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

scapaflowPosted on3:56 pm - May 20, 2014


Campbellsmoney says:
May 20, 2014 at 3:33 pm

I suppose a beefed up small claims court might answer. but, whilst i would never suggest that agencies operate blacklists – folk with a reputation for being “difficilt” can find it “difficult” to get contracts.

Having said that, weekly or daily invoicing means that at worst you’ll lose out on a weeks worth of billings

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StevieBCPosted on3:56 pm - May 20, 2014


essexbeancounter says:
May 20, 2014 at 1:02 pm

GoosyGoosy says:
This begs a question that hasn`t been raised so far… =====================================================================
Goosy…I have seen, if not carried out, a few creative accounting practices in my low flying career, but have never used, let alone come across an “escrow” account for such recharging/cross charging procedures.
==============================
And therein lies the problem ?

IMO, folks on TSFM are probably decent, honest folks who have experience working for reputable organisations.

And possibly most folks – myself included – who have fairly extensive business experience just don’t have a clue about how spivs operate.
I have been perplexed many times in the RFC/TRFC drama because my only reference points – on the whole – are with proper businesses and honest people.
Whilst I am happy in my ignorance of all things spiv-like – it does though make it harder to anticipate or understand how the main characters at RIFC/TRFC will deal with events.

Some posters like GG have tried to approach things from a spiv perspective – and this usually throws up some interesting points to discuss.

But what could be ideal is a blog from a real spiv, [anonymous of course], to help us understand what the big picture is at Ibrox.
In an ideal world of course… 🙄

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ecobhoyPosted on3:59 pm - May 20, 2014


Campbellsmoney says:
May 20, 2014 at 2:51 pm
ecobhoy says:
May 20, 2014 at 1:57 pm

At the end of the day there’s no such thing as a legally binding contract as anyone can unilaterally tear-up a contract at any time. The important bit is usually whether any compensation awarded for the non-performance can be recovered and that usually means some sort of charge over assets has to be realised either through a previous fixed or floating arrangement or through a subsequent court order if their is actually anything there of value to attach.
———————————————————–
EcoBhoy
Damages for breach of contract is not the only remedy available. Specific implement/specific performance is also possible (although it will not always be appropriate, or indeed desirable, as a remedy).
======================
campbellsmoney

In my simplistic scenario I was dealing with a unilateral decision not to ‘perform’ irrespective of the reason. I am aware that damages is not the only remedy but even if specific implementation/performance is ordered by a judge it still ends up back at damages if the party breaking the contract refuses or is unable to perform.

To include the implementation/performance aspect I specifically used the term: ‘compensation awarded for the non-performance’ and perhaps you missed the significance of my phrasing.

However it is a minor part of the substantive point I was making that unless you have some sort of charge over the assets or there are assets which a court can attach – belonging to the party who tore-up the contract – then your legally binding contract is worthless in terms of obtaining compensation.

In any case specific performance is a bit like a curate’s egg and by the time a court rules on it then the time for it to have been an effective remedy is usually long gone. And of course in the admin process it creates interesting issues over favouring one creditor over another which tends to stay the court’s hand even if the funds are available to implement it – however I digress.

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toadintheholePosted on4:01 pm - May 20, 2014


Campbellsmoney says:
May 20, 2014 at 3:33 pm

What he actually meant was that the court process should be quick and free (or at least affordable to all).

Well it can never be free (unless you want your taxes to pay for it and given the continual cuts to the legal aid budget, we as a society seem to have little appetite to spen taxpayers money on lawyers) so that leaves “affordable”. If you win, you can expect to get 60-70% of your costs from the other party.

This is something I think the Construction industry does quite well to resolve disputes between contractors. If the Quantity Surveyors can’t thrash out their differences, they’ll go to an independent adjudicator, make their respective case and let them make the final call on who is right and wrong, and how much is to be paid.

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StevieBCPosted on4:06 pm - May 20, 2014


ecobhoy says:
May 20, 2014 at 3:59 pm

Campbellsmoney says:
May 20, 2014 at 2:51 pm
ecobhoy says:

======================
campbellsmoney

In my simplistic scenario I was dealing with a unilateral decision not to ‘perform’ irrespective of the reason…
=================
eb – even I know not to argue with a lawyer… 😀

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tykebhoyPosted on4:19 pm - May 20, 2014


Is Doncaster at it again. Sky and BT get to broadcast playoff games for SFA in payment terms?

http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/hamilton-accies-v-hibs-play-off-3573575?utm_content=bufferd336a&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

BTW I noticed that RTC has tweeted that he/she believes the story about BTSport being paid to broadcast Sevco games is accurate

Rangers Tax-Case ‏@rangerstaxcase May 17
I have good reason to believe that @CelticResearch revelations about SPL aid for Sevco are accurate.

https://twitter.com/rangerstaxcase

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GiovanniPosted on4:33 pm - May 20, 2014


StevieBC says:
May 20, 2014 at 3:56 pm

“But what could be ideal is a blog from a real spiv, [anonymous of course], to help us understand what the big picture is at Ibrox.”

I’m afraid I cannot help you there as you have to remember that the bigger spivs also feed off the lesser spivs as well as honest people. So one wouldn’t want to give one’s modus operandi to all and sundry. To become a “big spiv” I’d recommend an MBA or better still a law degree.

