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

Danish PastryPosted on10:54 am - May 17, 2014


ptd1978 says:
May 17, 2014 at 2:03 am
40 12 Rate This

Lots of logic I too sympathise with in your past posts PTD. Would not underestimate the lift other clubs have received from the end of the OF, though.

As you say, Celtic have a set of unique challenges in the new reality. I hear different voices from Celtic fans too, some for staying, some for going. But where to, I wonder? I imagine the, ‘We’re too big for Scottish football’ and ‘We need to move to a bigger league’ talk, does not endear the club to the broad church of Scottish fitba in the least. Also seems not very well thought out, regarding consequences for future European football, as you mentioned. And since UEFA are not interested in re-admitting the Danish, Norwegian, Swedish or Scottish champions (did, someone mention ‘diddy countries’? 😆 ) directly into Euro competitions any time soon either, then it’s all a bit of a mess as Auldheid alluded to. Nevertheless, the old order is gone so some new thinking required south of Dennistoun.

Anyway, certainly a day of celebration and this wee article about Oor Stuart is a belter; the part about the ‘lost faither’ would bring a tear to a glass eye. For once I’ll be walking down my own childhood streets to a Scottish Cup final. Conjures up B&W photos from those football annuals of yesteryear, when it wasn’t just the big two who were major players in the top 18-team league. Certainly a special final for us post-Armageddon-that-didn’t-happen neutrals too. Well, I say neutral, but my heart’s hoping that the fairytale comes true 😉

http://www.scotsman.com/sport/football/latest/scottish-cup-the-super-saintee-stuart-cosgrove-1-3414166

View Comment

ecobhoyPosted on11:00 am - May 17, 2014


Ok I’ll give you all peace as I’m off to Celtic Park for a great experience and atmosphere and hopefully some good, exciting football.

Whatever – I’ll be having my own little chuckles and smiles as I think of the effect Armageddon has had on Scottish Football.

I’ll be with the Saints physically but emotionally it’s hard not to be with Jackie’s Bhoys but most of all I’ll applaud good football and sportsmanship from either side.

PS: wottpi says: May 17, 2014 at 10:29 am

I fully understand your impatience and angst and that you are motivated by what is best for Scottish Football.

But the agenda and timetable over the Rangers debacle is set and controlled by anonymous off-shore investors and that won’t change till they decide to walk. That decision might even be years away and the only people who can accelerate it are fans starving the spivs of money. However that is a decision for Bears to make.

IMO it’s the intellectually sensible decision but I ain’t arrogant enough to tell Bears what to do when I’m not sure what my own emotions would dictate if it were Celtic in the same position.

Ah my granny – whose grave I will visit for a wee chat on my way to Parkhead – she will remind me: ‘What will be, will be and all the wishing in the world won’t make it come any quicker’.

View Comment

ptd1978Posted on11:07 am - May 17, 2014


Smugas Ecobhoy

I’m not advocating that Celtic do anything. It would be unrealistic to expect such long term sacrifice from a business. The damage is done. My point is simply that Celtic and Rangers as was have benefitted hugely from the way the Scottish league is stacked and I find it ridiculous to suggest they have been let down by the lack of competition from other teams who they were instrumental in restricting.
Regarding Celtic’s escape. I’ve gone through the reasons why a franchise system or a Euro league almost certainly wouldn’t benefit them and why it’s a pipe dream in the first place.
Any change needs to come from the SPFL or the SFA, but somehow the smaller clubs executives see themselves as benefitting from their subservience and we now have examples of clubs voting against what would seem to be their own interests or even instructions (Aberdeen last year, Raith on the creation of the SPL).
It seems obvious to me that the “all the money goes to two clubs” business plan for Scottish football that has so obviously failed needs changing, but no one wants to openly discuss any change that equalises the playing field. The short-medium term pain for long term gain plan seems to be quashed before it gets any traction and Executives for hire of the calibre of Doncaster will always put their bonus in front of the good of their company.

View Comment

scapaflowPosted on11:33 am - May 17, 2014


ecobhoy says:
May 17, 2014 at 11:00 am

Ecobhoy, enjoy the game.

I find it hard to share you optimism that things can only get better, given, that there has been no real change at Hampden. Almost exactly the same bums are sitting in the seats of power, that were sitting there in 2012.

There can be no real re-construction, until every last one of them is cleared out.

View Comment

easyJamboPosted on11:35 am - May 17, 2014


Re the 1p shareholders.

Of the main shareholders only Charles Green, Imran Ahmad, Richard Hughes and Ally McCoist got their shareholdings exclusively at 1p.

