Enough is enough

Avatar ByAndrak

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.

About the author

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Andrak contributor

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 Comments so far

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Big PinkPosted on2:21 am - Oct 31, 2017


Auldheid,

It is a good that the SFSA recanted on their 2.1 thing, but it is a bit more serious than a stumble. I’ve been forgiving to some extent that they have failed to take a proper stand on Blue matters over the last decade and a half, but the naivety over (or ignorance of) something pretty fundamental is a bit worrying – and perhaps a symptom of the absence of ordinary fans in the policy making department.

My disappointment though, concerns the fastidious avoidance of upsetting TRFC fans, and by comparison, the apparent disregard for the sensitivities of the rest of us.

Are they more worried about upsetting the very people who are least likely to support them? Straight out of the BBC playbook that one.

In simple terms, any organisation that purports to lead a broad church should make it their business to understand the political spectrum from which their potential support comes. In this regard they have only heeded a notch of that spectrum.

One would hope that a lesson has been learned. Whilst the rethink is welcome, my confidence in their ability to do any significant good is wavering.

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upthehoopsPosted on7:08 am - Oct 31, 2017


BIG PINKOCTOBER 31, 2017 at 02:21 

My disappointment though, concerns the fastidious avoidance of upsetting TRFC fans, and by comparison, the apparent disregard for the sensitivities of the rest of us.

To be fair that has also been the stance of the Scottish Government, the Scottish Football Authorities, the Scottish Media, and indeed many other Scottish football clubs since day one of this disgraceful saga. 

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upthehoopsPosted on7:18 am - Oct 31, 2017


For those who have not heard the Tom English / Alex Rae debate about a ‘strong’ Rangers here is the link. Perhaps it’s just me but the arrogance in Rae’s voice is breathtaking. 

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SmugasPosted on10:26 am - Oct 31, 2017


UTH,

Without listening back Rae’s sole argument from memory was that of “the negotiations.”  He inferred that a competitive Old Firm meant that Sky bid higher than they otherwise might due to advertising exposure. 

Firstly, the only bit that Tom let me down on in an otherwise stellar second half comeback was to not ask who the biggest benefactors of Sky’s largesse historically had been?

My point here however is a question for those more involved in such matters.  Could Sky seriously drop their price further?  Given the non existent marketing of our game, ably demonstrated by Alex Rae’s comments, I would have thought that Sky’s price was already so low that it has obviously allowed BT in the door already but I’m guessing BBC or even STV wouldn’t be too far behind given the opportunity?  In other words I just don’t think “the negotiations” is a factor, at least not negatively.

Unless of course he was suggesting that we all contribute to a strong rangers (technically a strong Old Firm (sorry) but Celtic are already there under their own steam as it were) thus encouraging Sky to raise their price?  Because that is exactly what I believe he was suggesting, he just wasn’t articulate enough to sell it properly.   

The scraps from the table shouldn’t be enough.  Not when they’ve been blatantly exposed as just the scraps.

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Cluster One

Cluster OnePosted on12:04 pm - Oct 31, 2017


It is now five years to the day that Lord Hodge approved the Liquidation of rangers football club.
5 years and still the SMSM just can’t come to terms with it.

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jimboPosted on1:21 pm - Oct 31, 2017


David Murray’s knighthood.

I’m not a big fan of Britain’s honours system.  Yes for people who do extraordinary things.  Life saving heroes, Charity workers (over and above).  Even the lolly pop lady or gent to be all inclusive of all levels of society.

But captains of industry?  No thanks!  They are paid a fortune and retire with a nice little sum.  Probably thousands below them who work just as hard for a pittance.

I also include Doctors, teachers, prison governors, the usual suspects who earn good money and retirement benefits for just doing their jobs.  Some in this category went to University for years  (Doctors esp.) and cost the country a fortune to train them.
Don’t even get me started on senior civil servants who get a title automatically when they reach a certain position or number of years service.

Any award with the word Empire in it should be renamed.

The whole thing stinks.  Mussolini, Ceaucescu, Mugabe all got Hon. knighthoods, later stripped.

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John ClarkPosted on2:05 pm - Oct 31, 2017


Cluster OneOctober 31, 2017 at 12:04
‘…It is now five years to the day that Lord Hodge approved the Liquidation of rangers football club.’
__________
” P1134/12  Pet. RFC 2012 plc to wind up
31 October 2012
” The Lord Ordinary,having heard Counsel on the motion of the petitioners
…….
orders,in terms of sections 122-124 of the Insolvency Act 1986 that RFC 2012 plc (formerly the Rangers Football Club limited) a company incorporated under the Companies Acts (with company number SC 004276) and with its registered office at Ibrox Stadium Glasgow G51 2XD (“the Company”) be wound up by the court,……”
            ——-
Pretty conclusive.The club it was, that died.
And all the prating   about ‘the company died but the club just changed hands’ is just a lot of eyewash and sweet fanny adams.
And until that simple fact is recognised, Scottish Football is living a lie.

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Big PinkPosted on3:13 pm - Oct 31, 2017


Great blog from Andrak. Very thought provoking take on one aspect of the game where we don’t have an SFM consensus.

Given the failure of Alex Rae on radio recently to understand that the game is NOT about just one or two clubs, I thought the timing was perfect for this.

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bordersdonPosted on3:33 pm - Oct 31, 2017


John ClarkOctober 31, 2017 at 14:05__________” P1134/12  Pet. RFC 2012 plc to wind up 31 October 2012” The Lord Ordinary,having heard Counsel on the motion of the petitioners…….orders,in terms of sections 122-124 of the Insolvency Act 1986 that RFC 2012 plc (formerly the Rangers Football Club limited) a company incorporated under the Companies Acts (with company number SC 004276) and with its registered office at Ibrox Stadium Glasgow G51 2XD (“the Company”) be wound up by the court,……”            ——-Pretty conclusive.The club it was, that died. And all the prating   about ‘the company died but the club just changed hands’ is just a lot of eyewash and sweet fanny adams. And until that simple fact is recognised, Scottish Football is living a lie.
——————————————————————–
Chust so JC, chust so! (showing my age)

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jimboPosted on3:38 pm - Oct 31, 2017


A very good article by Andrak, hard to disagree with much of it.  I see he is in Accountancy.  Not quite the same as Economics but nonetheless, related.

I think it’s all down to Market Forces. Things like supply & demand, market share etc.

Celtic are not in the top 3 pots of CL groups for a reason.  Yes it’s based on past results but what lies behind that?  In terms of financial muscle, we are small fry, relatively speaking.  The best players go to the richest teams.  They congregate around about say, a dozen clubs.  This ‘dozen’ clubs have the demand (and the money), the top 50 players in the market place supply that demand.

it’s the same in Scotland at a much smaller level.

 “the overwhelming coverage of the big two in the national media and the simple fact that promoting Celtic and Rangers sells advertising space ”  Mention was also made about TV deals in the SPFL.   It’s the same argument.  The demand is for games involving the big two.  I wish it were different but it comes down to numbers.

I don’t know how you can change it, it’s part and parcel of a Capitalist society.

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Cluster One

Cluster OnePosted on4:28 pm - Oct 31, 2017


All that is likely to change any time soon is that Rangers will join them again.
from the above blog.
I just can’t see anything from ibrox joining celtic anytime soon, but apart from that a good article

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bigboab1916Posted on5:09 pm - Oct 31, 2017


upthehoopsOctober 31, 2017 at 07:18
For those who have not heard the Tom English / Alex Rae debate about a ‘strong’ Rangers here is the link. Perhaps it’s just me but the arrogance in Rae’s voice is breathtaking. 

