Armageddon? What Armageddon?

ByBig Pink

Armageddon? What Armageddon?

Now that we are at the end of the league season, and with respect to the job still to be done at Tannadice and McDiarmid Park, it seems like a good time for a post holocaust report.

Average Weekly Attendances SPL 2011-2014

Fig 1 Average Weekly Attendances SPL 2011-2014

Peppered around this page are three charts and a table* showing the attendance figures for the SPL in the last three seasons. A school kid could tell you that there is a positive trend in those charts and figures, but the people who run our national sport will look you straight in the eye and tell you “that can’t be right – Armageddon is coming!”

It is one of the most ridiculous and mendacious situations I have ever come across. The people who run our national game, aided and abetted by those in the MSM (sans the eye contact though) are actually trying to persuade us of how awful our game is and how unsustainable it will be in the absence of one, just one, club.

Think about that. The SFA and the SPFL trying to talk us out of supporting the game unless we all recognise the unique importance of one, just one, club. That is what has happened, no matter how they try to spin it. And despite evidence to the contrary contained in these figures, not one of them has admitted to an error, never mind the downright lies that they told to support the position they held, the one where anyone speaking of sporting integrity was mocked and ridiculed.

 

Whilst growing up as football supporter in the 60s, one of things I was constantly bombarded with via the medium of the tabloid newspapers was that football clubs should be grateful for the publicity afforded them via their back pages. These were probably reasonable claims, especially in the light of the relative lack of access to players and officials conceded to the hacks in those days, and the pre-eminent cultural position in which they helped to place football. Alongside that, the broadcast media, particularly Archie Macpherson’s Sportscene and Arthur Montford’s Scotsport could be relied on to talk the game up. Of course, there was something in it for the papers – sales. The more column inches devoted to the national sport, the further northward their sales, and consequently advertising revenues travelled.

ex Celtic & Rangers

Fig 2 Avg. Attendances excl Celtic & Rangers

The situation was further cemented by the fact that the press in that ante-interweb era held a monopoly over the exchange and dissemination of information. That symbiotic, win-win relationship between football and the press was as much a part of football reality as the Hampden Roar. It also endured for decades. The press would talk up the game to such an extent that folk often remarked that they hadn’t realised how much they had enjoyed a particular match until they had read Malky Munro or Hughie Taylor’s report the next day. Archie Macpherson is on record as having said the same thing about legendary commentator David Francey, “It was a much better game to listen to than to see!”

Today that symbiosis is broken. The press themselves, in print and in front of microphones consistently belittle the product, talk of crises and Armageddon, of our own version of the Eisenhower domino effect of clubs going to the wall one after another.

Aided and abetted by the two chief bureaucrats in charge of Scottish football, Stuart Regan and Neil Doncaster, who have consistently helped to hammer home the message that Scottish football is not good enough, and cannot sustain itself financially without Rangers, a club that could not itself sustain itself financially to the extent that it is being liquidated.

At a time when Scottish football was clearly in crisis, and badly in need of sponsorship which could mitigate the effects of that crisis, the press and the authorities sought to strengthen their own negotiating hand by making negative claims about the state of the game which never came to pass, and for which they have never apologised. The actual situation, which would not have been hard to predict had anyone actually bothered to analyse the business of Scottish football, is summarised quite easily by saying this;

  1. Since Rangers’ liquidation and subsequent absence from the top league, the average home attendance of the other clubs has INCREASED overall (See Fig 2).
  2. In this season, the other clubs have added 50,000 fans to home attendances compared to 2011-12 (the last year Rangers were in competition).
  3. In that time the league has been won (twice) by Celtic, and the other honours have been claimed by St, Mirren, Aberdeen, Celtic and (either) Dundee United or St Johnstone.
  4. In that time, both Dunfermline Athletic and Hearts (who both had historical financial problems) entered – and exited – administration after fan-led buyouts.
  5. Dundee United have cleared off their bank debt.
  6. Kilmarnock have restructured their bank debt, freeing the club from a precarious long-term situation.
  7. League reconstruction has allowed some money to trickle down to the second tier clubs in an attempt to mitigate the immediate effects of relegation and to reward ambitious clubs.

table

Looking at the table of attendances above, it is pretty clear that immediately upon Rangers exit, the overall figures took a dip. However there was little difference the in the figures if you leave Rangers out of the equation (Fig 3) – despite Celtic’s attendance taking a hit that year (down by around 5,000 per home match).

Taking Celtic out of the calculations, it is clear that there is a 6,000 uplift in this average (Fig 2).

It is still undeniable that less people overall are watching football (Fig 1), but the trend is upward if one leaves the Ibrox club out of the picture.

Furthermore, this statistic exposes the double edged sword that is retention of home gates. The fact that gates are not shared is predicated upon the notion that the bigger clubs do not depend on the smaller clubs for income. And since the smaller clubs are no longer recipients of big club largesse, their fortunes are not affected, at least not as much as was suggested by the Regans, Doncasters and Traynors of this parish. The “Trickle-Down” theory of Reganomics said otherwise – but clearly and demonstrably it was wrong.

The abandonment of gate sharing has made Scottish football less interdependent than it once was, but the irony is that it works both ways. There is hardly a club in the country that depends on Rangers for their own existence, and here is the news; small clubs are no longer financially dependent on the former Old Firm.

Excluding Celtic

Fig 3 Excluding Celtic

The fact, that is F-A-C-T, is that Scottish Football attendances in the top division are on the increase. The absence of Rangers has made no appreciably negative difference to any other club, far less caused a catastrophe of biblical proportions.

Even if the fools who were the harbingers of our doom were simply guilty of making an honest mistake, it is clear that they are uncontaminated with the slightest notion of how the game in this country operates. The Old Firm may be dead, but the OF prism is still being peered through by Stuart Regan, Neil Doncaster and the vast majority of print journalists. The latter who failed to honour that age-old football/press symbiosis because they believed, erroneously that David Murray’s dinner table was the hand that has fed them for over a century.

The irony is that as job opportunities diminish in the print sector, so too will the fine dining and patronage. I think they call that evolution.

 

Two years ago, in the wake of the fans’ season ticket revolt which saw the new Rangers forced to apply for membership of the league and begin at the bottom, those same MSM hacks taunted fans about putting their money where their mouths were. The fans responded splendidly as our statistics demonstrate, but typically there has been no recognition of this either at Hampden or in the media.

And the message from those fans is this: Scottish football is not dying. Not any more. At least not as surely as it was when David Murray started to choke the life out of it in the late 80s. The supporters are returning in numbers to see a competition untainted by the outrageous liberty-taking and rule-breaking of the last couple of decades, and all but one club has emerged from the mire of the Moonbeam Millennium looking forward to a new era.

If authorities allow the new era to thrive by restoring sporting integrity to the agenda, then the numbers, like the opportunities available to more and more clubs, will grow. The question is … will they?

Admittedly, these figures, like any set of statistics, can be cherry-picked to suit almost any argument that you care to construct. The fact remains though, that whilst it would be fanciful and ridiculously over-optimistic to claim that they bear witness to a burgeoning industry, it is utterly dishonest to conclude that they represent financial Armageddon. Armageddon? Aye right!

* Source ESPN          

About the author

Big Pink administrator

Big Pink is John Cole; a former schoolteacher based in the West of Scotland, He is also a print and broadcast journalist who is engaged in the running of SFM . Former gigs include Newstalk 106, the Celtic View, and Channel67. A Celtic fan, he is also the voice of our podcast initiative.

2,810 Comments so far

AuldheidPosted on6:42 pm - May 11, 2014


After years if weaning on the morsels that dropped from the Celtic/Rangers table our game has to form a vision of a different kind of future.

Just having spent an excellent full match day experience at Celtic Park today, and whilst realising other clubs cannot emulate the scale, the sheer sense of community was very evident and I hope it is the sense of community and what clubs bring to their own, that forms the platform on which the game is played in future.

Looking around a full Celtic Park in full flow I was hoping that Dundee Utd and St Johnstone will enjoy that same spirit of enjoyment and taking part in something worthwhile when they meet in the SC Final.

If they do, win or lose they will have a ball.

Scottish Football should be a great day out, not a my da is bigger than your da contest.

View Comment

upthehoopsPosted on7:46 pm - May 11, 2014


Auldheid says:
May 11, 2014 at 6:42 pm
======================
Agree with all you say Auldheid. The matchday experience at Celtic Park today was excellent. Everyone really enjoyed themselves, despite the media telling us constantly we are just liars when we say we don’t miss Rangers.

The stadium and the massively improved surrounding area will be a fitting venue for the Cup Final next week. I hope all who attend have a great day and enjoy the atmosphere. I can’t help thinking St Johnstone will win. 3-2 is my forecast. Apologies to the Arabs on here – it’s only a guess!

