Enough is enough

As Celtic prepare to take on one of the Champions league big boys again, a warning to the commentators and pundits.

Like most Scots, I was sad to see Celtic so comprehensively thumped by PSG and Bayern recently. But something about those nights made me angry as well.

Not the players, their effort, or even the schoolboy defending. Not the semi-ritualistic way these games are presented on TV or the ludicrous hype that is generated by the media.

I blame Celtic for their own failings and the executive branch of Scottish football for facilitating that failure. And I think it is the result of a long-term strategy that has clearly failed.

What offends me is the casual referencing of the weakness of the game and players in Scotland as a key reason why Celtic struggle against the best teams, and the implicit suggestion that if only their domestic opponents were more skillful, Celtic’s Champions League training friendlies schedule, aka the SPFL Premiership, might prepare them better for these big games.

Pat Bonner said it outright in his commentary of the Bayern game. The weakness of the SPFL is the problem. Several others made the point that Celtic defenders never get the chance to play against top strikers in their own league and are, therefore, somehow unable to cope with it when they do. Others claim that Celtic are so used to being in possession of the ball and winning games easily at home, that when they face a top-quality opponent, they are suddenly caught like a rabbit in headlights without the faintest clue what to do.

I don’t know enough about the tactics of modern football, or the language used to describe systems of play, to critique that in footballing terms, but I do have a reasonable grasp of what constitutes bullshit. And so much of what our journalists, TV commentators, and pundits say, on occasions like this, is, definitely, it.

I blame Celtic for their own failings and the executive branch of Scottish football for facilitating that failure. And I think it is the result of a long-term strategy that has clearly failed.

Here’s how I think it went. Professional football in Scotland looks like it has been organised around a single goal. To generate Scottish success in the Champions League. A good way to achieve that is to ensure that Scottish teams get plenty exposure to that league. The best way to ensure that is to make sure that the same team, or teams, gain regular entry into it. The way to make that happen is to organise the league such that it is unthinkable that any other team could win it.

How might you do that without making it obvious what your intentions are?

Well, first, you lay the financial ground. Allow teams to keep their home gate receipts. That way, clubs are kept in their place, the big two stay big, the middle six to eight, not so big, and the rest, remain almost irrelevant.

To further entrench the financial status quo, you need to ensure that income from domestic sources (particularly TV money) is kept low enough to stop any other club paying for a team above their station, but not so low that mid-sized clubs go out of business.

It is our fault because we are not brave enough. Not brave enough to stand up to the powers running our game and put a stop to this madness.

Next, you would have to ensure that the rules stay in place long enough for the plan to work. Give the two big clubs the right of veto over rule changes. The masterminds of the plan have to be kept in office for as long as possible and committee members must be carefully selected. A generous portion of executives from the big two, and a fair sprinkling of others too afraid of their own clubs going to the wall to bother about grand generation-long master-plans, should guarantee no one rocks the boat too much. Allow a rogue committee member to challenge things every now and again to make it look good for the punters, safe in the knowledge that no permanent damage can be done to the plan.

But what if something unexpected happened to one of the big clubs? That could be tricky, right? The whole plan could be put in jeopardy. On the other hand, what is there to worry about when you have ensured that the decision makers are either on message or too concerned about their own teams’ survival to get in the way of a stitch up. Sure, we lost a few years, but it’ll soon get back on track.

Journalists would get wind of this surely, or even be able to work it out for themselves, right? Well, in a profession that seems to have lost most of its towering intellects to be replaced by either agenda driven zealots or barely literate fan bloggers (like me, I suppose), we might be asking a little too much of them. In any case, the overwhelming coverage of the big two in the national media and the simple fact that promoting Celtic and Rangers sells advertising space means that they are, more or less, complicit, even if they don’t always realise it.

I hope this sounds like the ramblings of a mad conspiracy theorist, but if any of the above rings true (and it does to me), then there might just be some truth on it.

Pat Bonner and those other pundits and commentators are right of course. Celtic’s failure against the big teams is the fault of the rest of Scottish football. Our players and teams aren’t good enough. But fault is a convoluted thing. It is not our fault because we are not good enough. It is our fault because we are not brave enough. Not brave enough to stand up to the powers running our game and put a stop to this madness.

