On the Old Club vs New Club (OCNC) debate, the SFA’s silence has been arguably the most damaging factor with respect to the future of the game. Of course people get frustrated when there is a deliberate policy of silence on the part of the SFA which results in the endless cycle of arguments being trotted out again and again with no resolution or closure possible.
The irony (it’s only irony if you assume that the SFA have gone to great lengths to create the conditions for the unbroken history status of the new club) is that the mealy-mouthed attitude they have adopted has actually polarised opinion in a far more serious and irreconcilable way than had they just made a clear statement when Sevco were handed SFA membership. A bit of leadership, with a decision either way at that time would have spiked a lot of OCNC guns very early on, but as history shows, they were afraid of a backlash from wherever it came.
I am now convinced that Scottish Football has passed the Event Horizon and is broken beyond the possibility of any repair that might have taken it back to its pre-2010 condition. Rangers fans will never – no matter what any eventual pronouncement from Hampden may be – accept that their next trophy will be their first. The trouble is that no-one else – again despite anything from Hampden – will cast them as anything else other than a new club who were given a free passage into the higher echelons of the game. Furthermore, they will forever force that down the throats of Rangers fans whenever and wherever they play. A recipe for discord, threats of violence, actual violence, and a general ramping up of the sectarian gas that we had all hoped, only a year or so ago, was to be set to an all-time low peep.
There is a saying in politics that we get the government we deserve. It works both ways though, and the SFA will get the audience it deserves. In actual fact it is the one it has actively sought over the last couple of years, for they have tacitly (and even perhaps explicitly) admitted that Scottish Football is a dish best served garnished with sectarianism. They have effectively told us that without it, the game cannot flourish, and they stick to that fallacy even although the empirical evidence of the past year indicates otherwise.
That belief is an intellectual black-hole they have now thrust the game into. They have effectively said that only two clubs actually matter in Scottish football. The crazy thing is that to put their plans into action they have successfully persuaded enough of the other clubs to jump into the chasm and hence vote themselves into irrelevance and permanent semi-obscurity.
That belief is also shared by the majority in the MSM, who despite their lofty, self-righteous and ostensibly anti-sectarian stance, have done everything they can to stir the hornet’s nest in the interests of greater sales.
Act as an unpaid wing of a PR company, check nothing, ask nothing, help to create unrest, and then tut-tut away indignantly like Monty Python Pepperpots when people take them to task.
Consequently the victims of all the wrongdoing (creditors and clubs) walk away without any redress or compensation for the loss of income and opportunity (and history) – stripped of any pride and dignity since they do so in the full knowledge of what has happened. But even as they wipe away the sand kicked in their faces, those clubs still insist on the loyalty of their own fanbases, the same fans whose trust they have betrayed with their meek acceptance of the new, old order.
The kinder interpretation of the impotence of the clubs is that they want to avoid the hassle and move on, the more cynical view that they are interested only in money, not people. In either case, sporting integrity, in the words of Lord Traynor of Winhall (Airdrie, not Vermont), is “crap”.
The question is; which constituency of 21st century Scotland subscribes to that 17th century paradigm?
Sadly, this massive hoax, this gigantic insult to our collective intelligence, is working. Many will leave the game – many already have in view of the spineless absence of intervention from their own clubs – but many, many more will stay and support the charade.
If you doubt my prediction, ask yourself how many tickets will be unsold the first time the New Rangers play Celtic at Parkhead? That my friends will be final imprimatur of authenticity on just exactly who New Rangers are, no matter the proclamations of both sides of the OCNC argument.