View Comment

BarcabhoyPosted on8:41 pm - May 11, 2014


Ryan Gosling,

You are merely repeating the points you have made previously, at the same time as distorting the points I made. You also provided no relevant examples of Scottish clubs or Scottish business’ behaving as Murray has done. How on earth you think Enron or De Vere are relevant to Scottish football is beyond me.

You were the one who sidetracked a criticism of Murray’s role in Scottish Football and Scotland, by widening the discussion to “worldwide” organisations, and even then you failed to provide anywhere close to relevant examples. A relevent example would be a single individual who controlled a business which acted in the same way as Murray. Your response clearly shows that you know of no such comparative . You then distort my request in the following way

Point 1
Murray guilty of tax evasion in the DOS

Your response Bernie Ecclestone and Enron

2 MIH underfund staff pension plans by 50%

Your response . Lots of companies plus the UK plus Enron !

Now given Murray stated in MIH’s accounts that the activities of MIH were coming to an end and MIH have admitted they cannot fulfill their committments, are you suggesting the UK will default or are you really comparing companies in the FTSE who continue to trade and have a committment to meet their obligations with Murray !!

3 MIH have hundreds of £millions of loans written off in return for utterly worthless shares

Your response so did an English Hotel Group

4 sell company assets to Chairman / CEO for vastly under book value / original price paid

Your response is you can’t find an example , but you highly doubt that Murray is the only example

5 destroy a Scottish sporting institution.

Your response is to compare Gretna to Rangers , and play to the gallery by playing the small club card. In addition in case you haven’t noticed Hearts and Dunfemline haven’t been killed off. So no valid comparison there either

6 where CEO/ Chairman take a £6 million EBT loan
Your response is 5,000 companies used EBT’s

So what. I asked for an example of where an owner paid himself £6 million via an EBT whils failing to meet his employees pension entitlements.

If behaviour like Murrays was as commonplace in ALL aspects as you made out, then it should have been easy to demonstrate. You failed to do so, which is surprising given you raised the issue , not anyone else.

I cannot be any clearer, in my view you are attempting to minimise criticism of Murray. Why on earth you would want to do that is a matter for you. However if he was the individual who killed my club, i wouldn’t waste a second trying to defend him.
What won’t happen, unless TSFM determines the subject isn’t fit to debate on here, is that I and others will not stop calling Murray out for his disgraceful behaviour. You of course are free to suggest to the blog that “everyone in business ” was at it, as you did in your original response. Those of us in business, who have never defaulted on anything ever, will retain the right to be offended by that generalisation.

View Comment

valentinesclownPosted on8:43 pm - May 11, 2014


The term Armageddon was touted to imply that one team was simply the best, better than all the rest.(kinda sounds familiar) and this may have been believed in the corridors of power in our game. Really that is how simple it is to those who run our game and to a big extent our sport media. IMO they never believed that Scottish football was going to die. It was scare/threat tactics from the shameful SFA .to make us all think we needed a big fabric of society club from Govan who are looked after and protected from sources within Hampden. Well done to all fans who could see through this and who have simply supported their clubs as fans should. I have enjoyed this season and it has still not came to an end yet. I here approx 50,000 tickets sold for cup final well done to fans of both clubs. Do we miss the Ibrox club which is going through liquidation? Me, no I do not. IMO the game of football has changed, but it has changed for the better as that old feeling concerning paranoia has diminished and it seems to be a far fairer playing field than it ever has been. In fact this year our football has been really enjoyable and long may it continue. Those who spouted Armageddon have no place in our game, they are not our future,

View Comment

yourhavingalaughPosted on9:06 pm - May 11, 2014


Excellent piece BP
Not only are the so called sports reporters of today guilty of taking the pieces of eight ,they are all now queuing up for their last big pay day redundancy checks ,a blow torch would not mark these guys necks,they have collectively destroyed what their journeymen of the past built and what we loved about reading the way the reports captured each game ,Jock Stein knew what he was up against and how to capture the back page on a Friday,when Archie MacPherson wrote the book about Big Jock ,he knew he was priveledged ,not because Jock Stein thought he was something ,the opposite,and Archie captured that,most of us will have seen the highly embarrasing You Tube footage of Chick Young in the Tunnel being ridiculed by Walter Smith and co and he keeps comming back for more,the man is a constant embarrasment to his family,as for the rest ,no modern day manager would give these guys the time of day never mind to write a book ,Spiers came close to being a decent reporter and was even given more chances than most but he just cannot help himself ,Alan Davidson [RIP] was about the last of which you could have called a sports reporter ,the end of another era happened this week with the last monthly meeting of the Referee’s Association[they have seemingly disbanded the association] at the University,if this was covered I must have missed it ,did anyone else read about this,this present day lot of reporters have no shame.

View Comment

upthehoopsPosted on9:17 pm - May 11, 2014


Barcabhoy says:
May 11, 2014 at 8:41 pm
=============================
I have never believed in the honours system, no matter who gets awarded them. The fact David Murray received and retains a Knighthood, is only one of many reasons that show the system up for the establishment love-in that it is in my opinion.

View Comment

BarcabhoyPosted on9:26 pm - May 11, 2014


Hamemadesoup

I hear you , but not my speciality.

From the last blog.

Wottpi you asked for people to stop “ryan baiting” . I have no idea if you are referring to me, however the discussion between Ryan and I started when i quoted in full the Herald article on MIH failure to meet pension obligations. I was highly critical of Murrays actions, as I have been on many occasions on here.

A number of posters responded in general agreement, nobody mentioned Ryan. There was then a respnse from Ryan , and I quote ” I’m not defending Murray, however I don’t think he was doing anything out of the ordinary. Almost everybody pre 2008 was borrowing excessive amounts of money and claiming huge profits and wages”

I disagree with that at every level. Do you propose Ryan’s comments go unanswered ?

View Comment

ptd1978Posted on9:47 pm - May 11, 2014


Good article!!

As an Aberdeen fan I think that Motherwell should be congratulated. As a club they are run extremely well, continually finding excellent players and excellent managers on a shoestring budget. It’s not Motherwell’s fault that they needed the ref to win and if things were the other way round I’d have taken the result.
That said. Today saw one of the biggest howlers from a whistler in Scottish football. In terms of the money available versus the turnover of the clubs involved. It was a decision that will impact contracts next season at both clubs.
The podcasts got it spot on. The SFA need to alter the structure of refereeing. If I made a mistake that cost a client a tenth of the money Aberdeen just got screwed out of, I’d be fired and unhirable (too far down the chain for a knighthood instead). Today might not be reason to give him his jotters, but he deserves to be on probation for a while. Refs who make constantly bad decisions should be gotten rid of and should be subject to fair criticism from managers.The only way that can happen is if the SFA become a monitoring body for them and don’t run them. There is a clear conflict of interest whenever any ref makes a mistake. As a result refereeing in Scotland is probably the closest job you can have to running a bank. Your clients aren’t allowed to complain when you loose them money and when you screw up, the governing body inevitably backs you no matter how obvious or egregious your bad decision was.

View Comment

johnnymancPosted on10:03 pm - May 11, 2014


Much of the discussion on here relates to a certain football team and what their position is in Scottish Football and therefore whether or not they are worthy of any special treatment from their fellow clubs, the authorities (football and in general) and our ‘chums’ in the media.

Much of the angst surrounding said team is based on their alleged position as ‘a Scottish institution’, the ‘dominant force’, the ‘most successful club’ or simply ‘the people’.

So let’s look at some simple facts, i.e. championships won in each decade.
Now, as much of this blog and it’s forerunner RTC is based on the premise that the titles won in the 90s were the result of cheating as proven in the LNS case (10 out of 11 ‘guilty’ verdicts despite the joke conclusions i.e.The Bryson Ruling and No Sporting Advantage), I have removed them from the following table. It makes very interesting reading.

Decade Titles won by ‘Other’ Teams Titles won by Rangers
2000s 6 4
1980s 7 3
1970s 7 3
1960s 7 3
1950s 6 4

It is worth noting that ‘others’ doesn’t just mean Celtic, clearly the New Firm were prominent in the 80s but many on here might not realise that in the early 60s Dundee and Kilmarnock won the league, in the 50s Hearts and Hibs each won 2 apiece.

In the pre-war days there is no doubt that Rangers were the dominant force by a long way, 14 of 19 titles in the 20s and 30s.

So basically what this whole mess is about is that some people want things to go back to the way they were before WWII! That sums up the ridiculousness of the shenanigans surrounding the Ibrox club, All their absurd overspending is to maintain an illusion that hasn’t been reality since The General Strike and the days when Chamberlain was bringing peace to Europe 🙄

Sunderland and Sheffield Wednesday were among the dominant forces in the 20s and 30s in England! Times change, dominant organisations lose their power and everyone deals with it unless they are stuck in the past.