Blue Pitch, Margarita, Norne Anstalt, Glenmuir, Putney Holdings, Craig Mather, Mike Ashley etc. all paid 99p for half their shares and 1p for the other half, giving an average of 50p.

These numbers came from the TRFC Board meeting minutes of 31/10/12 and a document published by CF about share refunds dated around Jan 2013.

View Comment

easyJamboPosted on11:37 am - May 17, 2014


RTC back on the scene

Rangers Tax-Case ‏@rangerstaxcase · 45s
I have good reason to believe that @CelticResearch revelations about SPL aid for Sevco are accurate.

View Comment

CampbellsmoneyPosted on11:38 am - May 17, 2014


Regarding widgets

I first heard of widgets in 1986 (at the very least that is pre-fancy beer cans) but I expect there has been a thriving widget manufacturing and exam industry since the industrial revolution.

Alternatively you are all characters in a massive never ending exam question for me. Feels a bit like that at times.

😛

Good luck to all today. Enjoy the day and make us proud.

View Comment

woodsteinPosted on11:40 am - May 17, 2014


ecobhoy says:

May 17, 2014 at 9:34 am
I am with you on this one however:-

http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=widget 🙄

View Comment

twopandaPosted on11:42 am - May 17, 2014


Revisiting my understanding re: GH

Sevo5088 did acquire / buy the rights to `assets` from the admins – pre CVA – [`in an irrevocable contract`] finalised as agreed by 13 May 2012 – as an unconditional offer from a `consortium` – after paying an `exclusivity fee. [The admins reports refer to sevco5088]

That `irrevocable` agreement included 8.5m offer with CVA – and 5.5m without a CVA.
The detailed terms were included in a letter classed confidential by the admins.

At the time, Green dismissed reports of previous links between himself and CW. On May 13 Green is quoted: “It was complete rubbish,” he said. “I met Craig Whyte for the very first time a week last Tuesday in London.”

Post CVA – confirmed in final admins creditors reports – that irrevocable sale to sevco5088 `ownership` [offer bid accepted] – had switched to sevcoScotland later named TRFC Limited.

So the `irrevocable` was revoked in some manner – ostensibly from English to Scots Co.
• sevcoScotland was formed on 29 May and Directors appointed 29 June 2012
It is not possible that sevcoScotland was part of the original May agreement with the admins.

The press gives the date of 14 June when sevcoScotland acquired `the assets` in completion of the sale post CVA. Companies House has the then sevcoScotland registration of a charge on property acquisition dated 6 July.

Hope that’s correct.

Whyte contends / claims he has rights to sevco5088 and rights to `the assets` transferred to sevcoScotland `ownership`. Others are trying to remove his claims as a once director of sevco5088 and attempting to strike off and dissolve sevco5088.

Is it a frivolous claim? – The efforts to extinguish sevco5088 are manifest.
Corrections welcome.

View Comment

mirrenmanPosted on11:48 am - May 17, 2014


Rangers Tax-Case ‏@rangerstaxcase 11m
I have good reason to believe that @CelticResearch revelations about SPL aid for Sevco are accurate.

😯

View Comment

pau1mart1nPosted on11:52 am - May 17, 2014


did STV ever say who said this to them
“A spokesman for Rangers confirmed that there had been a transfer of assets between one newco and a second separate newco. He told STV: “For the avoidance of doubt, Sevco 5088 Limited bought the assets of the Rangers Football Club and then transferred them to Sevco Scotland Limited so that all the assets would be in the Scottish registered company that is Rangers FC.”

View Comment

mirrenmanPosted on11:53 am - May 17, 2014


CelticResearch ‏@CelticResearch 15h
At the time of the Rangers admin, dissatisfaction with TV deals meant the SPL were well down the road of producing their own content

CelticResearch ‏@CelticResearch 15h
That was ditched immediately because of info given to the SPL executive. We then went cap in hand to the broadcasters giving away our game.

CelticResearch ‏@CelticResearch 15h
There was even more SPL generosity offered towards making sure that the the Sevco brand was given publicity in the form of viewer subsidy.

CelticResearch ‏@CelticResearch 15h
The SPL then agreed to pay ESPN (then BT) an amount per viewer if there total audience for the season fell short of their modest target.

CelticResearch ‏@CelticResearch 15h
That dear Scottish football fans amounted to another £200k+ subsidy of the Rangers brand which had to be promoted in the “games interests.”

View Comment

upthehoopsPosted on11:59 am - May 17, 2014


easyJambo says:
May 17, 2014 at 11:37 am

RTC back on the scene

Rangers Tax-Case ‏@rangerstaxcase · 45s
I have good reason to believe that @CelticResearch revelations about SPL aid for Sevco are accurate.
===================================

Are we supposed to believe the authorities are willing to aid them in every way possible except on the field of play? I really believe that is a valid question. Next season in the league, with Hearts there and possibly Hibs as well, will be interesting to say the least.