Go straight to 7.44 and you will hear an EBT recipent admitt a sporting advantage. Straight from the donkeys mouth.

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It’s about the talent!Posted on5:36 pm - Oct 31, 2017


I don’t agree with much of this article. The fundamental reason why Celtic underperform against the big guns of Europe is basic lack of talent.

Celtic have arguably just two players, not a full team, that are world class (or have the potential to be world class) and they are Dembele and Tierney. For club teams, when it comes to talent, money is king followed a distant second by having an excellent first-team manager and coaching team and an excellent youth development system to bring through young local talent. The latter relies on organisation and the highest quality modern coaching methods.

For national teams, the country’s population size is king, followed by organisation, vision and excellent youth development systems in all of that country’s top clubs. It is possible to have one or the other and over perform, Iceland and Belgium being cases in point. The same goes for clubs. But to be truly world class (regular semi-finalists of Euros, World Cups or Champions Leagues) you need all attributes to be working well.

If Celtic are doing relatively well at the moment it is because we have an excellent manager and coaching team, but there is a limit to what we can achieve with the players that we have. We may get the odd good result against better opposition, but on average, over time, the better teams will do better. I believe Celtic’s level is Champions League group stage qualification more often than not, last sixteen once in a while and last eight only if the cards are dealt very favourably and the effort is superhuman. Beyond that is literally impossible in the current climate.

If Celtic’s current players were playing against teams week in week out that were of a much higher standard than what they play against now, I believe we would see a moderate improvement with a slightly better average performance in the Champions League than what we are seeing now. The need for a “strong Rangers*” (and a strong Hearts, Aberdeen, Hibs, etc.) would be good for Scottish football as it would improve the quality of the product, but with what is achievable with the money floating around Scottish football the argument that it will push Celtic to become an on-average much better team in the CL misses the point completely. To become a world class team on a regular basis, Celtic need money, and lots of it. However, that will never happen in Scotland.

The reason why that will never happen in Scotland is because money is linked directly to television audience. To achieve the necessary level of income requires operating in a (western-world) television market supported by a population of around 60 million as a minimum (larger for non-western, poorer countries, e.g. Brazil, Argentina, etc.). England, Spain, Germany, France and Italy all have this. The ONLY way forward for Scotland is for Scotland’s top clubs to join up with other similarly disenfranchised countries until a television market of 60 million or greater is synthesised. There would still have to be local national leagues with promotion and relegation into and out of the big league, or something, the details would have to be carefully thought through, but the basic premise is right.

The barriers Scotland face to seeing a future such as this are multiple: 1. a reluctant UEFA, who are lobbied heavily by the current big hitting clubs who would not want to see a challenge from clubs from conglomerations of smaller countries, and 2. our own FA. The SFA are too corrupt and self-interested to give up their blazers to a new association. The SFA would also be worried about the status of the Scottish national team, but this argument has no basis.

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AndrakPosted on6:08 pm - Oct 31, 2017


Jimbo,

“I don’t know how you can change it, it’s part and parcel of a Capitalist society.”

It would be the very oddest kind of capitalist society that was run like a private members club with rules on financial conduct and other regulations designed to ensure a semblance of sporting integrity. I’m not suggesting they are effective rules and regulations, just that it is anything but laissez-faire capitalism.

I’m afraid the complicity of FIFA, UEFA, and the SFA have brought us to a place where, as you say only 10 or so clubs can afford the 50 best players. But ask yourself, how did they get so big? was it ordained somehow, luck, footballing performance, or pure competitive advantage?

A bigger question might be “What is the financial gap between those top ten and the middle ranking clubs in their home leagues?” Of course the gap between the Old Firm and the middle ranking clubs in Scotland is ridiculous and has been for so many years it makes a mockery of any notion of capitalism. In economics, its called a monopoly and is rightly frowned upon.

The solution is to dismantle the infrastructure that keeps the big guys big and the other guys small.  It is fundamentally unfair that Celtic and Rangers are permitted to remain so powerful compared to other teams in the country. I don’t doubt they would, under almost any system, be the biggest two, but would they be, economically, ten or twenty times bigger than their nearest rivals, I doubt it.

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AndrakPosted on6:27 pm - Oct 31, 2017


Well IAATL,

I’ll see your “I don’t agree with much of this article” and raise you, you display exactly the kind of attitude that my article suggests is the problem. How good a team Celtic are is not the issue, and nor is how good they could be. I’m looking for an entertaining competitive football league in Scotland, not a successful Celtic.

I have a feeling that many people would agree with you, but that has nothing to do with the point I was making. In fact, your comment provides a perfect example of how blinkered many fans, commentators, and journalists in Scotland have become, and how they avoid discussing issues of fundamental importance.

By the way, I do agree with your assessment of where Celtic are, and I would add, since Brendan Rogers came, it has almost been a pleasure to be humped by them regulalrly. But that doesn’t mean I think it is right. I’m sure Derek McInnes feels the same.

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SmugasPosted on6:42 pm - Oct 31, 2017


But but money makes no difference.  LNS said so ……

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John ClarkPosted on6:43 pm - Oct 31, 2017


jimboOctober 31, 2017 at 15:38
‘…I don’t know how you can change it, it’s part and parcel of a Capitalist society.’
____________
There is, of course, no one single way,jimbo.
But a return to a proper understanding of the inter-dependency of competing clubs (in whichever sport) would be a beginning.
It takes two teams to make a football match, and a number of clubs to form a league.
So, while the higher drawing power of a club might have to be recognised, so also does the presence and competitive effort of the other have to be (proportionately,albeit) recognised and appropriately rewarded.
The starting point there would be for the members of a League to have a close look at the voting structure built in to their Articles of Association or other Rules, and try to ensure that ‘financial might’ doesn’t confer absolute power of veto over propositions for change.

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CrownStBhoy

CrownStBhoyPosted on7:01 pm - Oct 31, 2017


IT’S ABOUT THE TALENT!OCTOBER 31, 2017 at 17:36
davidcarty commented on Enough is enough.
“I don’t agree with much of this article….”

I had contemplated a comment on “Enough is Enough” (some of which I agree with) but I do have to say this response covers all and more of my own thoughts from start to finish!

Just had to say thanks and excellently put sir!

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causaludendiPosted on7:26 pm - Oct 31, 2017


Excellent post (article?), bravo sir! ??

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It’s about the talent!Posted on8:28 pm - Oct 31, 2017


You can tinker until you are blue in the face (the SFA are already blue in the face) with the structure of Scottish football, but you will never change the fundamentals. So long as only one team is allowed entry into the Champions League, Scotland can only support one big club with an expensive team. the odd anomaly aside, the team that spends the most money on players wins the league. As things stand, without Financial-Fair-Play busting input from a sugar daddy, a club that aims to entertain around 50,000 people every other week needs an annual turnover of around £70 million. This can only be achieved in Scotland with group-stage Champions League money for approximately three seasons in every five. Celtic are running away with football in Scotland because the structure of European football dictates that this be the case. Rangers* are partly in the mess that they are in because they simply do not earn enough money to sustain a business that hopes to host 50,000 people every other week. These are the fundamentals, not helped by the fact that Rangers* have been run by a shower of charlatans since they were invented five years ago. If Scotland had two CL places Rangers* would stand a chance, but it would be very tough, especially given that currently they are not even good enough to clinch the second place they would need to qualify for the CL. Imagine Aberdeen with CL money?! Like I said in my previous post, Scottish teams need TV money commensurate with the big leagues in Europe; without that Scotland is doomed to a continual status quo that has virtually nothing to do with teams other than Celtic being strong or not. It’s UEFA’s fault for their blatantly discriminatory CL structure and the SFA’s fault for their complete poverty of vision, integrity, talent and leadership.