View Comment

BarcabhoyPosted on10:12 pm - May 11, 2014


BP

Interesting article, and good to have some facts put into circulation. I can’t help but think your analysis may well support the notion that there would be demand for a larger league set up.

I know that there is no appetite to revisit league reconstruction, however it seems to me that given that the top league prospered without the inclusion of some of our best supported clubs , then a league of 16 or 18 could well be a big draw.

Listening to Turnbull Hutton, it is obvious how important Cup competition is to many of our clubs. Raith Rovers, St Mirren, Kilmarnock , QOS , Aberdeen and either Dundee Utd or St Johnstone have all enjoyed the exhilaration of winning a trophy, which is not an every season occurrence for their clubs .

It should be possible to construct a competitive landscape that provides the requisite number of home games, and variety of opposition and competition.

However probably not under our present leadership

View Comment

occamPosted on10:29 pm - May 11, 2014


There were 500 million in the (super kingsize) bed and SDM said ‘roll over, roll over’
And they all rolled over and EBTs got paid and the hacks ate lamb …..
There were still 500 million in the bed and CW said ‘roll over, roll over’
And they all rolled over and no-one got paid and the hacks ate lamb and …..
Along came CG and he too said ‘roll over, roll over’
And he got paid and the spivs got paid and 400 million fell out
And the hacks played along and ….. they all fell out (with each other…..)
And the ……..

Great article BP.

In all that has happened and with all the attempts at obfuscation, lets keep a clear focus on those whose complicity continues to shame – THE HACKS, OFFICIALDOM, SEVCO, WATP

View Comment

bluPosted on11:16 pm - May 11, 2014


Big Pink, nice to see some evidence-based observations on Scottish football, you”d think msm space fillers could try it from time to time?

Ryan, I’m a supporter of yours but I’d ask you to re-read Barca’s Murray polemics – the facts are all there on what the Thatcher acolyte did to poison Scottish football, especially damaging your club. Barca is playing the ball and not the man.

View Comment

CampbellsmoneyPosted on11:36 pm - May 11, 2014


Well done BP. What will also be interesting and relevant is the financial performance. Unfortunately, that info won’t be available for a while.

View Comment

John ClarkPosted on11:42 pm - May 11, 2014


Barcabhoy says:
May 11, 2014 at 10:12 pm
‘….It should be possible to construct a competitive landscape that provides the requisite number of home games, and variety of opposition and competition.
However probably not under our present leadership…’
—————-
The most significant point in BP’s very informative post, I think, is that Scottish Football has been shown to be big enough, resilient enough, dynamic enough to survive in spite of
– the death of one senior club
– the frankly scandalously discreditable behaviour of the Football Authorities in attempting to lie, cheat and steal in order to prevent that death and maintain the myth of an ethereal continuity
– the destructive ‘talking down’ by the SMSM generally of what has been a successful season or two AND the simultaneous minimising of the appalling damage done by SDM
– the fundamental unwillingness of the SMSM to ask hard questions of the Football Authorities to get them to come clean
As an association (essentially) of businessmen, our club owners and Boards must now recognise two facts:
-that the way Scottish Football was run for a goodly number of years was inimical to each and every one of them and inimical to the very idea of sporting competition
-and that the way the Football Authorities dealt with an instance of cheating on an unprecedented scale fell calamitously short of what was required to cleanse the game and restore trust in the ‘leadership’.
A serious re-think of the position of certain personnel in football governance , and a re-assertment of the primacy of the SFA membership as a whole against their current office- holders and Boards is required.
Our clubs are savvy enough to know that their bread and butter is at risk if they do not bend every effort to ensure that the governance of their ‘industry’ is in the hands of men of integrity and honour.
Many of us feel that it has not been, and is not now.
A significant re-structuring is needed before we can begin to accept that anything the Football authorities now come up with is not expressly designed to protect and give advantage to the same club that they spent all their energies trying to save.

View Comment

Resin_lab_dogPosted on11:44 pm - May 11, 2014


wottpi says:
May 11, 2014 at 7:46 pm

21

18

Rate This

Can we take the wider SDM argument elsewhere?
His effect on Scottish football through recklessly chasing the dream is what we should be discussing.
(And most folks on here including Ryan, already acknowledge the damage)
MIH pension holders etc , while deserving our concern, is not what this forum is about.
Happy to agree that the SFA should have him booted out for all time but the rest of the damage to society and socio political economics arguments belong elsewhere.
‘Ryan baiting’ on matters that go beyond football just adds to the lads argument of why so few Rangers fans, decent or otherwise, don’t engage with this forum.

_____________________________________________

When it comes to winning friends and influencing people, I think Ryan is doing a great job of detoxifying the Ibrox brand.
And boy does it need it!
Strength to your arm pal, and if there were only more like ye, you wouldn’t be in this mess!

View Comment

Resin_lab_dogPosted on12:06 am - May 12, 2014


Campbellsmoney says:
May 11, 2014 at 11:36 pm

1

0

Rate This

Well done BP. What will also be interesting and relevant is the financial performance. Unfortunately, that info won’t be available for a while.

_____________________________________________________

With genuine respect, I couldn’t disagree more about the financial performance. Who cares????
Financial performance is a red herring and we are suckers if we get caught up in such things.
Its the competeition, the fan experience, accessibility (and I don’t mean disabled access – I mean affordibility to family groups!) and – implicit in this – sustainability – that counts.
As long as there are kids willing to pull on a jersey and play out of their skins for free (and there always will be!), football finance is a red herring.
Its a sport.
Money is involved.
It is important.
When we let it take over and drive things, we surrender the very nature of what it is about.
I’d rather my club spent £20 and banked 50p than spent £20million and lost £500K.
So Take your financial performance figures and go discuss with Laxeys.
The only time money matters in football is when your club runs out of it, or when you can no longer afford a ticket to the game. And I have enormous respect for and patience with the Turnbull Huttons, Roy MacGregors and Kenny Camerons of the world who walk the tightrope week in and week out and keep this from happening.
We finished 5th this season.
I enjoyed a cup final that we lost.
Doran is a turnjing into a proper handful.
It was a quality season.
I spent priceless quality time with my son. And enjoyed pub talk with my friends.
Result.

View Comment

ianagainPosted on12:17 am - May 12, 2014


BP

Suggest these figures be sent to SFA SPFL marketing honchos every minute to remind them of the product they fail to sell. Along with a wee missive asking hem what the actually did today. The may actually get their finger out.

View Comment

briggsbhoyPosted on12:17 am - May 12, 2014


Resin…. Quality time with a son or daughter is what its all about, a shared passion.

Re the Barca and Ryan ping pong I don’t disagree with anything tha Barca has said really and Ryan should find it difficult to avoid the facts, Murray is a Spiv. That said I would maybe question the tone of the argument from Barca, there is a lot of attitude in there. That’s my take on it.

View Comment

TSFMPosted on12:32 am - May 12, 2014


Guys, tone is not usually a question for the mods, usually because often a tone is inferred in error. Phrases like “pest control” however are very much the business of the mods.
What we have had tonight is a fairly heated exchange between two posters which has been conducted without insult. My own view is that Ryan and Barca are not so far apart. Apart from tone that is 🙂

View Comment

Resin_lab_dogPosted on1:09 am - May 12, 2014


TSFM says:
May 12, 2014 at 12:32 am

1

0

Rate This

________________________________________

I think this is a fair fight.
I think Barca is fighting hard but fair and struggle to disagree with him.
I don’t think he was being pejorative.
Maybe the pitch is stacked aginst Ryan (insofar that there are more Celtic sympathisers than TRFC sympathisers on the blog) but in and ideal world the ‘crowd’ shouldn’t influence the referee! (This is not an ideal world)
Murray was an odious influence, but if I was a good and honest Ibrox fan, I’d know that enough of my history goes down with him, that I’d have to try put in a solid rear guard. I’d be defending the indefensible. Heart over brain.
And sometimes a good verbal ‘slug out’ on equal turf followed by handshakes all round is the best way to sort these things out.
However, if I was a good but wise Ibrox fan, I’d be far more concerned with my future (where SDM plays no part) than my history.
And I’d put Ryan solidly into that latter category. And that is why I can’t help but wish him well.

View Comment

The GlenPosted on1:19 am - May 12, 2014


Regarding increased attendances, Easter Road had 2 new first time visitors yesterday (for me it was the first time in with the home support, anyway), as my son decided he wants to be a Hibs fan.

Fair play to him as it’s his local team, although I can honestly say I’d rather have been cutting the back green.

If he decides he wants to go every week then I’ll take him. I want him to support a team because he wants to, not because it’s his dads team.

Anyway, it’s been some time since I’d been at a proper Senior league game and I forgot what it’s like to be so passionate about your team that all reality goes out the window.

It would seem from some of the folk that we were sitting beside that Hibs only lost because the ref was a Jambo.