View Comment

pau1mart1nPosted on12:03 pm - May 17, 2014


Are we supposed to believe the authorities are willing to aid them in every way possible except on the field of play?

who ever believed that ??

View Comment

wottpiPosted on12:08 pm - May 17, 2014


ecobhoy says:
May 17, 2014 at 11:00 am

Wise woman that Granny of yours.

Tell her I said hello and appreciate where she was coming from.

Enjoy your day.

View Comment

TincksPosted on12:13 pm - May 17, 2014


Lord Wobbly says:
May 16, 2014 at 11:34 pm

Many thanks for the link you Lordship. I was unaware of Hugh Adam until now. The accuracy of his foresight is telling.

I think I might possibly have blow the mind of the Times crossword setter by pointing him in the direction of Bonkers OCNC thread and the Herald’s Aiden Earley story. Also suggested that their business reporters could ask to see the deeds 🙄

View Comment

scottcPosted on12:32 pm - May 17, 2014


ecobhoy says:
May 17, 2014 at 9:34 am
I always thought ‘widgets’ were invented when Guiness put its new device to keep the head in a can of beer by releasing the gas.

Now I wonder if that’s when widgets were first ‘coined’ or whether they were there before. The strange places that TSFM reaches that other blogs don’t 😉

ON WIDGETS
from:
http://www.wisegeek.org/what-is-a-widget.htm#didyouknowout

This term can mean different things, depending on who is talking and the context. In one sense, a widget is any sort of small, as-yet unnamed mechanical item, and the term is often used interchangeably with “gadget.” Within the web development community, it is a piece of self-enclosed code that can be embedded into a website or program to perform a specific function. Many websites take advantage of this type of code to increase their functionality and customizability.

The word appears to be American in origin, and it first appeared in print in 1924, as a generic placeholder name in a play. It was used to describe the products of a factory; the end product was not as important as the process of working in the factory, creating small, seemingly meaningless items in a repetitive way which ate away at the soul of the hero. Over time, the word came to be adopted into common English.

View Comment

scapaflowPosted on12:41 pm - May 17, 2014


easyJambo says:
May 17, 2014 at 11:37 am

Is it possible to be not surprised and disappointed at one and the same time? It would appear so.

Assuming this story is true, then it should nail the lie, that, the SPL clubs were innocent parties in the shenanigans, once and for all. There is absolutely no way that Doncaster could have implemented a policy of this magnitude on his own. It would have required the agreement of all the clubs.

A lot of people have long feared that there some very bitter dregs at the bottom of this particular loving cup, However, if we have any hope of genuine renewal, then all the dirty dealings have to be exposed to sunlight, and those complicit in these actions removed..

View Comment

JimBhoyPosted on1:02 pm - May 17, 2014


i thought widget was invented so as to rhyme with Bridget and Midget.. OK Orange and ….? Have fun today all.. 2-1 Utd, 3-1 Arsenal, 2-0 Real..

View Comment

PW1874Posted on1:08 pm - May 17, 2014


If it’s true that the SPL subsidised BT Sport (a company who have just shelled £1.5 Billion to show Champions League and EPL matches) to the tune of £200K per annum to broadcast Rangers matches, then this should be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

But I say if it’s true. If there is hard evidence of this affront to equity and integrity in our game, this must be published. I would suggest those in possession of such evidence should avail themselves of an award winning C4 journalist or this site. I appreciate the need to protect sources, but if this stays nothing more than an internet rumour, I’m afraid it’s just bampot stuff that serves little purpose.

View Comment

CastofthousandsPosted on1:20 pm - May 17, 2014


nowoldandgrumpy says:
May 16, 2014 at 8:51 pm

“Cannot verify if the information in these tweets (read from bottom up) is correct. If so it shows how far the SFA are assisting one club to the determent of others.”

I think this in some way explains the Armageddon strategy. It was necessary for football to be seen to be moribund and sickly in the absence of Rangers from the top flight.

Until Rangers are able to regain their rightful place there is a window of jeopardy whereby the game might move on in their absence and leave them marooned. Some sort of Euro league set up might evolve that confers privileged status on those sitting at the top of their domestic leagues. Currently that would be disastrous for Rangers as it is unlikely that they would be offered such a privilege. Even success in the current Euro tournament formats will generate cash for the top Scottish clubs that will make it more difficult for Rangers to compete upon their apparently inevitable return to the top league.