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coineanachantaighePosted on8:56 pm - Oct 31, 2017


http://www.thenational.scot/sport/15629239.Celtic__39_s_invincibles_deserve_more_praise/

Couldn’t find this in the morning edition (it was in my digital edition as I’m a subscriber) and for a wee while there I thought they were hiding it from the Ragers fans.

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jimboPosted on9:05 pm - Oct 31, 2017


Andrak,

Welcome aboard!  Watching the Celtic game just now, just popped on at HT for a wee look.

Stay around you have brought up some great talking points. 
Speak to you later, maybe tomorrow.

Jimbo.

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It’s about the talent!Posted on10:23 pm - Oct 31, 2017


Hi Andrak,
I’ve just been rereading your article and as far as I can tell you spend a long time making two points:
1. It makes you angry when commentators blame other Scottish teams for Celtic’s poor performances in the CL.
2. You think the Scottish football “ecosystem” works (possibly setup deliberately) for one goal – to keep the big two big and the rest of the teams down by allowing home teams keep their gate receipts and by keeping TV income low.
I was wrong when I said in my original post that disagreed with most of what you said. I actually agree with half, point 1 and some of point 2. I get angry too when I hear commentators talking Scottish football down. Imagine any other industry where key stakeholders rubbish the product that makes them a living? It beggars belief when you think about it. If I was a fan of Dundee like you are I would feel doubly aggrieved if I thought my team was being partly blamed.
Point 2, though… jeez. A better fairer share of gate receipts? Stop deliberately negotiating a terrible TV so the smaller clubs get more money? Oh dear. I think you’ll find that kind of small-thinking attitude is what is keeping Scottish football down, not my attitude.
Actually, you’re right in the sense that the Scottish football authorities’ main goal is to get things back to the way before Rangers died as soon as possible. Given that Celtic have, since Fergus McCann, been more than able to stand in their own two feet, one can only conclude that the Scottish football authorities’ sole goal in the last five years has been to benefit one club only. And that’s including bringing them back from the dead!!! The poverty of their ambition is staggering.
Scottish football needs radical thinking in the face of small mindedness and vested interests. Only then will things improve for ALL Scottish teams. The SFA needs ousting. Period. Those clowns will take us nowhere. Until that happens and they are replaced by true visionaries, Scottish football is going nowhere.
Who is going to do it though? Celtic? They’d be on to a loser right from the start as all anyone would have to do would be to claim that they were anti-Rangers and Celtic would be on the back foot immediately. Internet bloggers? They certainly have the knowledge, they could be men of action, but they are gutless and are happy to keep their heads below the parapet and continue to comment anonymously. Fans? I don’t think so either. They simply don’t have the means.
I’m very downbeat about it all.

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John ClarkPosted on11:34 pm - Oct 31, 2017


It’s about the talent!October 31, 2017 at 22:23
‘..one can only conclude that the Scottish football authorities’ sole goal in the last five years has been to benefit one club only. And that’s including bringing them back from the dead!!! The poverty of their ambition is staggering.’
___________
Yes.

We can all understand the mind-numbing panic that set in when the unthinkable happened- a club ‘too big to fail’ actually went tits up into Liquidation.

[And not even an ‘honest’ liquidation, caused by economic circumstances beyond the club’s control.
Oh, no.  it was caused  by cheating on a scale that incurred a massive debt to HMRC ( i.e, the rest of us!) that so  frightened the cynical arse of a majority shareholder that to save his own personal business he sold the club to a chancer, who just as cynically killed it.]

But you’re absolutely right, Iatt: in their blind panic our SFA lost its mind.

It bullied, blustered, threatened and, essentially, lied not for the sake of Scottish Football as a whole ( and Tom English demolished the stupid self-contradictory Rae on the ‘need’ for a strong TRFC Ltd) but for the sake of a fiction that attacks the very essence of sporting competition, the fiction that a now 5 year old club is a club that is 145 years old and is entitled to bear the honours and sporting triumphs earned over 140 years of that club’s existence. And simultaneously also the sporting honours of a 5 year old club.

Poverty of ambition isn’t in it.

Rank rotten maladministration and deceit is nearer the mark.

In my opinion.

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John ClarkPosted on12:20 am - Nov 1, 2017


It’s about the talent!October 31, 2017 at 22:23
‘.. Internet bloggers? They certainly have the knowledge, they could be men of action, but they are gutless and are happy to keep their heads below the parapet and continue to comment anonymously.’
__________
Well, I think you must keep in mind that you are posting anonymously as well!19

The sad fact is that there are some very bad, mentally unbalanced, folk out there, lunatic enough to cut throats or pour petrol through letter-boxes.

I imagine that our SFM folk are prepared to stand up in appropriate public forums [ok, ‘fora’] like, for example, plc AGMs, or letters and emails to the SMSM, and say their piece.

To use the language of a fairly well known historical figure, none of us is obliged to make a present of our lives to the bad guys!

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John ClarkPosted on12:58 am - Nov 1, 2017


Does anyone remember seeing any of our SMSM folk raising a question about the Bryson view of ‘player eligibility’ that allowed Nimmo Smith not to hammer RFC(IL) with playing ineligible players?

I don’t.

No one seemed to ask on what basis Bryson founded his extraordinary claim that a registration  invalid at the time of registration  was  not invalid if its invalidity was not discovered until after the registration!

A piece of Alice in Wonderland nonsense.

Has anyone researched this nonsense, and shown Bryson to have been talking through his fundamental orifice?

Did he give chapter and verse, and cases of precedent?

Or was he just allowed to open his mouth and let his belly rumble as servant of a complicit SFA?

And have his word taken as gospel, without challenge?

Some would say, ‘of course he was’

This is the SFA!

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macfurgly

macfurglyPosted on1:39 am - Nov 1, 2017


ANDRAK,
“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,…”
“Pat Bonner and those other pundits and commentators are right of course”.
The performance of other Scottish teams in European competition in recent years has been abysmal unfortunately. Average attendances at all SPFL clubs last season can be found here:
http://www.european-football-statistics.co.uk/attn/avesco.htm
TRFC, Hearts, Aberdeen and this season Hibs are all attracting enough cash through attendances to compete financially with the teams from Luxembourg, Malta, Latvia, Iceland, Sweden and Slovenia at least which have knocked our representatives out. DFC and DUFC should be able to attract 8,000+ also I think.
OK, TRFC have made an ar*e of it, Hearts are emerging from Admin. and building a new stand, Aberdeen are trying to build a new stadium, DFC are considering one too, Hibs have just emerged from the wrong division and DUFC are still there, but we are punching below our weight in the Europa League. Smaller clubs, including ST. J., are not taking up the slack. There is a skill problem.
I am old enough, just, to remember the days when Dunfermline, Kilmarnock, and Hearts were successful in European competition, never mind Aberdeen and Dundee United. Dundee’s hammering of Cologne was before my time.Things were better then. So what went wrong?
“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”.
I would contend that in recent years, Scottish football has been, first and foremost, organised around assisting TRFC to become a force comparable to their predecessors at Ibrox. Celtic will, I expect, carry more clout than others in the Members Club and will seek to look after their own interests as they see it. Alex Rae etc are wrong by omission. Scottish football needs a strong TRFC and HMFC and AFC and the others too, although I could easily do without TRFC altogether, for other reasons.
“Well, first, you lay the financial ground. Allow teams to keep their home gate receipts”.
That is never going to change, nor should it. Celtic are entitled to keep the profits from their business and are not a charity for the benefit of other clubs. As are TRFC, HMFC, AFC and Hibs.
“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”.
I agree this is a problem, but the opportunity to radically change this existed when the fledgling TRFC were making their way up through the lower leagues. The Members only tinkered with it. IIRC Wiggy bottled 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”.
Not in mine, and I’m a Celtic fan. Our players need to be stretched most weeks, to learn their weaknesses.
“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”.
Regan and Doncaster between them have the intellectual capacity to construct the concept of players being, “imperfectly registered, but eligible to play”, the whole LNS whitewash,  a non-existent franchise structure which allows RFC(IL)’s history to be transferred to TRFC and most recently a QC’s advice so convoluted that Groucho Marx would have been proud of it. They must go, as a starting point, along with Andrew Dickson, whose position post Supreme Court is untenable.
“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”.
That’s the way it looks to me, if “we” are the Directors of the Member Clubs. There is a correlation between quality and finance and at the moment a redistribution of tv revenues would help. So would better scouting and coaching to address the skills problem.
Celtic will continue to dominate the Scottish game for years. The other clubs should be aiming to take points off them and put a dent in Europe. The responsibility for doing so lies with them, not Celtic.