From my seat it looked like they lost because they were rank rotten. And have been all season, apparently.

I remember when I was my sons age, leaving Ibrox and the only thing that was on my mind was if Celtic had a worse result than the one I’d just witnessed.

That’s part of the reason I gave up going a few years later.

I don’t have any particular point, just that it all came back to me yesterday and I realised that the world of a committed football fan is a complicated place.

View Comment

StevieBCPosted on1:48 am - May 12, 2014


Excellent piece BP – well written, balanced, and thought provoking. It deserves a wider readership: e.g. do you plan to share with clubs – and/or submit to a ‘quality’ paper ? [Well you never know 😉 ]

And what, IMO, is also significant is that Armageddon didn’t happen over the last 2 years – and despite the lingering fallout from the financial crisis. I would expect that the average person in the street would have guessed that attendances would have fallen over the last 2 years [excl. CFC/TRFC].

And the SFA/SPFL must be ‘painfully’ aware of these numbers. How dare Scottish football fans support ‘the product’ – even though Regan had declared Armageddon !! You would think at some point the SFA/SPFL would apologise for their doom-mongering and talking down of the game.
…but they have no shame at Hampden.

Nice one BP – you deserve a mug. 😀

View Comment

DonegaltimPosted on3:12 am - May 12, 2014


BP, An excellent article and enjoyable read and if I was Reagan or Doncaster, I would put my coat on, lock the office and leave the keys with the receptionist as there shouldn’t be any reason to return. The incompetence from these shysters has been extremely embarrassing for all folk involved with Scottish football.

The aspects of this carry on that I have problems with was the behaviour of ALL other premier league clubs. From memory, I don’t think there was any club who emerged stain free. Mr Thompson from Dundee Utd could maybe be excused but him and his club had an ongoing dispute both financially and verbally with the dead club.

The blame for this fiasco undoubtedly rests with the authorities but with my club hedging its bets, it didn’t sit comfortably on my shoulders. Mr Lawwell, being the face of my club and doing an excellent job under trying circumstances, would have rose in my estimation if he would’ve led the pack with the TRUTH. Rangers were liquidated through nobody’s fault but their own and would have to suffer the consequences, as would any other team in their circumstances.

View Comment

FisianiPosted on3:17 am - May 12, 2014


With The World Cup coming up soon and the Glasgow Commonwealth games soon after that will surely stimulate interest in sport I would love to see some club next season offering free admission to children with a paying adult. This was effectively how I became a fan.Every two weeks for 6 years 66-72 till I got too big I was lifted over the turnstiles by my father and we stood on the terraces with a halftime bovril on a really cold day. Getting kids hooked on attending their local club should be the aim of any team that wants a fan base for the future.
2014 10,000 paying fans @$20 and 3,000 children @$0 becomes 13,000 paying fans and 3,500 children in just 6 years.

View Comment

sannoffymesssoitizzPosted on6:23 am - May 12, 2014


ratethisthenyabampots says: May 11, 2014 at 1:18 am
‘.Whilst these playoffs are what we have all been crying out for, man alive they are flawed.’
——-
John Clark says: May 11, 2014 at 1:55 am
” I agree. And I think, to be fair, most of us feel that there ought to be a more equitable, realistic and workable arrangement. …… In the Scottish footballing world, however, the very concept of sporting fairness let alone any practical expression of the sporting ideal, was abandoned a couple of seasons ago.
One cannot now imagine that they will even understand your complaint, let alone act upon it.”

John (EDIT ON RE-POST- and subsequent posters on this topic on Podcast #4),

The SPFL Board are aware of a fairer play-off format! 😕

Here’s the play-off format details on the SPFL website – http://spfl.co.uk/play-offs/ 😳

So for promotion from the lower divisions the team finishing second bottom of the higher division plays the team finishing 4th from top of the division below in one semi-final. Whilst 2nd play 3rd in the other semi-final. From yesterday’s results the team from the higher division all won their games against teams placed 4th, (eventually) 😀

Surprise, surprise there’s a different format for promotion to the SPFL Premiership. 😯

Big Pink, did you ask Turnbull Hutton why the 30 clubs in the 3 lower divisions of the SPFL accepted this when the SPL took over the SFL.

As we know there’s little chance of anyone in the SMSM getting Neil Doncaster to explain the sporting integrity of the current arrangements, and I doubt he’d be willing to acknowledge the unfairness of the current arrangements. But this should not stop TSFM and each of us from asking him to do so. 😎

View Comment

wildwoodPosted on6:37 am - May 12, 2014


Fisiani says:
May 12, 2014 at 3:17 am

I know a few clubs have this built into their season ticket offering. Motherwell have the ‘wellevate’ scheme based on that exact premise of replicating kids being lifted over the turnstiles being the ones that stay for life. In one of the stands you get two kids season tickets free with an adult purchase

I believe there are logistical problems with offering the same deal to pay at the gate customers – but that would be a welcome extension if overcome

View Comment

sannoffymesssoitizzPosted on6:54 am - May 12, 2014


Big Pink,

Great article worthy of wider circulation.

It reminded me of a caller to SSB and OTB going by the name of “John from Linwood” who purported to be a Celtic supporter on Saturday afternoon / preevening. 😀

His was the first call to SSB and to save your eyes from bleeding and me having to type his un/misinformed views you can listen to these and the panel’s response here ( :slamb: and ear bleed ALERT ❗ 🙄 ) http://www.clyde1.com/on-air/superscoreboard/superscoreboard-podcast/

When he called the Saturday preevening OTB with the same points he was rather taken aback when both Tam Cowan and Stuart Cosgrove vehemently argued that there was evidence to show that his opinions did not reflect the facts which you’ve clearly set out in your well researched and set out article. You can listen to his call (from 44.40 onwards) here http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04367kf.

If any of you know “John from Linwood” please send him a link to TSFM ❗

View Comment

upthehoopsPosted on7:21 am - May 12, 2014


sannoffymesssoitizz says:
May 12, 2014 at 6:54 am
============================
The caller ‘John from Linwood’ frequently phones Radio Clyde and speaks negatively about Celtic, while wishing for a hasty ‘return’ to the top league for Rangers. We will never know if he really is a Celtic fan or not. The panel are generally very agreeable with him. Radio Clyde ignore facts so often in their analysis it is embarrassing, and it has to be a deliberate policy.

View Comment

sannoffymesssoitizzPosted on7:35 am - May 12, 2014


upthehoops says: May 12, 2014 at 7:21 am

I wonder if there is a clue to his identity in “John from Linwood” asking to speak to “..my mate Derek?” 😉

View Comment

Danish PastryPosted on8:06 am - May 12, 2014


sannoffymesssoitizz says:
May 12, 2014 at 6:54 am
2 0 Rate This

… It reminded me of a caller to SSB and OTB going by the name of “John from Linwood” who purported to be a Celtic support.
———-

John from Linwood is, if nothing else, consistent! 😆

He’s been at it for two years now, same mantra. “Aye, whit it is lads … see … ah canna wait till Rangers ur back. See, ma team Celtic is sufferin’.” He strikes me as a very unusual Celtic fan, although, there probably are those on both sides of that Glasgow divide who still think that the Sun, planets and most of the known universe still revolve around the OF.

I was also a bit taken aback by Stuart and Tam’s reaction, but I’m used to hearing John’s weekly homage to the only two teams that count for anything on Clyde. As you say, he’s certainly bigged up on there.

Good for the odd couple of Scottish football telling it like it is.

View Comment

spanishceltPosted on8:56 am - May 12, 2014


Fisiani says:

May 12, 2014 at 3:17 am

With The World Cup coming up soon and the Glasgow Commonwealth games soon after that will surely stimulate interest in sport I would love to see some club next season offering free admission.

10,000 paying fans @$20 and 3,000 children @$0 becomes 13,000 paying fans.
////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
Sevco beat you to that idea for the last couple of years! 😀

View Comment

ecobhoyPosted on9:21 am - May 12, 2014


@ BP

What an informative, well written and thought-provoking piece.

We all make ‘mistakes’ and sometimes they are innocent or accidental and sometimes calculated. The fallible man of integrity who has made a mistake that could have enormous ramifications for others does the honourable thing and aplogises when his mistake becomes obvious.

The calculating dishonest man cannot afford to apologise because he would be unable to satisfactorily explain how he made such an obviously partial judgement.

So he and his fellow conspirators – for that’s what they are – hunker down, say nothing, hope it all goes away and pray that a further insolvency event doesn’t befall the Chosen One.

However any football fan with more than one brain cell knows what they did and it will never ever be forgotten or forgiven and their continuing silence cannout hide their guilt.

The value of this type of analysis by BP provides further resolve for fans who want a moral sea-change in the administration of our game and further shames and exposes the cowardice of a lickspittle SMSM.

