from prosecution in September, but can't be certain if that is what is being appealed at this stage,..'


    Yes, I felt   kind of left up in the air a bit, and I don't think I've seen anything following the September hearing.

    I've had a re-read, though, at Lord Malcolm's ( my favourite judge, for his 'Well, there you go! " remark) "summary and decisions" in that September 2018 hearing  (which seemed to relate to the cases of both Whitehouse and Clark (although they are separate cases))

    "Summary and decisions 
    [171] The pursuer, and separately his former co-administrator of Rangers Football Club, 
    are claiming damages from those said to be responsible for allegedly wrongful detentions, 
    arrests, and prosecutions.  

    The claims are brought at common law and in terms of articles 5 
    and 8 of ECHR.  

    The Lord Advocate’s submission that the article 8 claim should be 
    dismissed in advance of proof is rejected.  However his plea of absolute immunity in respect 
    of the common law claims is upheld.  It follows that the actions against him shall proceed in 
    respect of only the ECHR claims.   

    [172] So far as Mr Whitehouse’s claim against the police is concerned, the court is not 
    prepared to uphold his submission that it can be decided on the pleadings that he need not 
    prove malicious conduct on their part.  The result is that the pursuer’s claim against the chief 
    constable, and the defences to it, shall proceed to a proof before answer (as was agreed by 
    the respective parties in Mr Clark’s action).  
    [173] Before issuing interlocutors in this and Mr Clark’s action, I shall put both cases out 
    by order for a discussion of the implications of the above for the pleas-in-law and the scope 
    of the respective proofs; for clarification as to the position of the second defender;  and for 
    consideration of any other matters of further procedure arising.   "

    I may be wholly misreading things, of course, but I take from that summary that Lord Malcolm three decisions:

    one, that  the actions of the Lord Advocate are subject to Art 8 of the European Convention , and can be challenged under that Article.[ I don't think Whitehouse would be appealing against that decision?]

    two, that the Lord Advocate is absolutely immune under common law :  I suspect that Whitehouse may be appealing against that decision

    three, that Whitehouse does have to prove 'malicious conduct' on the part of the Police . I suspect that Whitehouse would want to appeal that decision as well.

    Whatever, interesting stuff to look forward to!

    [For the benefit of those interested, the full September judgment  can be found here

    and the ECHR   is here       ]

  3. Fair play to Dundee FC, re: the swiped flag.


    The club listened to customer complaints, investigated, and has now issued an official statement with an apology.


  4. Cluster One 21st March 2019 at 18:49 

    "Sorry JC if i push you over the edge if you read this."


    Ah, Cluster One,the playing and coaching staff of the now-in-liquidation RFC were the monkeys obediently, if self-interestedly,dancing to the tune played by the cynical, wicked, unprincipled  perverted  organ grinders in the corridors of the 6th Floor and at the top of the marble staircase.

    The McLeishs, McCoists, Novos, and others of that ilk were, are, but tools used by bad people  trying to make money by means of the biggest sporting lie since Hippomenes was declared winner of the race against Atalanta! 

    The bit players are low grade trash, compared to the filth at the top: much of which is still there, and will remain there, like methane gas from the shit.y rumps of cattle, poisoning and choking the very concept of Sporting Integrity.

    We are on the solid ground of truth. 

    In contrast, the LNS enquiry and the 5-Way Agreement are  evidence that our Sports Governance body was tipped over the edge into an unbalanced, unreasoning, panicky rejection of sanity, instead of facing squarely up to the unpleasant truth that they had been serially cheated for years, and then  being courageous enough to deal with that cheating honestly and in a manner consistent with rule and precedent and truth.

    I will sleep more happily in my bed tonight than many an SFA official, SPFL club board member, or recipient of an (untaxed)  sum of money of an amount which a well-known sailor-boy of a St Mirren supporter described , being paid by us while he did so, as about enough for a good night out!broken heart

    Honest to God!


  5. A wee thought on that disgrace today.

    Scotland have a manager who, as an ex, rather good, central defender, can't produce a team that has, at least, an adequate defence.

    If Scotland had turned up with a very defensive formation, and struggled to get a 0-0 draw, we'd have been slating whoever it was we had as manager. Oh, and I'm not referring to the time Craig Levein was Scotland manager.

    A manager or coach can't be blamed for missed chances, maybe not even for no chances being created, but when his team's defence performs like that, he has truly f*cked up, and clearly doesn't have a clue, for having an organised defence is a manager/coach's main, and easiest, job. The difference between the two defences was massive and glaring.

    It is not just time for him to go, he should never have been made manager in the first place. 


  6. Big Pink 21st March 2019 at 20:01

    '…One wonders if McLeish owes someone on the SFA some cash and was appointed so repayment could be made directly from his wages '


    One wonders indeed, and we will no doubt die wondering, what is the precise mechanism by which the manager of the national team is appointed.

    Surely to God these days it cannot be the 'old pals act'? 

    Surely the sift of applications is not rigged? 

    Surely the interview/selection board is not told in advance by some eminence grise who the preferred candidate is?


    Perhaps not. 

    That's the damnable thing about the whole feckin Liquidation saga!

    we can trust nothing that our Sports governance body says or does, because they lied in 2012, and possibly lied in the matter of a few million quid a year or two before!


  7. In defence of McKenna I watched him struggle on Saturday v Livingstone with his hamstring heavily strapped. 

    Dire stuff last night all round though.

    They looked technically better than us all over the park.

    Not going to be a great day for those of us who choose to live and work in England no

  8. Bill1903 22nd March 2019 at 06:59  


    They looked technically better than us all over the park. 




    I don't want to jump on the bash the SFA bandwagon just for the sake of it but shouldn't this lack of technical and tactical skills be laid at their door too.


    They are responsible for leading the development of our youths but yet we still turn out one footed players unable to trap a bag of cement where every second touch is a tackle.


    As far as lack of tactical nous goes to my mind it's down to the moribund coaching set up, using old methods by guys appointed through the old boys network together with the recycling of failed managers around the club's.


    I know they spend a lot of money on development and the club's aren't always helpful but the development of talent hasn't worked for 20 years or more.


    They need to go from top to bottom and letter better people take over. Time for a clear out including the manager who should never have been appointed in the first place.

  9. The SFA band of brothers gave McLeish the job, not based on his track record which was substandard but because he went way back with McRae who was on his testimonial committee-the old boys network.

    Until the SFA stop giving a nod and a wink and a handshake to those who can return the handshake as a criteria for the job Scotland will go nowhere as a footballing entity.

