Archive | September, 2014

When The Mole Hill Becomes The Mointain

28 Sep

I have watched from the sidelines over the last couple of years,  seen some good football too but consistently I have had a wee nag in the back of my head. 

You know the one the “what if woman” sorry girls that’s what I call her.  Mainly because my nagging voice is actually my maternal Gran.  Now lovely lady that she was (she died in 1999) she could nag me into anything.  In addition she would expect me to do what she said.  So this voice nags away at me and I know it’s nog my Gran but it’s her voice so “what if woman” is the voice.

Now why go over the events that have swamped Rangers.  Old news and every man and his dog has a view.  It is recent comments coming from Clubs, Scottish Premiership Clubs at that and especially John Hughes that have spiked me into writing.

John Hughes following defeat at Pittodrie does not blame his players for not performing this would be honest perhaps.  In fact the Inverness Manager blames budgets.  Strange call especially given that I had seen an Inept Rangers beat a woeful I.C.T. in the league cup not two weeks ago.  To recap a ineffectual Rangers dominated possession with a series of misplaced passes and lacking clinical killer instinct in final third BEAT Yogi’s hopeless Caley.  I cannot tell you how bad Rangers were that night it was almost impossible to think of ways to play worse but John Hughes’ team achieved the impossible and found a way. 

The Inverness Coach did not blame funds that night.  This must mean he considers Rangers a smaller club with less money.  It could be of course if he had used that line he would of been laughed out of the press room.  To say there is more money in Govan than anywhere right now is not just funny it’s “Morecambe and Wise Christmas Special” comedy gold!

Derek McInnes quite rightly smacked down Hughes errant comments.  Although making reference to comparative budgets of present day Aberdeen and Hibernian from 5 years ago is a cul de sac of confusion because the landscape has changed dramatically. 

Celtic’s Cheif Executive Peter Lawell recently said to his shareholders that a conservative estimate of TEN MILLION POUNDS has evaporated from Celtic’s annual revenue because of the much disputed insertion of Rangers into league 3 a few years ago.  That would equate to two players from Celtic’s proven scouting network plus wages with a view to sell on and make profit etc.  This is currently Celtics business model and it’s appears to work. 

Days after Stuart Gilmour Chairman of up for sale Saint Mirren said his clubs figure was THREE HUNDRED THOUSAND POUNDS a year.  This clearly states the gulf in finiancial clout of clubs basically saying Celtic are THIRTY times bigger than their neighbours alone the M8.  I would imagine that Inverness possibly are missing slightly more than St Mirren abd considerably less than Celtic. 

It would be interesting to see what the other clubs that voted to expell Rangers have lost annually.  This kind finiancial honesty is beyond the ken of most of the others.  No doubt the Edinburgh two could still provide decent figures inspite of being relegated.  I would love to hear anyone at Aberdeen responding to the question “If Celtic lost £10 million and St Mirren £300000 then how much do you estimate you have lost?”. If you consider that the current Laegue Cup holders could spin this loss into a public relationions triumph then why are they not confessing.  Same goes for Scottish Premiership Leaders Dundee United, Scottish Cup Holders St Johnstone, Inverness Caledonian Thistle and Kilmarnock.  I fear we will never get an answer because as these clubs hide behind company confidentiality they will all know that to release this information allows then to be placed in the big club league.  The same as very quickly given the statements from Parkhead and Paisley we all did a quick sum and said St Mirren times Thirty equals Celtic we could all do similar with the other clubs. 

So with a sense of challenge to some clubs and a congratulatory thanks for being honest I publish my league table with how much their income has reduced since they voted Rangers out of their league. 

1 CELTIC.                 £10,000,000*
2 HEARTS.               £  1,600,000
2 HIBERNIAN.          £  1,600,000
2 ABERDEEN.           £  1,600,000
5 DUNDEE UTD.       £  1,200,000
6 KILMARNOCK.      £     800,000
7 ST JOHNSTONE.  £     700,000
8 I.C.T.                      £     400,000
9 ST MIRREN.          £     300,000*

I applaud Celtic and St Mirren for their honesty but as you can see the gulf seems to paint it’s own picture.  It would be excellent if someone at Pittodrie yesterday said “well we have had to take a £1.6 million a year loss in revenue on the chin and still win cups. What has I.C.T. lost 25% of that? And won nothing!”

Don’t get any perverted sense of pleasure if your a Rangers fan because a estimate of close to Celtic is the missing revenue from Rangers annual books.  In addition to the millions of pounds of saleable assets that wondered to Southhampton, Norwich etc when the finiancial event kicked in at Ibrox.  With additional rebuilding costs Rangers have lost HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS of Pounds. 

The Silent chairmen know that to admit loss of revenue is to admit they made errors.  Roy McGregor, Stewart Milne and Cheif Moaner Stephen Thompson all incrediable vocal when vote was cast now silent on what it has cost them. 