I have absolutely no evidence that there is such a master-plan, or that anyone at the SFA or SPFL has even considered any of these points or the consequences that might flow from them. I even have serious doubts that any of the current leadership have the intellectual capacity to dream up such a Machiavellian plot, let alone execute it. But one thing I do know is that Scottish football is not in a healthy place. Not even a Celtic victory tonight, even if they gave some of their CL win bonus to Kilmarnock, you know, for giving them such a good run out on Saturday, would fix it.

How glorious would it be for the other Scottish teams to be credited for Celtic’s CL victories (especially the big ones)? I imagine the words would get stuck in plenty of throats. Celtic win CL games despite Scottish Football and lose them because of it. That, in a nutshell, is where we are right now. All that is likely to change any time soon is that Rangers will join them again. Something has to change, if only because my TV won’t survive another shoe being thrown at it when some Celtic minded blowhard tells the world that my team is partly to blame for Celtic’s defence not being good enough to stop Neymar or Lewandowski.

This article was first published in the unofficial Dundee Fans Forum https://www.thedarkblues.co.uk/news/scottish-football/enough-is-enough-r542/ on 23 October 2017. Reproduced, in slightly amended form, with their kind permission.

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About Andrak

A Dundee fan, brought up in the city in the 70s and 80s, now lives in England. An accountant by profession and temperament. Working in international development mostly overseas (Africa & South East Asia, mostly). Currently based in Vientiane Laos. Never played football beyond Sunday League but watch as much Scottish football as possible.

718 thoughts on “Enough is enough

  1. Exactly.  Other than simply trying to be smart with debt, tax, possibly employment law etc a la Southampton I can’t think why a company:company construct where the former was the recognised national club and the latter was the european, em, club why that situation would even exist?

  2. Smugas

    Here is a link to the Southampton attempt to separate their club from their holding company even when one actually appeared to exist.
    The reasons why that separation was dismissed by the FA (UEFA not involved) in football regulation terms  and  why the SFA could not support the idea that until 2012 there were two separate entities at play at Ibrox,  is the forensic examination of the Southampton  accounts where the only business in the accounts of the supposed separate company was the football business of Southampton!
    The accounts put forward by Rangers to obtain licences related only to Rangers and are the concrete proof that there was no holding company or at least would be if the FA were the judges.
    The SFA have never declared their position on the matter, even after Traverso told them UEFA’s stance.

  3. CLUSTER ONENOVEMBER 20, 2017 at 18:58

    English not being my first language ( I’m from Maryhill) , I meant to say that they are boasting of their prowess at urine extraction on the other site . Although I agree with your last sentence .

  4. I hear everyone likes an old newspaper article?
    I should post more but i try and keep them relevant to the subject in discussion.
    Anyway here’s one that is not.but i liked the headline.

  5. Paddy Malarkey.   Funny you should mention Maryhill.  I’m desperate for a job.  The only sniff I’ve had of one was in Maryhill.  But from where I come from it was a non starter.  I looked up the timetables of buses and trains (thanks to some help from some guys on CQN) but it was out the question.

    At the time my central heating was broken down. No hot water either.  I have never felt so miserable in all my life.  No money to fix.  I phoned a guy last Friday from the Saint Vincent de Paul.  Within an hour he came up with the £99 I needed to get a boiler repair.  I cannot tell you how it felt to be warm again on Saturday after a month and since. 

    I know my broadband is a luxury I cannot afford.  I rarely go out.  And it keeps me from the absolute bottom of despair.

  6. Is Adam back. Last time I heard from him, he was adamant Craig Whyte would come good! RTC thought otherwise.

  7. TWM #21 With @mattleslie74 and Auldheid. Includes updates on the Fans 4 Judicial Review & Resolution 12, “Standgate”, quotes from John Clark, and Scotland & TRFC managerial vacancies.

  8. That’s a really good Podcast BP.
    An informative and enjoyable listen.04

  9. For the love of the wee man EB stop spouting p++h your club is dead it committed suicide so jog on nothing to be gained.