    If McLeish goes, as he surely must, then those responsible for his appointment must also go as a matter of honour. But that won't happen because the SFA have no integrity and are rotten to the core and the rot must be cut out.

    They say a fish rots from the head. 

  10.  Football managers: What are their job interviews really like?
    (By Tom Rostance BBC Sport 20 March)

    "We see that you've had nine jobs in the past five years. Can you tell us why you left your last position?"

    "Well, the fans were chanting for me to go, we were staring at relegation, we hadn't won in nine games and the players had stopped listening to me…"

    Ever wondered what actually goes on in a football manager's interview? How different, or not, they are to those carried out in the 'real' world?

    Do managers like Sam Allardyce, Mark Hughes and David Moyes have to provide references and a CV? Do they even have to apply?

    One thing is for sure, there is no shortage of job adverts going up. In the 79 days of 2019 so far, 13 managers have left their positions in the top four flights of English football – one every six days on average.

    Forget Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger, the longest-serving manager in English football is now Jim Bentley at Morecambe, while 49 of the 92 clubs have had their boss in place for less than a year.

    All clubs and owners are different, and all interviews are different. But we tried to lift the lid on a little of the recruitment process…

    'There's always a shortlist'

    Before there can be an interview, there must be a list of candidates.

    You'd like to think so anyway, although occasionally managers are seemingly appointed without much in the way of a process at all, such as Fulham sacking Slavisa Jokanovic and replacing him with Claudio Ranieri in the same press release in November.

    So how is a shortlist drawn up? And when does that process begin? Worryingly for managers – but maybe reassuringly for fans – there is often a constant shortlist being worked on behind the scenes.

    "I always had a list of six or so managers who I was tracking all the time," says David Sharpe, who appointed three managers during his three years as Wigan Athletic chairman.

    "If you have a striker who is scoring lots of goals, you should always be preparing for the day when he moves on. You have five or six players who you are scouting so that if you sell your number nine, you already know who you would like to bring in. It's the same for managers. It should be anyway.

    "I had their games watched, their style of play monitored, their recruitment analysed. We looked into how much it would cost to bring them in, which of our current squad they would want to work with, which they would be looking to move on.

    "Everything was analysed so that before you even get to the interview stage you can make a good assessment of whether they are going to be a good fit or not."

    So far, so sensible. It hardly seems worthwhile appointing a manager who swears by playing 3-5-2 if you only have one striker and no wing-backs.

    The names on a shortlist may also depend on the club's situation. Do they need a quick fix, someone to come in and keep a club up in the last 10 games?

    'What sort of manager do you want?'

    Nick Thompson was chief executive at Hull City and says there is one question clubs must answer before beginning the process of recruiting a manager.

    "The starting point is: are you looking for a manager to come into a philosophy you already have at the club, a style of play, a recruitment strategy, or are you looking to appoint someone to develop their own strategy? The answer to that question may lead you to a very different candidate," he says.

    Clubs who cannot answer with clarity inevitably end up in trouble.

    "We are seeing more and more now a type of manager specialising in a firefighting role, coming in to keep a club up for a few months – which is fine, but that's probably not the sort of person you want to be planning your signings for the next few seasons, developing youth players etc," Thompson adds.

    At this stage clubs may also field CVs, usually sent in by agents. If your club have ever said they have had "50 or 60 applications for the job" then that is probably true, although Sharpe – who has just started work as a football agent – has a word of warning for potential managers sending in their resumes.

    "To be honest, if you're picking your next manager from an unsolicited CV sent in then it shows you haven't done the work in preparation." he says.

    'Give us a half-time team talk…'

    So the shortlist has been drawn up, now it is interview time. Normally three or four managers will be spoken to, some more formally than others, usually at the club but not always.

    "I would say there is no such thing as a typical interview," says Sharpe.

    "When I interviewed Paul Cook we had been waiting to get permission from Portsmouth to speak to him and it came through when we were both on holiday. He left his family holiday in Portugal to come to Mallorca with his agent and we spent a few hours talking in a poolside bar."

    However, it is more likely to be in the boardroom.

    Michael Johnson, manager of Guyana, has had 10 or 11 interviews for coaching and managerial roles, and says he has been to many where he knew the job was already set for someone else.

    Another factor to consider for a former player heading into the world of management is that there is a strong chance this will be their first job interview – of any sort.

    "All of the interviews I have been to have been formal – close to a job interview in the real world I would say," he says.

    "I had one job interview that a friend of mine also went for and we ended up travelling together and waiting outside for each other. We all understand the waters we are swimming in."

    Not all interviews are just a chat though. One manager described a particular post that demanded a four-part interview which took most of a day.

    First, he had to describe how he would sell a move to the club in question to a potential new signing.

    Then, he had to leave the room, return and give a half-time team talk to the panel, after being given a scenario beforehand – "We're 2-0 down at home and the striker is having a shocker…"

    Thirdly – and perhaps most bizarrely – an actor entered the room playing the part of a parent of an academy player who was upset with the lack of game time he was receiving, with the candidate expected to be able to talk him round,

    And as if that wasn't enough, the manager then had to plan and take an afternoon coaching session. Exhaustive or what…?

    'Have you got PowerPoint?'

    Allardyce famously claimed that his chances of succeeding Sven-Goran Eriksson as England manager back in 2006 were damaged by the FA's lack of PowerPoint facilities.

    "I wanted to do a real knock-your-socks-off PowerPoint which looked at every single detail. There was nothing missing. Nobody but nobody was going to beat it," Allardyce wrote in Big Sam: My Autobiography.

    He was then told there were no PowerPoint facilities at the interview venue – so he was reduced to handing out hard copies of his presentation.

    Every manager is expected to give a detailed presentation during an interview on what they would change and how they want the team to play. It is not enough to offer vague ideas or promises, they need to be able to back it up.

    Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa had reportedly watched every minute the Championship side had played the previous season when he spoke to the club about taking the job, while Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers had spent his whole career prior to his first job at Watford preparing for the moment he became manager.

    The Northern Irishman had a dossier and handbook on who he was, what he would do and how he would do it – and delivered "an incredible presentation" to the then chief executive and chairman at Vicarage Road in 2008.

    "I would always rather have one very good slide than 10 average ones," says Johnson, whose Guyana side face a key Gold Cup qualifier against Belize this weekend.

    "It's not about what it looks like, it's what it is saying. You have to know what you want to do with the team, how you would make improvements, how they are currently playing. There is a lot of work that has to go in before you have an interview."

    Of course, not every manager nails an interview – just like in the 'real' world.

    "Managers can have a bad interview just like anyone else," says Sharpe.

    "I have come away from a chat with someone who I was really excited to meet and was very disappointed. Underwhelmed."