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AndrakPosted on6:52 am - Nov 1, 2017


IATT,

I think we might just have to park our ‘who has the smallest mind or the narrowest vision’ competition and let the readers decide for themselves.

A final point from me though, my piece is not about Celtic or Rangers. It is about Scottish Football, which, for those of us outside the OF bubble, simply does not revolve around the fortunes, conspiracies, injustices and pantomime-style public pronouncements of the two clubs and their fans.

In some ways Celtic and Rangers are actually victims of the current situation, although, at the same time, they are, of course, perprtrators, or at least co-conspirators. The in-fighting between the executives and fans of the two clubs, which is evident from your posts, is just very boring for the rest of us to have to endure (because it dominates the national media, airwaves, and blog-sites – including this one).

I will continue to believe in and write about how I think we can begin to heal the damage done to the game in Scotland in the last twenty odd years. It will take many years to do it and I’m pretty sure that opposition will come most strongly from the OF clubs and their supporters. I’m also sure that there are many football fans around the country who want to change things more than just superficially. Glasgow Rangers, with or without the definite article, or whether they are 5 or 145 years old is really not important in the scheme of things.

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tamjartmarquezPosted on7:24 am - Nov 1, 2017


Stefano Salvatori, Scottish cup winner with Hearts in 98, has passed at 49, after a battle with cancer.
Thanks for the memories big man.

Requiescat in Pace

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bigboab1916Posted on9:08 am - Nov 1, 2017


Why we have survived despite the pish been spouted.
Great performance in football terms v Bayern and how football should be played.
Gordon-Forrest-Brown-Tierney-McGregor-Armstrong-Griffiths. FFS thats the backbone of an International Scotland squad.
If you were to throw in Christie you are only looking for two more to complete a Scotland SquadHenderson and soon to be McGinn.
We have bloodied other like Ralston and Miller we need a strong competieive leauge not a strong two horse race rival.

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FinlochPosted on9:12 am - Nov 1, 2017


Andrak,

I really enjoyed reading your piece.

Scottish Football has evolved with self interest of biggest and most dominant clubs into a situation where despite their efforts our dominant football club is essentially a rabbit in the fast developing European and world football situation.

Football is radically different to what it was when we arguably as a nation punched above our weight all those years ago.

Scottish football has its own idiosyncracies but it is not totally unique or even different – there have been winning clubs and losing clubs and winning leagues/countries and losing leagues/countries in the European and worldwide battle for both internal and external revenues to “compete”.

It is not Celtic’s fault they are a well run club marooned in a situation where they will continue to do everything they can to dominate domestically only to then struggle against the real super-clubs who see the world as their oyster rather than their domestic market and their season book revenues.

Celtic and Rangers certainly have disproportional and dominant fan numbers and turnstyle revenues in our wee country (for reasons that are not all about football) and also many like-minded fans in the Scottish and Irish diaspora but they no longer compete with the Man Utds or Barcelonas or Real Madrids, or Chelseas or Bayerns in fan recruitment in India, China other emerging markets and most importantly in total revenue generation.

And that is where football at the very top is heading as it follows the money.

What we see today with our Champions League and super-clubs is just an evolution point as Football goes global.

That is why we have seen a rush of international interest in buying the clubs who can deliver the power that in reality their money is seeking to buy.

I think it is too late to set up a “second division of countries” i.e all of Europe except for England, Spain, Germany, Italy and Paris. (It should have happened years ago)
I think trying to emulate a tv based revenue model that is probably already ancient history won’t catapult the clubs like Celtic, Ajax and others back into the big league.

The smart money might be either on looking to whatever the next step will be when the superclubs move on or deciding it is better to see football as something different where winning the top world competition is not the aim. 

In the meantime we are left with a mess and no leadership in our domestic game.

We have an SFA and an SFPL who are both working to recreate what we used to have rather than what we as a nation really need.

We have two clubs who can block any change if it doesn’t suit them.

We have an international mens team who have under-performed for over 20 years.

We are dealing with active and live toxicity in our game as a result of a peculiarly Scottish sectarian seam running at the heart of some fan recruitment and complicated wildly by the recent decline fall and regroup of the Ibrox club.

Palpable anger abounds right through our game and nobody including the politicians want to go anywhere near it.

So we have a toxic product where the only big namer sponsors are the equally toxic Internet and high street betting companies.

And for years we have systematically ignored and now forgotten that the most important stakeholders are the fans. 

We are rudderless but its not simple and yes there are some good things we can celebrate.

I’m not particularly reassured however by a very good Celtic team who are doing us proud to come third (behind two world giants) in their group league.

I’m not surprised at the silverware or the record domestic run – its all they can do for their shareholders and fans.

But they are caught in a self repeating rat trap because what they wish for is no longer attainable.

We need leadership and vision and change and it won’t come from the clubs or the SFA or the SFPL.
  

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Homunculus

HomunculusPosted on11:33 am - Nov 1, 2017


Andrak
October 31, 2017 at 18:08 
The solution is to dismantle the infrastructure that keeps the big guys big and the other guys small.  It is fundamentally unfair that Celtic and Rangers are permitted to remain so powerful compared to other teams in the country. I don’t doubt they would, under almost any system, be the biggest two, but would they be, economically, ten or twenty times bigger than their nearest rivals, I doubt it.
=========================================

I believe you are an accountant, so hopefully you can clear that part up.

How exactly are Rangers powerful. It is a loss making business, surviving on loans from it’s directors and their associates, it has been for every year of it’s existance (other than the share issue, where the proceeds were for the most part used to fund operating losses). It has basically continued where the previous club left off, it is spending more than it is legitimately earning.

In what World are Celtic and Rangers “… economically, ten or twenty times bigger than their nearest rivals …”. If we take that to be Aberdeen their turnover last year was c£13.5m and they had a profit of around £500k.

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Bogs DolloxPosted on12:00 pm - Nov 1, 2017


Some cracking thought provoking posts from Andrak and Finloch which address the real issues facing Scottish football from outside the OF bubble and yet it gives rise to a Gerry defensive response from some whose only aim is to preserve the status quo. Interesting.

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Bogs DolloxPosted on12:05 pm - Nov 1, 2017


** for Gerry read very in above post

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billyj1Posted on12:16 pm - Nov 1, 2017


Excellent debate. Keep up the good work.

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Homunculus

HomunculusPosted on12:30 pm - Nov 1, 2017


Bogs Dollox
November 1, 2017 at 12:00
===================================

I wouldn’t dream of speaking for Aberdeen supporters, or indeed other Celtic supporters, however by status quo do you mean well run well supported clubs earning more money, spending within their means and being succesful at least partly because of that.