It cannot be comfortable for many in the Scottish Football Association to have their league competition dominated and Euro representation largely provided by a team that is proud to acknowledge a heritage that lies in a neighbouring country. However European borders have altered drastically over the last hundred years and this is likely not the only club who’s support represent an ethnicity that is embodied in a neighbouring nation.

It would be sad if the SFA found it necessary to hobble the whole sport in order to gratify a narrow minded xenophobia.

View Comment

StevieBCPosted on1:25 pm - May 17, 2014


easyJambo says:
May 17, 2014 at 11:37 am

Rangers Tax-Case ‏@rangerstaxcase · 45s
I have good reason to believe that @CelticResearch revelations about SPL aid for Sevco are accurate.
================================
This latest SPL revelation is just so wrong on many levels.

And as Stevensanph’s previous, excellent Euro leagues TV deals analysis showed – the TV rights where already significantly undervalued by the SPL.

Would be very keen to hear Doncaster’s views on this ‘subsidy’ allegation, [I know 🙁 ].

View Comment

scapaflowPosted on1:29 pm - May 17, 2014


Castofthousands says:
May 17, 2014 at 1:20 pm

Sorry, but the TV deal is absolutely nothing to do with the SFA. This was an SPL operation, now an SPFL operation. Though, given the incestuous relationships between the alleged industry regulator, and those which it fails to regulate, I can understand the confusion :mrgreen:

View Comment

upthehoopsPosted on1:35 pm - May 17, 2014


Just settled down to watch Cup Final Sportscene. Enjoying the sense of occasion and the happy faces on the supporters. Hope they all have a good day, although someone is going to have to lose.

View Comment

CastofthousandsPosted on1:43 pm - May 17, 2014


ecobhoy says:
May 16, 2014 at 10:17 pm

“I’ve looked at the tweets mentioned but maybe I’m being thick but I don’t understand exactly how only Rangers benefited from the TV deal.”

The inference is that if Rangers had been in the top league then SPL TV would have been given the go ahead. In their absence, a different strategy was decided upon. There was possibly a logic in this approach as SPL TV would have lost a significant component of the domestic audience. It would be difficult to deduce at a distance what all the pro’s and cons were and what value they all represented.

I think Charlotte tweeted about this late June or July 2013 but I cannot find the document concerned.

View Comment

scapaflowPosted on2:04 pm - May 17, 2014


Funny fact of the day: Blue pencil as a metaphor for censorship, is a legacy of Uncle Joe Stalin. Dunno why that popped into my head.

Enjoy the game!

View Comment

Big PinkPosted on2:11 pm - May 17, 2014


Graham Spiers alleging that Celtic and Rangers fans tell him “we’re not interested in the SC Final. It’s only diddy teams!”

I’d love to know where this focus group of his are located. Presumably it will be the same one that includes EVERY Celtic supporter longing for the day Rangers are “back” in the Premiership.

Either way, he is either making it up (which conveniently we can never prove) or he is having the a*se ripped out of him by some very mischeivous and disrespectful folk 🙂

For the record, I have not spoken to ANY football fan this last few weeks who have expressed anything less than enthusiasm for cup final today. And with the exception of a bar-owner in Leven (who reckons he’s losing about £30k a year in takings due to no Celtic Rangers TV matches) I have NEVER heard any Celtic fan express such a longing.

For the record, I think Spiers is making it up.

View Comment

AyeRightNawPosted on2:12 pm - May 17, 2014


Good to see so many anticipating a great day out at this afternoon’s Scottish Cup final.

I’m reminded of my last final in 2008 when my ‘other’ team QoS narrowly lost out to the predecessors of the team soon to play at a place called ‘rightful’.

I’d seen Queens win a cracking quarter final against Dundee then edge out a particularly woeful Aberdeen in a seven goal thriller of a semi final.

The dream ending wasn’t to be though as the ex-rightfuls held out.

Still it was an honour and privilege to see Queens get so close and play in a national final. Generations of fans before me had never been so lucky and who knows if it’ll happen again?

Wind forward a few short years and the deathbed revelations of financial shenanigans, tax-dodging and unquestionable sporting advantage start to gain traction. Alongside the news comes the realisation of just what Queens were up against that sunny day in May six years ago.

Had I known then what I know now re the SFA-condoned financial doping that advantaged the ex-rightfuls I doubt I would have felt so sanguine at the final whistle.

Needless to say I’ve attended no Scottish Cup ties or Scotland games since it became clear how much the SFA had aided and abetted the wrongdoers. I seriously doubt I ever will.

Good luck to both teams and sets of fans today – I hope its a cracker and you enjoy your day. I hope too that the memories shine and don’t become tarnished by revelations and the passing of time.

