30 Jul

It’s funny I held off writing this weekend so I could try and round up a few outstanding issues in one post.

I had forgot that the new SPFL had quietly changed the trialist rules. Now some may say that this change is solely designed to stifle one club. I will hold back on this have a feeling that how Hampden deals with Hearts will answer this. With reported debts of £28.8 million and now only two rejected bids of less than £4 million it is no wonder Lithuanian Administrators threw the bids out. It’s a shame but listening to the Scottish Premiership clubs is a bit like decoding a Enigma machine. Words and letters emerge yet it never appears to be the whole truth.

A season without a League Sponsor and with at least two clubs closing sections of their stadia down for what they say is too improve the atmosphere in the ground. On this note the winner of the “Best Euphemism Award” goes to Aberdeen Football Club (Media Department). Yes following consultation with fan groups they decided that closing the rear section of the Richard Donald Stand on the grounds of improving atmosphere is a peach. Let’s be radical here would selling more tickets not improve the atmosphere! Not to mention the clubs finances. Consultation with fans groups did not produce a club line it woke up a few sleeping members. Aberdeen simply can’t justify offering 24,000 tickets for sale when at best they will only ever well somewhere between 12 and 16 thousand. So a plea to fans groups to up their game and go to more matches etc was met with a firm no way. Therefore to improve the atmosphere a decision to close down a section of the ground. This is when the enigma machine was used to print the press release.

Then we have Neil Doncaster explaining that the Scottish football is in good shape. Season tickets sales up on last year (last year attendances were 28% down so surely the only way is up) even though his figures are subject to interpretation and exaggeration. Scotland has more fans per capita than anywhere else in Europe (scotland only had a population of 5 million never has a balance sheet compliment per capita profit). Then the best one from Doncaster, the league is only 3 weeks old and sponsors want clarity and stability. Er Neil you spent last year saying that you had all the sponsors media deals in place in principal. In three weeks of practice however it appears these statements where full of conjecture and false hope. Doncaster is so full of himself he even turned up at the Albion Rovers v Rangers Ramsdens Cup game, what did he expect a warm welcome from the Ibrox faithful? As his first foray into the world as Chief Executive of the SPFL this has to be one of his less bright ideas. Now he is saying that its because of the lack of stability in the structures of Scottish football that have prevented a sponsor coming forward. Sorry Neil are you such a “donkey” that you can say that without thinking that it was you who caused the instability or do you blame others and accepts no blame on yourself.

Now thankfully it appears that Dunfermline are to come out of administration via a Company Voluntary Agreement (CVA). This CVA has to get through fast in order for the Fife club to build a sensible structure without the Idiotic hands of Masterton and Yorkson. Two people the whole of the East Neuk should be wary of. Sadly it appears Hearts are quietly going into Liquidation the gap of several millions between the offers and the acceptable valuation from Ubig’s own administrators seems a bridge too far. Total debts fast approaching £30 million including Football debts of around £500,000 that need to be paid in full, a tax bill of £1.3 million (need I remind the HMRC that there conduct is being watched for consistency too), and a group of preferential debtors it means simply that one bidders offer of £3 million is offering other debtors as little as 1p in the pound the other bidder is offering little more. These bidders are either cheapskates or this is really all the money they can muster or justify via a business plan. A timely announcement regards a sponsor would possibly help the two remaining bidders to have a business certainty to be able to raise their bids. Sadly for all concerned Doncaster’s Doom laiden statement seems to end hope of a additional income stream appearing to help the prospective heart savers.