    "I did speak to one manager who couldn't name any of our players. That is not a great start," adds Thompson.


    'If in doubt, give it to Mr X…'

    The interviews have been held, PowerPoint has been loaded up – but does your club still appoint the same old familiar face? Why?

    "In football, appointing a manager on an emotional response is often a recipe for disaster – but it happens all the time," Thompson says.

    "If a chairman or chief executive is of a certain age and they are sitting opposite Mark Hughes for a few hours, for example, it can be difficult for them to not see the centre-forward from the 1980s and '90s who may have been a hero of theirs."

    Sharpe adds: "It is a business which rewards failure. That is why the same names are still being linked with jobs all of the time.

    "Also, you can have a good manager, and a good man, who is just not a good fit for your club. That is where clubs often go wrong.

    "Owen Coyle, for example, was appointed by my granddad Dave Whelan at Wigan. He was very impressed when he met Owen, they got on really well – but it was fairly obvious his style of play and management was not very well suited to Wigan at the time. And that proved to be the case."

    Hopefully the modern interview process cuts down on such lapses in judgement, but with 12 managers leaving their post in League Two already this season, perhaps not.

    Some "real world" factors are still key for managers taking a job too, especially lower down the ladder. Pay and the dreaded commute come into a decision, as not many managers want to relocate their families – wise considering the amount of time they are likely to get in a job.

    Johnson, who is based in Derby, had a coaching role in Cardiff which often meant four lonely nights away from home in a hotel and thousands of miles a year on the motorway. Chris Wilder, currently guiding his beloved Sheffield United to a promotion tilt in the Championship, commuted from the Steel City every day while winning League Two at Northampton.

    Deep down, football managers are just like the rest of us. And, it turns out, so are their job interviews.

  11. Kazakhstan 3-0 Scotland: Alex McLeish 'let down' by his players – Charlie Adam

    Alex McLeish was "let down" by his players in the Euro 2020 qualification defeat in Kazakhstan, former Scotland midfielder Charlie Adam says.

    The national team's opening 3-0 loss to the side ranked 117 in the world has piled pressure on head coach McLeish. 

    But ex-Rangers player Adam was shocked by the lack of leadership on the pitch.

    "They capitulated too easily," Adam told BBC Radio 5 Live. "It's an inexperienced group and I didn't see anyone pulling each other together."

    He added: "You lose two goals quickly and need to regroup. You need to have leaders."

    Qualification already looks beyond the Scots after such a poor start, but Adam says McLeish should be given time to try to salvage the campaign.

    Scotland are only off the bottom on goal difference after Cyprus thumped San Marino 5-0, while favourites Belgium beat Russia 3-1 at home.

    The Scots had previously secured a place in the play-offs for Euro 2020, which they will part host, by winning their Nations League section.

    "I don't think it's a sacking offence for McLeish," Adam said. "He did his job by getting Scotland to the Nations League play-off.

    "There's a reason these type of nights happen and it was down to players not imposing themselves on the opposition.

    "I like Alex as a manager and person and the players let him down. They need to have a look at themselves."

    The Scots face San Marino away on Sunday and Celtic left-back Kieran Tierney is unlikely to be fit to return from a hip injury.

    The absence of Tierney and Andy Robertson forced McLeish to use Aberdeen midfielder Graeme Shinnie at left-back in Kazakhstan and he was badly exposed in a makeshift defence.

    "There's got be an overhaul of the quality of player in the squad," Adam said. "There has to be better players out there than some of these guys.

    "International level is a step up and you saw the two defenders [Shinnie and Aberdeen team-mate Scott McKenna]. They play in the same team but made basic mistakes and were punished."

    Players should be desperate to represent Scotland – Fletcher

    Former Scotland captain Darren Fletcher has questioned the commitment of the players who withdrew from the squad because of the Astana Arena's plastic pitch.

    McLeish's options were weakened by several call-offs, including Bournemouth winger Ryan Fraser and Cardiff City attacker Callum Paterson, who were both excused from duty on the artificial surface.

    "I don't completely buy into that," Fletcher told BBC Radio 5 Live. "Maybe if you were being asked to play on it every week, but that was a one-off game for your country and I'd like to have seen these players make themselves available.

    "It's probably clubs getting involved. There is a lot of money involved in players getting injured.

    "But players should be desperate to represent their country. We need to qualify and we need our best players on the pitch at all times."

    'McLeish deserves chance to qualify' – analysis

    Former Scotland defender Willie Miller on Sportsound

    I don't think Alex McLeish can look for excuses. The manager's job is to get the players he picks to perform and they didn't perform.

    Ultimately, the responsibility lies with him. But I don't see a mountain of evidence that Alex is not capable of taking us forward – it's more of a molehill.

    He deserves the opportunity to qualify next March by beating Finland and another team of that ilk in the Nations League play-off. He got us there. It's not fair to call for the manager's head after one game.

    Former Scotland winger Neil McCann on Sportsound

    Right away, I was drawn to Alex's choices in midfield. You need structure, a lynchpin, someone who's going to conduct play, and I felt that in that midfield three there was no natural anchor. All three players are similar, good at breaking forward.

    Scott McTominay could have played, or Graeme Shinnie could have been that man. Questions will be asked about certain players and you have to look at the boys who refused to play on the artificial surface.

    #ecksit – what the fans said

    Hashagdo: Ecksit means Ecksit

    Andy Slav: Can we start an online petition for #ecksit?

    Gav Milne: Think the whole of Scotland would vote leave for this.

    Clarky: Make it stop Scottish FA. Please, make it stop.

    Hells Warrrior: It's not even embarrassing when it's expected.

  12. Sannyoffymesssoitizz@15.15, 15.11 and 14.48

    I enjoyed your posts. What amazed me most of all that was that Sam Allardyce had prepared a PowerPoint presentation. In all his TV interviews he always came across as a tough, no nonsense type of manager who would eschew such technology. In my own experience it was always a gamble depending on PowerPoint as the computer would often find a way of letting you down when you needed it most.   

  13. Who would want to be a member of the Scotland squad right now?

    Cooped up together in hotels, buses, planes after a shocker of a game.

    Recriminations flying around the players and management team.  Mibbees a bit of 'handbags' amongst the players.

    Just not a very nice atmosphere.

    And that is when you need your leader to stamp his authority on the whole group, sort them out and ultimately rally the troops for one more push.


    Except the leader is one Alex McLeish.


    And who probably still has the full backing of the incompetents at the SFA.


    Would San Marino actually be doing us a huge favour by beating Scotland? 

    Well, there would be absolutely nowhere to hide after such a result.  No positive spin would even be attempted. No excuses.