View Comment

CampbellsmoneyPosted on9:27 am - May 12, 2014


Resin_Lab_Dog

I wish I could agree with you. Financial performance is important – not in the sense that making a larger profit is more important than quality of performance on the pitch but in the sense that without a sound financial footing, there may be nothing to worry about on the pitch at all.

What BP has shown us is that warnings about Armageddon (to the extent that they were based on falling gates) were wrong. However I always took Armageddon to mean more than just attendances – it was about the effect that the lack of a Rangers (i) in football at all (as if that was ever likely to be allowed); and (ii) in the top division; would have on the other teams. Armageddon was accompanied with dire warnings about clubs going out of business as a result.

When I say that financial performance is important I mean that when we can analyse the turnover and profits of the teams in due course, I hope that the numbers show that our teams are at least no worse off than previously. To my mind that would prove objectively that Doomcaster and the rest were wrong. Increased gate money does not necessarily equate to increased turnover or profitability (although it clearly helps both) as there are other issues – like the size of the prize money pot etc that come into play.

My feeling is that by and large most teams will be better off (on a like for like basis) compared to where they were before Rangers went into administration and then liquidation. I hope the numbers show that.

P.S. I watched ICT on the highlights last night – thoroughly enjoyed it. What splendid role-models ICT and St Johnstone are proving to be for the rest of us.

View Comment

Para HandyPosted on9:31 am - May 12, 2014


Fisiani says:
May 12, 2014 at 3:17 am
12 0 Rate This

With The World Cup coming up soon and the Glasgow Commonwealth games soon after that will surely stimulate interest in sport I would love to see some club next season offering free admission to children with a paying adult.
—————————-
Already been done, since 2006 (I think), Partick Thistle have allowed all those under the age of 16, home or away, free entry to all matches. They do not need to be accompanied by an adult and it is not season ticket dependent.

They have also introduced a family section where the use of inappropriate language is “policed” by what has always been a reasonable stewarding team (indeed, the head steward posts under his own name on the main Thistle fans’ forum and is very quick to address problems with stewarding) and a singing section which has helped the atmosphere.

The main controversy at Firhill this season was when the singing section was moved for two matches due to one team’s fans being seen as so likely to let off pyrotechnics, it was not deemed safe to house them in the wooden main stand…

View Comment

Matty RothPosted on9:33 am - May 12, 2014


A fantastic piece BP and some interesting comments from others.

At the very least there should be a public statement from Regan and Doncaster reflecting on this. A recognition that they got it badly wrong, an apology and a full explanation of why they said what they did and what evidence led them to make those statements and take that stance.

Until they do so, they will have zero credibility in any fans eyes.

But of course Ecobhoy makes a very good point above and I think he’s probably correct, there won’t ever be an explanation because there is no justifiable reason for their behaviour and there never was.

View Comment

AuldheidPosted on10:07 am - May 12, 2014


Donegal Tim

When the history of the post collapse of Rangers is written there will be different a number of factors to consider and the role of a number of different groups to examine.

The structure already exists in Downfall by Phil Mac Giolla Bhain which is the history up to the collapse.

The obvious parties are TRFC/ TRIFC, SFA, SPL/ SPFL, The Clubs, Supporters, The Judiciary, possibly HMRC and last but not least The Scottish Media (which could be a book in its own).

There will be a number of factors too but one I wish to mention comes from your point about Celtic hedging their bets and staying silent.

Now for a club who could argue more than any other as Rangers main competitors, to have been the biggest losers, a factor to be examined is why is this so?

Why was it even a judgement call to stay silent or operate under the radar rather than a no brainer to state their case?

Was it learned behaviour after years of unfair treatment from some of the aforementioned parties?

Would stating their case have created light or heat when you look at the parties and self interest lined up against Celtic?

The debate should not be should Celtic have been more outspoken, and what difference that might have made but why a debate even existed in the first place in what purports to be a civil and fair society?

I look forward to the chapter covering this aspect when the post collapse book is written, for it will be a sign of progress towards that more civil society that will benefit all communities within it.

View Comment

AllyjamboPosted on10:26 am - May 12, 2014


Excellent piece, BP. But I’ll tell you the answer to ‘what Armageddon?’. RFC had an Armageddon, and is dead. The Old Firm had an Armageddon, and is dead. The people who head the SFA and SPFL (SPL) fear their own Armageddon, and, by their actions and inactions, deserve to suffer it.

As for your well put together figures, does anybody really believe Regan and the rest want to see them? These people don’t like to be proven wrong, even when that would be a good thing, even for them. For it would shake their own self belief and show them, and the world, that they aint half as smart as they think they are! So they’d rather continue in the false belief that every football fan is thick (at least compared to them) and that only they know what’s best for Scottish football. They are convinced that they are right, always right, and that if things don’t work out as they see it then it’s never because they were wrong, merely that everyone else was bloody stupid and stopped their plans from working. They can’t see the respect there is to be gained by saying ‘I was wrong’. Your figures, BP, prove them wrong. They won’t like that; they won’t read them!

The only way they can be right, and therefor as clever as they think they are, is for Armageddon to happen. It did, but only for a part of Scottish football. It has created a vacuum that is gradually being filled with something better than we had before. But something bad is coming, to fill the rest of the vacuum, and will once again contaminate the game from the inside, if it is allowed to.

Despite my own club’s massive problems this season I have felt a freshness about the top tier, something positive. Sadly, no one at Hampden has thought it worthwhile to pick it up and to run with it, and to use it to promote our game. They are so entrenched in their belief that Scottish football needs a Rangers, that they just won’t countenance the possibility that, not only does it not need ‘a Rangers’ it’s actually a lot better off without it!

View Comment

BarcabhoyPosted on10:34 am - May 12, 2014


briggsbhoy says:
May 12, 2014 at 12:17 am
19 4 Rate This

Resin…. Quality time with a son or daughter is what its all about, a shared passion.

Re the Barca and Ryan ping pong I don’t disagree with anything tha Barca has said really and Ryan should find it difficult to avoid the facts, Murray is a Spiv. That said I would maybe question the tone of the argument from Barca, there is a lot of attitude in there. That’s my take on it.

————-

I think thats fair comment. Attitude is unavoidable on occasion, or at least very difficult to avoid. I have in general avoided gloating about Rangers situation, I can’t remember ever posting anything of that nature. I have also posted on a number of occasions re the old club / new club , that as far as i’m concerned it’s a matter for Rangers supporters as to whether they see it as the same club or not.

I believed titles should be stripped for cheating, however I also posted that I thought that ship had sailed and would recommend letting that go in an effort to move forward. The line though is drawn for me at Murray. I believe that if Rangers supporters were confident that an enquiry which resulted in banning Murray for life from Scottish football, did not result in title stripping, then they would also be in favor of such an enquiry.

After all, toxic as he has been for Scottish football, and damaging to Scottish business, he has been nuclear for Rangers. I think it’s only the fear of further collateral damage to Rangers that stops a significant percentage of the Rangers support from demanding such an enquiry.

There are exceptions of course and these include the paid PR companies who’s job is to minimise media criticism and the legals who’s job is to deal with any potentially damaging enquiry should one be instigated. Murray would of course claim he has done nothing wrong, other than being duped. Many of us take issue with that, and I have a general concern that individuals who wreak such damage in a small country like Scotland should not be allowed to disappear quietly off to their vineyards or country estates without the appropriate punishment for their actions. I think it is shameful that politicians of all parties have run for cover over this issue. Gary Barlow was being hung out to dry by politicians within nano seconds of it being found that he had abused the tax process. We have been subject to wall to wall TV and Press coverage on this subject since it was initially reported. The Prime Minister was questioned about it on live TV this morning. Yet……

Deserved as the criticism for Barlow has been, he never at any stage received close to as much positive media coverage in Scotland as Murray. Barlow also hasn’t left behind hundreds of employees who will not receive their full pensions.

Yet….

Salmond and Lamont and Davidson haven’t said a word about Murray. Neither has Regan or Ogilvie or Doncaster

So sometimes attitude is necessary. Sometimes it’s the only way. Its just a pity none of the silent 6 in the previous paragraph have shown either an ounce of character or courage over Murray

View Comment

torrejohnbhoy(@johnbhoy1958)Posted on10:37 am - May 12, 2014


Morning all.

SSN reporting Gary Locke and Billy Brown have been “relieved of their duties”.
Craig Levein has been appointed as Director of Football.

View Comment

Galling fiverPosted on10:44 am - May 12, 2014


The figures above will no doubt be justification for further pay rises at HQ. Once reconstruction and a 16 team SPL is announced for next year. 😆 got to laugh or you’ll greet.