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JimBhoyPosted on4:34 pm - May 20, 2014


Armageddon: a dramatic and catastrophic conflict, especially one seen as likely to destroy the world or the human race, If you replace human race with “Ra Peepul” it could describe the rangers right now…

I have always thought the fans would determine the fate of rangers but mostly triggered by results on the park. With what we know now.. If Regan got his way and placed rangers back in the top division I reckon results might have turned a lot of fans away for not a great deal of extra money (in the greater scheme of things) for being in that top league.They would have been mid table the past 2 seasons at best, more pressure from fans to buy better players, money burn rate higher trying to compete and maybe even some big losses on the park. Those who voted agin rangers in the first 2 divisions probably did them a favour.

Sticking around in the second division for 2-3 seasons would probably suit rangers as they try to seek stability (if they survive).They should plan for that, firstly by getting a manager who can work that plan.

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Kilgore TroutPosted on4:41 pm - May 20, 2014


Jimbhoy
Good post despite the superfluous final 5 words.

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StevieBCPosted on4:51 pm - May 20, 2014


Giovanni says:
May 20, 2014 at 4:33 pm

StevieBC says:
May 20, 2014 at 3:56 pm
…To become a “big spiv” I’d recommend an MBA or better still a law degree.
============================
Ooft ! Low blow… 🙄

You aren’t the infamous ‘lawyer’ Giovanni Di Stefano, are you ?
If so, how’s the O-grade in Law coming on at Her Majesty’s pleasure ?

[Just a wee bit of teasing back at you. 😉 ]

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easyJamboPosted on5:05 pm - May 20, 2014


wottpi says: May 20, 2014 at 3:21 pm

£12m per annum seems way over the top.

Does anyone know what custom built facilities such a Lennoxtown and Hibs place down at East Lothian?
==============================
I don’t know what the running costs for Lennoxtown and East Mains are, but I do know that Hearts were paying around £300K a year for their lease on Riccarton. That sum covered a lot of the basic services including utilities, buildings maintenance, cleaning and upkeep of the pitches.

That arrangement was deemed cost effective from Hearts point of view as they avoided most of the employment costs by using the University’s own staff and it also gave them access to their Sports Science department. Hearts obviously don’t own the facilities but have priority use or designated use periods when required for the first team, U20s and Academy training and matches.

Much of the “footballing costs” of running the youth Academy (up to U17s), i.e. coaching, transport, kit etc., are actually covered by grants from the SFA. Clubs receive different levels of grants depending on the quality of their facilities and support services, e.g. Lennoxtown and Murray Park, I think, are ranked as “Elite” status with Riccarton just behind, although Hearts are actually top in some criteria, e.g. Sports Science. Hearts view is that the Youth Academy almost funds itself, between grants, donations and the shared use of services that are required in any event for the 1st team.

The main costs for Hearts are Riccarton are more related to the training facilities for the 1st team and U20 squads and support for them including their own coaching, medical, physiotherapy staff.

The new £30M government sponsored National Performance Centre is to be sited at Riccarton, therefore Hearts should again be able to benefit from top class facilities as a tenant. A full size indoor pitch is included within the planned facilities. Work is scheduled to start this summer and should be completed within two years.
http://www.sportscotland.org.uk/news/sportscotland/2013/national_performance_centre_for_sport1/

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Paulmac2Posted on5:22 pm - May 20, 2014


JimBhoy says:
May 20, 2014 at 2:45 pm
…………………..

It’s the slow beginnings of a new club…without publicising the fact….design a new strip…next…find a new stadium…next…form a club….and so on and so on…whilst avoiding the obvious…and pretending nothing has changed!

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JimBhoyPosted on5:36 pm - May 20, 2014


@Paulmac2 Been reported that 12000 bought SBs to date, I reckon that number will peak at max 20k. Many saying it is not the rangers they grew up with, well unless that came from a 2 yr old….

Regards Murray Park, I don’t think they would get more than £4m for that and it could take a while to sell, unless they do so on the cheap, quickly for a couple of mill. Sandy looking for a new bus depot?

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Para HandyPosted on5:37 pm - May 20, 2014


easyJambo says:
May 20, 2014 at 5:05 pm
3 0 Rate This

The new £30M government sponsored National Performance Centre is to be sited at Riccarton, therefore Hearts should again be able to benefit from top class facilities as a tenant. A full size indoor pitch is included within the planned facilities. Work is scheduled to start this summer and should be completed within two years.
http://www.sportscotland.org.uk/news/sportscotland/2013/national_performance_centre_for_sport1/
—————————–
Typical! First the council helps Celtic out by selling them land on the cheap and now, just as Hearts exit admin and rather than being punished with being placed in the lowest division, they are relegated into the same division as Sevco and the national government builds them a state of the art training academy.

Eco’s mates will be apoplectic…

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JimBhoyPosted on5:41 pm - May 20, 2014


@EASYJAMBO My company were located at Heriot-Watt when i first started with them and I used to play fives out there in the winter and footie on the grass in Summer. Many a good memory and a smashing complex (Student union bar and the lectern bar too) with lots of options on the land… My lass goes there this year also after her exams.

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AuldheidPosted on5:45 pm - May 20, 2014


Blu

What you are basically asking is that the SFA take on the role as guarantor to supporters an idea which before Rangers crushing of trust would have seemed preposterous.

It seems to me that no one in football has fully grasped many of the consequences or fallout from Downfall.