  10. a new company bought the club?
    please point out what part is the club that charles Green bought.
    Then can you name this company that bought this club?
    and can you now tell me the name of this company today?

  11. I wonder why the apparently prone to error Traverso’s UEFA wrote that “a”  club could apply.  Not “the” club?

    and I’m afraid a CVA isn’t dumping debt hence the requirement for the creditors agreement which you didn’t get.  


  12. I think I’ve got the solution to the biggest, most perplexingest, pure unstaunch problem at Ibrox.
    Three in a row.
    One poster got a five in a row and if it hadn’t been for that pesky STEVIEBC it would have been a six in a row.
    The solution is obvious; henceforth all games involving the Ibrox team will kick off at two in the morning when the rest of the civilised world is aslumber. With any luck the opposition won’t turn up; the Ibrox team kick off; score; there’s no one to restart the game and the Ibrox team gets the win.
    Only possible flaw is if the opposition don’t turn up and the Ibrox team manage to muck up the bit where they score.
    Even Jabba and his minions would be hard pressed to promote a team whose new world record was that they couldn’t beat sleep.

  13. PADDY MALARKEY NOVEMBER 20, 2017 at 17:41
    You referred to Steerpishgate.
    Which particular swamp is this in?
    Ten seconds is all it usually takes to find out if claims such as “unaware and uninvolved” (NOVEMBER 21, 2017 at 01:46) are true.
    Is that two in a row?
    The Chase Is On.

  14. EB, Take some sound advice from a very knowledgeable and talented player, …

  15. I was disappointed to read Joe McHugh’s article on Videocelts yesterday about Hearts “mystery” benefactor, as if, in some way, there was something untoward about it.

    It is difficult to fathom the motive behind who would make such a donation unless of course they have something to hide and want to remain out of the spotlight.

    The existence “mystery” benefactors has been in the public domain since it was announced before work started on the new stand in October 2016.  At that that time Ann stated “The benefactors is basically philanthropic givings, which is very generous” The fact that it has now appeared in black and white in the Profit and Loss account hardly means that it remains out the spotlight, unless the motive is to hide it in plain sight.

    I should also correct Joe’s error of stating that the donation was part of Hearts turnover.  Donations are not part of a club’s turnover.

    Joe goes on to state “it’s realistic to expect that some sort of security has been provided to the ‘generous benefactor’.  Sorry Joe, this is a donation, not a soft loan.
    Ann Budge has used her network of wealthy business associates to benefit Hearts previously, with the 3 year shirt deal involving “Save the Children” being similarly funded. That was announced in April 2015 with the following statement by Ann Budge. “The partnership is being funded through philanthropy in a seven-figure three-year deal that supports both the club and the charity”.    

    That investment didn’t prompt Joe or anyone else to raise an eyebrow then, so why is it an issue now? Surely it can’t be a deflection tactic following the recent spotlight on Celtic’s largest shareholder. 

    The identity of Hearts “mystery” benefactors has been discussed at length on Hearts message boards for some time with various names mentioned including the Roseberry family, partners in a major legal firm and even Ann  Budge herself. 