    Mibbees another loss would – finally – aid the SFA management to come out of its collective coma!

    …and admit the organisation has a problem.

    A big problem.

    And that they need to get help…

  14. Birmingham City deducted nine points for EFL profitability and sustainability rule breaches.
    Blues, who have avoided relegation on the final day in the past two seasons, said they had put measures in place to limit future spending and adhered to an EFL business plan since August.

    “Decisions by the owners and the board of directors were taken with the club’s best interests at heart and a determination to halt a cycle of decline and stagnation, with the intention of pushing on to fulfil ours and our fans’ ambitions,” a club statement said.
    I wonder if a certain scottish club owners will ever come out and state, a determination to halt a cycle of decline.

  15. A good read.
    The Rangers Directors have provided the funds to cover shortfalls up to this point. They are now facing significant challenges. They have seen Gerrard in action for a year. His League and Cup record is no better than Pedro’s. The money from shareholders has all been spent. The Close Bros money will be gone in a few weeks and will then have to be repaid.
    And Ashley is on the Horizon.


    Hoopy 7 22nd March 2019 at 14:22


    The SFA band of brothers gave McLeish the job, not based on his track record which was substandard but because he went way back with McRae who was on his testimonial committee-the old boys network.

    Until the SFA stop giving a nod and a wink and a handshake to those who can return the handshake as a criteria for the job Scotland will go nowhere as a footballing entity.

    If McLeish goes, as he surely must, then those responsible for his appointment must also go as a matter of honour. But that won't happen because the SFA have no integrity and are rotten to the core and the rot must be cut out.

    They say a fish rots from the head. 


    Precisely, but there is no way of making them go, and McCrae etc. will not do the decent thing and fall on their swords unless they are at the bitter end somehow. If we suffer another disappointment against San Marino, then maybe, just maybe, McLeish will be forced out despite McCrae having his back. So what? We'll get the next blazer appointment and in the summer we get Petrie at the SFA.

    I've been a Scotland supporter all my days, two World Cups etc., but this is the bleakest ever, worse than the days when the Lisbon Lions were overlooked for caps.

    Corruption exposed, corruption ignored.


  17. Cluster One 22nd March 2019 at 20:58

    '..A good read……………………And Ashley is on the Horizon.'


    Many of us 'shrewdly suspect' or 'implicitly believe' that the SFA was prepared a decade or so ago to slide a few million quid illicitly to a financially distressed club to keep it afloat.

    We are confirmed in our 'shrewd suspicions'/'implicit belief' by the fact that the SFA will not let us have the matter fully and independently investigated so that the truth can be established in order that either our minds be set at rest or that criminal prosecutions may be brought, as the case may be.

    I am not a businessman, and not an accountant, but I have had , as we all have had,  benefit enough of the knowledge of contributors to this SFM blog to understand that TRFC Ltd is another  financially distressed football club, kept 'solvent' only by loans.

    And we know that the SFA of 2019 is essentially the same beast as the SFA of 2011 and 2012.

    Meaning by that, of course, that we may anticipate as much dirty work to be done in support of a distressed TRFC Ltd as was (allegedly, of course !)  carried out in respect of the club that, despite illicit help, died in economic ruin.

    My  concern , in other words, is not with the survival or otherwise of a very young football club, but with the possibility of wholescale Sports Governance body corruption ( of the scale as is alleged to have facilitated the infamous 5-Way Agreement) in order to secure that survival!






  18. I remember reading a passage in a book, shown to me by a friend, by (I'm sure it was) Ted MacDougall, who gained a few Scotland caps in the 70s. In the passage he was very critical of Willie Ormond, the Scotland manager, who he found naive and old fashioned in the extreme, and gave as an example his pre-match talk to the players just before they took to the field for a 5-0 drubbing from England.

    The pre-match talk consisted of Ormond grabbing the lion on his tracksuit top and demanding of his players to play for the badge. That was it! No going over tactics, no final instructions or profiles on players, just play for the badge.

    Why am I boring you all with this blast from the past? I hear you ask.

    Well, last night, and to my great disbelief, I heard Alex McLeish say, after that drubbing, that in his pre-match talk he'd cited the battling performance of the Scotland rugby team against England to motivate his team.

    Now that's where we are today, our national manager, not only feels he needs to motivate his players in this old fashioned way, he also thinks it's something to crow about after a humiliating defeat, as though he was saying, 'I done ma job, it was then up to the players to deliver'.

    He really doesn't have a clue about modern coaching methods, which showed in the way his team played and defended so abysmally, and sends out a team he feels need last minute motivation rather than reminding of the roles they each have to play, or what to expect from their direct opponents.

    I'm certain he set that team up to play an attacking style (without giving them the style) because he was afraid to go more defensive and face the media backlash given to Craig Levein. He forgot it was Scotland and that they were away from home. I bet, too, that he didn't have a clue about how his opponents played (though he may well have been told) or how to counter their style (they had some).

  19. macfurgly 22nd March 2019 at 22:31

    '..Precisely, but there is no way of making them go,….'


    Oh, I don't know about that, macfurgly! 

    A proper investigation into the Res 12 matter might see a few bad bast.rd-Eichmann-like  '"it wisnae me, it was my predecessors in office wot done it. I just obeyed orders" lines of defence.

    We will get them.

    And, of course, they know it!


  20. Allyjambo 22nd March 2019 at 23:31

    '…I bet, too, that he didn't have a clue about how his opponents played (though he may well have been told) or how to counter their style (they had some).'


    On Sportsound tonight I heard wee Craig Brown say that he had a message from a friend ( footballer) in Australia , before that disastrous game, warning him that Kazakhstan football and footballers are up there with some of the best: millions have been spent by the nutcase president in developing soccer and the current world rankings are out of date.

    He had seen some (presumably club) teams in action in Oz, and told Brown that these guys were no minnows.

    (David Currie said: why did he not warn McLeish?)angry

  21. John Clark 23rd March 2019 at 00:29

    For the record, on last night's Sportsound Craig Brown said that the day after we'd been battered 3-0 by the Kazakhstan he'd spoken with ex footballer, Alex Smith who has lived in Australia for years.

    Smith told Brown that Kazakhstan had beaten Australia (whose FIFA ranking is 41!) in a closed doors warm up match prior to the recent AFC 2019 Asian Cup with a young crop of fast and tactically dynamic players under their new, and former Czech Republic manager.

    Although Brown never said so, I got the impression that Smith had not conveyed this to EBT Eck as he'd presumed that this would have been known to Scotland from their in-depth analysis of their opponents recent matches!