The major one is that many of the processes and procedures in place depend on honesty and so trust, but because of the commercial aspect there are temptations that the rules must not only deter against but actually police to ensure deterrence.

A false burglar alarm is only a deterrent as long as burglars think it is real, remove that fear and it’s open house day , until you put an honest copper on the street.- at a higher cost which football is not going to be too keen on meeting.

Expanding on the role of SFA as guarantor that role would be but one of the many services they provide to football but become accountable for providing.

Disciplinary Service
Refereeing Service
Ownership Vetting – I’ve listed them before.

The recent changes to SFA rules giving the SPFL a stronger hand is an indication that the SPFL as customer is unhappy with the service the SFA provide and that is because no agreements exist that define the services or what constitutes an acceptable service level.

It takes a bit of work to change from an unaccountable structure to a more accountable one but unless steps are taken in that direction by the club’s, we will continue to depend on a sham burglar alarm, but all the while knowing that is what it is and hoping there are no clubs willing to risk a burglary.

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Billy BoycePosted on5:56 pm - May 20, 2014


RE; the Sevco shirt saga.

Following the administration of Rangers in February 2012, the Rangers Supporters Trust brought out black & red scarves that sold like hot cakes. At the time there was talk of the scarf sales exceeding the VAT threshold, but the RST did not register with HMRC.

The new Delboy shirt retails at £32. With the current VAT threshold being £81,000 turnover per annum, it would only take sales of just over 2,500 shirts for the RST to be required to register for VAT. That being the case, £6 from each sale (20%) would go to Hector. This means only £2 from every shirt going towards the purchase of RIFC shares instead of the expected £8. With 500 black & red tops already ‘snapped up’, it won’t be too long until the VATman comes calling.

Mike Ashley might be relieved to see that his competitors are having to trade on a level playing field, but the spivs will no doubt be most unhappy that Hector will be denying them a fair slice of their RST “investment” money.

With this ‘protest’ shirt being a strictly cash in hand business operated by amateurs and volunteers, there is much scope for fraud. I know that at the height of the scarf venture several of the organisers were suspicious that certain proceeds went quietly into Fr Ted’s account. This is not the sort of behaviour that will unite all the Sevco fans in their hour of need.

The Evening News reporter in his article states: “the Rangers Supporters Trust, which already has 557,000 shares in the League One champions …”. This suggests that the RST intends buying shares in ‘the club’ with the shirt profits. Why can’t he bring himself to remind them that they will be handing over their money to individuals for shares in a non-footballing plc and that none of it will necessarily go to the League One champions?

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AuldheidPosted on6:03 pm - May 20, 2014


The TRFC Grief Progress List

Denial – over
Anger- subsiding
Bargaining – ongoing
Depression – moving in from the East.
Acceptance – still a way off.

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andygraham.66Posted on6:07 pm - May 20, 2014


Scotland today running with the SPL paid BT story

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wottpiPosted on6:32 pm - May 20, 2014


hector says:
May 20, 2014 at 5:44 pm

While the onerous contracts may have let some people further milk the club I doubt if that is the problem and Murray Park
.
As Phil has said he believes the cost/benefit of Murray Park was a non starter from day one.
General operating costs outwith the football wages have always been high even in the SDM days.
These all relate to running Ibrox and MP
There are duplication of roles that no-one has thought to sort out until now.

I think £1m a month is a ridiculous figure but given the largesse mentioned by Bill Miller’s man Jon Pritchett on his review of the books nothing is a surprise.

The fact remains that a good deal of that cost must be related to staff etc. Therefore if MP was to be sold or even mothballed where are the immediate savings to be made as redundancy payments and shelling out for alternative facilities would be required?

I suppose when needs must (if it comes to that) ‘every little helps’

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PhilMacGiollaBhainPosted on6:48 pm - May 20, 2014


Auldheid says:
May 20, 2014 at 6:03 pm
—————————————————————
The five stages of Sevco.
#KublerRoss

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easyJamboPosted on6:49 pm - May 20, 2014


andygraham.66 says: May 20, 2014 at 6:07 pm

Scotland today running with the SPL paid BT story
================================
That’s not bad for them, Just a few days behind TSFM :slamb:

http://sport.stv.tv/football/clubs/rangers/275976-spfl-pay-broadcaster-up-to-250000-per-season-to-show-rangers-games/

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AquinasPosted on7:25 pm - May 20, 2014


Thanks STV, wowser! Rangers were ‘removed’ and ‘expelled’ from the top flight!

Shocking! I’m aghast! Where is my pointy stick and flaming torch! Damn those Haters.

FFS STV, news! Anyone? Even a version based on fact would be good, please?
Hold on, did STV Tupe Over to Sevco?

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AquinasPosted on7:31 pm - May 20, 2014


Like Eco’ I don’t see any £ advantage to Sevco over payments to BT to show Sevco games, all I see is just another cost to all the other teams in Scotland to cover their demise.

Am I missing the obvious?

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ShooperbPosted on8:00 pm - May 20, 2014


Don’t know if you all saw Jim Spence’s tweet the other night, asking his followers whether they thought that this had been a good season for Scottish football? The overwhelming response was ‘yes’ – which is odd, given that we’re constantly told that Scottish football is on its knees by leading journos.

Have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed this last season. There does seem to be a bit of a feel good factor about football here at the moment, although that’s in spite of the authorities rather than because of.

