In Whose Interests

Any organisation’s plan for a top-down review of development would ordinarily be welcome news. Self evaluation, or even better independent evaluation is an ongoing process amongst professionals, individually and collectively alike. In the case of the SFA however a healthy scepticism is required. We are after all dealing with people who are the poster boys for self-interest and short-termism.

The SFA had previously commissioned a thorough review of the game (decades ago) by Rinus Michels, the inventor of “Total Football” and his report was largely ignored, partly because it implied criticism of the then current regime, and partly because it would cost money. A “Total Shambles”.

Henry McLeish also famously recommended (again after being commissioned to do so by the SFA) a more balanced approach to governance between the SFA and SPFL. This would have required a blazer or two having less say in the running of the game – and was therefore ignored.

Mark Wotte, the prominent Dutch coach hired as performance director at Hampden also suggested during his tenure that, in order to improve technique, more ball time should be provided for players in games.

He recommended seven a side competitions as the norm for u-15s (less players – more participation).

To accommodate this, club infrastructures would have required expensive upgrading, and coaches in clubs, not responsive to new ideas lobbied hard for the status quo.

The upshot is that we carried on with the same eleven-a-side games where many players hardly got a kick.
And in this classic Einsteinean definition of insanity, no overall improvements were to be found in the national team’s fortunes.

No wonder Wotte fled the scene in 2014 after three years.

Of course the details are debatable and subjective, but experience tells us;
Anything that
a) costs money or
b) upsets old boys’ networks
has a tendency to be hidden out of sight.

The recent “announcement” is merely a reaction to a couple of poor results, caused in part by inaction in the wake of previous reports’ recommendations.

An increasing number of observers of our game refer to an inferior mindset amongst players in Scotland, that we accept losing as the norm.

Hardly surprising that such a mindset is prevalent amongst professionals.
They must despair at the chronic self-interest, ineptitude and fecklessness of the “leaders” of our sport – an organisation that appointed Gordon Smith as CE (think about that for a minute) based on who his pals were, where McGregor and Petrie can become senior officers – “because it’s his turn!” – despite being unqualified squares in a round ball game, and where fairy-tales take precedence over reality.

As long as the blazers have a seat on the SFA bus, nothing will change.

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About Big Pink

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

1,004 thoughts on “In Whose Interests

  1. John Clark @ 19.26

    Greed has caused CFC plc to sell its soul without a blush , pretty much as the SFA/SPFL sold the soul of Scottish Football integrity to a miserable wretch.

    Brother Walfrid will be turning in his grave


    JC you have never put it better! I can only add that all clubs are complicit. As we know!! (not a fan of TD's but the reaction to your post on this site is wow just wow)





  2. John Clark @ 19.26 and bordersdon 11th November 2019 at 21:29

    I totally agree that the Celtic board has sold it's soul over Sevco and Res 12. As a Celtic supporter I am shocked at how they seem to let Sevco and the SPFL/SFA walk all over them with hardy a protest. Without making a laundry list of grievances it's suffice to say that there would seem to many Celtic fans on here who won't hear any criticism of their club at all without listening or looking at the facts.

    How else can the last few posts above this have so many TDs.

    Some of you need to go re-read the facts of the last 7 years and then come back and reconsider your TD decisions.

  3. JohnClark@19.26

    This trade mark embarrassment serves to underscore the resistance Celtic FC have demonstrated towards Resolution 12. The logical question to ask therefore is what else is still hidden from public scrutiny? 5 Way Agreement perchance?

  4. “OLD FIRM”

    As with Resolution 12 the document is evidence that the Celtic board are/have been misleading supporters and shareholders.

    Who and Why

  5. Ex Ludo
    I don’t know if there are any conclusions to be drawn over the IP situation. Perhaps John C has it right on the marketing angle. It may well be that Celtic take the view that being involved in the ownership of the brand allows them to marginalise its use. It may also be that I’m being too kind to the Celtic board. John’s wider point though, and your’s is correct. Celtic are driven by self interest, or what they see as self interest, as demonstrated by their avoidance and delay tactics on the Res12 issue, and running interference on any attempt to shine a light on the darkness of the 5WA (of which they were aware), and the efforts being made by fans to hold power to some kind of accountability.

