John Clark Meets “The SFA”

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On the afternoon of Saturday 30 January 2016, I nearly …

Comment on John Clark Meets “The SFA” by Odiochain.

On the afternoon of Saturday 30 January 2016, I nearly crashed the car.
I was driving the M8 and unadvisedly had Radio Scotland playing when they broadcast an interview with the SFA’s chief of Refereeing Operations, John Fleming.
To describe his defence of current refereeing standards as “bullish” would be a massive understatement.
He went out of his way to laud the improvement in refereeing in Scotland in recent years.
I understand the importance of standing up for colleagues, especially those for whom one might have supervisory responsibility, in difficult circumstances.  There are many ways of doing this that can be suitably bullish without becoming unsuitable bullsh*t:  “We accept there have been difficulties… it is a challenging situation/job… everyone is doing their best… we are committed to continuous improvement… we are working hard to address any previous short-comings… blah… blah… blah… etc.”
But if the view from the SFA’s man with oversight of these matters is a Panglossian “All is for the best in the best of all possible worlds,” there is little hope for the actual improvements that we need in the standard of refereeing in this country.
This is not just about Willie Collum and his abysmal performance last night.  I watched the Dundee v St Johnstone game on Friday night and was taken aback at the systematic incompetence of Craig Thompson.  Most of the errors which littered his performance might not have been game changing in the way that last night’s penalty decisions could have been, although Saints did have a decent penalty shout which he missed.  Two examples (of the many possible) that fall into the “how could he have got that wrong?” category would be:  Darren O’Dea was knocked unconscious in an accidental collision towards the end of the first half, causing a stoppage of almost three minutes, there having previously been a goal and at least one other injury stoppage; ONE MINUTE of stoppage time added at the end of the half; Saints’ player flattened by Dundee defender, nothing given, leaving even Chris Sutton to comment “That’s a foul all day long.  I don’t know what game Craig Thompson is watching.”
At games I’ve attended or watched on TV in the last couple of years, I can think of astonishingly poor performances from John Beaton, Kevin Clancy, Bobby Madden and Alan Muir, to name but four.  And then, of course, there was last season’s Celtic v ICT cup semi-final refereed by Steven McLean… probably best not mentioned in view of the extent to which views were aired on SFM (and elsewhere) at the time.
This is my forty-fifth season regularly attending top flight football in Scotland.  I moaned about lots of decisions in the first forty of those seasons, mainly when they went against my team, but my perception of the last five years is that there has been a collapse in refereeing standards in Scotland and that they now stand at an all-time low.
John Fleming’s comments from last month take us back to what John Clark’s meeting with the SFA was all about and to some of the key objectives of this site.
The fact that Mr. Fleming could pontificate, almost unchallenged, as he did from the studios of our national broadcaster shows how much the SFA are out of touch with the feelings of ordinary fans and with the reality of the performances that we see from our referees:  simply not good enough; must do much better.
Do any of our regular readers or contributors really expect our footballing authorities to take that on board?
I for one will not be holding my breath.

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John Clark Meets “The SFA”
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Recent Comments by Odiochain

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James Doleman is at Glasgow Sheriff Court and confirms that the proceedings began yesterday.

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StevieBC 5th January 2016 at 4:51 pm
If this report is to be believed… might I respectfully suggest that Mr. Warburton has not treated his fellow manager with respect…

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A Happy New Year to all in the SFM community.
James Doleman is at the High Court in Edinburgh.

No tweeting allowed from court but he does have the new indictment which is nearly twice as long as the previous version.

LNS – A Summary
In the course of the last 30 minutes, the hubristic statements made by DCK upon leaving the Royal Courts of Justice have been removed from the Daily Record’s online coverage of today’s proceedings.
The following text has been added at the end of the article (to which I will not link for obvious reasons):
“He said: “Mr King should not assume he has been completely vindicated. It’s going to be a close run thing. ”
He pointed out that while he has dismissed the application to commit King to prison, there had been no final ruling on the issue of breaching the injunction.
He adjourned the case until tomorrow morning when the parties will return to possibly debate the terms of the interim injunction which is likely to be extended.”
I have not seen the words “It’s going to be a close run thing,” attributed to Judge Smith anywhere else.
James Doleman’s ex tempore Twitter feed suggests that there was no reporter from the Daily Record in court for this afternoon’s reconvened sitting at which the words were supposedly said.
It would be interesting to hear from him – or from any intrepid SFM “reporter” who might have been present – whether or not they heard these words.
Of course, they must have been spoken.  The Daily Record couldn’t be so glib and shameless as to put words into the mouth of a senior member of the judiciary who had just suggested that they scored “nil points” for the accuracy of their report on the morning session.  Could it?

LNS – A Summary
Grant Russell is also tweeting coverage from The Royal Courts of Justice.

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