    Eck’s approach seems to have been based on Ally McLeod’s strategy of assuming we’d win because “We are Scotland”!

  22. The wagons are being circled at the SFA.

    Alex McLeish 'must stay on' as Scotland manager – Craig Brown

    Scotland manager Alex McLeish can recover from a 3-0 defeat to Kazakhstan and seal a place at Euro 2020, says former national boss Craig Brown.

    There have been calls for McLeish to stand down after a sobering opening campaign loss to the team ranked 117th in the world.

    "It's a poor start but we can lose one game and qualify – and I think he can," Brown told BBC Sportsound.

    "I definitely don't think it's a sacking offence. He must stay on."

    Scotland move on to San Marino on Sunday, where they will be meeting the team at the bottom of the world rankings.

    Belgium, Russia and Cyprus make up the rest of Group I, with the top two qualifying automatically

    Should they fail to progress via the group, Scotland have the safety net of a play-off after winning their Nations League section last year.

    "Alex McLeish is a very good manager," added Brown, who spent eight years in charge after eight years as the assistant to Andy Roxburgh. "He won seven from his 10 games in his spell with Scotland – that's the best record ever – and he has got us in the play-off."

    Scotland last reached a major finals in 1998, with former Aberdeen and Motherwell boss Brown at the helm and he puts much of that success down to defensive solidity.

    "Against Kazakhstan we had a goalkeeper and back four with 17 caps between them," he said.

    "We lost three goals in 10 qualifying games for Euro 96 and when we reached the World Cup. If you want to win internationals, you don't concede goals."

    'Scotland looked devoid of ideas'

    Former Scotland striker Kenny Miller agreed that it is too early to be calling for the manager's head, with McLeish 11 games into his second spell.

    "I don't believe he will be sacked, or should be sacked," said the Dundee forward.

    "We've got a good group of hungry young players, who are capable of a lot better. For me, we looked devoid of ideas in Kazakhstan.

    "In defence of Alex, who would have picked a different team after the call-offs? Maybe a couple of changes. The problem is we never performed."

  23. sannoffymesssoitizz 23rd March 2019 at 07:59

    "John Clark 23rd March 2019 at 00:29

    '….he'd presumed that this would have been known to Scotland from their in-depth analysis of their opponents recent matches!'"


    Thanks for filling in the detail of Brown's observations, sannoffymesssoitizz. I was listening with only half an ear by that time!


  24. Stephen Halliday: Rod Petrie’s apparent run to SFA presidency is a worry

    After Thursday’s fiasco in Kazakhstan, those Tartan Army foot soldiers who somehow remain resolutely committed to following Scotland wherever they go must be eyeing their remaining travel itineraries on the Euro 2020 campaign trail with a sense of dread.

    If we can still assume that even Alex McLeish’s beleaguered squad will avoid further damage to their battered reputation when they face the world’s worst international team in San Marino tomorrow, then the next road trip with the potential for serious pain for Scotland supporters comes on 11 June.

    That’s when the Scots will face the brilliant Belgian side currently No 1 in the Fifa world rankings. But if that’s a date to be approached with genuine foreboding, it’s a less trailed event on the Scottish football calendar 24 hours later which could be just as significant in the ongoing malaise which has enveloped the country’s national team.

    On 12 June, the Scottish FA will hold its annual general meeting where, as things stand, Rod Petrie is poised to be elected unopposed as the governing body’s new president.

    There remains a possibility someone may lay down a challenge to the Hibernian chairman’s right of accession to the role. Rival candidates have until 31 March to lodge their intention to stand against Petrie and it’s understood there are some on Hampden’s sixth floor, perhaps further down the corridor in the offices of the Scottish Professional Football League, who are keen to see a contest rather than a simple coronation.

    Because for many of those keen to see progressive change at the top of Scottish football, Petrie is perceived as very much part of the problem. He was instrumental in the appointment of McLeish as national team manager in February last year, a recruitment process which became excruciatingly ham-fisted after the protracted and failed bid to persuade No 1 target Michael O’Neill to take the job.

    The decision to give it to McLeish, who had been out of work for almost two years, left the Scotland support underwhelmed to say the least. On the evidence of the execrable performance and defeat in Kazakhstan, it now looks like a major error of judgment on Petrie’s part.

    A member of the Scottish FA board since 2007, his path to the presidency has been mapped out for some time. But if they hope to rid themselves of their cliched image as an old boys’ network, then the established practice of simply passing the chains of office down the line should be stopped.

    That might be acceptable if being president of the Scottish FA was purely a ceremonial role. It isn’t. It is a position of considerable influence, including holding the casting vote in the event of a tied vote among the Scottish FA board of directors who are the final authority on any major decisions – including the hiring and firing of managers.

    Those who championed the credentials of Ian Maxwell when he was appointed chief executive of the Scottish FA last May painted the picture of a forward-thinking reformer, someone who could shake up the administration of the game for the better.

    The former Partick Thistle managing director has kept a relatively low profile while getting his feet under the table at Hampden. In fairness to Maxwell, his in-tray included myriad other legacy issues to deal with, including the future of the national stadium itself and the review of historical cases of child abuse.

    But like all of his predecessors as chief executive, Maxwell will ultimately be judged on the success or otherwise of the men’s national team. He inherited the appointment of McLeish but must lead the process of finding a replacement for him when the time comes, perhaps now sooner rather than later.

    It is Maxwell’s neck which will be on the line and he may well be asking himself if the system of hierarchy at the Scottish FA is fit for purpose in an organisation which had a turnover of £38.4 million last year.

    Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell, who stepped down from the Scottish FA board two years ago, publicly raised exactly that question in the wake of Stewart Regan’s resignation as chief executive last year.

    While Lawwell insisted there was nothing to be gained by “personalising” the issue, there was little doubt who he was referring to when he criticised those “who have presided over the SFA for a number of years” and called for a restructuring at the top of the organisation.

    If Petrie simply ascends unchallenged to the presidency on 12 June, then any hope Lawwell or anyone else harbours for meaningful change in the way Scottish football is run will probably remain unfulfilled.



  25. I see that the EU have 12th April as a potential Brexit/Brexodus/Brurach date.

    Shome mishtake shurely?

    Isn't that the date Big Mike is in the High Court handing out invoices and fee notes to The Rangers (simpliciter, International, Interstellar or otherwise); Hummel; Elite; the pop-up shop in St Enoch Square, Glasgow (whoever they are/were/will be) and any other parties who have been daft enough to get involved in commercial dealings with GASH which are fairly obviously a breach of contract(s) with Sports Direct?

    How are the media supposed to give full coverage to both stories?