    On field success has immunised them thus far, but they are not out of the woods yet. The perfect storm is brewing; a hostile rejection of Res 12 at the AGM followed by NIAR hitting the buffers will be the mother of all reality checks. Unlikely perhaps, but not the stuff of fantasy that it appeared to be only a few months ago.

  6.      For some reason 50% ownership of the IP ended up in the hands of Sevco. How much say CFC PLC had in that is anybody's guess. However, willingly or not, CFC PLC found what can only be described as a "partnership" thrust upon them.

        Registered just a year ago, it would appear it was not just a straight forward transfer procedure that occurred upon the death of Rangers (I.L.), but a drawn out affair. 

        For CFC, voluntarily relinquishing their 50% share, presenting Sevco with the opportunity of 100% ownership would not be an option. The puzzle lies in why CFC lawyers have not, or were unable, to have the previous agreement expunged.

        I guess it was a similar scenario to that faced by Sports Scotland, (I think they were called) over the Murray Park funding grant, which was also the ownership of Rangers(I.L.).

       In law, that was also registered into Sevco "ownership", after a long unexplained delay.    



  7. Corrupt official 12th November 2019 at 04:31 

    ',,,   In law, that was also registered into Sevco "ownership", after a long unexplained delay.   '


    I posted about this some time ago, expressing the view that Sport Scotland  seemed suddenly to realise that the legal entity to which they had given a good few quid of our money had ceased to exist except as an entity in liquidation, and therefore that thee was  no legal obligation on TRFC Ltd to pay any heed to the conditions that had been imposed.

    Hence we had that very late transfer of the 'RFC of 1872' obligations to TRFC Ltd.

    SportScotland showed themselves up as being suckers ( or succulent lamb eaters) in thrall to the 'establishment club' who for about two years had swallowed the SFA/TRFC lie that SevcoScotland?TRFC was the RFC of 1872 which had received the money.

    Some dozy people are damned lucky not to have lost their jobs over that episode, in my opinion, whether for turning a blind eye or for downright incompetence.


  8. While I prefer to leave direct criticism of non-cheating clubs and/or their successors to supporters of those non-cheating clubs, I'd just like to say how noticeable, and so Sevco supporter like, the plethora of TDs is to posts critical of the Celtic board when gauged against the number of posts (currently zero) challenging anyone posting said criticism. By all means give any post you disagree with a TD if you want, but at least have the guts to justify your TD with a post challenging the poster directly and setting out a counter argument, or just your own thoughts on why such criticism of your club might be wrong.

    We have all been fulsome in our praise, and indeed admiration, for the Resolution 12 guys, so these unsupported TDs for criticism of the very board so obviously blocking its progress are quite strange, to say the least. In fact, this obvious dislike of posts critical, not of Celtic FC itself, but of its board, is so typical of how those not protective of our game's integrity are getting away with it time and time again. It is, I think, an example of the 'tribalism' that those running our game take advantage of to run roughshod over all that they should be respecting, including us, the people who keep the game, and their cushy number, alive.

    A TD without a counter argument is so Morelos like in its fly kick and hide behind the petted lip style.

    PS I do acknowledge there are times when someone will come on and post something that is deserving of nothing more than a TD when to respond would not be in the best interest of the blog, or our sanity.

  9. And so it rumbles on. SFM has been pointing out the deficiencies in the way Scottish football has been run since it’s (SFM) inception.

    SFM and the numerous and varied contributors would be at fault if they chose to focus on the behaviour of only one club and ascribe all of the problems manifesting themselves today as solely the responsibility of that club. 

    Whilst it is certainly true that RFC was the catalyst in all of this, the lack of leadership and the furtive behaviour of many of the other actors in this drama has poisoned the environment. A period of glasnost and perestroika is sorely required as well as perhaps truth and reconciliation.

  10. It couldn't possibly have been a six-way agreement , with the involvement of CFC , could it ?

  11. Allyjambo 12th November 2019 at 09:48

    T'was ever thus.

    A few folk stick their head above the parapet from time to time but there is clearly a significant number within the site readership who cannot handle any criticism directed towards the club from the East End.

    Despite their great dislike for the club from Ibrox and those in the corridors of power at Hampden, they fail to recognise (or should that be 'finger in the ears and shout na-na-nana-na)  that their board and masters do not share their views and are more than happy to have T'Rangers, King and all that goes with him sit alongside them.

