Archive | October, 2015

Community Camouflage

16 Oct

I have a few strings to my bow.  I am a jack of all trades and master of none. I am proficient at most I would say modestly.

As you know I am a keen observer of life and events and recently I have became very concerned with the Public Persona of a Football Club.

It’s hard to describe as anything more than arrogance personally I put it in the venn diagram of where stupid meets arrogance meets conceit. 

Firstly cast your mind back to Aberdeen Versus Celtic at Pittodrie.  Aberdeen won two one the referee was Craig Thompson and he made a couple of possible errors.  In fairness Craig got 98% of the game correct and 2% open to debate.  Post match the gathering of press in the media room deep within the bowels of corner of the main stand and Richard Donald Stand waited for the usual one player and the Manager from both sides to provide reaction and the run of the mill cliches we all devour from football officials. 

The room bustled with Print and broadcast Press chattering and confirming facts.  For anyone who has been in this area it was the usual atmosphere.  There was a buzz of Aberdeen stretching a lead and setting a record as well as a few incidents discussed.  A door on the far side opened and the atmosphere changed in walked a player.  Seething full of anger and retribution the atmosphere changed very quickly.  In walked a moody, unrepentant Lee Griffiths he sat on his seat and began with little prompting to buy himself a SFA punishment. Fresh from being in Court over singing Offensive songs specifically about a fellow Professional Griffiths let rip.
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No mention of the Celtic strikers glaring failure to score a equaliser into a empty net in the final moments. No conceding that ten man Aberdeen actually showed more desire to defend and counter than the Hoops. Simply put it was a assassination of SFA Referee Craig Thompson’s professional standards. Now to be honest Thompson is not the beat whistler ever but he is even handed on his dealing with all teams. He is equally bad to all.
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On this occasion he (Craig Thompson) did not deserve the public roasting the Scotland striker gave him. And a glance at the Celtic PR led me to believe that Griffiths was speaking with full club approval. No shaking head no “Shhh”, No intervention, no shame! And I say shame because out of the fourteen players Ronny Delia used that day any of the other thirteen would of came in said nothing much and got out without any fuss. Celtic Public Relations put the worse possible Player into the couldron that day. Griffiths would of been better taking his seat on the Parks Of Hamilton Bus and quietly getting out of town. Surely the Celtic PR’s first job is to protect the image of both players and club even if it’s from self inflicted wounds. At best surely the job of Public Relations at Celtic Park is to prevent where possible any of the club’s players being punished (possibly suspended) for talking out of turn at Press Conferences. Strikes me that is priority number one of the PR Department at a football club. I know that at Aberdeen the players are well drilled by a excellent Media Department in the way to conduct a interview. I know that at other clubs this is a major part of the education of players and key in their development.

A couple of days later a Letter appears on the Daily Mirror concerning a Corrwspondamce sent out to a Celtic fans personal hygiene. Once again I will admit I seen a photo of this letter weeks before and assumed it was a PhotoShop joke. Now this photo emerges onto a deal at the daily mirror and a journalist decides to phone into the PR Dept at Celtic to ask if the latter is genuine. To be fair Celtic PR were totally honest and confirmed the letter was genuine.
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How no one on this department thought for a second hang on Headlines of Smelly Celtic Fans is not going to be a positive on the club’s image I do not know. They are a million ways to deflect the letter from simply refusing to comment on what is a private and confidential correspondance between Club and a Patron(s). This was not a sign screwed onto a wall within the confines of Celtic Park after all. If like doctors the hypocratic oath affects Public Relations Officers then first do no harm suddenly seems to be erased from Public Relations at Celtic Park.

You have to wonder who is protecting the image of the Club Gerald Ratner!
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The increasingly standard defence from Kerrydale Street is that is a conspiracy against the Club. Where from within!

Recently I had to engage in a email marathon with lots of football clubs. As I said I have many strings to my bow so sometimes there is a cross over. I was representing a Community Media outlet who were trying to gain some small non rights holder access to press areas at games etc. Of the many emails I sent put only one Club sent back a condescending denial.
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Yes the Club that was built on Community Values now does not allow Community programs a seat at it’s Table. I thought how Brother Walfrid must be spinning in his grave. How far removed has the great Club of Celtic became from it’s founding values. How arrogant how conceited and how divorced from the values of it’s fans.
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To put this into context the only club out of the top 20 in Scotland to flat refuse any interaction was Celtic even the much derided SPFL welcomed the request. Glasgow City Woman’s team, Braehead Clan, to name a few all agreed to simple no real time spent requests. Even the other half of the Old Firm Rangers a club apparently short staffed and in turmoil welcomed the interest and gave a positive response.

If there is a conspiracy to devalue Celtic then it’s became obvious in last few months that it’s coming from withing the ivory towers of Celtic Park.

Something Stinks at Celtic Park and it is not just elements of the customer base.

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Regans Aldi Experiment

12 Oct

Scotland’s whimpering exit from the European Chamionships has and will lead to a significant amount of navel gazing and given that we are talking about the SFA its bound to lead to no action.