    One solution would be to simply ignore one of the stories. It's been done in the past. Hopefully the non-Scottish media help by doing the same. It would also be helpful if the English Court Reporting system crashed.

    On second thoughts sorting out EU membership might be easier than putting a positive spin on the latest success for The People.

  26. Reading today of the latest Ally McCoist cringe piece.

    I'd flatten whyte if i saw him again.


    Would that be because everyone found out at the craig whyte trial that you had a Golden Contract, that you had to get the ibrox managers job or the club would have to have given you millions if you did not get it?


    Also in this article.

    Whyte paid David Murray the token takeover sum (£1)  in 2011  but gers plunged into administration and Liquidation the following year.

    Yorkshire Businessesman charles Green led a £5.5 million consortium buyout of the club's assets as they TOPPLED (that's a new one) into the third division.


    Honestly the journalism in scotland is at an all time low



  27. LUGOSI 23rd March 2019 at 09:55
    How are the media supposed to give full coverage to both stories?
    On second thoughts sorting out EU membership might be easier than putting a positive spin on the latest success for The People.
    12th April.
    Marquee signings should do the trick for both.

  28. I see many journalists today questioning whether Alex McLeish should remain as Scotland boss.  Personally I wish they would question the fact he is allowed any involvement in football at all, given his participation in, and his support of, the biggest case of tax evasion ever in the history of British football. Is it the case that being a 'Rangers man' absolves you of crimes against society in the eyes of the Scottish media? It seems that way to me, given the number of tax thieves they employ and indeed celebrate. 

    Scotland is at times a really f*cked up nation. As long as one particular demograhic holds such cultural power in preference to all others I can't see it changing. 

  29. Cluster One 23rd March 2019 at 10:42

    '…charles Green led a £5.5 million consortium buyout of the club's assets.

    Ha, ha!

    " out of the club's assets" indeed!

    Don't you just love  the spineless, gutless way none of the s.ds  have the courage of their 'convictions' and simply say 'bought the club', when they spend all their energy twisting language and legal facts trying to foster the view that 'Rangers' did not cease to exist as a participating member of Scottish profession and that a football club that didn't exist 7 years ago has a sporting record unequalled by any other club in the world?

    I don't know whether to be more irritated by the  fundamental dishonesty involved or by the bloody insult to our intelligence.

    Lying and cheating businessmen trying to make money under false pretences is one thing, and a very bad thing, at that.

    Dishonest journalists are beyond the Pale entirely.



  30. I wonder if more players in the squad will have 'developed' an injury since the Kazakhstan game…?


    Will the players fielded be fired up for the San Marino game?

    Will they collectively be desperate to secure a convincing win for their under fire manager?

    …will they all still be speaking to each other afterwards, on the plane home on Sunday?


    Answers on a postcard to the Hampden bunker.


  31. upthehoops 23rd March 2019 at 11:08


    And also, he walked out on his country, less than a year after having replaced Walter Smith, who walked out on his country.

    McLeish should never have been offered the job, he only was because no-one fit for the role was willing to take it. 

    A tax cheat, not very good manager, with previous for abandoning the national team. How could that possibly go wrong. 


  32. Just had a bad thought.

    This developing McLeish dilemma could illustrate parallels between the SFA and TRFC.

    Many Bampots have a clear idea about the current and historical 'connection' between Hampden and Ibrox.

    But, now it would appear that both are in alignment: swirling around the financial plug hole.


    If McLeish is resigned, it will cost the SFA.

    To attract a better / suitable, quality manager will probably cost a lot more than McLeish was paid.  Everyone and their dug knows the Scotland job is a poisoned chalice. The national team has hit an all time low.

    The only people who would be attracted to the Scotland job are those with similar backgrounds to McLeish; failures, unwanted, dinosaurs, etc.


    To get a decent, experienced, progressive manager will incur a hefty premium.  And at a time when the SFA isn't flush with cash.

    – Dwindling attendances at Hampden. 

    – Huge liabilities incurred with the stoopid decision to acquire Hampden.

    – Difficulty attracting sponsors paying decent rates. 

    – Continually missing out on Finals



    The SFA and TRFC are both running out of money, and time.


    Karma would be to have a double celebration party: for the demise of these thoroughly discredited organisations, who are a blight on the Scottish game.

  33. StevieBC 23rd March 2019 at 14:09
    Karma would be to have a double celebration party: for the demise of these thoroughly discredited organisations, who are a blight on the Scottish game.
    As there is a treble treble celebration party going down at celtic park

  34. McCoist on Craig Whyte and that trial in the "currant bun"

    I think I agree. It certainly was an embarrassment for him.

    ALLY McCoist launched a blistering attack on former Rangers owner Craig Whyte — and revealed he would struggle to restrain himself if the pair met again.

    The Ibrox legend, 56, branded the tycoon a “chancer” who “didn’t give a s***” about the club he bought for just £1.

    And the ex-Light Blues gaffer and striker claimed that while giving evidence at Whyte’s fraud trial, he felt like he was in the dock.

    Breaking his silence on the controversial businessman, McCoist said: “The last time I saw Craig Whyte was in the High Court in Glasgow.

    “If I saw him again, I don’t think I could trust myself to behave. I really don’t.

    “The whole thing at the court was embarrassing. I was very, very disappointed in how that was handled.

    “I remember going back home and my wife asking who was actually on trial — was it me or was it Craig Whyte?”

    McCoist was grilled by Whyte’s lawyer Donald Findlay QC during the six-week hearing.

    Whyte, 48, paid Sir David Murray the token takeover sum in 2011 but Gers plunged into administration and liquidation the following year.

    Yorkshire businessman Charles Green, 65, led a £5.5million consortium buyout of the club’s assets as they toppled into the Third Division.

    McCoist added: “Whyte and Green were both chancers.

    “I don’t think there’s any doubt about that, which clearly is a shame.

    “Both came in with absolutely no interest in the football club itself.

    “They didn’t give a s***. They didn’t care about the club. They were only interested in financial gain.”

    The Gers hero was dumped on gardening leave in December 2014 after three-and-a-half years as manager.

    He agreed a settlement with the club nine months later.

    But McCoist — who revealed he has since been interviewed for managerial vacancies at Blackburn Rovers and QPR — insisted he has no regrets about his crisis-hit stint in charge at Ibrox.

    The talkSPORT pundit said: “My biggest regret was it was my dream job but just at the wrong time.

    “I am quietly very proud of how all the staff handled themselves.

    “Everyone spoke about the players, which is understandable. But invariably they will find another club.

    “But people like Laura Tarbet, who was secretary for over 40 years, and PR girl Carol Patton were great.