    When the largest club in the country is happy to go along with the 'big lie' and accommodating cold shouldered criminals then why should smaller clubs, with more than enough worries on their plate, take up the charge.

  12. "For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole worldbut loses his soul?"  something Peter Lawell should reflect on . The soul of any club is its fanbase and sporting integrity is the quality test of its achievements . Without a Rangers* there may well be a drop in attendances at Celtic Park but to deliberately sacrifice sporting integrity to accommodate a rival who happily cheats will lead to a total boycott and rightly so . Sometimes you just can't have your cake and eat it. Sometimes hard choices have to be made and doing the right thing is in the long term more important than doing what is more profitable in the short term. As for the thumbs down -thumbs up , it is if one wants to manipulate a relatively easy thing to do and give the impression of support or disdain for any particular post and I have noticed recently on one or two specific posts an irregular pattern so take the thumbs with a pinch of salt , a comment for or against carries more weight.

  13. I vaguely remember that HJK Helsinki having a sell-on clause (25% ? ) in their deal with TRFC wrt the transfer of Mr Morelos . Am I correct ?

  14. To prove the point I have just issued myself 10 thumbs up in under 5 minutes (I will stop now) 

  15. The SPFL's annual report to 31 May 2019 has just been published by Companies House.  It will no doubt be of interest to many posters that the highest paid director (Neil Doncaster?) received a healthy pay rise of £91k taking his remuneration for the year up to £388k. That is despite the SPFL's total revenue falling by more than £1.1m from the previous year.

  16. Re the use of TU and TD, perhaps only those logged in should be allowed to use this facility and then only once in each post to avoid the possibility of  multiple abuse as exampled by Timtim at 11.02am.

  17. Forget about the dwindling support for the Scotland team…


    it looks like the players don't want to be involved either.


    And who can blame them?

  18. I hadn't looked at this site for a couple of days and when I did I saw the number of Thumbs Downs and asked myself the obvious question: What's Spoutpish been saying now?

    Reading further I found out that an innocuous comment about Trade Marks and Intellectual Property concerning the "Old Firm" was the trigger. 

    This matter was raised and discussed in the past without any resolution.

    It may be that Celtic are blocking T'Rangers taking over the "Old Firm" and monopolising it for whatever means. It may be that Celtic are operating or co-operating with T'Rangers for whatever means.

    I think Celtic have been asked in the past what the position is and if there had been a meaningful definitive answer there would be no discussion now.

    The origin of the "Old Firm" phrase is not clear. The two versions I've heard are commentators referring to the old, firm friends and a reference to the Old Firm of a commercial, business, limited company nature.

    Either way the phrase has no relevance or sensible meaning today.

    A simple two word phrase falls on both counts.

    Before anything can be called "Old" you have to wait for a lot longer than seven years to pass.

    Before anything can be "Firm", be it in partnership based on friendship or finance, you are going to need something other than the attitude, noise, behaviour, actions and statements coming from one half of this putative "Firm" before the other half would want or need anything to do with it.

    From memory Celtic have gone out of their way not to to utilise the phrase preferring the neutral derby description. Celtic fans took a page in the Sunday Herald to expressly state that the next game between Celtic and T'Rangers was the first meeting between the clubs. Nothing Firm or Old about it.

    If you're looking for evidence to support the "it's the same club" view Peter Lawwell wasn't helping when he famously, at a Celtic AGM no less, in response to a question from the floor about the media reporting Rangers as a club founded in 1872, said "Rory Bremner can pretend to be Tony Blair." For a man much maligned, possibly fairly on occasion, his view is crystal clear.

    As far as the Thumbs Downs are concerned it is hard to take seriously any discussion about any Ibrox based entity concerning itself with Property, particularly when it is Intellectual.

    I can see the point of Thumbs Ups but without some accompanying comment I don't see the point of simply TDing.

    Unless it's Spoutpish when TD says it all.

  19. @Ballyargus

    I think it would probably be more trouble than it's worth and in general I don't think it's an issue it was only on a relatively few posts that I was questioning what was going on and could be down to one individual with nothing better to do . I was merely bringing the ability to manipulate to peoples attention so they didn't take a flurry of thumbs down personally.