The strange thing about Hearts is the distinct lack of comments from others. No “financial doping” “sporting integrity” or even “moral integrity” being shouted from the rooftops of Aberdeen, Dundee, Inverness, Dunfermline or the east end of Glasgow. The silence speaks volumes “there but for the grace of god” maybe but personally this lack of consistency seems to speak of the basic hypocrisy and jealousy that inhabits the so called top 12 clubs in Scotland. In addition to this it was Hearts who publically and privately lied to a SPL tribunal two days before the close of last season. I can say lied now because David Southern privately and publically said Hearts would not go into administration due to Ubig folding. A signing ban til 1st February 2014 seems a tad lenient and with the future of the club still in the balance I feel natural justice and recent history shoes that should Hearts if Midlothian survive in any shape or form then there is certainly more fines and sanctions in the post. I mentioned also that the SFA MUST investigate Hearts last game of season 2012/13 as it was patiently not in the clubs interest to win against Aberdeen and this must bring into question Hearts desire to win or,compete fully in that game. Anything less than full and frank investigations into events at Gorgie means that instead of Neil Doncaster and Stewart Regan in charge of the authorities it may as well be the well known defenders of truth, justice and democracy Robert Mugabe and Vladimir Putan!

The message to the authorities and clubs is simple prove yourselves. Anything less than your loud shouting from last year makes you nothing less than Jealous Vindictive Hypocrites. Stewart Milne – silent on Hearts, Steven Thompson – silent in Hearts, Rod Pitrie – silent on Hearts, pick your club see what they say about Hearts and juxtapose it with what was being said about Rangers last year. The pleasure sections of fans and boardrooms took last year with Rangers seems now to of evaporated. I put it to Aberdeen, Celtic, Inverness, Dundee United, Hibs, St Johnstone, Motherwell and Kilmarnock. All clubs who couldn’t say enough last year. Either continue your “fair play” crusade or offer help to your friend in need in Edinburgh. Anything else smacks of hypocrisy or even shock. Hardly ingredients for stability in Scottish football.

I am genuinely saddened by Hearts plight. But the bidders are offering less than the land tyncastle sits on is worth. The club name is worth something but the real value attached to the club is the real estate value. It does not take Alan Turing to figure out that unless agreement can be sorted out between BDO the two bidders and Ubigs administrators then tyncastle is prime for redevelopment and any reformed Heart of Midlothian’s first job will be to find a pitch to play at. It’s second will be to get out of the new Lowland League.

If Hearts do fold then the big question is when and what happens. In the last days before the season begins then Hearts fold go into lowland league and Morton do what’s being called a “dundee” move up. Either a quick play off will be arranged to fill a place in league 2 or League 2 drops to nine teams. If Hearts go into liquidation after Saturday then the Scottish Premiership’s first season us one it starts with twelve teams ends with eleven, has no team relegated automatically and splits into a top six and bottom five. Auspicious start for any league. Some calming words from the head of the league required but if you wait for any press release then it will either be so filled with nonsense that it looks like Barbara Cartland wrote it or it requires Bletchley Park to run it through their computers to get it to make sense.

Sometimes I would be glad just to comment on football but apart from European joy in Perth there has been precious little to celebrate. It seems football football in Edinburgh is in its last throws of life.



  1. Jamie Boal August 1, 2013 at 9:59 am #

    Since the appointment of the two Englishmen Dhumbcaster and Rhegan Scottish football has been in an never ending spiral downwards. Scottish football had the chance with the formation of the SPFL to make a bright new start but instead of clearing out Dhumbcaster and all the other clowns that have ruined Scottish Football we have a board made up of the same dropkicks with a couple of yes men added on. The same old board failures have appointed the same failure to the role of CEO without advertising this highly paid position to ANYONE in the private sector, that’s is quite unbelievable !
    It shows you how far Scottish Football has fallen when it is a major result for St. Johnstone to knock out a team from NORWAY !!! ffs I remember all teams from Scandanavia were seen as easy beats.
    Well done on Dunfermline getting the cva approved but where is all the vile attacks from the Sporting Integrity HYPOCRITES ? The Pars still have a long way to go and how about some sort of fine to be paid.
    Hearts I think are in dire trouble and Sporting Integrity must prevail and they should be demoted immediately to the bottom tier of Scottish Football or does that only happen to the most successful club in Scotland ?
    Season ticket sales up ? aye right don’t believe that for a minute, lets have the factual figures instead of estimates. Sell Out Saturday anyone ? Remember that ? another dismal failure.
    Nothing has changed in Scottish Football
    No stands closed during this post.
    the people make Glasgow……We Are The People

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