    “These people were unbelievable and had been there a long, long time.

    “They handled themselves with dignity and class.”

    Whyte was cleared by jurors of fraudulently taking over Gers at his 2017 trial.

    We told how former chief exec Green is suing police and prosecutors for £20million for “wrongful arrest”.

    He was nicked in 2015 over an alleged fraudulent buyout of the club.

    But the case was axed and charges dropped.


  35. StevieBC 23rd March 2019 at 14:09

    '..Many Bampots have a clear idea about the current and historical 'connection' between Hampden and Ibrox.'


    This particular bampot heard wee Paw Broon on "Off the Ball" this morning commend the good old days when the SFA was under the very good control of 'autocratic CEOs…like Ernie Walker and Jim Farry'

    One rotten egg in a basket was of course one too many. That was bad enough. 

    The fact that  the other rotten eggs in the clutch  defended that particular rotten egg for 3 years before it finally told the truth told its own story about how deep-seated was the  rottenness. 


    the refusal by the present day SFA to have the Res 12 issue independently investigated,

    the  fact that the EBT nonsense went on 'unseen' for years despite the fact that one senior official in the SFA had personally received an EBT payment (of such amount as a sailor-boy football pundit would spend on a good night out!)

     the creation of the Big Lie of the 5-Way Agreement

    naturally lead one to wonder just how extensive is the rot in our Sports governance?



  36. ej, despite his rant…sleekit McCoist's name can also be interchanged with Whyte and/or Green;

    “[McCoist] didn’t give a s***.  [He] didn’t care about the club. [He was] only interested in financial gain.”


    Was it £800K he was siphoning off TRFC – whilst playing against part-timers in the old Division 3?


    That man has no shame, absolutely!

    [And a shoo in for the Scotland job, no doubt.  smiley ]

  37. Ha! Just heard presenter Mylene Klass on Classic FM play "In the Steppes of Central Asia" by Borodin!

    Where is Kazakhstan? All together now: the place where we got humped, pumped, fcuked, embarrassed, and, I believe, thanked by San Marino for making them important in the footballing scheme of things!



  38. Just afore I go to bed, can I say that I saw only a bit of the Ross County v Connahs Quay game.

    And saw two brilliant goals, as good as any to be seen in any league ,any competition. 

    I congratulate Ross County. 

    And I don't think I share Richard Gordon's very strong opposition to the inclusion of non-Scottish teams in that particular Irn Bru sponsored comp.

    A sporting competition is a sporting competition, isn't it? 

    What's that you say? Except when it's the SPL where a club can field ineligible players for a decade and not be deemed guilty of breach of a fundamental rule??

    Surely to God that didn't happen!broken heart

    Not in Scottish Football?


  39. Ally McCoist put people's lives at risk.

    He did it deliberately, by asking a question he already knew the answer to.

    In order to "circle the wagons" for The Rangers and get the club's supporters to intimidate the people who were promised anonymity. 

    He is a disgrace of a human being. 


  40. Thon fat sally wun … errr ah mean one, has got some neck, …..

    'mind, as part of the training he bared his fat backside for the players to take pot shots at his big bum. The best bit, the imposter took more than 3/4 £mil a week from them, haha……

  41. 26/12/12 – FIFA.COM –
    “Rangers’ perilous financial position had been an open secret but there was still shock when, after 140? years of history and an
    alleged 54 league titles, the club was consigned to liquidation.”
    26/12/12 – FIFA.COM

    The actual link (the truth) was shredded 4 or 5 years ago.
    I wonder which rangers Celtic will be playing next week.

  42. Portbhoy 24th March 2019 at 11:05

    It appears that tae find the truth these days we huvtae get tae France smiley

    Les Rangers plongent
    14 juin

    La situation financière précaire des Rangers était un secret de polichinelle depuis longtemps. Cela n'a toutefois pas atténué la portée du choc lorsque le club, après 140 ans d'existence et son record de 54 titres de champion, a été placé en liquidation à la mi-juin. Le géant de Glasgow a ensuite vu à nouveau le jour sous la forme d'une nouvelle société et a pu débuter la saison 2012/13 en quatrième division écossaise. Les pensionnaires d'Ibrox sont actuellement premiers de leur championnat, avec neuf points d'avance et un match disputé de moins.

    From Google Translate

    The precarious financial situation of the Rangers was an open secret for a long time. This did not, however, lessen the impact of the shock when the club, after 140 years of existence and its record of 54 championship titles, was placed in liquidation in mid-June. The Glasgow giant then saw the day again as a new company and was able to start the 2012/13 season in the Scottish Fourth Division. The residents of Ibrox are currently top of their league, with nine points ahead and a disputed match less.

  43. Portbhoy 24th March 2019 at 11:05

    sannoffymesssoitizz 24th March 2019 at 11:46 

    HirsutePursuit 24th March 2019 at 11:50

    Thank you, gentlemen, for the affirmation that, let them lie as mightily as they can and shred every document and record in their possession,  the creators and fosterers of the Big Lie simply cannot destroy Truth, and merely destroy their own personal integrity by attempting to do so.

  44. HirsutePursuit, and sanoffymesssoitizz,

    well done ma men,

    tryin' tae find that for a long time. …… cheers,     

  45. My son and I wandered up to Pitmedden on Saturday to take in Formartine v Clachnacuddin in an HL game.  Swift pint before the game and then watched Formartine win 5 – 0 , they were too strong for Clach with experience throughout their eleven.  Clach on the other hand looked to be full of youngsters. Good enough game though with HL style tackles, plenty of graft and a fair modicum of style.  Very impressed with the fitness levels also.  Formatine's pitch is big and in very good nick, I haven't been there since Junior days.  Nice steak pie at half time!

    A couple of good goals, tackles aplenty and although there was one booking for dissent ("For *** sake ref!, blah blah blah.") it was played and watched in a good, competitive spirit.  Scottish fitba at the top gets me down but it's good to remember that fitba is much more than what EBT McLeish, the SFA or TRFC get up to.  (Would have fancied Formartine's back 5 against Kazakhstan btw.)


  46. Yep, to virtually guarantee an honest game of sport – of any sport – requires a distinct lack of money involved…

    To plagiarise: “honest poverty”.

  47. 're ernies post above


    I know a group of 5 Dons  long-standing season ticket holders who no longer go to pittodrie.  Instead they pick a highland league game each Saturday.

    Sickened of Scottish football but not enough to give it up totally 

  48. As a kid totally besotted with Scottish football…

    and having since acquired diverse, international business


    The SFA is regurgitating the public statement of Gerald Ratner; "because it's total crap."

