Archive | August, 2014

Regrets

31 Aug

Peter Lawell has been strangely silent.  Normally the Celtic CEO is at the heart of anything that is everything in Scottish football.  Good for a quote and good for a photo.  I have never doubted that he has Celtic at the heart of every quote his motivation for doing anything has been and will continue to be what he thinks is best for Celtic.  The arguement of Spinnning facts and creating lies will never leave any sucessfull CEO because frankly that is part of their Job.  To defend, manage and  defuse any situation their business finds itself in. To place their company on the best light possible at every opportunity. And if that means extending the truth or spinning a lie then so be it. 

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So it is with a great deal of surprise that Peter Lawell has confirmed that Celtic miss Rangers. Well let me quantify that Celtic miss approximately £10 million per season. That is the hidden cost that Mr Lawell possibly under estimated when he sat on comittees and made judgements in the heady summer of 2012.

Maybe Mr Lawell accounted for some loss but assumed that other sources would plug the gap. Fickle fans and lack of genuine investment has put paid to that. Fickle fans is not a insult it’s a fact a fact that has been shared around the grounds. Instead of improving fan interaction the fans are walking. Now in it’s second season since reconstruction the SPFL Leagues STILL has no title sponsor. Scotland’s third cup had no trouble securing Petrofac the league cup has Communities and the Scottish cup has William Hill.

Yet no sponsorship for the Leagues.

So the question is as Rangers raise £3.7 million, Celtic miss £30 million how much have the rest of Scotlands clubs missed because of hasty punishments dished out before correct judgements where made.

In economics if USA sneezes the UK catches a cold. Now that the symbiotic finiancial relationship between the Old Firm has been confirmed by Mr Lawell lets see how much Aberdeen, Dundee United and the rest have suddenly descovered “missing.” Simply put if Celtic have missed money that they have been able to count with their multimillion pound turnover then what has Messers Milne and Thompson found missing. Hearts spent a year trying to get out of administration Hibernian look ponderous in their inability to compete in the Championship. Hibernian are the only club to come to the party that is the Championship with a wet bag of pyrotechnics.

Also I hear a lot of people suggest Mr Lawells remarks are to distract from his team’s comical eviction from the Champions league. Maybe by just maybe it’s a prod at Hampden. With Doncaster and Regan sitting signing blank pieces of paper, writing cheques that suffer from insufficent funds. What does it take to rid these two from Our Game

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English Premier League Predictions 2014-15

24 Aug

1.  Manchester City
2.  Chelsea
3.  Manchester United
4.  Liverpool
5.  Arsenal
6.  Tottenham Hotspur
7.  Everton
8.  Southampton
9.  Stoke City
10. Swansea City
11. Hull City
12. Aston Villa
13. West Bromwich Albion
14. Newcastle United
15. Sunderland
16.  West Ham United
17. Crystal Palace
18. Queens Park Rangers
19. Leicester City
20. Burnley

Manchester City Pellegrini could field two recognisable teams that could win this league. Certainly go top three and that’s the main reason why I am going for the Blues of Manchester to win. Their Squad has a solidity and consistency about it that makes me think while other teams shall need time to gel City will just be doing what they do, win. There is also the addition of the thought that no matter what money is always available for any new players. City Champions again for me JUST.

Chelsea Mourinho will hate this season. He wants the Trophy sitting in Stamford Bridge beside the Champions League big cup. He may well get one but not both and the trophy to fall be the way is the Premiership. I feel Frank Lampard’s influence on and off the field will certainly contribute in Chelsea not quiet reaching the mark. Diego Costa may well not be enough to win so a very very close second.

Manchester United Louis Van Gaal will add quality players and drive the bad memories of last season out of Old Trafford. Rebuilding invincibility at home and imposing the red devils away will be the Dutchmans big challenge. I need convinced Rooney is the right man for the Captaincy. Close in third but no cigar.

Liverpool Brendan Rodgers has spent well. Proving that Liverpool are a family club who no matter what stick up for players is a lovely welcome to any new signing. The loss of Suarez has not only gave Brendan money to burn but has lost a distraction. Sturrage is a big player this year but somehow it’s time to replace Steven Gerald. A regretting blowing it last season Fourth.

