Tag Archives: SPFL

Getting Away With It? Part 2

28 Nov

In part two of getting away with lets extend our eyes away from the East End of Glasgow. In some sort of order lets examine the S.P.F.L Premiership. The Getting away with it in this section of Scottish football is so prevalent that I am surprised that every team does not emerge from the tunnel at the start of games to the band Electronics song.

From Aberdeen to Motherwell and Inverness to Kilmarnock clubs have went from publicly deriding The Old Firm as bad for the Scottish Game to now appreciating that the old Firm provided a enormous income stream for EVERY club in Scotland. With Celtic fans becoming more choosy on what games they will travel to see and the lack of Rangers fans then what was three or four party pay days a season there is now a lack of interest. We are all waiting on the emergence of the race to challenge Celtic for the title. With every passing day this looks as likely as Celtic winning the Champions League! As for a race for second this has become as interesting as the race for third has been for many years.

The warnings offered to Fans who suggested that any shortfall in income or interest in the game post Rangers increasingly strange placement into the lower tier of Scottish football would be made up for by the other clubs themselves has became a running Joke. Celtic are spectacularly failing to sell out Celtic Park for anything other than a mid week European game. Attendances in the SPFL Premiership/SPL post 2011-12 have nose dived so severely it looks like Gerald Ratner has been put in charge of quality and advertising. With clubs in the SPFL Premiership mothballing areas of their stadiums due to costs and policing/stewarding costs remaining stubbornly high the clubs are faced with little other option. What is making this worse as this season continues. Its became clear that as Hearts slide often valiantly into relegation and Kilmarnock seem intent to press self destruct and join them instead of freeing up clubs and managers to become expansive and entertaining the opposite seems true. A Celtic fan said to me that it was up to the other clubs to open up and provide entertaining opponents for Celtic to beat. I having watched a lot of top division clubs this season feel that the fear factor has taken hold. The expected fun of the non Hoops has been nothing more than rehashed reheats of last seasons left overs.

It is incredibly strange that the Chairmen of these clubs have been conspicuous by their absence in engaging fans in dialogue. From Stewart Milne to Rod Petrie via Steven Thompson the men of Iron who clubbed together to punish an Old Firm Club under what is slowly being proved to be a victim of overzealous prosecution of a flawed case and a low grade two bit con man. The same Men of Iron who with the straight rod of sporting integrity so publicly hammered Rangers then meekly punished Hearts to end financial doping once and for all. Yes the mismanagement of Murray International Holdings, Craig White, Gavin Masterton, Ubig and Vladimir Romanov has been exposed, digested and proclaimed upon. The under reporting of Aberdeen Asset Management reducing debts at Aberdeen with Stewart Milne. Are we to simply believe that Milne and A.A.M simply reduced debts as a gift, I think that’s at best naive and at worse delusional. Milne is well known to be careful with money. E would not give a penny without demanding two in return. As for A.A.M shareholders in times of financial turmoil are not known for acts of charity to football clubs. You get nothing for nothing and something has been sold off at these clubs and fans are getting away with thinking every act done to and by their club is as they would do. Sadly as fans of other clubs will say often this is not the case and usually its nowhere near. The Boardroom events at Kilmarnock.

The income stream is waning the promised golden harvest has failed to materialise. A new league to solve all the issues has failed to deliver a Sponsor. A League body getting away with not providing for its members. At a time when income is required urgently some stuffed blazers sit in VIP areas living high off the land. While Clubs are forced to have stands free!

Currently rumours of debts owed to a bailed out institute by clubs who seemed to of received eye popping low interest rate deals.


The newly formed management of this bank are looking to reduce liabilities and football clubs are prime targets for repayment or renegotiation. Failure to do this means publicity of the worse sort for clubs and institute a like and running the risk of waking the sleeping press pack with potentially a massive political story is a step too far for all concerned. For some reason being able link all of this together is either beyond the savvy of most of the cosy bunch of Journalists in Scotland or this is embargoed. Getting away with sharing taxis, Sources and contacts seems to en vogue for the lazy hacks. The same selection who believed fiction factories with H.M.R.C and Rangers now shy away from actual investigations regards the mire that constitutes the bank statements of every club in the Premiership. These clubs all know now that the last thing they can expect is support from their compatriots in the League. They may get a increasingly lenient sentence and be damned once rather than many times over but they will not be able to bank on anything regards what the SPFL will offer as support. That is the SPFL Getting away with it but that’s for another time.

So every club in the top division is getting away with either failure of ambition or woeful financial management skills or indeed both. If you look around at the landscape so helpfully approved for clubs by the SPFL management then it is hardly surprising that clubs are happy to reduce and stagnate. They are after all happy to get away with it. All happy to be sponsored or not by “dontrocktheboat.com”. In fact don’t rock the boat because when you stop getting away with it if you tow the party line like Hearts did you seem to get a lesser punishment. Rock the boat when you cease to get away you will be made to pay by those who continue to ride their luck.