    The SFA is a dysfunctional organisation at any level.

    It does not deserve to receive ANY public monies: that's a given.

    The SFA is living in the past…c.1982.

    The SFA is an abomination of an organisation.


    Anyone with half a brain cell would deride the SFA management structure as unfit for purpose.

    To state the bleedin' obvious.

    The SFA – continues to be – a blight on the Scottish game.

  49. Ex Ludo 25th March 2019 at 00:10

    I wonder why this story is only coming out now? Another court case in the making perhaps?
    When the name of Sadiq is mentioned in reference to this season, fans will think of a misfiring striker, who opted to tumble to the ground in the League Cup semi-final defeat against Aberdeen in search of a penalty instead of having a shot on goal.
    Mmmm, sound familiar?

  50. Ex Ludo 25th March 2019 at 00:10

    The Sunday Post article about Umar Sadiq's experience at the Stadium Of Staunchness narrating unpaid wages, a £20,000.00 fine, banishment from the first team dressing room, ban from using the car park and being ignored by the manager is certainly at odds with the usual Level 5 pabulum.

    My wonder is not so much why this story is only coming out now but rather why this story has managed to come out at all.

    Never mind.

    Anyone now considering joining The March With Alex's EBT Army?

    2-0 against San Marino, who, if I recall correctly but don't quote me, is the Patron Saint of sheep.

    As our national team manager didn't say: these are taxing times.

  51. Ex Ludo 25th March 2019 at 00:10 9 Th I wonder why this story is only coming out now? Another court case in the making perhaps?


    The knives are out for Gerrard, there can be little doubt. Knives not held in the hands of the writers of this piece, for it appears to be for an Italian publication, but brandished by some spinmeister with instructions to 'get Gerrard outa here!', and presented on a plate to the Sunday Post. If I am wrong, we can expect a bear attack on that aging newspaper more famed for it's well loved comic strips than it's breaking news.

    But with further thought, I do wonder if there is actually some Scottish based input, for that mention of Morelos in Italy would be right up TRFC's street in an effort to pique Italian interest in their most saleable asset.

    So, could the co-writer with the Scottish sounding name, Danny Stewart, be acting on a brief from, say, Level5? If he is, those knives have turned into axes.

    Gerrard bad, Morelos good. The perfect story for a club trying to get rid of one (for free/minimum cost) and to sell the other for whatever inflated price they can spin it up to.

    If Gerrard wasn't aware before now that his coatpeg is shoogly, he must surely be now after reading that piece. 

  52. Allyjambo 25th March 2019 at 10:35

    '…Knives not held in the hands of the writers of this piece, for it appears to be for an Italian publication,.'


     The Sunday Post claims it as an 'exclusive'.

    I don't think the piece has appeared in either  of the two Italian papers that Vitelli  contributes to, 'Il Tempo' and 'La Gazzetta dello Sport'.

    But he made sure to tweet about his piece for the benefit of his Italian readers, so the story would get some attention from football writers/clubs, especially if the Sunday Post has an online edition.

    "Massimiliano Vitelli‏ @m_vitelli 21h21 hours ago … Il mio pezzo di oggi (scritto insieme a @DanStewart5 per il The Sunday Post #Sadiq #Rangers #Gerrard @Sunday_Post"

    The Italian can be translated as ' my piece today for The Sunday Post (written together with Dan Stewart)


  53. And my eye fell on this in 'The Scotsman' this morning. Made me think that that old horse's Charlie Green might have landed a PR job with "Winning Moves UK" to help with the new Monopoly board:

    " Monopoly…has since been played by 500 000 000  people in 114 countries around the world"


  54. Continuing my leisurely (but believe me, I'd rather be working!) perusal of "the Scotsman", I have reached the obituary page, and the obituary written by Matthew Vallance.

    And from that obituary I learn to my complete astonishment that the man who was in goal for the now deceased Rangers Football Club ,on the 19th October 1957, in the Hampden sun, was named John Valentine. [ And my condolences, of course, to his family]

    My memories as a teenager of the game that took place on that day were, I thought, pretty good. I would not now, of course, be able to rhyme off the whole Rangers team, but would recognise , I thought, all the names if not all the faces , if they were listed.

    But I have absolutely no recollection of the name Valentine as having been a Ranger player at any time, let alone on that day and in that game.

    Strange thing, memory!

    A bit like Umar Sadiq mentioned in earlier posts today, Valentine was dropped immediately into the Reserves, his career at Rangers effectively over at the final whistle of that match.


  55. LUGOSI
    25th March 2019 at 09:00
     16 0 Rate This

    Ex Ludo 25th March 2019 at 00:10

    The Sunday Post article about Umar Sadiq's experience at the Stadium Of Staunchness narrating unpaid wages, a £20,000.00 fine, banishment from the first team dressing room, ban from using the car park and being ignored by the manager is certainly at odds with the usual Level 5 pabulum.

    My wonder is not so much why this story is only coming out now but rather why this story has managed to come out at all.

    Never mind.
         Isn't there a rule governing player's wages to ensure they are paid on due date? 

  56. CorruptOfficial@13.10

    Heart of Midlothian fell foul of this under SPL rules a few years ago. I suppose it depends on what conditions are attached to the loan deal but it’s generally accepted you get paid for the work you do professionally. Of course the fine imposed by the club (?) may have been deducted from his wages. If that is the case then surely the PFA would be offering support?

  57. John Clark 25th March 2019 at 12:56
    And from that obituary I learn to my complete astonishment that the man who was in goal for the now deceased Rangers Football Club ,on the 19th October 1957, in the Hampden sun, was named John Valentine. [ And my condolences, of course, to his family]
    Hope this is the right article for anyone looking in, sorry i have not scaned it too well. I will need to look it out and do a better job.
    But in the meantime it will send a few down memory lane.

  58. Blackburn, Bolton and Birmingham: Seven charts showing how Championship clubs reached this point

    Financial issues and Championship football clubs beginning with 'B' appear to go hand-in-hand.

    Take Bolton Wanderers and Blackburn Rovers – two of English football's historical giants. Famous old north-west clubs and founding members of the Football League with 10 FA Cups between them.

    Yet in recent days, one faced a winding up order and the other posted record losses just a few years after both lost their places among the Premier League elite.

    And then there is Birmingham City, who on Friday were deducted nine points for a breach of profitability and sustainability rules.

    In seven charts, football finance expert Kieran Maguire assesses how the three clubs got to this point – and asks if there are lessons other clubs can learn from them.

    Read more at:
    Kieran Maguire is a lecturer in football finance analysis at the University of Liverpool where he teaches on the Football Industries MBA course.

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