Arsenal There is no team that looks better in attack. As front fives go Wenger is spoilt by riches. Arsenal can embarrass any team with pace skill and guile going forward. The problem is the days they don’t click in attack or the games they come up against brick wall park the bus defending. It’s a big ask but in a league with some of the beat defenders in the world ply their trade it will be the dropped points by dodgy defending that The Gunners will rue. To beat Arsenal is a relatively easy task on paper. Park the bus deny the flair players space and then put in a couple of good balls into the arsenal defence smell the panic and score past what ever under pressure Keeper is between the sticks. Too many show ponies relying on history not enough shire horses doing todays hard work for this cart to get into Champions League.

Tottenham Hotspur I can never figure out what exactly is going on at White Hart Lane. And this is the problem all the ingredients for a cup run or top four sits within the squad but somehow they never really gel and this lack of consistency is the reason Spurs will always be capable of a result but won’t string five good results together. They could well run their north London rivals close but sixth is where I put them.

Everton Seventh the perennial brides maids of Merseyside. The definition of this second group of five in this league. Ran to budget never looking like being relegated but never contenders for championship. A good chance every year to get fourth but this year Manchester United will not be the easy turn they were last year. Good mix within not the biggest of squads so a safe seventh.

Southampton Ronald Koeman will manage like he played solid with skill and if you give him time and space his Saints will strike a shot past you from forty yards. Good solid signings Forster in goal is brilliant who after playing in some of Europe’s biggest stadia will not freeze in big games.

Stoke City Mark Hughes has introduced skill and flair to the Britiania almost unrecognisable from previous manager. Always a solid defence with a deceptively potent attack. No plates in danger in the Potteries a nice ninth.

Swansea sometimes it’s what team turns out at the Liberty and it’s even more inconsistent away from South Wales. They have too much stuborneas though to go down. Dependable in top half tenth.

Hull City The Tigers with Steve Bruce have too much quality to trouble the bottom four but not enough to worry the top six. Good cup runs beckeon and Europe will surprise the Humbersiders most more used to Rugby League but the playing in Europe will drain the squad so no top half. Comfortable in eleventh.

Aston Villa Paul Lambert is well respected but this season he simply does not have the tools to challange. With no real quality and strange rumblings in board room I put Villa in twelth. Not good enough for a second city team. Lambert already has look of man playing our time until a bigger offer comes along.

West Bromwich Albion David Moyes long term assistant Alan Irvine has emerged as his own man and took over at the Hawthorns. First target in the black country is survival. They emerged from the yoyo team tag and consolidating in this league with survival to build another year us what it’s all about unlucky for some (but not for W.B.A.) thirtieth.

Newcastle United As long as the mix of fans demanding a set style of play no matter if the team win, lose or draw, Mike Ashley, and a distrust between club (boardroom and staff) and the passion of the toon army then this club will not challange but do enough to survive. Only good news about being in fourteenth for the magpies is the team below them.

Sunderland Gus Poyet has a team that will win games but it’s weaknesses are there for all to see. The Black Cats deficiencies confine them to bottom half of table. It is a toss up who wins the hotbed derbies in north east it could go either way but I feel that the bragging rights won’t be on Weirside, fifteenth.

West Ham United The eastenders will always blow bubbles at the party they will often make big Sam smile but not enough to rise above sixteenth. The Hammers owners also own Ann Summers and like one of the retail chains catalogues when you look at Sam Allerdyce’s Squad list you often see key parts are exposed.

Crystal Palace Starting the season with no manager is not good that’s the type of thing that gets you relegated. I do feel there is just enough to keep this team up. Maybe the new manager bounce will keep this club up. Seventeenth.

Queens Park Rangers This club, squad, manager and whole package just feels like it’s in the yoyo area between Championship and Premiership. A year up, a year down that’s where this club sits. Relegated in eighteenth.

Leicester City Will enjoy the year take the money gather experience and drop down to Championship to join the yoyo squads. From where this club sat at doors of bankruptcy the passionate East Midlands fans won’t be too upset in nineteenth.

Burnley It’s not if this team go down it’s when. When the celestrial bodies line up and a surprise gets promoted then we all remember Derby County. This promotion keeps this club afloat for next few years. Finishing on twentieth and hopefully not the whipping boys but can’t see anything else.

SPFL Championship Predictions 2014-15

9 Aug

This has been the most difficult to predict in essence you have FIVE teams competing for two places of value. Any of the ten teams in this league can and will beat any other team in the league. This is Scotland’s first league of Death.