View Comment

Big PinkPosted on2:30 pm - May 17, 2014


I have noticed a couple of people infer that the main post was about a resurgence of the game. It is not. The idea I was hoping to get across is not that things are appreciably better since Armageddon commenced, but that things did not fall apart as predicted and that there is a modest and encouraging upturn in crowds.

If the CtH/RTC tweets are correct, I don’t see how that brings anything new into the corruption discussion. Unless I have completely misunderstood the information, this was merely the SPL (not the SFA) underselling their product based on their erroneous belief that Rangers demise would make that product less appealling.

What it does do is reinforce the calamatous ineptitude and failure to understand the game of Neil Doncaster and his board. What it doesn’t do is confirm any pro-Rangers bias. More than anything else, I think it lends credence to Turnbull Hutton’s ‘honest mistakes’ claim.

View Comment

ptd1978Posted on2:52 pm - May 17, 2014


Good luck to both United and St Johnstone.
C’mon the Tigers
Vamos los Rojiblancos

View Comment

scapaflowPosted on2:55 pm - May 17, 2014


Big Pink says:
May 17, 2014 at 2:30 pm

That’s one interpretation.

Another is that BT effectively said Rangers are no longer relevant, and the SPL clubs say, OK we will pay you to make them relevant. Honest mistake, mibbes aye and mibbes naw 👿

View Comment

upthehoopsPosted on3:21 pm - May 17, 2014


Big Pink says:
May 17, 2014 at 2:11 pm
============================
It is too easy for Graham Spiers and his ilk to come away with this nonsense. Personally I am sick of public money making its way into the the hands of pundits who appear unaccountable to anyone.

View Comment

Big PinkPosted on3:31 pm - May 17, 2014


Michael O’Halloran the best player of the park. Last time I saw him he was introducing the One O’Clock Gang 🙂

What a game it is too.

View Comment

cowanpetePosted on3:32 pm - May 17, 2014


Posting this for two reasons:
/1/ It’s a cracking read, Grantland unlike many US Sport zines looks beyond the Big Four {MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL} and has some fine writers IMHO.
/2/ Belgium is twice the size of Scotland. We could and should be doing something similar. So the article isn’t quite Off-Topic
http://grantland.com/features/world-cup-2014-belgian-national-team-vincent-kompany-eden-hazard-marouane-fellaini/

View Comment

SmugasPosted on3:32 pm - May 17, 2014


Aye right naw

I always wondered what happened to Aberdeen s particularly woeful full back that day!

View Comment

ptd1978Posted on3:35 pm - May 17, 2014


Good game.
Are they playing with a brazuca?

View Comment

AyeRightNawPosted on3:42 pm - May 17, 2014


Smugas

I think he’s mebbe found his level…

Apologies for ‘woeful’ dig – couldn’t resist it! Do remember turning up that day expecting a hounding and was most pleased and surprised at the Dons decision not to defend.

View Comment

Big PinkPosted on3:42 pm - May 17, 2014


Are they playing with a brazuca?

Yes.

View Comment

AyeRightNawPosted on3:49 pm - May 17, 2014


brazuca!
Just googled it with no little trepidation… It appears the official match ball of the 2014 World Cup has its own twitter account @brazuca

Must be a very special ball…

And Saints score – game on

View Comment

bailemeanachPosted on3:56 pm - May 17, 2014


Hottest day of the year down here, and I’m sat indoors enjoying this terrific spectacle on BBC Scotland

View Comment

upthehoopsPosted on3:56 pm - May 17, 2014


Big Pink says:
May 17, 2014 at 2:30 pm
=========================
I have to say ensuring a television company shows Rangers games by paying them money appears pretty biased to me, although I accept people will look at it differently.

View Comment

wildwoodPosted on4:00 pm - May 17, 2014


ptd1978 says:
May 17, 2014 at 3:35 pm

Good game.
Are they playing with a brazuca?

It might look that way, but no, it’s just their new shirt with a black chevron type thing on the front . . . .

View Comment

Big PinkPosted on4:31 pm - May 17, 2014


upthehoops says:
May 17, 2014 at 3:56 pm

Big Pink says:
May 17, 2014 at 2:30 pm
=========================
I have to say ensuring a television company shows Rangers games by paying them money appears pretty biased to me, although I accept people will look at it differently.
____________________________________________________________________________________

Not how I read it at all. Maybe the staccato of a twitter exchange is not good for my understanding 🙂
But I didn’t take any “requirement” to show TRFC games out of that.

View Comment

seanebhoyPosted on4:42 pm - May 17, 2014


Just to add to the widget thing, we called one of our cats widget – we could not think of another name but it fit so well – she was a perfect cat – is a widget just something that just fits?