Attendances in the main are up. What’s more, we have teams actively trying to play passing football again. The general standard of play now is far better than it was 10 years ago, which seems to bypass most football writers, since they can only look back to what Rangers and Celtic were up to a decade ago, and declare that standards have fallen. Outwith the OF, it used to be two teams having a ‘who can kick the ball furthest in the air’ competition. Alright, it’s not exactly tica-taca, but teams are going in the right direction, as witnessed by a very entertaining Scottish cup final.

Even the play-offs have turned out to be a master stroke, and offered far better value than that farcical ‘league and a half’ plan that should have been laughed out the room when it was proposed.

I’ve loved football this season – the Bully Wee even managed to make the play-offs after finishing 2nd bottom last season, so all I can say is more of the same please. A challenger to Celtic wouldn’t go amiss, but that will come in time. After years of being trampled underfoot, the other Premiership teams are starting to find their feet again, and it wouldn’t surprise me if next season is a closer run thing. I mean, I would still expect Celtic to triumph, but I can’t see their winning margin being quite as large next time around.

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ecobhoyPosted on8:08 pm - May 20, 2014


Aquinas says:
May 20, 2014 at 7:31 pm

Like Eco’ I don’t see any £ advantage to Sevco over payments to BT to show Sevco games, all I see is just another cost to all the other teams in Scotland to cover their demise. Am I missing the obvious?
============================================
At least I now understand – I think – the outline of the story. The old SPL TV contract had a minimum number of Old Firm Games that had to be covered and therefore when the Old Firm ceased to exist that put the main TV contract in jeopardy of being ripped-up.

I assume – and I do believe on the basis of viewing figures – that the TV company did a deal not to cancel or slash the payment on the main contract by arranging a side deal allowing coverage of Rangers in the lower leagues. As the TV company held the whip hand they also extracted a payment towards their set-up costs which would include travelling and possibly o/night accommodation at some matches.

Mounting an outside broadcast is an expensive affair especially at a venue not permanently kitted-up to handle one. So it makes good business sense for the TV company to screw what they could out of the arrangement. It also gave them the advantage of not being viewed as baddies by tearing up the main contract or slashing the payment under it which would have . So they saved money and did the best they could to maximise their viewing figures.

It could be argued that the SPL should have got a better deal and not paid so much towards the additional costs but the alternative might have been a cancelled or drastically cut TV pay-out which would have impacted badly on every single team.

Personally unless I knew the whole inside story about the TV contract negotiations then I wouldn’t be prepared to slag the SPL off. If others want to then that’s their right but we have to retain financial objectivity no matter what anyone’s personal feelings might be towards Rangers.

IMO it’s impossible as an outsider to tell whether it was a good/bad deal for the SPL – and perhaps it was the only deal on the table.

I see no suggestion that Rangers benefitted financially although if it was away matches that were filmed then I would have thought the home team would have done better but I have to confess ignorance of the TV contract details.

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upthehoopsPosted on8:19 pm - May 20, 2014


Re all the talk of Murray Park and the associated cost base. Is it too ridiculous to assume David Murray believed the bank would support Rangers way beyond their means for ever, therefore the cost base mattered not a jot? Let’s not forget Murray classed the Church of Scotland as the biggest institution in Scotland with Rangers the 2nd biggest. He is on public record as making that statement.

30 years from now we may get the truth.

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PhilMacGiollaBhainPosted on8:26 pm - May 20, 2014


upthehoops says:
May 20, 2014 at 8:19 pm
———————————————–
Apropos Murray Park.
A well placed source told me this week:
“Not only did we have to borrow to build it, but we had to borrow to run it. It was madness!”

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MartinPosted on8:31 pm - May 20, 2014


There seems to be a lot of heat generated by the TV deal story. I may be wrong and would be happy to be corrected but as things stand I’m not seeing anything that causes concern.

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Not The Huddle MalcontentPosted on8:35 pm - May 20, 2014


ecobhoy says:
May 20, 2014 at 8:08 pm
3 0 Rate This

Aquinas says:
May 20, 2014 at 7:31 pm

Like Eco’ I don’t see any £ advantage to Sevco over payments to BT to show Sevco games, all I see is just another cost to all the other teams in Scotland to cover their demise. Am I missing the obvious?
============================================
At least I now understand – I think – the outline of the story. The old SPL TV contract had a minimum number of Old Firm Games that had to be covered and therefore when the Old Firm ceased to exist that put the main TV contract in jeopardy of being ripped-up.

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

i thought there was no “4 OF games” clause in the TV deal – which makes all that happened after a nonsense.

Can anyone confirm if there was a requirement to broadcast 4 OF games each season?

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AquinasPosted on8:36 pm - May 20, 2014


Phil they borrowed and received funding to build MP, then ripped up the condition allowing public access to the part Lotto funded building.

The poison has being removed from our game and the ‘patient’ is making good progress, well that’s what the good people of Perth tell me, there are no lemons left north of Aberuthven today!

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upthehoopsPosted on8:42 pm - May 20, 2014


PhilMacGiollaBhain says:
May 20, 2014 at 8:26 pm

Apropos Murray Park.
A well placed source told me this week:
“Not only did we have to borrow to build it, but we had to borrow to run it. It was madness!”
===============================

That only reinforces my belief Murray regarded Rangers as some kind of national treasure rather than a business obliged to stand on its own two feet. Then again, remembering the implosion of 2012, there were many in the authorities demanding they be treated as some kind of national treasure.