View Comment

ecobhoyPosted on11:05 am - May 12, 2014


Resin_lab_dog says:
May 11, 2014 at 11:44 pm

When it comes to winning friends and influencing people, I think Ryan is doing a great job of detoxifying the Ibrox brand. And boy does it need it! Strength to your arm pal, and if there were only more like ye, you wouldn’t be in this mess!
===================================
I often worry that Ryan, through no fault of his own or his beliefs, could be in danger of becoming the blog’s ‘pet’ in the eyes of some here because what he says fits with their idea of what a New Age Rangers supporter should be thinking and saying.

I don’t make that comment in any negative way because I am sure that the vast majority who fall into that description of mine believe that this is for the overall good of Scottish Football.

I also hold that position but Ryan isn’t the problem. The main problem as I see it is that Rangers is currently in the middle of a maelstrom and it’s uncertain whether it will survive the tempest. Currently there seems to be a couple of lifeboats available and a bitter slagging match between the two sets of supporters as to which is the most seaworthy.

Until that issue is settled IMO we can have no idea what the future direction of Rangers will be and perhaps that is one of the areas that will be of most interest to TSFM posters/lurkers.

I am sure that Ryan himself would be slightly uncomfortable with a responsibility of ‘detoxifying the Ibrox Brand’ and that role would indeed require a Superman.

However a lone Superman can never achieve that desirable aim on his own – he needs somewhere between 20-25,000 supporters backing him up. These supporters will never be found here on TSFM but in online Bear sites and Bear fan groups or in the wider as yet unorganised support.

That is where the evangelism is required and where the biggest dividend exists not just for Rangers but for Scottish Football. But there is no debate of the type going on but just different mouth-music being sung by both sides.

And perhaps if there were more like Ryan rangers wouldn’t be in the mess it is in but I know that when Celtic was in the run-in to financial disaster I wasn’t looking to fans of other teams to agree with what I believed should be done and that is no criticism of the role played by Ryan on here as he has as much right as I to express his opinions.

Hopefully a Superman armed with Ryan’s arguments will spread the message to the Bears although no matter which faction wins I think we could be looking at a decade before we see any cultural changes that current non-Rangers supporters would approve. I think things could get worse before they get better and one bluebird singing its sweet notes doesn’t necessarily guarantee a fruitful harvest.

This is a long and very slow process and it has got to come from within the Rangers support and that is the challenge for all ‘good’ Rangers supporters to address and bring about.

However the road to full realisation for Bears must begin with the disastrous financial regime operated at Ibrox by DM being fully exposed. There can be no excuses and and all of Murray’s business dealings – and not just Rangers – must be forensically examined.

If you want the glittering crown of Scotland’s most successful businessman and the baubles that accompany it then you have to take full responsibility when it crashes in flames leaving employees with an impaired pension.

The Journey back must start from a critical examination of Murray and not from CW supping from the posioned chalice. OK Whyte was a willing patsy but nonetheless I believe he was selected as a deflector shield with the added PR bonus of allowing the club’s history to be rewritten or more correctly to write-out/alter the role of the main character.

View Comment

No1 BobPosted on11:13 am - May 12, 2014


http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/anger-staff-ex-rangers-owner-david-3529896

News of the pension deficit at MIH has reached the news desk at The Record. On an individual level this will be devastating particularly those who are approaching retirement age. One of the staff is quoted as saying “There are a lot of very angry people here.”

I had to clean my glasses for this sentence: “And hundreds of staff are now facing an uncertain financial future as the company tries to negotiate lowering the amount it pays out to ­retirees.”

‘Retirees’ not ‘referees’ 🙄

View Comment

easyJamboPosted on11:21 am - May 12, 2014


Certainly another interesting day down Gorgie way. Seems that there is little sentiment being shown by Ann Budge.

One Management out the door and a new one coming in. Personally I’d like to thank Gary Locke for his contribution to all the Club’s activities over the last season. Probably a bit hard done by given the hand that he was dealt, but I’m sure that he will retain his dignity and find a new job before too long.

Out of contract players being released. Jamie McDonald the first to go (was voted player of the year last week). Craig Gordon to return?

View Comment

ptd1978Posted on11:22 am - May 12, 2014


You have to feel for Gary Locke. Having played his part in securing Hearts history, pride of place for him in that history is now surely secure.

View Comment

easyJamboPosted on11:25 am - May 12, 2014


Jamie Hamill, Dylan McGowan and Mark Ridgers also leaving. I also know that 6 of the ground staff (full time U17s and U18s) are being released.

View Comment

ZilchPosted on11:52 am - May 12, 2014


2p from me.

The toxicity of the Rangers brand goes way beyond even SDM and his financial shenanigans.

Virtually the entire history of the club is crippled by baggage that is not socially acceptable. It never was acceptable, and perhaps it is a measure of a maturing Scottish society that it is increasingly obvious that such attitudes of social exclusion and supremacy are no longer mutely accepted.

I am deeply saddened that there still does not appear to be any organised attempt by a significant group of Rangers fans to move on from the truly toxic past.

All I hear is about retention of their history intact (toxic as it is) and dreams (delusions) of return to a rightful place at the top etc.

The fact that the massively obvious damage that SDM did to their club (never mind the rest of Scottish football or the collection of social taxes) is effectively off limits in the discussion, strongly suggests to me that any form of future Rangers, even one that just manages to limp on into the future, is going to be a vessel for a social tradition that has no place in modern society.

How many times was it said at the time of the liquidation, that there was a historic opportunity, by starting afresh, to salvage the best parts of the Ibrox culture and to ditch those parts that made the club socially obnoxious?

It did not happen and the fears expressed by many here that the loss of moderates would leave a hardcore of deeply embittered fans came true (IMO).

We choose, as adults, which organisations we give our allegiance to. To do so blindly, or by choosing to ignore the reality of how those organisations behave, is a dereliction of social duty.

Of course things are seldom black and white, and life is full of making compromises. However we are talking about support for a football club, nothing more.

The vast majority of Scottish football fans can follow their team with a glad heart and an easy mind.

Until such time as there is a full addressing of the financial and social disorder at Ibrox, both current and historic, I fail to understand how decent Rangers fans can continue to give the organisation their support.

And I believe that increasing numbers of them are drifting away for precisely that reason.

View Comment

Danish PastryPosted on12:03 pm - May 12, 2014


easyJambo says:
May 12, 2014 at 11:21 am
6 0 Rate This

———–

Craig Levein and the old guard? Seems harsh on GL if true. Why not George Burley then? Otherwise, I would have thought the current DU blueprint would be the one to follow regarding managers who can nurture youth. Was GL not exactly that type?

View Comment

bluPosted on12:09 pm - May 12, 2014


Danish Pastry says:
May 12, 2014 at 12:03 pm
easyJambo says:
May 12, 2014 at 11:21 am

Craig Levein and the old guard? Seems harsh on GL if true. Why not George Burley then? Otherwise, I would have thought the current DU blueprint would be the one to follow regarding managers who can nurture youth. Was GL not exactly that type?
============================================================
DP, was it not Levein’s blueprint in collaboration with Stephen Thomson at Dundee United, taking the gamble on the Youth Coach rather than the First Team Coach? That’s where Gauld, Souttar etc. came from.

View Comment

ptd1978Posted on12:25 pm - May 12, 2014


Is there a requirement for a Sevco player in the Scotland squad? Four goalkeepers seems to suggest Stracham wants the usual three and wasn’t willing to drop one so he’s had to waste a spot on Bell.

View Comment

scapaflowPosted on12:25 pm - May 12, 2014


easyJambo says:
May 12, 2014 at 11:21 am

EJ having worked with, but not for Anne Budge back in the day, I can testify to her being a lovely person, I can also testify to her not allowing sentiment to play any part in her business decisions. Anne is going to do what she is going to do in pursuit of her strategy and God help anyone who gets in the way.

I don’t know what her longer terms plans are for involvement in Hearts, but, if she decides to become an activist Chairperson, then the cosy wee boys club that alternates its meetings between the SFA & the SPFL boardrooms in Hampden, will doubtless learn to look back on the days of Vlad the Mad with a feeling of nostalgia :mrgreen:

View Comment

Long Time LurkerPosted on12:38 pm - May 12, 2014


Interesting comment on the discussion of the performance of RIFC shares:
http://www.lse.co.uk/SharePrice.asp?shareprice=RFC

Today 11:24AquabooRE: 2000 season tickets sold appare..28.25No Opinion
I’d also refer you to the leaked terms of the £1.5m emergency loan. Those terms provided that the loan would be repaid the first day that season ticket income for 14/15 reached the loan amount. As there has been no notification of repayment, you would have to draw the conclusion that ticket income has not broken this figure as of yet.

Does the AIM have to be notified when the loan has been repaid? If so, then the repayment date may be a useful indicator of how well or otherwise ST sales are progressing.

Not long to go until May 16.

View Comment

Palacio67Posted on12:40 pm - May 12, 2014


SSN, Danny Lennon sacked by St Mirren.

