From the TSFM Manifesto 🙂
A spectre is haunting Scottish Football — the spectre of Sporting Integrity. All the powers of the old firms have entered into a holy alliance to exorcise this spectre: Billy and Dan, Blazer and Cassock, Record and Sun, Balance Sheet and P&L.
Where is the football fan in opposition to these that has not been decried as a “sporting integrity bampot” by his opponents in power?
Two things result from this fact:
I. Sporting Integrity is already widely acknowledged to be itself a power for good.
II. It is high time that Lovers of Sport should openly, in the face of the whole world, publish their views, their aims, and meet this nursery tale of the Spectre of Sporting Integrity with a manifesto of fair play.
To this end, Lovers of Sport of various partisanship have assembled on TSFM and sketched their manifesto, to be published on tsfm.scot.
Those who love sport though are challenged not just by the taunts of the monosyllabic automatons in the MSM, but by the owners of our football clubs who have displayed an almost total disregard to our wish to have a fair competition played out in the spirit of friendly rivalry. In fact the clubs, who speak those fine words, are not nearly as outraged as we are by the damage done to the integrity of the sport in the past few years .
In fact the term Sporting Integrity has become, since the latter stages of the Rangers era, a term of abuse; a mocking soubriquet attached to those who want sport to be just that – sport.
Sporting integrity now lives in the same media pigeon-hole as words like Islam, left-wing, militant, Muslim – and a host of others; words which are threats to the established order now set up as in-jokes, in order to reduce the effectiveness of the idea.
In fact, a new terminology has evolved in the reporting of football by both club officials and The Succulent Lamb Chapel alike;
“.. Sporting Integrity but …”.
“We all want sporting integrity, but finance is more important”
Says who exactly?
Stated in such a matter of fact way that the obvious question is headed off at the pass, it is sometimes difficult to re-frame the discussion – perhaps because crayon is so hard to erase?
This is the backdrop to The Scottish Football Monitor and the world in which we live. Often the levels of scrutiny employed by our contributors are far in excess of any scrutiny employed by the MSM. Indeed our ideas and theories are regularly plagiarised by those very same lazy journalists who lurk here, and cherry-pick material to suit their own agendas; regularly claiming exclusives for stories that TSFM and RTC before us had placed in the public domain weeks earlier.
This was going to lead into a discourse about the love of money versus the love of sport – of how the sacred cows of acquisitiveness, gate- retention and turnstile spinning is far more important to the heads of our football clubs (the Billys, Dans and Blazers of the intro) than maintaining the traditions of our sport.
However events of Friday 14th November have given me cause to leave that for another day. The biggest squirrel of all in this sorry saga has always been the sleight of hand employed instil a siege mentality in the Rangers fans. The press have time and again assisted people (with no love of football in general or Rangers in particular) to enrich themselves – legally or otherwise – and feed on the loyalty of Rangers fans.
A matter for Rangers fans may also be the identity of some of those who had their trust, but who also assisted the Whytes and Greens by their public statements of support.
Our contention has been that rules have been bent twisted or broken to accommodate those people, the real enemies of the Rangers fans – and fans everywhere.
Through our collective research and group-analysis of events, we have also wondered out loud about the legality of many aspects of the operating style of some of the main players in the affair. That suspicion has been shared most notably by Mark Daly and Alex Thompson, but crucially now appears to be shared by Law Enforcement.
I confess I am fed up with the self-styled “bampot” epithet. For the avoidance of doubt, the “bampots” in this affair are those who have greater resources than us, and access to the truth, but who have lacked either the will or the courage or the imagination to follow it through.
We are anything but bampots. Rather, we have demonstrated that the wisdom of the crowd is more effective by far than any remnants of wisdom in the press.
I have no doubt that the police investigation into this matter is proceeding in spite of great opposition in the MSM and the Scottish Football Authorities – all of whom conspired to expose Rangers to the custodianship of those for whom football is a foreign language.
I have no doubt that the constant exposition of wrong-doing on this blog, in particular the questions we have constantly raised, and anomalies we have pointed out, has assisted and enabled the law enforcement agencies in this process.
If we are to be consistent in this, our enabling of the authorities, we MUST show restraint at all times as this process is followed through. People who are charged with a crime deserve to be given a fair trial in the absence of rumour or innuendo. We must also, if we are to continue as the spectre which haunts the avaricious – and the real bampots – be seen to be better than they, and give them no cause to accuse us of irresponsibility.
This affair has now evolved way beyond one club gaining unfair advantage over others. For all the understandable Schadenfreude of many among us, the real enemy is not Rangers, it is about those who enabled and continue to enable the farce at Ibrox.
This is now about systematic cheating at the heart of the Scottish game (in the name of cash and in spite of lip service to sporting integrity), and how the greed of a bunch of ethically challenged officials allowed another group of ethically challenged businessmen free rein to enrich themselves at the expense of the fans.
Whether laws were broken or not, the players at Rangers have come and gone and are variables, but the malignant constant at the SFA and SPFL are still there. Last night, even after the news that four men had been arrested in connection with the takeover at Ibrox in 2011, they were gathered together at Celtic Park with their Irish counterparts, tucking into succulent lamb (perhaps) and fine wines, doing some back slapping, making jokes about the vulgarities of their fans, bragging about the ST money they have banked.
The revolution won’t be over until they are gone, and if they remain, it is Scottish Football that will be over.