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wottpiPosted on8:45 pm - May 20, 2014


ecobhoy says:
May 20, 2014 at 8:08 pm

The madness is that the contracts were possibly agreed on the basis that there would be a minimum number of old firm games over then length of the contract. That smells of a ruling body almost guaranteeing the future presence of two teams within the top flight. Which is why the panic set in two years ago.

Surely the payments should have been agreed with a sliding scale to cover the possibility of either or both of the big two getting relegated, removed from the top league for whatever reason, going out of business etc.

If the TV money was so important why were Celtic not asked to represent us in Europe but play domestically in the lower divisions until Rangers got back on their feet 🙂

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fairshoutPosted on8:50 pm - May 20, 2014


The 2013/14 season officially concludes on Sunday when Hibernian host Hamilton in the second leg of their Premiership play-off.

So still time for the deduction of points to count for this seasons follies,you just never know where you are with this new club/company . 😳

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valentinesclownPosted on8:54 pm - May 20, 2014


Martin says:
May 20, 2014 at 8:31 pm
2 0 Rate This

There seems to be a lot of heat generated by the TV deal story. I may be wrong and would be happy to be corrected but as things stand I’m not seeing anything that causes concern.

—————————————————————————————————————————————–
My concern is that if this deal was for the good and benefit of all football clubs why are we just hearing about it now. Why do we have to find out through other media outlets and not straight from the corridors of Hampden. As long as CO still resides there I will always have concerns regarding the resurrected Govan club and it’s place/role in our society. Nothing will ever shock me in regards to the favourable treatment of the Govan club in this country, nothing.

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AquinasPosted on9:00 pm - May 20, 2014


I have no faith in SFA regarding, well anything really.
Was it a good deal by CO plus whoever, probably no.
Did he get a bonus for agreeing it?

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MartinPosted on9:14 pm - May 20, 2014


valentinesclown says:
May 20, 2014 at 8:54 pm

I understand your discontent with regard to the manner of the information becoming widely available. It is in itself a matter which deserves scrutiny. It would in my opinion be wrong to conflate the issue that you raise with any wider exploration of the TV deal .

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JoethebookiePosted on9:21 pm - May 20, 2014


Like Eco’ I don’t see any £ advantage to Sevco over payments to BT to show Sevco games, all I see is just another cost to all the other teams in Scotland to cover their demise

Maybe not a direct benefit but surely their advertising revenue would increase for televised games.

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essexbeancounterPosted on9:21 pm - May 20, 2014


Paulmac2 says:
May 20, 2014 at 5:22 pm
9 0 Rate This

JimBhoy says:
May 20, 2014 at 2:45 pm
…………………..

It’s the slow beginnings of a new club…without publicising the fact….design a new strip…next…find a new stadium…next…form a club….and so on and so on…whilst avoiding the obvious…and pretending nothing has changed!
=================================================
It’s the slow beginnings of a new club…without publicising the fact….design a new strip…next…find a new stadium…next…form a club….next form a company…and so on and so on…whilst avoiding the obvious…and pretending nothing has changed!
See what I did there…?

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AquinasPosted on9:23 pm - May 20, 2014


JTB a good point, but yer being a bit picky! 😛

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CampbellsmoneyPosted on9:50 pm - May 20, 2014


Can someone please summarise what we know about this TV contract issue.

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Matty RothPosted on9:56 pm - May 20, 2014


Aquinas says:
May 20, 2014 at 9:00 pm
9 0 Rate This

I have no faith in SFA regarding, well anything really.
Was it a good deal by CO plus whoever, probably no.
Did he get a bonus for agreeing it?

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

You do realise the TV deal is the domain of the SPL and not the SFA?

CO and the SFA would have no reason to be involved whatsoever.

I think the compensation/sweetener to BT is nothing more than a distraction tbh, in itself it doesn’t seem entirely unreasonable.

The real issue is the poor contract negotiated in the first place, both in its paucity and in its scope being so focused to Rangers and Celtic matches. This is the real problem.

Its time we sold the whole of Scottish Football not just Rangers and Celtic games. If that brings in a bit less money from TV for a few years so be it. I’m sure with less games shifted for TV and better all round coverage we can see increase in gates and increase in sponsorship revenues for teams out with the “OF”.

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TSFMPosted on10:02 pm - May 20, 2014


Cm
There was a vague claim made by Doncaster, and adopted by the MSM as fact, that the TV contract was based on 4 guaranteed OF matches. Despite requests for the details of that clause, nothing was ever produced, and no unequivocal statement about the presence of the clause was ever made.
The theory was that;
1. No such clause ever existed and the claim was made to ramp up the scare factor should “a Rangers” be lost to the SPL. Or,
2. The clause did exist but verification would expose the authorities as having abandoned sporting principles altogether. Since the liquidation of RFC had been hitherto unthinkable, it would be reasonable to infer from the presence of that clause that relegation would not be an option for either Celtic or Rangers.

Based on the lack of outrage from other clubs, my money was always firmly on #1. The clause simply had never existed.

The trouble was that to admit the existence of the clause officially would be to incur the wrath of the fans and the diddy teams; to deny it would remove a keystone of the case for keeping RFC alive at all costs.