View Comment

scapaflowPosted on12:44 pm - May 12, 2014


Long Time Lurker says:
May 12, 2014 at 12:38 pm

The person who made a comment about queues or lack thereof has a point. It would seem to be basic PR, if there are queues at the ticket office, to get some photos into the press and a few comments from fans about how they are supporting their club.

As far as i can see photos there are none, so skepticism remains the order of the day around season ticket sales.

View Comment

torrejohnbhoy(@johnbhoy1958)Posted on12:44 pm - May 12, 2014


Ryan Stevenson now gone from Hearts.

View Comment

Palacio67Posted on1:00 pm - May 12, 2014


torrejohnbhoy(@johnbhoy1958) says:
May 12, 2014 at 12:44 pm
0 0 Rate This

Ryan Stevenson now gone from Hearts.
————————————

Think he may be a cert to sign for the team from Govan. Was n’t he spotted there as Hearts were playing at Dingwall earlier in the season. He def fits the bill, young and more importantly FREE.

View Comment

berrtyPosted on1:05 pm - May 12, 2014


All credit to Anne Budge for putting her money in to help save her club but I can’t believe that she has sacked Gary Locke. He has performed far better than anyone expected at the start of the season and I doubt if anyone in Scottish Football could have done better. If the team from Govan have any sense they will ditch salary and grab Locke as soon as they can. His performance with no money and a team of kids has been exceptional and is exactly what Rangers need to try and get to a position of financial stability.

As far as Hearts go for next season, I expected them to try and keep their current side together and would have been very strong contenders for the championship title next season, now I suspect they will try and rebuild with Leven asking for cash to bring in veterans with the result that they will be mid table next year. Imho

View Comment

scapaflowPosted on1:11 pm - May 12, 2014


Statement from Anne Budge

http://www.heartsfc.co.uk/articles/20140512/ann-budge-statement_2241384_3825964

“Ann Budge today released the following statement as she outlines her vision for the future as the new owner of Heart of Midlothian FC.

It was clear from my earliest visits to Tynecastle and my earliest meetings with senior staff that the company, Heart of Midlothian plc, was, in every sense of the word, “broken”.

Article continues
Advertisement

There was no overarching strategy for how the business should be run. For far too long, there had been no clear leadership. This coupled with the sole focus on day to day survival had left the club in a sorry and perilous financial state. This led to a fundamental disconnect between the various departments and a mountain of issues to be resolved. Add to this, the under-investment in various parts of the business and the current financial position, and we have a “broken” Hearts. We must all realise that there is no quick fix for these problems.

One thing is very clear. We have come far too close to losing our very existence and we must never allow this to happen again. We must grasp this opportunity to start afresh; to put in place solid foundations that will ensure we never again risk our 140 years of history.

We must make changes. We must stop thinking short-term. We must put in place a 3-5-year plan that will see our commercial activities totally re-vamped, such that they once again provide a solid financial under-pinning to our football club; and we must also completely revitalise and re-focus the football side of our club. We have some excellent young players, who have done us proud in the last season. We owe it to them to create an environment that will help them to continue to flourish and develop. This will take time, patience and the continued loyal support of Hearts’ dedicated fan base. We will implement strategies to grow and strengthen the club. We will live within in our means to ensure that the future of the club is never again put in jeopardy.

We must ensure we have a clear footballing strategy that drives every aspect of our game; everything from who we recruit into our club, from youth academy through to first team players; how we approach coaching, at all age groups and all levels; how we undertake training… and indeed, what kind of football we play at Hearts.

There must be a totally cohesive plan that ties all aspects of our club together. Everyone must be pulling in the same direction.

Next season cannot simply be about getting back up into the SPFL. Of course, we will be striving for that, but we must take a longer-term view and build for the future. One of the key objectives of the new Board is to put in place a Coaching Education Programme that is second to none in Scottish football. Only by doing so, can we realistically attain the continual year-on-year improvement we are striving for and that will add to the value of the players and the club alike, and help to secure our future.

This means change on a fairly major scale. Not everyone will agree with all the changes being put in place, but we must address the issues at hand with our heads and not our hearts. We have made these tough decisions after much deliberation and much discussion. All we ask is that you give the new management team time and we will show we can deliver.

What are the changes?

We must put in place, first and foremost strong leadership. We need new skills, strategic thinking, and strong commercial and footballing management.

Board Level Changes

A new Board of Directors is being put in place over the next few days

• Ann Budge: Chairman/CEO

• Robert Wilson: Deputy CEO/Director of Strategic Planning

• Eric Hogg: Operations Director

• Craig Levein: Director of Football

• Ian Murray (Chair of FOH): Foundation of Hearts Representative

The Board will be expanded over time to include another non-executive Director, with a strong financial background, and a second FOH Director, to further represent the fans.

Operational Management Changes

Both Eric Hogg and myself will assume a very hands-on role in the day-to-day running of the club, supported by the existing management team.

I am delighted to say that the Operational Management Team will be expanded to include a new Head of Commercial. Ann Park will be joining the team with immediate effect. We have worked together over many years and I know she will bring lots of fresh ideas and strong sales and marketing leadership to the commercial team.

Footballing Management Changes

We know it may be an unpopular decision with some of you, but the Board has decided that we cannot offer Gary Locke a new contract as Manager, at the end of his current contract. Please believe me when I say this has been an enormously difficult decision to make. We all know the pressures that Gary and his assistant, Billy Brown, have worked under over the last year. They were set an almost impossible task, which they handled with dignity and determination. For that, we are all hugely grateful to both of them. The players and backroom/support staff at Riccarton will be sorry indeed to see them go…as, I know, will a very large section of the Hearts support. They will both leave with our very grateful thanks and best wishes.

Craig Levein will join the club with immediate effect and will assume total responsibility for everything to do with the playing side of the business. He will be responsible for putting in place an end-to-end strategy for how we are going to implement a youth-driven playing policy within the club.

John Murray will return to his former role as a chief scout. In the short-term, he will also assist with running the Academy, while we identify who should head this up. For the last year, John has taken on a wide sphere of responsibilities in support of the club he loves and for that we owe him a vote of thanks. We are pleased to be able to offer him the opportunity to go back to what he loves best; namely identifying new, young talent.

These decisions have been driven by everything that has been said about needing a long-term strategy, built over a 3-5-year planning horizon. For those reasons, the new Board believes that we need to bring in someone with Craig’s experience to guide that vision. With such a strong Director of Football on board, we feel we have to spend our limited resources on strengthening and building the Coaching side of the business, rather than having a 1st team manager. Robbie Neilson will take over as Head Coach for the 1st team and we will bring in a strong support team to work with Robbie in terms of an Assistant Coach and U20s Coach.

Over the next few days, a number of other changes will be announced as we start the process of rebuilding our great Club. We will have to say good-bye to a number of the fans’ current favourites; we will do our best to secure all our excellent young players; and we will welcome a group of new players, who will help us achieve our vision.

A number of the decisions we make over the next few days and weeks will be driven by finance. We have to ensure we live within our means. All of the decisions have been taken with a view to ensuring the future stability of our club.

On HeartsTV tomorrow, don’t miss live commentary of the Scottish FA Youth Cup Final from St Mirren, Park.”

View Comment

Palacio67Posted on1:16 pm - May 12, 2014


Robbie Neilson as Hearts Manager going around some blogs.

Sorry, just read the Hearts Statement above.

View Comment

torrejohnbhoy(@johnbhoy1958)Posted on1:23 pm - May 12, 2014


Surely the 1st thing Ms budge should have done is announce a 120 day review of the business. ❓

View Comment

Para HandyPosted on1:26 pm - May 12, 2014


scapaflow says:
May 12, 2014 at 1:11 pm
0 0 Rate This

Statement from Anne Budge
———————————–

While all the decisions may not be popular with the Hearts’ fans, compare and contrast this with the statements from the “leaders” of Scottish football and of one old Club and one new one.

I would say that Hearts (and indeed Scottish football) have someone in place who will take the right approach to the game.

Chust sublime, Dougie. Chust sublime…

View Comment

TincksPosted on1:26 pm - May 12, 2014


Whether or not Hearts fans agree with all the early decisions of Ann Budge, the tone and decicivenes of that statement sure do put the 120 day review into perspective.

View Comment

CampbellsmoneyPosted on1:31 pm - May 12, 2014


Ann Budge appears to want to run a Scottish football company as a business.

Scottish football needs more women in football.