1. Rangers
2. Heart of Midlothian
3. Falkirk
4. Hibernian
5. Raith Rovers
6. Queen of the South
7. Livingston
8. Dumbarton
9. Cowdenbeath
10. Alloa

Rangers not surprising first but almost in spite of boardroom officialdom and fandom the Govan Giants have just got on with it. This is the third leg of a five year plan and the plan to get promotion is the only plan they have. The addition of quality proven strikers and some interesting defensive squad players mean that the quality may not be what the fans remember but it’s a squad more than capable in the league company. Rangers should at least be more comfortable playing teams with a more traditional league style. The days of every game feeling like a cup tie are gone. The opponents faced this year will have players more used to playing against the Old Firm. No more visitors enjoying the party and going to very welcoming clubs for games.

Heart of Midlothian A club freed from admistration and the points deductions start the season with no points and how the Gorgie Road loves it. New coaching staff Under Robbie Neilson. The rotating door of players at Tyncastle has left the club relying on youth with only the tiniest whiff of experience. The youth though has gained experience last year. Can the freedom from admistration free up the players? Maybe but I think some of the starlets will freeze in some of the less luxurious souroundings. With a tiny squad there could be problems mid winter. A solid second and go up via fearlessly in play off.

Falkirk Peter Houston’s Bairns have a fearless brand of youth. I think that this very youth will be the reason that Falkirk will finish third. Having no fear will win certain games and pick up points at others but having all your experience sitting on dug out with the Manager and coaches will drop and lose points at others. A year of great experience to aid season 15-16 but not this year.

Hibernian Disjointed shambles is how to describe Hibs last term. Free falling under Pat Fenlon to terminal velocity under Terry Butcher. A new manager and Chief Exec is not always the best way to turn round a club (ask Manchester United last season). Alan Stubbs may well arrive from Everton Coaching role highly recomended but is the likeable Ex Celtic defender able to be his own man alone at the top. Not so sure given the anti board feeling and loss of players at Easter Road I have picked forth place, it could be a while before we see Sunshine on Leith.

Raith Rovers Kirkcaldy will be a interesting venue for many clubs. With relatively short distances to the league’s big three then there will not be room to dance on the streets of Raith let alone on the terraces. Christian Nade will relish Tyncastle and Easter Road as well as Ibrox. Add Ross Perry and Grant Murray has a nice wee blend of Youth and experience for Grant Murray with a point to prove. An experience gathering fifth for all at the club.

Queen of the South Jim McIntyre will have this squad fired up and raring to go. Expect more points won at home than away. The trip down to Dumfries is the longest away day for all the other nine clubs and will cast up some unusual results. With Billy Dodds as a coach expect top class strikers. A sturdy sixth place for this biblical club.

Livingston John McGlynn man of many clubs and most of them are now in this league. He will definitely be a man on a mission to prove people wrong. With player coach Mark Burchill expect surprises from this mainly young squad but a strong seventh.

Dumbarton Former Hibs and Rangers Player Manager Ian Murray will have the Sons of the rock up for the challange with Lee Mair and David Van Zanten in the part time squad I almost had this team further up the league. In the end it was the part time football that has me placing them eighth.

Cowdenbeath Jimmy Nichol will know no fear he has seen it done it and wore the t-shirt both as player and manager. A uninspiring looking squad on paper will no doubt be a very strong team forged by Nichol. Don’t forget Cowdenbeath Chairman Donald Finlay QC will revel in the media attention this league and his club will receive. Ninth but reveling in finiancial security and increased public visability. Playoff bound without a care but good chance to stay up.

Alloa Unlucky Barry Smith will struggle to keep the wasps up with nothing but youth. Even the maligned plastic pitch at Recreation Park won’t save them automatically down. Tenth but will enjoy the away days.

SPFL Premirship Predictions for 2014 -15

9 Aug

Lets start with a disclaimer.  This is opinion published to make you the reader consider your own views.

My predictions for season 2014-15
1. CELTIC
2. MOTHERWELL
3. DUNDEE UNITED
4. INVERNESS CALEDONIAN THISTLE
5. ST JOHNSTONE
6. KILMARNOCK
7. ROSS COUNTY
8. ABERDEEN
9. PARTICK THISTLE
10. DUNDEE
11. ST MIRREN
12. HAMILTON ACCADEMICALS

Lets start with what is by far the most boring looking league in the set of four in Scotland. 