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yourhavingalaughPosted on10:16 pm - May 20, 2014


Joethebookie
Advertising revenue
That must be a big seller ,I remember seeing the bristol bar jumping out at us in at least one game,that must have raked in at least a monkey [financialy].Anyone know what this bar payed for their advertising .

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JoethebookiePosted on10:17 pm - May 20, 2014


Aquinas says:
May 20, 2014 at 9:23 pm
 2 1 Rate This

Maybe it was accidental. I’m sure the powers that be were quite pleased that increased revenue for Sevco was a bye product though.

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wottpiPosted on10:21 pm - May 20, 2014


TSFM says:
May 20, 2014 at 10:02 pm

And if there was no such clause then why the need pay the broadcasters anything?
The lack of such a clause meant that the TV money was surely in the bank regardless of what fare was on offer.

If there was no OF clause then are you suggesting the SPL paid money that could have been spread around Scottish Football to encourage Rangers fans to sit at home and not to attend games, especially the away fixtures were ‘making friends on the journey back up’ would according to all and sundry have filled the coffers of the wee diddy clubs.

I feel it is time for one of Doncaster MBA Gobbledigook explainations

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AquinasPosted on10:31 pm - May 20, 2014


JoeTB
Absolutely with you on that, I never thought about it.
A bye product sums it up spot on.

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CampbellsmoneyPosted on10:32 pm - May 20, 2014


And what do we know about payments being made (is it to BT?)?

Sorry I am having great difficulty following this. It must be what it feels like to be an accountant.

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CampbellsmoneyPosted on10:35 pm - May 20, 2014


😉

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DonegaltimPosted on10:35 pm - May 20, 2014


A poster called Jellyhead on CRT is posting about a meeting in London Thursday night with DK in attendance. The basis of the claim is that MP is being carved up to be sold off and shares will be suspended at opening of play this morning.
—————————————————————————————————-
With Phils £12 million costs per annum, MP is a weight round their neck that is too overwhelming to sustain. Is this the start of the divi up. Interesting.

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M8DreamerPosted on10:44 pm - May 20, 2014


Not only do we have a corrupt SPL who pay the TV Companies to televise an irrelevant Division 1 reincarnated football team, we now have the farcical TV contract agreement that allows Sky Sports and BT Sports to televise live the SPFL Play Off Matches between Hamilton and Hibernian for “FREE”.
In England the Championship Play Off Final is one of the biggest games of the season and I am sure that the TV Companies pay handsomely for the pleasure in televising.
What incompetent fool would agree any contract with the TV Companies that allows them “FREE” coverage of two of the biggest end of season games in Scotland.
After everything that has gone on in the last two years, we should not be surprised
at the continued incompetence of our football authorities, just extremely disappointed and dismayed.

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M8DreamerPosted on10:52 pm - May 20, 2014


With regards to reported £12m/year running costs for Murray Park, if my memory serves me correctly the cost of Hibs Training Academy at East Mains is approx £1m/year with a construction cost of £3m approx.
They must be using very expensive materials and highly paid staff at Murray Park, if they are squandering £12 m/ year on their Training Complex

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RyanGoslingPosted on10:59 pm - May 20, 2014


M8Dreamer, small point on your post, but while a Scottish first / second division team may seem irrelevant to you, to a tv company, if that club has the first or second biggest following in Scotland then they will not be irrelevant.

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ecobhoyPosted on11:02 pm - May 20, 2014


Joethebookie says:
May 20, 2014 at 9:21 pm

Like Eco’ I don’t see any £ advantage to Sevco over payments to BT to show Sevco games, all I see is just another cost to all the other teams in Scotland to cover their demise

Maybe not a direct benefit but surely their advertising revenue would increase for televised games.

But these were away games so the advertising revenue increase would surely accrue to the home side. The reason I say Rangers must have been away is that Ibrox is already set-up for connecting broadcast equipment and therefore there would be no additional costs.

I note on STV just now they said that the additional costs were paid they understand to protect the main TV contract and they also mentioned the Old Firm games agreement but I didn’t catch it all as I was just walking in at the time.

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AquinasPosted on11:03 pm - May 20, 2014


Matty Roth,

you are spot on, I have been blinded by my mistrust of all parts of the SFA.

You are correct the SPL are the chaps who got the deal agreed, my apologies CO! (Damn it).

We may be on the brink of very significant changes to our game, hopefully for the best, Sco/Eng cup competition of say ten from each side, anything that is new.
OF, that phrase should be retired.

Thank you for putting me right!

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TSFMPosted on11:04 pm - May 20, 2014


Campbellsmoney says:

May 20, 2014 at 10:32 pm

And what do we know about payments being made (is it to BT?)?

Sorry I am having great difficulty following this. It must be what it feels like to be an accountant.
_______________________________________________________________________

The answer, in the Baillieston vernacular, is “hee-haw”.
My feeling is that based on the CtH letter, some edge of technology extrapolation is taking place and great leaps being made into conclusion.

My unambiguous conclusion about the clause is that it could not possibly exist otherwise the chairmen of other yoyo SP to D1 and back sides would have exposed that a long time ago.

Another anomaly is that these payments are alleged to have been made to BT. Why? The actual guarantees in place wrt OF games were that SKY – and not BT – would cover all of them. Also,, and my memory may be playing tricks on me here, but BT only came to the table AFTER the RFC thing went tits-up. My take on the new deal was that TRFC matches were appended to the SPL deal(s) and guarantees given by the SPL in the event that the estimated audience targets were not reached.