Let me state this Gordon Strachan, Mark McGee and Stuart McCall should be safe.  Everyone could have picked a different team included other Players and with perfect 20 20 hindsight won games collected points and qualified.  Personally I find it almost inconceivable that more Aberdeen Players were not included in the squad as I do a late inclusion of Ranger’s Lee Wallace.  Form over loyalty every time for me.
Loyalty seems to be the main problem with Scotland for me.  The Players it seems can only trust the Coaching Staff to do whats right by them not the Big Wigs and Blazers sitting up the front of the Plane with extra leg room.  Clubs and Players alike must wonder if indeed the Players have decent Insurance when on Scotland duty given the cost cutting travel arrangements.  How Club Managers must have been concerned and how Clubs must have sought assurances regards the Loan of their Club’s prized assets.  This is what Gordon Strachan had to fight against in addition to Playing against three proficient Nations all of whom threw Money at their National teams Players not like Scotland looked to cut corners.  The Republic Of Ireland especially given that they had still to spend their FIFA hush money  did not scrimp or save they did not even gamble they simple treated their Players in a similar way and to same standards as Manchester United or Chelsea .  Stuart Regan treated the Scotland National Team worse than a Highland League Team on a long distance Cup Tie.  So is it no wonder that the team performed so badly ?  Blame Pitch Invaders, Bad Refereeing or indeed Dodgy Playing Surfaces all you want but if a Skilled Highly Paid pampered Player suddenly realises he is being treated badly then National Pride is not enough to keep you motivated.  The Travelling Army of Fans might bleat about being Scottish, berate Players all you want but if there is a culture of cost cutting and you are the main victim of this then maybe you wont be as determined to spend next summer being hotelled at the whim of Stuart “Ebenezer Scrooge” Regan.

If Money is tight at the SFA then cut the fat in an intelligent way.  I am not for inhumane treatment but how about a Blazer Cull.  Kill off some of the nonsensical committees and Positions.  Regan Must simply go like Sir Stephen House he has been consistently shown to be a failure.  Neil Doncaster must follow this two are not the Morecambe and Wise of Scottish Football more the Barry and Paul Chuckle!  The Tartan Army screams at clubs week in week out “SACK THE BOARD” at their Clubs yet seem to accept “Glorious Failure” at National Level.  Here is a thought Georgia Away and Poland at Home are not Glorious Failures more “indignatious Defeats”   Willie Miller said that following the Six Nil victory against Gibraltar it felt like celebrating failure and that is exactly correct and why I suggest that Willie be approached to take over from the Destroyer of Yorkshire Cricket Regan and as an additional idea why not invite Gordon Smith to replace Doncaster.  Both have Business experience both have opinions that in truth are shared by most Scots and both  would do a better job than the two incumbents.  Also the main Professional Game Board [Chairman: Rod Petrie (Scottish FA)
Members: Alan McRae (Scottish FA), Stewart Regan (Scottish FA), Ralph Topping (SPFL), Peter Lawell (SPFL), Neil Doncaster (SPFL), Duncan Fraser (SPFL), Mike Mulraney (SPFL), Sandy Stables (SHFL) and Andrew Waddell (SLFL)] should be radically changed they sanctioned the cost cutting they approved the stragigy they should be forced out of Position and new more forward thinking Office Bearers should be installed.

As the only Home Nation not to progress a complete clear out of the National Association is the only way forward.  The reasons why I am not demanding Strachan and Co to go is simple Who do you get to replace them there simply is not Prince Of Wales waiting in the Wings.  Greame Souness is probably the only candidate.  Souness has not managed in anger for a number of years and given the Bad Blood between him and the SFA I would doubt he will ever be installed as Head Coach.  If Strachan and Team do not continue then who is there Is Stuart Baxter still doing the rounds?  He was the phantom candidate for every managerial position in the Nineties surely he could return to coach the National team.

It’s a mess on the whole who ever is the Head Coach then given an aging Squad I feel that some players should frame their shirts from Gibraltar because they wont get another one.  Allan Hutton, Scott Brown Shaun Maloney and other over thirties are they really going to be fit to carry the jersey in Russia 2018 let alone to take the Nation to the next Euros in 2020.  With some great Players with Scottish Accents plying their Trade in Scotland (low travel costs) then why has the Scotland Squad been filled by Mockney Cockney Scots from the ENGLISH CHAMPIONSHIP.  Kenny McLean, Barry McKay, Lee Wallace, Mark Renyolds, Greame Shinnie, James Forrest and James McArthur.  All younger and leaner and not jaded by the Scottish Costcutter Association.

As a flippant note it’s time we ditched the uninspiring unofficial Anthem of “Flower Of Scotland” and returned to the true National Anthem of “Scotland The Brave”.  Fair enough no one knows the words but history shows when we Scots stuck to the Official Anthem of history instead of the cod folk song cobbled together on the back of a beer mat the national team actually qualitfied for World Cups before we all became Mathematic Professors figuring out permuntations on how to qualify not road sweepers two games from the end of the Qualifying Leagues cleaning up the debries of a national shame.

Scotland used to look at Belgium as an example but unlike Netherlands Scotland are down and show no signs of getting up.  Weighed down by Bulky Blazers and self-interest abusing the Tartan Army and hurting the National Pride year in year out.  The Next SFA Chef must look to Asda not Aldi the nation might never be Waitrose or Marks and Spencers but the nation deserves better than the discount bulk buy its being force-fed.