  16. Ernst Becker 
    I try hard not to make assumptions and a long time ago I checked the purpose of Res12 with a chap who earns a living interpreting football rules. Interestingly I did not mention Rangers in my question but he came back quoting them as an example of what Art12 is meant to stop. 
    The difference between administration and liquidation is creditors agree to a proposal that let’s them recover some of what they are owed from a business they believe can continue on a sustainable basis via a CVA. If that is rejected creditors are saying they don’t believe the basis of the CVA which is a sustainable business exists and have a better chance of compensation from the carcass  of the business where the assets are sold off to pay them.
    In an accepted CVA the business continues, in a rejected CVA it’s good night Vienna.In an accepted CVA the creditors are in effect agreeing to a degree of debt dumping. In a rejected CVA they are not accepting the degree and want recompensed more.
    Thanks for finding that Scotsman article by Andrew Smith, what a story I could tell there but it does confirm what I had been told independently about the purpose of Res12. If Smith ever ran with it in 2012 when Regan and SFA tried to push the new club into the Premier division, I’ve missed it.
    On Art12 note that it says only a football club can be an applicant, then defines the two constructs a club can take. 12a is a standalone club 12b is first of all a club that is a member of a national association that has a written contract with a company to run it, in effect fusing the two into one. The key word is “new” and club/company covers 12a and 12b
    It has to be so otherwise clubs could, like Southampton claim their holding company was insolvent, jettison the holding company and carry on free of the debt accrued via the football business that a club is. The FA rejected that claim for the same reason Art12 exists, it introduces a moral hazard AND is a deterrent to loans being offered to football because if allowed it gives clubs carte blanche to walk away without repayment. 
    Spiritually Rangers will always be Rangers to a Rangers  supporter. It’s like a religious belief and should be left in that context. However just as no religion should try to convince another that the other is  wrong and they are right,  so too should Rangers supporters stop trying to prove to others they are right. The idea of 54 and counting is just a manifestation of that belief, which is fine if confined to the spiritual realm, but when the football authorities try to force that idea into the heads of other supporters when it conflicts with sound and reasonable football rules the football authorities are supposed to apply, then you have the problem that keeps the debate going.
    Same club? The man from UEFA say no. ?

  17. Here’s an interesting excerpt from the latest interview with EBT recipient Alex Rate on the BBC website:

    McInnes’ former Rangers team-mate Giovanni van Bronckhorst has also been mentioned in connection with the Rangers job, but the Feyenoord manager said on Monday: “I have seen the media coverage but I am fully focused at Feyenoord and I will be focusing on Feyenoord for the next years.
    “I obviously had a great time in Scotland with Rangers, I think one of the best times I had abroad.
    “But at the moment, for me, all that counts is Feyenoord. You can never tell, maybe in the future, because it is still a club in my heart.”

    I say interesting, because, if nothing else, what were the journalists basing their story on? Surely not a kite-flying exercise?

  18. AuldheidNovember 21, 2017 at 12:36
    ‘..when the football authorities try to force that idea into the heads of other supporters when it conflicts with sound and reasonable football rules the football authorities are supposed to apply..’
    What RIFCplc/TRFC Ltd and their supporters and the SMSM say is neither here nor there, whether they are consciously lying to the rest of us or are have been shocked into delusion by the emotional blow of losing their club.
    The Truth is that neither the SFA nor the SPFL can  legitimise the Big Lie.  Rangers of old is no more. It has not been, and cannot be , resurrected.
    TRFC Ltd is a 6-years-old football club, utterly unconnected with RFC(IL)- legally, commercially and in relation to football honours earned.
    If there were any kind of link to be made, it would be the shameful one of being linked in cheating: RFC(IL) was,until its Liquidation,in the control successively of master-cheats SDM and CW,   and TRFC Ltd and RIFC plc are also in the control of cheats, some of whom,indeed,  were on the board of the club that is now in Liquidation.
    One would almost feel compassion for the common run of supporter, being so badly let down by the same unpleasant types of businessmen.

  19. For info I see JJ has published an extract of a pending Craig Whyte book.  Looking forward to it.  I just hope he says what happened and leaves it at that (other than being entitled to offer his own opinion on what happened of course).  Please Craig (if you’re reading 04)  don’t go down the well travelled route of others and attempt to embellish simply with a view to adding to the theatre of it all, or saying something just because you think it is what someone wants to hear.  Trust me, it has been theatrical enough! 

  20. Re: this story, extracted from the DR, [with my highlighting] ;

    “Celtic birthday cake bigotry row cop demoted over Rangers ‘banter’ claim

    Another [police] source said: 
    “The person who made the complaint has suffered as well in career terms.
    “It is understandable that a complaint was made. But the feeling is that it could have been handled better.

    “[DCI] Ruth is a big Rangers fan and everyone in the force is aware of this…”

    And allegedly, this officer is a long time RFC/TRFC season ticket holder.
    [Nothing wrong with that choice.]

    …but, could that be partly related to why the Police look the other way at every TRFC home game, [and away game], when the dodgy singing starts?