There is I think a bit of having cake and eating here too. We were all arguing that there was no such clause at the time, because we saw that it suited the SPL argument to retain TRFC as RFC in the SPL.

We cant just start to argue the opposite because it suits the conspiracy theorist view.

There was never any clause. There was certainly a crappy contract heavily weighted in favour of the TV side. The whole episode, from the scare stories to the latest “revelations” support the view that a weak negotiating hand was being played badly by Doncaster (still is too).

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TSFMPosted on11:14 pm - May 20, 2014


Ryan
You are correct with regard to relevance. The weak negotiating position of the SPL was down to the relevance they placed on Rangers. My view is that they overestimated their relevance in the grand scheme of things, but given that the TV companies asked for TRFC matches, they are hardly irrelevant.

M8Dreamer though is correct in that the sloppy manner in which the contracts were renegotiated (or not) to include play-offs at no extra cost to the TV companies is borderline criminal), and in perhaps any other walk of life would be a sacking offence.

If a government minister had negotiated that contract, you’d expect some journo to be looking into the possibility that he/she had family interests in the TV company.

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RyanGoslingPosted on11:22 pm - May 20, 2014


TSFM- agreed, good summation. Wouldn’t disagree with any of that, with particular emphasis on the criminal failure to get paid for the playoffs.

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nowoldandgrumpyPosted on11:33 pm - May 20, 2014


So it was Regan and Doncaster telling SFL clubs a fairy story about TV deal to try and get Sevco in SFL1.

Lord Doherty ‏@asmallteaser
http://saintinasia.wordpress.com/2012/07/06/the-sfaspl-tv-myth-how-we-compare-to-europe/

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John ClarkPosted on11:35 pm - May 20, 2014


I may have missed quite important posts and/or other news, but I am a wee bit puzzled as to where the assertion that the running costs of Murray park are £12M came from.
I tried to google for reliable info and got a miscellany of stuff , ranging from ” the combined running costs of Ibrox and Murray Park are £12M” to two assertions , at different times, that the running costs of MP were about £1.2M.
This is one such statement , in 2004, made by a guided tour visitor to MP in 2004, reporting what he had been told by the ‘guide’.

“A Day Out at Auchenhowie
By The Govanhill Gub
Updated Thursday, 1st July 2004
“…..It costs £1.2m a year to run the place with 60 odd staff and the Rangers Lotto, last year, helped Auchenhowie to the tune of 600k…”

I know ( none better!) that the last ten years have been economically pretty dire , but could the the running costs have increased tenfold? Was there a huge upgrade and massive increase in staff over that time?
Or Is it possible, and more likely, that the decimal point has been accidentally moved? And that running costs will in fact have been increased only in line with the general year- on- year increase in salaries, heating, and maintenance costs?
The suggestion (?) that Ibrox stadium/ salary/maintenance costs might have been charged to MP would only be a possible reason for the other wise inexplicable rise IF there was, had been, any accounting advantage. Would there have been?

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enough is enoughPosted on11:43 pm - May 20, 2014


I was at work when I read this so I couldn’t post …also it’s worth repeating for those who may have missed it…

the superiority complex

————–
LOAMFEET said
Here, weren’t they looking for a new name for Murray Park?……

Loamfeet? Takes a lot to make me laugh out loud. ( not just me, an Aberdeen fan and a Jambo too!)

Thank you sir. :mrgreen:

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wottpiPosted on11:45 pm - May 20, 2014


Regardless of whether or not there was an OF 4 game clause it is clear the TV folks were keen to cover T’Rangers matches regardless of who and where they were playing because while the OF games are a big draw the amount of fans tuning in on a weekly basis throughout the whole season is still worth chasing.

If the Govan club do ever get back to the top the game should make sure that those in charge never ever place such importance on that one fixture ever again.

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rantinrobinPosted on11:59 pm - May 20, 2014


Evening all.Can anyone answer perhaps John Clark, of the time frame with regard to the outcome/decision of The Upper Tier Tax Tribunal?

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nowoldandgrumpyPosted on12:04 am - May 21, 2014


Donegaltim says:
May 20, 2014 at 10:35 pm
6 1 Rate This

A poster called Jellyhead on CRT

Does anyone know what the CRT stands for?

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JagsmanPosted on12:19 am - May 21, 2014


In the light of discussion of TV rights etc, these two links may be of interest to some:

http://www.thefootballlife.co.uk/post/58170721789/spfl-viewing-figures-2013-14

http://www.thefootballlife.co.uk/post/40276750934/spl-viewing-figures-mid-term-report

The compiler seems sympathetic to Scottish football and is at pains to highlight the poor promotion of the televised Premiership matches by BT and also the down-playing of the game by SKY via low exposure on Sky Sports 4.

Hopefully the SPFL will have someone competent to assess these nuances of televising Scottish football rather than just going on viewing figures alone without context when it comes to deal renegotiation time.

The good news is that it seems that interest in Scottish Premiership football is on the way up (in line with attendance figures). In contrast, interest in the progress of The Rangers FC is falling (also in line with attendances at Ibrox). Having seen part of a few games, TRFC either bulldozed the opposition thereby reducing this viewers interest, or played truly appalling football which would make your eyes bleed (game against East Fife won with a last minute penalty springs to mind; I caught the last 20 minutes and it was painful). If your interest was peripheral, it wouldn’t take long to switch off and decide not to tune in again. The blogger is correct however, to point out that interest in TRFC games is likely to increase next season as the games ought to be more competitive. Always assuming they are capable of putting a team on the park of course, but even the biggest basket cases seem capable of seeing out a season regardless of economics.