  20. easyJambo 12th November 2019 at 12:46

    The SPFL's annual report to 31 May 2019 has just been published by Companies House…


    Can't say I took much notice at the time of the appointment,

    but how prescient that the TRFC MD – Stewart Robertson – was made an SPFL Ltd. Director, as recently as July 22nd. this year?


  21. Mordecai@13.59

    Pretty decent analysis provided by JJ in that piece. One can only hope that Hugh Keevins and Alex Rae find the time to read it too then perhaps they might rein in their gushing praise of Senõr Morelos and his majestic progress to the playing fields of England’s green and pleasant land.

  22. “Old Firm”

    Maybe I am a bit paranoid but with Celtic to play the SFA,s favourite team twice in the next month you watch who uses the term most often over the next few weeks.

    The BBC and the majority of the so called journalists will use the term deliberately as they are well aware the vast majority of Celtic fans will not use the term.

    I have been told certain people at the BBC have bet on how many times they can use the term in a given program.

    My criticism of the Celtic PLC is based on the fact board members (Peter Lawwell as an example)are saying one thing but acting very differently demonstrated by their handling of the trademark issue and Resolution 12.

    We need the truth not platitudes when these questions are ask at the forthcoming AGM.

    All supporters should challenge their own clubs, when they see something wrong, or we could be as bad as the govan crew 1872/73.

  23. Mordecai 12th November 2019 at 13:59

    I think something similar was said on here recently regards the likelihood of Morelos going down south, but perhaps not going into a much detail.

    However while the Morelos situation is interesting, it is going to be nothing compared to the potential issues Brexit may bring in terms of the ability to secure foreign talent.

    In terms of the squads of our 5 largest clubs, Celtic and Hearts would appear to have more EU players on their books currently than others

    I know the situation is somewhat unknown and fluid but I  wonder if any forward planning is being undertaken by Scottish clubs to assess the potential pros and cons of Brexit in terms of taking clubs forward in the years to come.

    As implied some of the smaller clubs may not be affected as they will have more of a home grown squad.

    However a dip into the transfer market for buying a decent youngster or getting one on loan to help bolster a league challenge may not be so easy in the future.

  24. I don't see any comment on how having a permit to play in the SPL is transferable to play in the EPL as far as I am aware the EPL has its own requirements and Morelos doesn't meet them .

  25. John Clark 12th November 2019 at 07:52

    Corrupt official 12th November 2019 at 04:31 ',,, In law, that was also registered into Sevco "ownership", after a long unexplained delay. '


       I posted about this some time ago, expressing the view that Sport Scotland seemed suddenly to realise that the legal entity to which they had given a good few quid of our money had ceased to exist except as an entity in liquidation, and therefore that thee was no legal obligation on TRFC Ltd to pay any heed to the conditions that had been imposed.


      I recall your post John,which was really what got me thinking. (Initially I just thought, "Dirty sleekit Barstewards). 

        I think we all agree that Sevco would have welshed on the funding agreement with Sports Scotland if they had the chance. The numerous on-going court cases of contract dodging tends to support that belief. However, Sports Scotland appear to have won a lollipop in this episode.

        It may be a similar legal scenario that crossed over, and bound CFC PLC, to the old IP arrangement with the deid club, to the new club.  Given that Sevco are not above monetising plastic ducks, CFC PLC may be the only obstacle preventing a raft of "O** F*** tat lining the shelves of their pop-up stores. 

        I'm not saying it is, nor isn't, but it certainly looks like it is not an IP that CFC PLC intend to capitalise from,via its use.

        I am as wary as the next man regarding CFC PLC involvement in dubious activity, but will not be holding my breath expecting an explanation from them………..

         And yet that is all they have to do to avoid being tarred.

         CFC PLC are too quiet on too many fronts for my liking. Silence naturally breeds suspicion, and in a game where there is very little trust left, (if any), a dangerous game to play. 

         There is very clearly not going to be any, "benefit of doubt", given, and quite understandably so. 

  26. Big Pink 12th November 2019 at 07:30

    '..The Res12 fiasco, SIX years of kicking things into the long grass, is proof enough for me that our sport is corrupted terminally.'


    As I understand it, BP, there are a number of quite separate elements in the allegations of corruption made against our Football Governance bodies and some of our clubs.