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Bogs DolloxPosted on1:01 pm - Nov 1, 2017


HomunculusNovember 1, 2017 at 12:30
Bogs Dollox November 1, 2017 at 12:00 ===================================
I wouldn’t dream of speaking for Aberdeen supporters, or indeed other Celtic supporters, however by status quo do you mean well run well supported clubs earning more money, spending within their means and being succesful at least partly because of that.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
With a reply like that I sense you are not prepared to engage with the other wider structural issues raised by Andrak or Finloch. It would be good to tackle these matters head on instead of getting all defensive and retreating into your OF bubble and being facetious.

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SmugasPosted on1:12 pm - Nov 1, 2017


Do they win because they’re big or are they big because they win?

Pretty much covers it.  The money argument shifts it very much to the former. 

In fairness to Celtic they’ve never really hidden from that fact although equally I don’t suppose they’ve ever really had to defend their latter standpoint since the irish immigrant charitable thing kind of speaks for itself.
 
On the other side, there are those desperate that we believe and glibly accept its the latter.  In fact some have even convinced themselves, and I’m not speaking about LNS pochelling.  Instead this whole RRM, what its like to pull on the jersey nonsense and yet those following this path cannot understand why we don’t blindly follow their lead and that’s ignoring the triflingly small detail (in their eyes) of rampant institutional cheating for 12 years.  

The truth, as always, lies somewhere in the middle.  But you can’t pick and choose the bits of the truth that you like (the myth) and ignore those that you don’t.  In a competitive environment like football if you’re cherry picking the good stuff (winning) somebody else is bearing the bad bits (losing)  Its the truth because its the truth, not in spite of it.  And courts refer to the whole truth for a reason.

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Homunculus

HomunculusPosted on1:22 pm - Nov 1, 2017


Bogs Dollox
November 1, 2017 at 13:01
=============================

I was replying specifically to your comment about maintaining the status quo.

I don’t have to cover every other point made in the blog and subsequent discussion in order to do that.

The fact of the matter is that both Celtic and Aberdeen are well run businesses which make a profit by generating income and living within that.

I really don’t see why either club would want that to change, other than to generate more income and make bigger profits obviously.

With regard the “OF bubble”, I personally don’t think that exists. Even if you were to have considered there to be one prior to Rangers being liquidated (and I didn’t) there certainly isn’t one now.

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SmugasPosted on1:31 pm - Nov 1, 2017


With respect 99% of the articles written on McInnes being “the perfect man/ obvious candidate/ real blah blah blah article of the last few days would suggest otherwise.

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Homunculus

HomunculusPosted on1:35 pm - Nov 1, 2017


Smugas
November 1, 2017 at 13:12 

Do they win because they’re big or are they big because they win?
=========================================

I think we really need to remember that Celtic weren’t always winning, didn’t always have big crowds, and didn’t always have the type of turnover they have now. 

The business had to be fundamentally changed in the mid nineties and has built from there*. There have been a few times when they got carried away with themselves and lost the plot, for example being £18m in debt when getting to the UEFA Cup final, with a lot of the support clamouring for the club to spend a lot more money to “get to the next level”.

It is good corporate governance and sustainable growth, allied to some shrewd trading in the transfer market and excellent commercial activities (like the Nike deal, now NB) which have gotten Celtic where they are today, at least financially.

People like Brian Quinn, a quiet unassuming man (who also had a Doctorate in Economics and was Deputy Governor of the Bank of England) take a lot of credit for where Celtic are just now.

*In the 1993/94 season the average league attendance was c22,500, the lowest attendance was under 10,000.

By 2000/01 it had become an average attendance of c59,000 and the lowest was over 57,000

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nawlitePosted on2:44 pm - Nov 1, 2017


In my opinion, the big question for Celtic and Celtic fans in the current no-Rangers environment seems to be whether or not Celtic is willing to give up some money to help other clubs improve their standards so that they provide more competition to Celtic thereby forcing Celtic to further improve their own standards which in turn may make them more likely to do well in CL competition and therefore make more money than they can in the status quo situation. (Apols for the long sentence; told you it was a big question!)
I’m discounting the unlikely ‘outside’ possibilities such as moving to the English leagues, a North Atlantic league, a Euro Division 2 etc.
As a neutral, I see the pros and cons for Celtic as
Pros
Increased domestic competition should make Celtic stronger over the course of a few years, so may earn more money in the future if they are able to go further in European competition
Improved standard of domestic competition may allow the dimwits at the SFA/SPFL to negotiate more valuable deals with TV and sponsors to the benefit of Celtic and other clubs
Possible better performance in UEFA competitions by other Scottish teams may eventually benefit Celtic by way of country coefficient (though this proportion of overall club coefficient has just been reduced, I believe)
Cons
Celtic immediately weakens itself by sharing income (be that gate money, TV share, UEFA share, whatever)
Immediate lost income impacts shareholder satisfaction and may threaten future investment
Immediate lost income threatens Celtic’s ability to buy the level of player they currently buy, let alone improvements
Immediate lost income threatens off-field development
Future increase in domestic competition may threaten Celtic’s future domestic performance and participation in UEFA competition
All the above threaten future success/profit

I am sure there are other pros and cons, but at first glance, I don’t see ANY business being willing to do anything that threatens its current performance for possible long-term gains that may arise but are certainly not guaranteed. Would Celtic benefit sufficiently by doing something to improve domestic competition that it would allow them to compete with the top clubs in UEFA competition and, as a result, allow them to generate more success/profit than they are doing now? I don’t see that any football man or businessman would say so. Why should they take that risk? 
I absolutely take your point, Andrak, about the structure of Scottish football and, more importantly, how inept the SFA are in looking backward to what we had instead of what we might need (copyright Finloch), but based on my Pros and Cons, I can’t see a reason for Celtic to do anything about it, so it’s unfair of anyone to expect them or their fans to support a move toward gate sharing etc. Equally, I know the SFA/SPFL people are rank at running and planning our game, but I actually cut them some slack here because I don’t think they can resolve this problem on their own either. I’m with IATT at 17.36 – it’s about UEFA and their support for/fear of the big clubs. Someone has to stand up for the smaller clubs/nations and perhaps Scotland’s authorities could be the first to do it, but it’s hard (for all the reasons IATT mentions! Perhaps a coalition of smaller nations does need to give UEFA  a poke.
Me? As I’ve said before I’ve reached the stage where I’m ready for the top four from England, Germany, Spain, France and Italy to piss off and form their own league. 

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scottc

scottcPosted on3:00 pm - Nov 1, 2017


I’d like to see statistics regarding the ground covered by the various players last night. I lost count of the number of relatively tight TV shots where 3 or fewer Celtic players were ‘covered’ by 8 or more outfield Bayern players. They were everywhere

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DunderheidPosted on3:10 pm - Nov 1, 2017


ScottC

See here for screen shot of the match stats: http://www.celticquicknews.co.uk/brave-celtic-just-fail-but-earn-well-deserved-praise/

Looks like a very even contest, statistically speaking.

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DunderheidPosted on3:25 pm - Nov 1, 2017


Nawlite

Interesting thoughts.

I also wonder how the Celtic Board currently views the SFA, SPFL and all other domestic rival clubs at this time, given the shocking state of governance in the game as a whole and the singular lack of support for Celtic’s questioning of same.

It strikes me as highly improbable that (at this time and maybe at any other time, given the commercial realities) Celtic would gladly agree to give more of its prize money to its domestic rivals.

Maybe something could be worked on vis-a-vis TV income, but it would be small beer in comparison to the riches of the CL – which is where I think Celtic wants to see itself competing in the medium to long-term.