View Comment

easyJamboPosted on4:55 pm - May 17, 2014


Well done Saintees on your first top trophy – well deserved too.

View Comment

briggsbhoyPosted on4:56 pm - May 17, 2014


Well that was a most enjoyable game for the neutral and I’m sure it will be a better game than the FA final. Well done St Johnstone and hard luck United, thanks for the entertainment you provided today. Armagedon my arse

View Comment

Bill1903Posted on5:00 pm - May 17, 2014


Thoroughly enjoyed the game and well done to Stuart Cosgroves St Johnstone.
Great seeing the delight among the Saints fans.

(The fact that I had a bet on St Johnstone -1 goal makes it even more enjoyable 🙂 )

View Comment

easyJamboPosted on5:18 pm - May 17, 2014


Re the alleged arrangement between the SPL and ESPN, I don’t know the provenance of this document, but it has been posted on a Hearts forum

http://img.tapatalk.com/d/14/05/17/original/ubazugyz.jpg

View Comment

comeongetaffPosted on5:22 pm - May 17, 2014


Fantastic game for the neutral fan.
Fantastic advert for Scottish football.
Fantastic atmosphere from both sets of supporters.

I will F off now. 🙂

View Comment

justshateredPosted on5:38 pm - May 17, 2014


Exciting game today.
I only managed to catch the second half and I think St. Johnston’s early season European adventures solidified the team concept and more importantly the belief.
Congratulations to both teams but mostly to the Saints. 130 years is a long time to be a glory hunter. Well done guys.

I see Phil has stated that the Share Option has been authorised.
What would be the implications of a like minded group of major shareholders reaching the 75% mark and forcing everyone else to sell their shares back?
This would allow them to cast aside the loss making enterprise while retaining the properties for their sole use.
These people want their money back!
They don’t want to be putting more in.
Throwing more money into ‘The Rangers’ pyre is not going to get them their investment back.

Even for financial businessmen this debacle past the cost benefit point months ago.
There is no money to be made in this shambles for anyone.
As far as I’m aware the old club NEVER paid a dividend on their shares so where does the return come from?
Perhaps the SFA may have guaranteed Champions League football in their first year in the Premiership who knows however that money just pays that years bills.
What pays the bills for the season when they are qualifying?

This enterprise is a money eating machine.
It can only break even with European football and it is likely to be at least two years away from that.

Meanwhile there is the political intrigue of who owns what share percentage and who is ultimately calling the shots. There is a power struggle now taking place but who will come out on top and what direction will they take the company?
I’m at a loss and more surprisingly I think the guys running the show are now to.
They know the figures don’t add up but they have to put more in because of the season ticket strike.
So where does the pay back come from?

View Comment

Bill1903Posted on5:45 pm - May 17, 2014


Well done the officials today. Got everything right as far as I could see. I thought the Stevie May goal was definitely over the line but the cameras proved them correct.

Great picture of Stuart Cosgrove celebrating with his son Jack.
Nothing better than sharing a victory with your son/daughter imho
(Ecobhoy would disagree obviously 😳 )

View Comment

Bill1903Posted on5:57 pm - May 17, 2014


Smugas says:
May 17, 2014 at 3:32 pm
0 0 Rate This

Aye right naw

I always wondered what happened to Aberdeen s particularly woeful full back that day!
———————–
Now manager of Dundee United I believe

View Comment

sixtaesevenPosted on6:01 pm - May 17, 2014


Great final today at Celtic Park and congratulations to St Johnstone on a fine win.

A lot of fine young Scottish talent on display, but in the end I feel it was the Saints’ experienced pros that tipped the balanced in their favour.
Pity there will be no European football at Tannadice next season. That’s possibly one factor that utimately helped the Saints today (their EUFA adventures earlier this season).

In saying that I hope St Johnstone, Dundee United, Aberdeen, etc all manage to hold on to their youngsters and indeed strengthen for the coming season.
Probably too much too ask.
But I am already looking forward to 2014-15.

Armageddon ain’t a bad place to be.

View Comment

StevieBCPosted on6:10 pm - May 17, 2014


Didn’t manage to see the game – but congrats to St. Johnstone. This Armageddon has truly created some ‘silver lining’ opportunities for honest clubs !

Can anyone advise if there were any banners/chants directed at the authorities ?
Was Ogilvie there – and who presented the Cup ?
Ta.

View Comment

jimlarkinPosted on6:26 pm - May 17, 2014


Congratulations to St. Johnstone

View Comment

scottcPosted on6:41 pm - May 17, 2014


scapaflow says:
May 17, 2014 at 2:55 pm

Big Pink says:
May 17, 2014 at 2:30 pm

That’s one interpretation.