    Despite complaints to the Police, despite complaints to the SPFL & SFA by supporters…and despite TV broadcasters making very public apologies to viewers at home… 

    If they randomly arrested TRFC supporters, i.e. to simply enforce the law, then there could be a high [?] probability that serving officers would be arrested too – and the resultant adverse publicity, court appearances, and subsequent internal censure would be rather awkward? 

    And generally, Police forces everywhere don’t particularly appreciate arresting one of their own?

  21. WOODSTEINNOVEMBER 21, 2017 at 15:14
    Definitely affecting his brain if he can write this and think it would go unnoticed . Everybody was all over it , weren’t they ?  (from the second link).

    At times, throughout the club’s administration, liquidation and Charles Green’s cut-price asset grab, it felt like we were watching a legalised heist.

  22. If the Whyte book is being/has been written, will the film script follow follow on shortly as well?
    I’m putting my money on Panto superstar Allan Stewart for the lead role. 10

  23. Allan Stewart? Surely not!

    There is only one possible lookey-likey for the role of Craigy – James McPherson, better known as Mike Jardine in Taggart.

    The hair, the suit, the hand in the trouser pocket…

  24. Funny that another BIG LIE denier has appeared lately IMO there must be something about to occur.
    At first I thought he was here because the new CLUB sevco 2012 was about to go into admin .
    Then I read that the old CLUB ragers 1872 debenture holders (remember them) had received £58 for their £1500 investment .
    So could it be that the old CLUB ragers 1872 are finally being put to rest and EB has been given the job of filling the peepils heads with nostalgia of yesteryear .
    Who knows ? but be sure of this ,he is here spouting guff for a reason and I’m sure he will do his level (5) best to let us know .

    Oh sorry I see he is not denying liquidation but is basing his whole pile of guff on an SFA transfer of membership stop laughing at the back

  25. John James in a blog earlier today reviews Craig Whyte’s forthcoming autobiography.  We only have JJ’s word that the book is in the offing, but he reproduces a chapter detailing how Whyte was detained by DCI Robertson at Heathrow after the Mexican authorities had refused him entry.  JJ states that the Motherwell Billionaire will reveal that a rival club approached him to throw a match in order to help RFC’s finances.  JJ has just made the attached Tweet.  I do hope that both JJ and Whyte are on solid ground – it would be an expensive exercise otherwise.  Perhaps Craig’s magic pen might just be his salvation?
    As far as I can see they must be talking about the end of season 2010/11 with three games remaining, namely Hearts, which RFC won 4-0, Dundee United 2-0 and Kilmarnock, 5-1.  In the Killie game RFC went ahead with three early goals and won the League by a solidary point – a close shave, but it opened the CL door for RFC. 

  26. The problem at Ibrox is the soft loan money is required just to keep the lights on.This may have the been the case at the beginning but recent loans are to supplement a higher wage bill for a period of years until RFC improves its domestic turnover and essentially Europa income.RFC could shuffle along and break even on a domestic turnover of 30 million or so with a wage bill to suit but this would risk a drop in ST sales and a far less chance of Europa qualification.
    At the time of preparation, the forecasts identified that the Group would require a minimum of £4.0m additionalfunding by the end of season 2017/18 in order to meet its liabilities as they fall due. The first tranche of funding isrequired in November 2017.Further funding amounting to £3.2m is forecast to be required during the 2018/19 season. However, the final amountis dependent on future football performance and European football participation amongst other factors
    Looks like we are back in Ally territory again.If no european football more loans just to not even stand still

  27. One thing I like about TSFM is that it listens to other peoples opinions and trys to have a reasoned argument if opinions differ….which is all very good and fair. But when someone comes on and it is evidently obvious that they are never gonna agree with stone cold hard facts in front of them, legal decisions etc Then it is time to agree that your never gonna agree and just stop engaging . EB you write very well ( better than me) but Your team died , your team cheated every club in Scotland , your team cheated every football fan in Scotland ( open your eyes they cheated you too ) , Your team cheated the country out of tax , your team cheated hard working businesses out of needed income .  They Cheated not just a little teeny bit but on a HUUUUUUUUUUUGE scale .Stop insulting Creditors , stop insulting the good and fair minded people of TSFM and stop taking liberties with the freedom of speech on this blog . Oh and before you come back with , holding club , engine room subsiduary or other fancy terms …………your club died and you cheated big time, we all know it, the football authorities know it …. and so do you