    There is the allegation that RFC of 1872 lied to the Licensing Committee of the SFA about their tax indebtedness as at 31 March 2011;

    there is the allegation that the Licensing Committee either colluded in that lie or, through carelessness and incompetence, simply accepted what RFC of 1872 told them , and passed that on to UEFA without any check as to its truthfulness and accuracy. The result of that was that RFC of 1872 was awarded a UEFA Competitions Licence to which, under the strict rules, they were not entitled.

    The  SFA has thus far refused to open up an independent investigation into all that was involved in the application made for that licence.

    That refusal raised and continues to raise suspicions that the SFA has something to hide. [ RFC of 1872 is in Liquidation, and TRFC are quite a different legal entity so are not involved and can legitimately say 'nothing to do with us, Squire!'.. except, of course that some of the personnel involved in TRFC were also involved with RFC of 1872…at the material time.

    As a football matter, until there is a full, independent investigation into the Licence matter, then the SFA is under a cloud of suspicion, and so are the then members of the Licensing Committee. 

    And as a football matter, the resistance by Celtic FC to the request that they insist on a full independent investigation being carried out within the football context  is indicative of an unwillingness , rather than an inability, to do so. And that puts Celtic FC under suspicion of underhand complicity in a dirty football cheating arrangement.

    And since no other club has raised any hue and cry about dirty work at the footballing crossroads [and the late Turnbull Hutton must have been sickened at their supine rolling-over], they all are under suspicion of consenting to dirty deeds destructive of the very essence of what their businesses are predicated upon being done in their name.

    Taking the matter out of the football context and into the world of corporate business, there is the allegation that the Sports Governance body may knowingly and with deliberation colluded in fraud to obtain money by falsely representing to UEFA on behalf of a member club (RFC of 1872) that that club was entitled to a Licence to participate in a competition the mere participation in which would guarantee a financial gain for that club of  £xM, with the possibility of £x+M more if the club achieved any kind of sporting success in the competition.

    The consequence of any such alleged false representation was that the properly entitled club was denied such a Licence, and therefore was, in effect, cheated out of at least £xM.

    Since that properly entitled club is a PLC, the Board of that club are required, required, by law to protect the interests of its shareholders.

    It is not for the Board of Celtic plc to decide that the loss, in circumstances where there are prima facie grounds for suspecting that there may have been fraud and deceit [or even incompetence] involving some millions of pounds, should not be investigated.

    It is not for the Celtic Board to try to kick a shareholders' requisitioned resolution at an AGM into touch indefinitely without explanation, debate, and a vote.

    It is failure by the Celtic Board to give adequate and justified and sufficient reasons as to why they have not insisted on such investigation that arouses suspicion in the mind of shareholders ,to whom they are accountable, that they too have something to hide.

    This whole UEFA licence matter cannot be dismissed and corrected and put right until full investigation of the allegations is made, resulting in a proper assessment as to the truth or otherwise of the allegations.

    The other allegation of corruption , namely that a huge lie was manufactured to try to have a brand new club regarded as being one and the same as the RFC of 1872 , and as being entitled to the sporting achievements of that failed club which currently exists as a liquidated football club, can be fixed almost overnight!


    All the SFA has to do is renounce that part of a very dubious, highly secretive (and possibly illegal in itself) binding agreement under which it exceeded its legitimate Governance powers by awarding sporting honours and entitlements to a club that had not existed long enough to earn any one of them on the sports field.!


    In doing so the SFA Board made a farcical mockery of the very idea of sporting competition and of their role as guardians of the Sport.


    Let the SFA state publicly and with suitable apology that they gravely erred in so doing, and that the record books of the SFA (and the SPFL in consequence) will show that the Liquidated RFC ceased to be able to add to their impressive list of such honours and titles on the day they died as a football club.

    Doing that will not, of course, save anyone from possible criminal investigation in relation to the Res 12 matter if that matter has to be referred to Police Scotland, but it would enable some kind of return to sane and proper and honest sports governance.


    I will add one other remark. I have been posting for seven years or thereabouts about the cheating RFC of SDM and CW, and of the (what I believe to have been ) underlying dishonesty of the RIFC IPO prospectus and the blindness of the SMSM.

    I would be some kind of hypocritical liar if I were to attempt to excuse or turn a blind eye to the possibility that the Celtic Board have questions to answer.

    I think they do have questions to answer, but have shown a marked reluctance to do so.

    And, as both a shareholder and supporter, I object to that.

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