The cut your cloth brigade of fans that seem to think that they have been immune from changes in finiancial environment.  Lets see how they feel when the life blood of their club dries up.  The easiest cut in budget is always Youth teams.  Lack of youth to sell on in coming years will be the double whammy for most clubs.  Down on income this year last year and year before,  no sales next year the year after etc.  It’s a spiral that is summed up this year in the condition of the two clubs honest enough to admit costs and revenue reduction. 

Celtic in Europa League not Champions League even with a reprive they still didn’t have the quality to qualify for group stages.  Saint Mirren languishing at bottom of Scottish Premiership for sale with out any interst. 

That nagging voice the meltdown that happened to Hearts could of changed it’s clothes cut it’s cloth to fit if you will and is currently on the catwalk dressed in a deadly camouflage. Waiting til suddenly the short fall in income stops being a manageable problem and becomes a insurmountable issue.
Today’s Molehill tomorrows Mountain.

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The Race to France 2016

3 Sep

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Well on the International scene it’s that time again.  The quadannual trip to our near neighbours for a hope of being invited to European Nations second biggest tournament.  The journey to fill the twenty three places to join France.  For the second string of European Nations this is the chance to get to a summertime party in 2016.  With fifty three teams aiming for twenty three spots the odds are significantly better than the other qualifying for a World Cup. 

So how does it look here is how I place the groups:

GROUP A
1. NETHERLANDS
2. CZECH REPUBLIC
3. TURKEY
4. ICELAND
5. LATVIA
6. KAZAKHSTAN

A cake walk for Netherlands with Czech Republic to comfortably join them.  Turkey to sit nicely in third. The Turks won’t fear anyone on a two legged play off but plenty of nations will fear a trip to the hotbed hell that is a leg in Turkey.

GROUP B
1. BELGIUM
2. WALES
3. ISRAEL
4. CYPRUS
5. BOZNIA HERCEGOVNIA
6. ANDORRA

This is by far the easiest group. It’s inconceivable that Belgium won’t win. A team with Gareth Bale and Arsenal’s Arron Ramsey surely must have the valleys singing in celebration of qualification for first time in too long. I would expect a envious look on Ryan Giggs face.

GROUP C
1. SPAIN
2. UKRAINE
3. SLOVAKIA
4. F.Y.R. MACEDONIA
5. BELARUS
6. LUXEMBURG

Spain to develop after a appaulling World Cup. Spain must replace a golden generation while fulfilling the expectations of a nation. No easy task. Placing Ukraine second is a unexpected risk. Sure they have the players on paper but the geo-politics of this corner of Europe may mean that every Ukrainian home game is played in a neutral venue. In addition to Ukraine based players becoming Soccer refugees. This could open a door for Slovakia.

GROUP D
1. GERMANY
2. POLAND
3. SCOTLAND
4. REPUBLIC OF IRELAND
5. GEORGIA
6. GIBRALTER

Oh Germany could simply turn up and get points. I would doubt they will lose six goals let alone drop points. Poland with almost Germanic efficiency should get second. The Tartan Army will struggle to out sing both Poland and Irish at Home games. Especially with Hampden out of commission due to Commonwealth Games. The Irish and Polish communities in Scotland and UK will turn out in numbers to squeeze the Hampden Roar. Then we get the Scotland team. Gordon Strachan will know goal difference will be as important as not losing to Martin O Neil’s Ireland. Scotland won’t win a playoff but could just could get third.

GROUP E
1. ENGLAND
2. SWITZERLAND
3. SLOVENIA
4. LITHUANIA
5. ESTONIA
6. SAN MARINO

Wayne Rooney as Captain is my only concern for England but in truth they should walk this group. A nice return to Switzerland for Roy Hodgeson. Not the easy street that will please the English nation but enough to keep Roy on the job.

GROUP E
1. GREECE
2. HUNGARY
3. ROMANIA
4. FINLAND
5. NORTHERN IRELAND
6. FAROE ISLANDS

Not so much a group of death but a group of consistency the only joy for Northern Ireland will be returning to a refurbished Windsor Park. Greece may not be what the used to be but just too much quality to not qualify. This group to go with what pot the nation’s emerged from at draw.

GROUP G
1. RUSSIA
2. SWEDEN
3. AUSTRIA
4. MINTENEGRO
5. MOLDOVA
6. LIECHTENSTEIN

As with group F can’t see any nation beating the seedlings. Russia to qualify and a interesting battle between Austria and Sweden with Scandanavia edging it.

GROUP H
1. ITALY
2. CROATIA
3. NORWAY
4. BULGARIA
5. AZERBAIJAN
6. MALTA

Italy always make it dont they and Croatia are fast becoming a fixture on the summer soccer festivals. Norway lacking offensive quality could very easily be the third placed team everyone wants to get in playoffs.

GROUP I
1. PORTUGAL
2. DENMARK
3. SERBIA
4. ALBANIA
5. ARMENIA

Only top two go through no prize for third. Portugal to cruise it and a nasty fight between Denmark and Serbia. Think the experience of Denmark will just edge out Serbia.