PREMIERSHIP

Celtic will win at a canter even with no significant new signings, a new manager and do it in front of a growing number of empty seats every second week. Celtic fans will like the statistic of another title but they are not liking the entertainment that their beloved hoops are providing in the bread and butter of the league.

Motherwell are my tip to be second again.  Stewart MCall has no budget has lost a few players and his Chief Exec yet will still just do enough to be the best of the rest. The addition of a Lanarkshire Derby will increase interest.

Dundee United my tip for third. They have lost some of their starlets but with additional working capital taking some of the finiancial strain away from the club an allowing some luxuries to enter Tannadice then in addition to not having the distraction of European football in June, I feel that United are quietly good for third.

Inverness Caledonian Thistle for fourth no one likes going to The Tulloch. No one like the uncomptemising style that John Hughes will have ICT playing.  After a Yogi preseason no player will be in any doubt what their job is.

St Johnstone Stevie May or not Tommy Wright has quietly taken Steve Lomax’s left overs and with good young players mixed with experienced older heads Wright has shown that on their day the Perth Blues can beat anyone.

Kilmarnock The addition of Gary Locke into the Coaching staff at Rugby park says more to me than any signing.  Locke has not been demotivated by his season from hell as manager of Hearts and the frankly disgusting treatment he received from the new owners at Tynecastle.  Free from the extra pressures I am sure Gary will exert his influence and secure a nice top six position for Allan Johnstone’s Ayrshire club.

Ross County Big season for the Victoria Park club and after flattering to decieve I feel seventh is as good as this club could get.  Derek Adams growling presence on touchline has stopped being intimidating and the difficult third album from Dingwall may well dissapoint Derek.

Aberdeen I know eighth! If you think of the later part of 2013 then you have the dons second, easy not even a blink.  Sadly I am going with the later part of last season after the Pitrodrie side won the League Cup.  The collapse of form and energy must of worried anyone at the club.  In fact the most fickle fans on Scotland would not of acceipted post March performancies had it not been for a lump of Silver in the cabinet. Starting their season in June with a small squad albeit with only real addition of David Goodwillie makes me think come the cold winter winds of December that any form shown by the Reds will be a memory. Then the fans will turn and the house of cards collapses.

Patrick Thistle Partick don’t need to do much just keep doing what they do and get by.  Ninth is a perfect place for the Jags.  Alan Archibald tamed his team’s attacking oft at all costs instincts to at least provide a more solid defensive look about the team.

Dundee Tenth for the dark blues in the shadow of their noisy neighbours deserve a good season after being club 12 and frankly being dropped in the smelly stuff in order to fulfil a fixture list.  Two managers later will Paul Hartley pull any surprises? Some but they won’t be top 6 but deserve to survive.  Looking forward to some combative Tayside Derbies.

St Mirren Eleventh and a play off place that is what I think the Paisley club will achieve.  Sacking Danny Lennon and replacing him with his assistant may well be a continuety move but is hardly a display of loyalty to players etc.  The Pandas board obviously unhappy with the direction the team were going sack the man at the tiller and promote the Navigator giving him the first and second officers. Sad to say I can’t see this club win a play off either.

This leaves Hamilton can’t see any club in top division taking the Accies as lightly as Hibs in play offs.  The plastic pitch should not be as big an issue.  The absolute lack of any investment in the team trusting that as you sell the youth you developed you will create new young players to fill the space on the shelves.  The owners of this club have a strict no frills zero investment business plan that does not depend on what division the club plays in.
 

I foresee a incrediable boring processional league with it’s only highlights being the Dundee and Lanarkshire Derbies. The media has joined me already in scrabble away from this league to the more attractive looking Championship. It is often not the prizes on offer that makes a league but the participants. Few outwith the twelve clubs fans in this league will actually look on with interest.

Sorry Seems to Be The Hardest Word

1 Aug

Sorry is indeed the hardest word and in this litigeous world sorry seems to be a legal admission of liability.

This simple modern truth could well be the reason for the lack of appologies sent to Rangers Football Club.   The posse that found Rangers Guilty in their Kangaroo Courts in 2012 have been remarkably silent in the weeks since the UTTT found no real wrongdoing in Rangers FC use of Employment Benefit trusts. 