Another is that BT effectively said Rangers are no longer relevant, and the SPL clubs say, OK we will pay you to make them relevant. Honest mistake, mibbes aye and mibbes naw 👿

The way I read it, is that BT were worried that nobody would tune in without RFC in the top flight, so the SPL guaranteed them a certain number of viewers and promised to pay out on any shortfall. Not that they paid for BT to show RFC matches, but that they would pay out (or not) if it turned out BT were right and nobody wanted to know.

View Comment

Bill1903Posted on7:00 pm - May 17, 2014


Mr and Mrs Ogilvie presented the winners medals
I didn’t hear any jeering but there may have been

View Comment

AuldheidPosted on7:15 pm - May 17, 2014


Scottc

Yup. The TV company is in the driving seat but are prepared to enter a contract.
For them audience size dictates value of contract so they build in a safeguard that means they are not paying over the price if the audience is not big enough to cover the agreed price and value to them.

SPL are between rock and a hard place so gamble that audience size even with TRFC in the lower divisions will not drop too much thus bringing in more.

Not even sure it’s an honest mistake but best of a bad job.
Remember the TV income goes to all clubs so SPL were looking after all clubs not just one.

There are a number of narratives where questions need answered in respect of TRFC and SPL/SFA but this is not one of them imo.

View Comment

ptd1978Posted on7:18 pm - May 17, 2014


What a game. Congrats to St Johnstone and commiserations to United.
A great day and a great advert for what Scottish football can be.
OT but congrats also to Athletico. A true touch of class from Barca’s fans, staying to applaud Athletico.

View Comment

TailothebankPosted on7:28 pm - May 17, 2014


Just thought about the Baltacha’s today at the end …I bet at least they managed a big smile watching that …I also suspect a certain wee guardian angel was watching over the Saints today!

View Comment

sixtaesevenPosted on7:38 pm - May 17, 2014


Was reading today:
“At the start of this season, the tax debt of Athletico stood at €167m, which fell to €125m by the end of last year. A further €30m is due before the end of the season, which may or may not have yet been paid. Even so, they are not expected to have cleared their tax debts until the end of 2018.”

In saying that, those figures are a pittance compared to Barca and Real.

Even so, I find it hard to extend congratulations to AM, although I recognize the exploit in their “climate”.

Maybe St Johnstone v Dundee Unt – I enjoyed thourougly the game today – is football in a real world?

View Comment

readceltPosted on7:49 pm - May 17, 2014


Re phils latest.

I’m just spitballing here, but does this mean the high earners will now be paid to pi55 off?

There was a lot of talk about not being able to afford to sack McCoist. Suddenly that looks a real possibility if they raise a few mill.

View Comment

HirsutePursuitPosted on7:55 pm - May 17, 2014


Widget is a word created by the author/playwright George S Kaufman for the play Beggers on Horseback in 1924.

Sorry, can’t help myself.

View Comment

sixtaesevenPosted on7:55 pm - May 17, 2014


readcelt
Please say it ain’t so
😥

View Comment

Billy BoycePosted on8:42 pm - May 17, 2014


latest statement from Spiv HQ

SATURDAY, 17 MAY 2014 19:30
Club Statement
WRITTEN BY RANGERS FOOTBALL CLUB
RANGERS have issued the following statement today:

“Representatives of Rangers have met with a number of supporter groups over the past few days and discussed a wide range of topics. We again made it clear during these meetings that the club will not grant security over Ibrox to any organisation and therefore the ‘Ibrox 1972’ scheme can never achieve its objectives. In addition the club will not accept season ticket applications from third parties such as ‘Ibrox 1972’ on behalf of supporters.
“In some of our discussions with fans, it was indicated that there was a wish for the Board to confirm that our statement of intention not to grant security over Ibrox could become a commitment that would last for 12 months. This has subsequently been discussed by the Board and the Board confirms that it will not be seeking to effect a sale and leaseback or grant security over Ibrox during that period of time.
“The Board is rebuilding the Club by ensuring its financial stability and the integrity of its assets.
“Whilst the Board is reported to have offered legally binding undertakings during a fan group discussion in relation to Ibrox and Murray Park, this is not the case. The Board is committed to high standards of corporate governance and is comfortable that it has at all times been very clear in providing consistent and unequivocal public comments on this subject.
“Season ticket sales have continued at a good pace over the last few days and we appreciate the continued support shown by our loyal fans.
“We trust that any supporters who may have been in any doubt about the Board’s previous statements regarding Ibrox now have an additional level of comfort and any who may have made, or were considering making, a pledge of their season ticket money to ‘Ibrox 1972’ are clear that there is no prospect of that group achieving its aims.”