  28. Billy Boyce November 21, 2017 at 17:23
    As far as I can see they must be talking about the end of season 2010/11 with three games remaining, namely Hearts, which RFC won 4-0, Dundee United 2-0 and Kilmarnock, 5-1. In the Killie game RFC went ahead with three early goals and won the League by a solidary point – a close shave, but it opened the CL door for RFC.
    If it was Romanov that CW was talking about, then there could be something in the decision not to play Zaliukas against RFC.

    Edit: ……. or he has taken the decision by VR out of context.

    Hearts fans do believe that there were several occurrences of “Vlad Flu” during his tenure.

  29. As a follow-on to my previous post, Neil Lennon subsequently questioned Hearts commitment against Rangers at a press conference in the run up to Celtic’s visit to Tynecastle a few days later.

    As we all know Neil Lennon was assaulted by John Wilson that night.  The atmosphere at that game was as poisonous as any I can remember at Tynecastle, right from the start. From a Hearts perspective those comments had provoked an angry reaction in many Hearts fans, although the trigger for the assault was much more related to events on the pitch, including a soft red card for David Obua and Celtic winning the game comfortably.    

  30. SMUGAS
    NOVEMBER 21, 2017 at 14:29

    For info I see JJ has published an extract of a pending Craig Whyte book.  


    It really depends what one means by “pending”.

    “There is already huge media interest in Craig’s story. National newspaper serialisation is guaranteed. True Blue Treachery will be 75,000 words and delivered three months from signature of contract. True Blue Treachery. Sample Chapter”

    It would appear to be “pending” if anyone is interested in actually offering a contract to publish it.

    Did you read any of the “sample chapter”. I struggle to think of why anyone would want to read this garbage. To be fair I have never been a fan of the historic present tense.

  31. IIRC Sevco 2012 were never banned from Europe ,how would they be, they had never played in Europe ,they were ineligible to play as they did not hold 3 yrs association membership  
    if it’s the BIG LIE old club that was banned ,what would they have done to receive a 3yr ban .

  32. Auldheid 
    nail on head my friend .
    Every single one of the peepil freely admit that Ragers 1872 went into admin on 14th feb 2013 .
    Not one of them can tell you on which date they exited admin .
    They wish us to believe that 1872 had the amazing good fortune to stumble across a wee company no one knew existed when the fell into admin and this wee company (let’s call it NESSIE PLC ) happily agreed to take all those nasty debts off ragers 1872 hands and jump into the abyss .
    Anyone who comes out with the BIG LIE GUFF really should be made to start each post with 

  33. AULDHEIDNOVEMBER 22, 2017 at 01:50
    That is so well written and easy to understand that even the blue tinted specks one’s must get it.

  34. UTH

    agreed.  Which is why I ‘asked’ yesterday that he simply says what he believes happened.  Don’t ‘glam it up,’ don’t titivate it with throwaway stiff like clubs offering to throw games etc just for the sake of copies, not if it takes away from the central message of the book which, it appears, is just a massive con (the story, not the book).  A con that appears to have surprised, never mind almost chewed up, someone who has made a career of operating close to the edge of the law.

    and don’t make stuff up!  We’re really quite good at spotting that and in this case he’s going to have both sides phorensically examining what he says.

  35. FAN OF FOOTBALLNOVEMBER 22, 2017 at 07:02
    Every single one of the peepil freely admit that Ragers 1872 went into admin on 14th feb 2013 .
    Sorry should of course be 14th feb 2012 

  36. IMO ,CW was not duped in any way 
    I think he was sourced to do a job and he did it.

  37. SMUGAS NOVEMBER 22, 2017 at 07:41
    I wouldn’t worry too much about spelling.
    There are bigger problems.
    For the second day it’s being reported that Craig Whyte’s interest was peaked.
    It was at this point that my interest weaned.

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