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nawlitePosted on4:32 pm - Nov 1, 2017


Dunderheid, I agree Celtic see themselves succeeding/profiting in the CL. BR talks about it regularly. The sort of changes people are proposing to improve competition are unlikely to happen because they wouldn’t benefit Celtic sufficiently in the long term.
Your comment re how Celtic view the authorities and other clubs is interesting, but you have to remember Celtic is a big part of those authorities given PL’s (and others from the Celtic boardroom) position at the SFA . 

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bluPosted on5:03 pm - Nov 1, 2017


Thought-provoking blog Andrak, perhaps a bit misunderstood by some. As ever, it’s those who are strongest and hold the power, who feel as if they’ve most to lose. It’s perfectly understandable that Celtic supporters want to continue to see the growth and development of their club since the arrival of Fergus McCann, particularly satisfying when set against the implosion in Govan. But is it good for Scottish football and is it sustainable long-term? In his undoubtedly envy-driven argument, easily swiped aside by Tom English, Alex Rae (Souness influenced?) surely touched on something – if only Celtic can win the league over a period of more than 10 years, what’s the point? It actually confounds logic that Hearts and Hibs have invested so much in their grounds and Aberdeen are desperate to do the same.
I thought that John Clark made a telling point earlier –

But a return to a proper understanding of the inter-dependency of competing clubs (in whichever sport) would be a beginning.  It takes two teams to make a football match, and a number of clubs to form a league.

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AndrakPosted on5:22 pm - Nov 1, 2017


Great post Finloch,

There is not much in your piece to disagree with. I do think there is more we can do, though. I actually think the lead might be taken by politcians in the end. The ludicrous and unfair domination of the game by two cubs who were instrumental in ensuring said domination is a terrible situation to have to endure. Products are beng sold (eg the SPFL) that are not what they purport to be. The game is rigged as sure as if Celtic and Rangers handed over brown envelopes filled with cash to all referees. It was just done over a longer timeframe and in more subtle, but just as devestating, ways.

I have no idea where Scottish clubs would stand in comparison to the clubs of other European nations had these injustices been avoided. What I do know is, that in the forty years before the key changes to gate receipts and rule changes took place in the late nineties, Scotland had six teams that reached major European semi-finals or finals. There were seven different winners of the top league in Scotland. Our national team rarely missed a major competition finals and there were key Scots in most successful English teams. In the twenty years since only two Scottish teams have been in major Eurpoean finals. Only those same two have won the top league. Scotland hasn’t qualified for a major competition, and there are precisely no Scots even in the squads of the current top five in the EPL.

As far as I can see, the executive of Scottish football is not trying to get back something they had before (I assume you mean in relation to Rangers). I think they are just pushing the same old agenda which happens to require a partnership of collusion between the two big clubs for its continuation.

The whole structure should be dismantled brick by brick. An equitable voting system put in place. Equitable financial distribution of wealth generated by the game applied. And a new leadership model developed that is more accountable and accessible to fans and government.

I have some thoughts on a few other areas that we might consider changing that I will post later.

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AndrakPosted on5:38 pm - Nov 1, 2017


Homunculus,

Point taken, I should have said many of their competitors.

About Rangers being powerful. I can’t help you there. It appears it means an awful lot more to you than it does to me how big, old, and strong they are. My point is about the power they weild over Scottish football, not their business model or quality of their management.

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AndrakPosted on5:55 pm - Nov 1, 2017


Good stuff Nawlite,

I don’t disagree with your analysis. And I agree with your conclusion. Celtic would be insane to give up what they have now, even if it did offer possible greater riches in the distant future. But leaving it up to Celtic is not what I am advocating. I would like Scottish football authorities or the Scottish government to intervene and make the changes that are necessary. The very fact that we are having a conversation about why one club would not want to disolve the fabric that has brought it enormous and guaranteed wealth, and has the wherewithall to ensure it doesn’t happen, illustates perfectly what’s worng.

I should point out that I think Celtic are rightly praised for the way they worked themselves out of financial problems in the 1980s and early 90s. If only Motherwell, Dundee, and Hearts had their own Fergus……. Of course Celtic remain a model for many clubs while the others teeter on the brink, one relegation away from possible administration.

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AndrakPosted on6:24 pm - Nov 1, 2017


Good point Blu.

It must seem strange to outsiders that clubs are investing in facilities when some think they are doomed to mediocrity with no chance of winning the league or European glory. Even serial underachievers like Hearts and Dundee are or might be about to spend millions on improved stadiums. Aberdeen will probably spend much more than both combined.

I agree with many posters on here that Alex Rae’s argument was…. incomplete, to say the least. His belief, that the league will become pointless if Celtic continue to dominate so completely for many years has a ring of sense to it. His solution, to have a strong Rangers – as the only team who could possibly provide adequate competition to Celtic’s footballing hegemony – is not only weak, but appears to suggest that the complete domination of Scottish football by two teams instead of just one, is an acceptable state of affairs.

English’s counter was to suggest that the league has not, and shows no sign of, becoming pointless, as evidenced by the aforementioned investments on the East coast and the success that a few wee teams have had in cup competitins in recent years. I don’t actually buy that. I worry that these investments might turn out to be a giant gamble. The bet is that the current mini-boom in non-OF attendances will continue and clubs will be able to sell the extra seats. There is clearly also a hope that better and nicer stadiums will attract more fans and maybe even music concerts, large events, and, in Dundee’s case, funerals. I hope I’m worrying over nothing.

Plenty people, on this forum and others, will be quick to point out that footballing success is what brings punters through the turnstyles. If we continue to limit the opportunities for footballing success to the two national cup competitions, then Mr Rae might just have been on to something.

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nawlitePosted on6:30 pm - Nov 1, 2017


Andrak, like you I think ‘something’ needs to be done, but within the current structure I’m not sure what. We agree Celtic won’t seek to change; Rangers has already ‘changed’ so it’s now a monopoly rather than a duopoly. I’m not sure if that makes much of a difference – I suppose one dominant force makes things more obvious than two. After all, you highlight the relative strength in the 30-40 years to the mid-90s when the duopoly was there. Most leagues, of course, are the same  – Spain has Barca and Madrid; Germany Bayern and Dortmund; England has a clear Top 4 – so are we right to query how fair it is that our 10 or 12-team league has a duopoly? Those leagues have interlopers – Leicester, Atletico, etc but is it really that different in recent years?
We agree Celtic won’t seek to change and, in my opinion (and yours I think) the SFA won’t seek to change (other than to help get back to the duopoly). You suggest that the government might intervene, but I cannot honestly see that happening. They refused to intervene when a lack of football governance cost them many millions of taxpayer money and have refused to intervene when many public court cases have proven that people involved in the running of football and football clubs have done damage to the national sport. Can we really expect them to intervene to make sure that the smaller clubs get help to be more competitive? I don’t think so.
That leaves only a challenge to UEFA to somehow get back to a competition structure that drives a more level playing field across the board. That in turn allows individual football clubs and country authorities to curtail the money chase that passes for sporting success today. In sport, there is nothing wrong with chasing money, but if new money found can be shared more equitably, then that can only be good for competition within the sport.

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AndrakPosted on7:11 pm - Nov 1, 2017


Nawlite,

Maybe I’m just an optimist, although following Dundee for 40 odd years, you’d think I’d have learned my lesson by now.

I still hold out some hope that the Scottish government will do something. I agree with you that they have  failed football miserably, in recent years particulalrly. But that might just be why the pressure might build on them to do something in the near future.

UEFA might be interesting. I like the financial fair play rules, but think they don’t go nearly far enough. Maybe after they get themselves sorted out and start to stand up to the ‘big leagues’ they will begin to put sensible logical regulations in place with the sole purpose of increasing the sporting integrity and equity within the sport (instead of maintaining the financial dominance of a dozen individual clubs).