View Comment

Flocculent ApoideaPosted on8:48 pm - May 17, 2014


justshatered says:
May 17, 2014 at 5:38 pm

There is no money to be made in this shambles for anyone.

Maybe Mr Doncaster has arranged appearance money for them.

Well done St J. (Two more to go to match the mighty Clyde 😀 )

View Comment

Flocculent ApoideaPosted on8:53 pm - May 17, 2014


the Board confirms that it will not be seeking to effect a sale and leaseback or grant security over Ibrox during that period of time.

OK – which Board? The one that ultimately owns it or the one that uses it?
They may not need to “seek” if they”ve already found.

View Comment

CliffHangerPosted on8:56 pm - May 17, 2014


Great final today. Was it just me or was the commentator determined to mention rangers and celtic as often as possible or am I being a bitter n twisted old duffer……

View Comment

easyJamboPosted on8:59 pm - May 17, 2014


Billy Boyce says: May 17, 2014 at 8:42 pm
———————————————–
I can’t see too many of the fans groups being happy with the Board’s denial about the agreement with them last week.

“Whilst the Board is reported to have offered legally binding undertakings during a fan group discussion in relation to Ibrox and Murray Park, this is not the case. The Board is committed to high standards of corporate governance and is comfortable that it has at all times been very clear in providing consistent and unequivocal public comments on this subject.

View Comment

sixtaesevenPosted on9:10 pm - May 17, 2014


Statement by “Rangers” on a Saturday at 19:30…
… just after the Scottish Cup final, FA Final, Barca V Athletico, et al.
Good day to bury… (yawn).

OK, what is it then?

“Season ticket sales have continued at a good pace over the last few days…”.

“Show us the numbers !!!”, cried Mr Brown.

“Gie’s peace”, said a’body else.

View Comment

ecobhoyPosted on9:10 pm - May 17, 2014


HirsutePursuit says:
May 17, 2014 at 7:55 pm

Widget is a word created by the author/playwright George S Kaufman for the play Beggers on Horseback in 1924. Sorry, can’t help myself.
=======================================
Ah HP what what did it mean? And is that the same meaning as it means today? Sorry not good enough – we need a Bryson Definition 😆

View Comment

ecobhoyPosted on9:11 pm - May 17, 2014


HirsutePursuit says:
May 17, 2014 at 7:55 pm

Widget is a word created by the author/playwright George S Kaufman for the play Beggers on Horseback in 1924. Sorry, can’t help myself.
=======================================
Ah HP what did it mean? And is that the same meaning as it means today? Sorry not good enough – we need a Bryson Definition 😆

View Comment

parttimearabPosted on9:17 pm - May 17, 2014


StevieBC says:
May 17, 2014 at 6:10 pm
Was Ogilvie there
————————–
Not only was President Ogilvie present in the flesh but he was kind enough to pen a little epistle in the match programme covering the current state of Scottish football which included the following wee gem…

“While there have been plenty positives, as is ever the case in Scottish football, there remains a degree of negativity and confrontation.”

Regrettably the president did not expand on the detail or causes of this…..anyone have any idea what he might have been referring to…… 🙄

View Comment

John ClarkPosted on9:17 pm - May 17, 2014


CliffHanger says:
May 17, 2014 at 8:56 pm
‘. Was it just me or was the commentator determined to mention rangers and celtic as often as possible or am I being a bitter n twisted old duffer……’
———
No, you’re not being any more twisted than I am when I count the number of times Speirs mentioned the dead club on the ‘off the ball’ 5.30 show, absolutely out of any context relating to what the others were talking about. It was actually embarrassing to hear him, and Tam ‘jocularly’ put him in his place,with Tom English agreeing.
Are there no Perth/Dundee based sports writers and commentators, that we have to be subjected to the biased and one-sided Glaswegian former rangers shareholder on a terrific occasion in Scottish football which did not involve either Celtic or the dead club?
And as for the supposed Celtic fan who phoned in to say that a real Scottish cup final involves the dead club and Celtic! What can one say, other than that one would not be surprised if the good old BBC Radio Scotland bias is sedulously working away with the Speirs and the Jacksons etc etc, in a great lather of fear that their ethereal ‘institution’ will die like the old club died, and that its passing will largely be unnoticed.

View Comment

essexbeancounterPosted on9:21 pm - May 17, 2014


sixtaeseven says:
May 17, 2014 at 6:01 pm

Armageddon ain’t a bad place to be.
=============================================
Mr Doncaster…are you listening?

View Comment

Leave a Reply