View Comment

Danish PastryPosted on1:33 pm - May 12, 2014


blu says:
May 12, 2014 at 12:09 pm
3 0 Rate This

Danish Pastry says:
May 12, 2014 at 12:03 pm
easyJambo says:
May 12, 2014 at 11:21 am

Craig Levein and the old guard? Seems harsh on GL if true. Why not George Burley then? Otherwise, I would have thought the current DU blueprint would be the one to follow regarding managers who can nurture youth. Was GL not exactly that type?
============================================================
DP, was it not Levein’s blueprint in collaboration with Stephen Thomson at Dundee United, taking the gamble on the Youth Coach rather than the First Team Coach? That’s where Gauld, Souttar etc. came from.
———–

Yes, must have been well involved, although I wondered why his assistant, who then took over, found the prospect of doing what Jackie M. is now doing so daunting? But I am obviously speaking from a position of almost complete ignorance, since I’ve only been reading our great media :slamb:

The truth may well be another, so I’ll stop trying to opine on Hearts & DU 🙂

View Comment

easyJamboPosted on1:50 pm - May 12, 2014


It’s a bold statement of intent from Ann Budge. The scale of the changes mean that it is, in effect, a top to bottom review of the club that has been implemented today, with some real clarity on the direction the club will be taking.

I don’t agree with all the changes being made (I don’t know if anyone will), but I am content with the direction that Ann is taking the club to provide a stable long term future, and one that does not include unrealistic expectations on or off the park.

View Comment

AllyjamboPosted on1:53 pm - May 12, 2014


Sorry to see Gary Locke leave, well more saddened really. He’s done his job well and, in the end, got the result that was, not only expected – relegation, but also the one that most Hearts supporters would see as justification of his remaining – beating Hibs 4 out of 5 matches. But the reality is, that that’s not what’s required in the long term. Only time will tell how the partnership of Levein and Neilson develops, and what replacements Hearts sign, but at the very least Ann Budge has started her reign with decisiveness and hasn’t pandered to what the supporters might want. No promises, no marquee signings (yet 🙄 ), just getting her management team in place right away, and letting the players who were being released know right away so they can get on with securing a new club. The positions needed to be filled are much clearer for the management team and we can only wait to see how they go about filling the gaps.

Seems to me she is going about her new role in the correct manner, but only time will tell if her decisions are correct.

View Comment

redlichtiePosted on1:56 pm - May 12, 2014


EJ et al,

A robust start and decisive action by Ann Budge. No beating about the bush – much will be driven by the financials.

Have heard good things about her from others.

Certainly has my good wishes.

Scottish Football needs a strong Hearts.

View Comment

bluPosted on2:11 pm - May 12, 2014


Danish Pastry says:
May 12, 2014 at 1:33 pm
….. I wondered why his assistant, who then took over, found the prospect of doing what Jackie M. is now doing so daunting?
============================================================
It was hubris. No other club seems to have believed that he was as good as he thought.

View Comment

torrejohnbhoy(@johnbhoy1958)Posted on2:13 pm - May 12, 2014


Phil tweeting that there is a big meeting during the week to decide whether RIFC will go ahead with the sale of circa 43m shares.
This would buy some time as ST sales are low(below 10k)

View Comment

Danish PastryPosted on3:03 pm - May 12, 2014


torrejohnbhoy(@johnbhoy1958) says:
May 12, 2014 at 2:13 pm
3 1 Rate This

Phil tweeting that there is a big meeting during the week to decide whether RIFC will go ahead with the sale of circa 43m shares.
This would buy some time as ST sales are low(below 10k)
———–

They’ll be queuing up for those shares.

But who will buy? I suppose I could — if I woke up one morning and happened to find a large suitcase full of money under my bed; I could perhaps become an anonymous shareholder. Isn’t it kind of odd with money in suitcases? People always tend to forget where it came from. Another thing, it always seems so nicely pressed and cleaned. But they do say money carries a lot of bugs and harmful bacteria so giving it a wee wash is probably a good thing, after all, you never know where it might have been.

View Comment

StevieBCPosted on3:22 pm - May 12, 2014


Campbellsmoney says:
May 12, 2014 at 1:31 pm

Scottish football needs more women in football.
====================================
Actually, that could be very interesting Cm.

I am aware of a Leanne Dempster as a director in Scottish football, but not aware of a female owner in Scottish football ?
Would the shambles have happened over the last 2 years with a couple of women on the SFA/SFL Boards – who knows.
But I expect that Ann Budge is no shrinking violet – and when the inevitable run-in with the SFA happens it will be rather interesting to see how the SMSM portray her.

Would they do a ‘Vlad the Mad’ type characterisation – or would the churnalists stop short of being perceived to be ‘bullying’ a female club owner in their publications ?

And how would the stuffed blazers at Hampden deal with a successful, forthright woman telling them how it is – and how it should be ?! 😆

Should be fun.

View Comment

CampbellsmoneyPosted on3:27 pm - May 12, 2014


The treatment given to Karen Brady by the English press was often very patronising.

English football needs a less sexist attitude.

View Comment

BarcabhoyPosted on4:26 pm - May 12, 2014


I wonder if Ann Budge was given the comfort of a 5 way agreement which stated effectively ” no matter how much of a mess you make of this we will accommodate you”

Somehow i doubt it. In any event , as a genuine business executive and a genuine football fan, she would have taken sensible decisions regardless.

The quicker we have a root and branch change at the heart of Scottish football, removing the final connections to the toxic Murray era, the sooner we will have a chance of returning to a vibrant environment.

View Comment

indy14Posted on4:30 pm - May 12, 2014


scapaflow says:
May 12, 2014 at 1:11 pm
10 0 i
Rate This

Has she been preparing this for 120 days or wha’?

View Comment

Carl31Posted on4:34 pm - May 12, 2014


The more i think about football in general the more i think its governance is a sham.
Excuse me if im a bit negative on this. Im especially thinking of FFP rules.
Also, please excuse me if things get a bit ‘tinfoil hat’.

A while back there was a tax case between HMRC and McLaren F1 where Mclaren had cheated, been fined £30m for rulebreaking and then claimed it as deductible against tax. The judge in that case found in their favour, and against HMRC.
I havent followed up any appeal.
The judgement included the principle that it was fair enough for a commercial entity, whose business was being a sporting entity, to cheat at that sport (cheating the rules of the governing body) to gain a sporting advantage ‘in the arena’. The tax deductible ‘business activities’ included in those that make the commercial entity profitable, are those that are compliant with the administrative and governing rules and those that are not. Compliance with the law of the land, however, was a different matter.
Yes, said the judge, you can offset fines by the governing body of your sport against your tax liability. Also, it had not been demonstrated to the judge, by HMRC, that any systemic issue would arise.

How does that multi-millions MCFC or PSG fine look through this prism? IMO, the whole FFP arrangement may well be a big tax dodge.

It could be that all who run the professional game, interested in the commercial imperative, will be looking at various ways to be ‘tax efficient’. The less that ‘the game’ throughout Europe needs to pay to the relevant clubs’ tax authorities, the better.
The smart way to impose FFP, from this point of view, would be to approach the ‘offending’ clubs and ask whether X or Y amount works for them? Gauge the amount just right so as not to leave the clubs with profit to be taxed, nor to hit them too hard as a proportion of their turnover. Remembering that any funds collected would be redistributed in some way as prizemoney.
Turns out that there is indeed a degree of ‘negotiation’.

The root issue is that there are no ‘Poacher and Gamekeeper’ arrangements here. They may well be all in cahoots looking to maximise the commercial returns from the game. This could be true of Scotland, and of wider European football. Publicly, the game is portrayed as being somehow policed by the authorities – that any clubs that are trying to get away with this or that will be kept in line by hefty fines.
It seems to me far more likely that in many situations the clubs and authorities are working together.
But why would clubs and governing bodies behave in such a way? Have I truly gone all tinfoil hat para?

A while back a book came out by University of Chicago economist Steven Levitt and New York Times journalist Stephen J. Dubner.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freakonomics
One of the principles they advocated (probably the central theme) was that if there was enough of an economic incentive for something to happen and limited barriers to it happening, then it would likely find some way of happening.

IMO, its likely that the commercial imperative, especially but not limited to, the top European clubs, is driving an agenda that optimises levels of tax efficiency – because there is such an incentive for it to happen.

Overall the whole deal here is a huge turn off for me. My guess is (and from what Ive read in places) that a number of fines will be issued over the coming years, with some form of negotiations on each occasion. The picture will be painted of the governing bodies getting strict with overspending clubs. Personally, I don’t buy it.

The question is worth repeating: where does our ‘sporting integrity’ fit in the picture?

View Comment

smartie1947Posted on4:47 pm - May 12, 2014


Although it is clear that Ann Budge has been owner-elect for 2-3 months, she has certainly hit the ground running, with her mission statement and restructuring planned for Tynecastle a mere 3-4 days after taking over the reins.
Compare and contrast with Wallace’s 127 day report on TRFC shortcomings and how little it actually achieved.
Tomorrow’s msm however will be all about the Hearts players who have been released and how well they will do when Sevco comes a’calling. Budge’s blueprint for the future will be lucky to generate a couple of paragraphs.

View Comment

Leave a Reply