I’m not just an optimist, of course. I believe that, in football, as in other things in life, injustice and inequity rarely last. It has a tendency to disintegrate slowly (and occasionally quickly) from within. I believe if we allow it to disintegrate on it’s own the result will be worse for the game here than if proactively re-order things slowly and carefully over the next five years or so.

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sannoffymesssoitizz

sannoffymesssoitizzPosted on7:29 pm - Nov 1, 2017


An interesting blog and discussion.The previous redistribution of funds came from the Premier division to the Championship upon creation of the SPFL. As there is little or no TV coverage at Championship level, can fans of the clubs who have been in the Championship please give their views on

1. whether this additional income has significantly benefitted their clubs

2. what the SPFL can learn from the above that would lead them to initiate further redistribution as suggested by Andrak

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Cluster One

Cluster OnePosted on7:35 pm - Nov 1, 2017


I eventually got around to listening to the Tom English / Alex Rae debate. I did promise myself not to go there,but in the end there was a lot said on it and i had to go there. Souness is so out of touch with scottish football he still called it the SPL.when Alex said he use to bring friends up for the old firm and now they don’t bother.Mr english could have said i bet they would if you could get them a champions league ticket for parkhead19
Anyhow if Alex’s friends don’t want to come up for games now i’m sure there are plenty of people in scotland who will bite his hand off for an invite.What i maybe did not catch was if Alex’s friends were all rangers supporters? and when they use to travel north it was in the more expectation that the ibrox club would win and it was a good day all round for Alex’s friends.But now it may just be a case of feck travelling all the way up there to see that rubbish at ibrox getting humped.

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Cluster One

Cluster OnePosted on8:03 pm - Nov 1, 2017


ANDRAKNOVEMBER 1, 2017 at 18:24
English’s counter was to suggest that the league has not, and shows no sign of, becoming pointless, as evidenced by the aforementioned investments on the East coast and the success that a few wee teams have had in cup competitins in recent years. I don’t actually buy that. I worry that these investments might turn out to be a giant gamble
————-
The thing about football is everything is a giant gamble.Celtic are where they are by limiting those gambles going wrong. who’s to say BR was going to be a success at celtic?Look at ibrox they had a visionary who was destined to be English manager one day.what if he and his team took the SPFL by storm, would we all be having this conversation now?The fact of the matter is if Pedro was to be as good as a manager and his players were as good as they were made out to be celtic just getting everything right just now would be overshadowed by the juggernaut that was coming from ibrox.
celtic may go onto win ten in a row,they may also not.
Not everything in football that is predicted will come true,in the long term.Even in the short term we can’t predict what may happen,even in the short term that is a 90 minute game cannot be predicted to have the result we think it will be.
———–
sorry for my over long post’s

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Cluster One

Cluster OnePosted on8:11 pm - Nov 1, 2017


Re the Alex Rae thing.
 i just seen this and hope it’s ok by the mods.
Tony McKelvie@TonyMcKelvie22mReplying to @Barcabhoy13/ “Scottish football needs a strong Rangers” is simply code for “I’m a Rangers fan and I can’t be doing with this pish”.

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John ClarkPosted on8:18 pm - Nov 1, 2017


I received a reply today from Lord Currie of Marylebone, Chairman of the Advertising Standards Authority, to my letter of 31st July and my reminder of  a week or so ago.
I thought I’d sort of scan it and then post it (suitably redacted) in a post on here. Sadly, my techy skills are not quite up to it. It’s ended up in ‘pictures’ and what’s on the screen seems not to be amenable to the ‘copy and paste’ procedure. It seems to be PDF file and I’ve never been able to open them on my windows 10.
How can I save  it as a document that I can copy and paste?

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Cluster One

Cluster OnePosted on8:30 pm - Nov 1, 2017


Maybe screen grab it JC 

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gerrybhoy67Posted on8:55 pm - Nov 1, 2017


I clicked on this a couple of days ago in error i may add and just can^t believe they could print this story and not compare with similar money doping at their favourite club/company
http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/kick-paris-saint-germain-out-11433885

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TrisidiumPosted on9:10 pm - Nov 1, 2017


The gate sharing model (of any kind) argument is moot I’m afraid. Whilst Celtic would most definitely not seek redress in the courts over the illegalities concerning player registration and licence issues, they have an historical contingency in place to do exactly that in the event a new model is agreed on sharing revenues.

Of course Celtic would not be alone in their resistance to such a development. Aberdeen, Hearts, Hibs and TRFC would almost certainly supply ‘hauners’ if that set of circumstances arose.

Of course the principle is arguable on both sides, but the fact remains that the disparity in wealth is no healthier for football in general, any more than it is for society in general.

My view is that football, like society, is an interdependent business. We all need each other. I doubt many tories, or top five club chairmen, would agree with me but we are where we are.

As a Celtic fan, it disappoints me that the club have an entrenched view, because the logic of that position is that they don’t see their long term future as part of the Scottish game. The RFC disappearing act didn’t do any further damage to the game in Scotland, but neither has its long term outlook taken a turn for the better – not even if TRFC, either sooner or later, become the competitive force of their predecessor. Armageddon didn’t happen of course, and most likely never will, but The Promised Land will never be reached either, because there is no means of transport to take us there.

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Cluster One

Cluster OnePosted on9:11 pm - Nov 1, 2017


I can’t remember if this has anything to do with JC’s letter? but a small reminder of ASA  for anyone who may have missed.
 https://www.asa.org.uk/rulings/the-rangers-football-club-ltd-a13-224406.html
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The Rangers Football Club Ltd (Newco) explained.
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if they explained it to ASA it’s ok then

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SmugasPosted on9:31 pm - Nov 1, 2017


Good debate.  

A question to Andrak but by all means fill all your boots!  Where do you think player loans fit into this redistributive equation? Taking Christie at Pittodrie as an example I am firmly in the camp that Id rather have him for 10 opponents than none at all but I can’t deny his absence then weakens us for the game we really need him.

Id put it in the camp of it helps AFC to 2nd but equally ensures they get no higher.  And of course suffice it to say Celtic do benefit because Christie plays to the highest level possible and so their player value benefits.

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coineanachantaighePosted on9:32 pm - Nov 1, 2017


Should I wait till midnight before I laugh at the McInnes will sign for Rangers on Wednesday nonsense?
They seem already to have a deflection story up – Pardew should sign for Rangers.

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John ClarkPosted on9:42 pm - Nov 1, 2017


Cluster OneNovember 1, 2017 at 20:30 ” Maybe screen grab it JC”
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Honestly, C1, I uderstaad the concept, but haven’t a clue how to do it: and would I be able to remove my identifying particulars from a screen grab?

I usually have Mrs C to call on with these queries but that resource is not currently available.

I’ll just type the text here:
The letter is on ASA headed note-paper, and is dated 31st October(by post)[ it came in today at lunch-time!]

“Dear ..
Thank you for your letter.

I appreciate that you disagree with the ASA ruling involving Rangers Football Club.

However the decision is final.

The original adjudication was subject to Independent review-following a request by the complainants in the case-and during this process the ASA Council carefully considered all the relevant points under the Advertising Code and amended their wording but not their decision.

Our published ruling puts on the public record our findings in this case. This explains clearly the nature and scope of our investigation including our enquiries to SFA and UEFA.

Even if the claims were to be made again in the present day, the ASA would not re-open the case as it has been through all due processes and we are satisfied the claims do not mislead.

I’m sorry if this causes you disappointment.