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nowoldandgrumpyPosted on12:19 am - May 21, 2014


The Jellyhead comment in full.

link provided by
CFC 1888 ‏@junglebhoy60

http://continuingrandomthoughts.wordpress.com/2014/05/16/save-our-sectarianism/comment-page-3/#comment-17144

Jellyhead
May 20, 2014 at 10:02 pm
Breaking/developing: SB sales estimated at sub 10k. MP likely getting carved up with view to partially sell and this will be implemented by administrators who are expected to be formally invited in and takeover on Friday morning. Emergency meeting tonight at London Mayfair hotel, TLK possibly in attendance. Trading was seemingly officially suspended today at 6 pm GMT even though markets were closed, announcement expect am — more than £3.8 million shares alleged to have changed hands in 4 hour period today before bell.

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CampbellsmoneyPosted on12:21 am - May 21, 2014


Thanks TSFM and others.

I seem to recall Mr Green making noises about TRFC negotiating their own TV deal and complaining bitterly when he couldn’t (because it turns out you need two teams to play a football match apparently).

At the time I also seem to recall that the SPL and SFL TV rights were bundled together and sold “as one”. Prior to that there was some suggestion of the SFL doing a deal themselves. My recollection was that SPL paid SFL for their rights so that SPL could sell it all together. I think it was £1,000,000 a season that was paid.

That would mean that the TV deal for season 2012-2013 was a different deal from the one that was in place for earlier seasons.

When did BT become a player? That season? Did the existing TV deal(s) run out at end of 2012 season or were they renegotiated early?

I assume there was BBC deal and a Sky deal.

Is there now a BBC deal, a Sky deal and a BT deal?

Perhaps Mr Hutton might be asked to enlighten us as to what he knows.

Alternatively perhaps that nice man from Alloa, who a few weeks ago was so keen about being the figurehead of a campaign to improve football governance, might wish to express a view.

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John ClarkPosted on12:36 am - May 21, 2014


rantinrobin says:
May 20, 2014 at 11:59 pm
‘the time frame with regard to the outcome/decision of The Upper Tier Tax Tribunal?’
———-
I’m afraid don’t know how and on what basis a judge makes his judgment known.
Presumably, the parties in the case are told first, privately, before the judgment is made public. But what the rules are about how long the gap can be between the parties being told and the public release of the written judgment, I haven’t a scooby.
Since the UTTT hearing, Lord Doherty has been hearing other cases, doing other work, and. presumably,making written decisions in those. I don’t know whether he has a ‘boss’ who chases him up to arrive at a judgment within a certain time from the hearing!
It would be interesting to see how the whole thing works.
For all we know, the parties’ legal teams might already have had the verdict. If so, then it’s odds on that someone in the MG camp will leak, before the official release date.

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enough is enoughPosted on12:45 am - May 21, 2014


Elephant in the room! Has any other countries footballing governing body ever paid a TV company to televise one of their teams games?

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CampbellsmoneyPosted on1:07 am - May 21, 2014


Where is the info about a TV company being paid coming from?

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rantinrobinPosted on1:39 am - May 21, 2014


John Clark at 12 : 36

Many thanks JC

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upthehoopsPosted on6:04 am - May 21, 2014


M8Dreamer says:
May 20, 2014 at 10:52 pm

They must be using very expensive materials and highly paid staff at Murray Park, if they are squandering £12 m/ year on their Training Complex
===============================

Like everything else to do with Rangers, MP has to be seen to be better and more expensive. Over the years I have read various challenges to the widely quoted and unchallenged cost of £14M to build. Celtic quoted a figure of £8M to build Lennoxtown. On the comparisons of the two, Radio Clyde fairly recently spent some time telling us MP was the much better facility. I have no idea having visited neither but for much of the Scottish media the default position was/is that everything to do with Rangers is much bigger, better, more fancy and grander than any other club.

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Danish PastryPosted on6:15 am - May 21, 2014


Billy Boyce says:
May 20, 2014 at 5:56 pm
35 2 Rate This

… This suggests that the RST intends buying shares in ‘the club’ with the shirt profits. Why can’t he bring himself to remind them that they will be handing over their money to individuals for shares in a non-footballing plc and that none of it will necessarily go to the League One champions?
————–

Or it suggests that fans now believe that the club is the company, after all!

PS Regarding the SPL paying the SFL for the TRFC matches, did that extra (and unexpected) windfall make it possible for Longmuir to trouser that infamous ‘bonus’? Not heard any more on this Longmuir payout, btw, there was some initial outrage. Did he buy a chateau as well? 🙂

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Danish PastryPosted on6:33 am - May 21, 2014


Scotsman now quoting STV:

STV reported that when Rangers were liquidated and removed from the old SPL and the newco club placed in the Third Division …

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andygraham.66Posted on6:38 am - May 21, 2014


Does anyone know what the CRT stands for?

Continuing random thoughts

http://continuingrandomthoughts.wordpress.com/

Currently it has Steerpike promoting sectarianism on its front page

————

If I had a pound for every morning I woke up the Govan club would be going into administration at 7am AIM opening hours for official releases

I’d have enough for a good night out

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