The real reasons for lack of words from Scottish Football are simple.  Rangers 1898 Ltd the former owners of Rangers Football Club are now debt free thanks to Ticketus, the RFFF and the soon to be defrosted accounts.  The money in the currently frozen accounts will pay the PAYE bill left by discredited Craig Whyte.  In fact I was recently told that Rangers 1898 Ltd will be one of the few companies that could emerge from liquidation proceedings and will simply be wound up similar to Celtic oldco (kelly’s and Whytes), Aberdeen oldco ( Donald Family), Dundee United oldco (Jim Mclean), Hibernian oldco (Tom Farmer) and St Mirren Oldco (Paton family).

You see the treatment of Rangers has raised so many questions that it would take a thousand articles to cover.  Saldly what’s done can not be undone but for the shareholders of Rangers 1898 Ltd compensation is surely justified. 

I still expect a raft of court cases.  From fraud to defamation via malicious prosecution. Remember Rabgers 1898 shareholders own no football asset, they sold it to the current owners of Rangers. So without breaking the rules of association this group of victims of fraud and defamation have free reign to sue SFA, SPL(including the ten club members individually), supporters groups (including individual spokespersons), media groups (including individual ‘Journalists’), web sites (including social media) and of course any individual who at anytine has published a lie that has hurt the finiancial wellbeing of the Club (Including Phil Threenames, Angela Haggerty, Greame Speirs). The fact that some of the above names continue to speak in terms of hate and ignorance even AFTER the latest judgements means that by association Rangers Football Club current owners have a real watching brief and can argue that current statements filled with hate and lies directly hurts Rangers International and Rangers Football Club in the here and now. Members of the current Rangers Board have been quick to engage lawyers to seek recompense from fans groups spokesmen, so it would be interesting to see if the same happens to others from outwith the blue umbrella.

Craig Whyte will be chased to the gates of hell by many including Ticketus.  How this shyster was allowed onto the same building as stakeholders of any company is a crime. I have heard many reasons “Rangers were owned by a Crook (Murray) and sold to a Crook (Whyte)” seems to fit the common misguided view. Well that is only half true there is no doubt now that Rangers were sold to a crook. The landscape for this was in no small point due to HMRC demanding monies that now not one but TWO Independant tribunals have thrown out the inflated demands of the HMRC. As a small aside David Cameron and Gideon Osborn have recently forced through a change in the law. Now if HMRC demand money and you think it’s wrong the rules are now Pay up then appeal. How different things could of been had this rule been inforce. How the enforced sale to Mr Whyte occured is another thing.  Sir David Murray received one pound sterling so in spite of everything you could hardly say that the Metal Merchant made a killing.  So who did benefit? The Bank Loydds/TSB/HBOS walked away with £38 million for a loan paid in full via Craig Whyte and his mortgaging of season ticket sales to Ticketus.  So just how much pressure was placed on Sir David Murray by the Bank’s representative on what turned out to be the penultimate Rangers 1898 Ltd board. The same banking group had a reasonable working relationship with the SFA and now defunct SPL, was any pressure placed on these organisations to ignore any concerns regarding Craig Whyte being a fit and proper person to have his hand in the tiller of a Sporting Institution like Rangers Football Club. It seems either this or the SPL SFA failed in their duty of care to protect all of our Scottish Clubs from falling onto the hands of Drug Dealers Fraudsters Con men or general Shysters. So for sure without doubt the SFA SPL FAILED in any test. Do I hear sorry from Regan, Doncaster and co? No!

Lets now look at the “Screaming Masses”

Stephen Thompson, Stewart Milne, Rod Petrie, David Southern, Peter Lawell, Neil Lennon, Stewart Gilmour and other Board memebers of clubs MUST now be revisiting their published comments and hoping that no one reads them out in court.

Sorry is hard to say but lessons learned mean that actions speak louder than words. First chink in the sorry we did that but we learned is the postponment of St Mirren v Aberdeen because Aberdeen have a couple of qualifying rounds in Europa League. How Rangers would of appriciated such common sense in Manchester UEFA Cup FINAL! Not a sorry but the different action means admission of wrong by default.

You see that’s the point we all know we won’t get a Sorry from any of the shouting clans but we all know that they won’t repeat their “hardline” again. That’s as good as a sorry as we will get. What we will get though is enforced comments as Judges order smart mouths to pay up and say sorry.