Yours sincerely,
( handwritten signature)
David Currie
Lord Currie of Marylbone,
Chairman”
__  __ ___

A civil enough reply, but one which really doesn’t answer the point I had made about their enquiries being kind of one-sided, merely asking two bodies who could reasonably be seen to have an interest in the ‘Big Lie’ being upheld.

The ASA is not, of course, a statutory body, being self-regulated and funded by the Advertising industry, so there is no further ‘appeal’ after the ‘independent review’ already carried out in this case.

So, kind of like the LNS situation-where important ‘evidence’ was  simply taken from a representative of a body with a vested interest in the ‘right’ outcome, no further questions asked.

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Cluster One

Cluster OnePosted on9:56 pm - Nov 1, 2017


JOHN CLARKNOVEMBER 1, 2017 at 21:42
————
Did you post  the Duff and Phelps email with your letter and if you did they the ASA  are still satisfied the claims do not mislead.

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John ClarkPosted on10:27 pm - Nov 1, 2017


Cluster OneNovember 1, 2017 at 21:56
‘…Did you post the Duff and Phelps email with your letter..’
_________
sadly, C1, I found it difficult to gather both my wits and the kind of material you instance.

Or rather, I wasn’t sure whether I was trying to argue the case from the beginning, or trying simply to draw the new Chairman’s attention to it as something he might want to look at ,the way that the investigation was done, i.e. consisting simply ( it would seem) of asking the very people who had an interest in denying that TRFC was a new club and was therefore un-entitled to claim to be the ‘world renowned’ Glasgow Rangers.

I did include  a copy of the text of the Traverso (UEFA) letter in which Traverso referred to TRFC as the new club/company in the context of them (at the time) having to wait 3 years from 2012.

I might, on reflection, have done a better job. But ASA had made it clear that they would not communicate further on the matter, so my letter to the new Chairman was written in no great expectation of a reply!

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nawlitePosted on10:48 pm - Nov 1, 2017


Tris, it seems you support Celtic doing something to improve competition, saying you are disappointed that they are not open to some form of doing so. In my post this afternoon I stated – as a neutral – why I couldn’t see sufficient benefit to them in doing so.
Can you clarify why you think they should when doing so effectively amounts to a risk with no guarantees that it will improve their situation longer term? No business in its right mind would take that risk in my opinion.
Are you suggesting Celtic should simply be philanthropic?

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Ballyargus

BallyargusPosted on10:49 pm - Nov 1, 2017


As an avid reader of this site I can’t understand why so many of the posters seem to resent a successful Celtic. Apart from earning CL money they regularly have more than 50 000 paying supporters and many non-match going followers who buy mechanise and pay into the club in other ways. Other clubs benefit from the travelling support and from a UAFA payout.The fact that they have won 6 League titles in a row and are favourites for a seventh seems to annoy some on here and in the press.A previous poster was commenting on earlier times when the league was more competitive but there was no mention of Celtic winning 9 titles in a row, a feat equalled by the old Rangers. I can’t recall much grumping  about that.Look at the League table just now and you’ll see that it is very competitive.Celtic are only 1 point ahead of Aberdeen with 7 points separating the next 5 teams. That seems a healthy league to me and brings me back to why all the criticism?

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jimboPosted on11:03 pm - Nov 1, 2017


I remember years ago when Britain was governed by a Democratic Socialist Party – The Labour Party.  Whom I support.

There was a steel industry in Britain. A huge one.  Ravenscraig springs to mind.

The thinking was, create jobs for the unemployed.  A fantastic idea.

Lets say the dole money was £50 pw.  Employ the same ‘man’ for £100 pw in an nationilsed industry.  He would pay a moderate amount of tax & NI.  Buy things, pay VAT on his purchases from his new found wealth, everyone would be happy.  The net cost to the government/ country might only be back to £50 pw.  But the man would have the dignity of being employed and contributing to society.  What could go wrong?

Supply & Demand.  That’s what!  Britain manufactured more steel than it needed.  Exported surplus at reduced prices.  Thatcher stepped in and sold the whole industry off for a pittance.

The manipulation of market forces does not always work out for the best.

Celtic have more supporters worldwide than the entire support of every club in Scotland (including The Rangers) combined.  It means we are richer and can enjoy the results of that here in Scotland.  Not in Europe however. Where we are still small fry.  Although able to hold our head up now and again, like last night.

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jimboPosted on11:40 pm - Nov 1, 2017


So the idea that we could ‘manipulate’ the Scottish Football industry to make it more equitable is laughable.  It is down to numbers.  Laudable as it may seem it wont work.

Shared home receipts? Don’t make laugh.

I didn’t like the idea of the big two having a veto in the old days.  I believe it is no longer the case.  I believe in democracy.  A simple majority.

Can anyone imagine the overheads involved in operating Celtic Park?  And our world class academy?  Shared home receipts on 50/50?  So that smaller clubs can live the life of luxury on the back of season ticket holders at CP?  You have to be joking!  Socialism only goes so far.  Or do you want a Russian style Republic?

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John ClarkPosted on12:13 am - Nov 2, 2017


jimboNovember 1, 2017 at 23:40
‘..Shared home receipts? Don’t make laugh.’
____________
The debate is not about 50-50 splits, jimbo, but about the recognition of the inter-dependence of businesses of ‘football clubs’, which are competitors in sport, not true market-place competitors.

No football club can exist unless there is another club to stage matches against!

That was realised in former generations, when it was eaksy-peaksy with whatever  gate-money was handed in by the guys at the turnstiles, honest and true as they were[!19 ‘ ach, jist climb o’er, wullie’ I have heard with these very ears of mine in the days when above the turnstile was painted, black on white, ‘Admission 2/6 inc PT’. ( ask yer granpaw).

It’s something of a mystery to me how it came about that home club began to take all ( less levies and expenses).

It seems only common sense that inter-dependence should again be recognised, and some method that translated that recognition into a fairer share of gate receipts should be restored.

A one super successful club is philosophically a contradiction!

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jimboPosted on12:14 am - Nov 2, 2017


If I was a Martian (from Mars) and I landed on Earth, was looking about for a sport to follow, I would support Celtic.  The amount of money they raise is unbelievable for charities all close to our hearts.  Not just here in Scotland, Britain, Ireland but worldwide.  Marys Meals for instance provide thousands and thousands of poor kids every day with a square meal to stave off starvation.  It’s a club with a heart.  Millions every year from the Club, the Foundation, the supporters clubs, Social Media (like CQN).

I realise most clubs have a charitable arm.  Which I admire.

As anyone who has put up with me over the years on here will know I have a fondness for most clubs in Scotland.  But if I was a Martian, it would still be Celtic for me.

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jimboPosted on12:38 am - Nov 2, 2017


John,
You are going back to the old days which we all fondly remember.  The days when a club was a club.  I remember when my dad lifted me over the small turnstiles. I hated it! I wanted the thrill of going through the turnstile!

But as you know, things weren’t perfect then either.  Owners & directors were ripping the shit out us all.  I wont go into all that.

You more than most know how its an industry now.  Some say its part of the entertainment industry.  How many times you been to court now?  To watch people taken to task over many millions of pounds involvement?   To watch cheating and underhanded shenanigans ?

I understand we need competitors.  Most of whom I like.  We cannot operate alone.  But like everywhere else in the world some clubs will be bigger than others.  Our Lord Jesus once said “There will be poor always”  Doesn’t mean to say the rich man is necsarrily bad.  But He also said it is more difficult for a rich man to enter The Kingdom of Heaven.  In that sense I think Celtic will be fine.  See my post above.

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John ClarkPosted on12:50 am - Nov 2, 2017


jimboNovember 2, 2017 at 00:38
‘.. How many times you been to court now?’
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Walked out a free man every time!19

Same as a whole lot of others that had actually been in the dock!13

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