Getting Away With It? Part 1

27 Nov

In general you could say that everywhere you look in Scottish football you see people getting away with it.  The horrible scenes of fan violence in the centre of a European City with so called Scottish Fans fighting with Police is a return to a time we had all thought we had left in the distant past.  To compound this the club these animals claim to support is actually defending and excusing the horrors of Dam Square. This condoning instantly ties the Club in its entirety and its trading potential into a muddy world shown in films starring Danny Dyer.  Do you think Magners are happy to see Dutch Police aiming batons at their logo.  Drink Magners Cider and get into fights in the street is not the

“drink responsibly” image Magners want.  This is before you even get the often confused and what most see as corruptible proclamations that will emerge in time from Uefa in the coming weeks.  I do think Ally McCoist said the best words to describe the events in Amsterdam.  Without blame the Rangers Manager basically said you cannot expect to turn up in a foreign country and not see different nuances in Policing and crowd control.

In regards the match in the Amsterdam Arena well to sum it up Celtic were a disgrace to their traditions.  It seemed a squad of players turned up in Holland and expected to win.  It was like Ajax had no right to be on the pitch with them.  Everywhere you looked on the pitch a highly paid man was wearing green and white hoops not earning his inflated wages.  It was a reflection of the superiority complex that Celtic have shown for many years domestically.  It has always been bubbling under the surface but in recent seasons it has became the clubs dominant domestic image.  Even Lowly Morton exposed it in the league cup.  Celtic have many good players not world beating superstars but good players.  They have the biggest squad and this squad is the best in Scotland, in terms of depth, quality and numbers. The feeling from Celtic at the moment is that they should turn up win and leave.  Given the comments of Neil Lennon regards travelling to Dingwall I am beginning to think that elements of the Celtic Staff think that teams should simply post the three points for a league win to Janefield Street.  The perception that anyone be it opposing player, other club or worse any official of the SFA or SPFL who by simply doing their job causes Celtic not to have a league record of Played 38 Won 38 had the overriding public image of Celtic Football Club.  I say that until the you tube images of Celtic Fans rioting in Amsterdam.  For too long people have been getting away with casting shadows over the game with words like “Conspiracy” “Clarity” “baffling” when in reality they are accusing everyone and his dog as being discriminatory with no evidence to back up their claims.  Getting away with the idea that if you say something enough times it becomes true not is true just becomes true.

The follow up of Fans Groups and club to Blame the Police has taken on a familiar note I for one am beginning to expect a statement expressing Celtic football Clubs concern of The Netherlands not respecting the traditions of Celtic and the Dutch having a long history of oppressing Celtic and discriminating against Persons of Celtic mindedness.

For a club embroiled in a quest to win a one team league and after losing to AC Milan at home now only represented in Europe by persons currently on Dutch Bail it is quite a come down.  As UEFA now turn their eyes across the City of Glasgow with a view of sanitising the environs of Celtic Park, there has to be a element of growing concern within a smug Board Room.  I mean lets look at the banners being investigated by UEFA.  A questionable group of supporters smuggled in eight or nine large pieces of fabric with various designs and slogans written in a font that is fast becoming a font of shame for Celtic.  I can’t think what the stewards where doing while the items entered the stadium.  Unless there is printing facilities on the concourse at Celtic Park where massive flags are printed while you wait then surely someone has failed to protect the club.  It is not as if the same section of Celtic Park crowd has not attracted attention previously.  Lets look at the horizon for 2014 for the Hoops.

It appears that the worm is slowly turning,  the smug complacently that many not just Rangers fans has noticed emerging from Celtic is now coming to haunt Celtic.  The long running defence of Sectarian bigotry has to be running thin.  The uttering’s of club officials has long become laughable.  When UEFA, Co-Op Bank and others come calling will Celtic use their trump card and watch it fail like the team against AC Milan.  I believe that this often used defence is now so close to failing that within the Scottish Media there is a swell building behind the Dam waiting for the inevitable burst.  Such is the fear culture imposed on media by Celtic Connections that once the burst happens then the whirlpool that will engulf Celtic Football Club will leave many at the club not just by the way side but ejected from public life forever.  It is not without coincidence that many of the Clubs most recent defenders and apparent deputy Mudslingers are now dead.  As this house of cards built on lies and deflection begins to wobble its only natural that the fear factor ruling certain newsrooms in Scotland will cease and the oppressed begin to return fire.

The Public image and more importantly the business image of a club is in the dock

The Championship Is Where it Is At

1 Nov

Lets make some large and some not so large assumptions.  At the end of the first Scottish Professional football League Season the tables and playoffs etc will be as follows.  Premiership Champions Celtic,  another statistic that history will cast its own interpretation on.  For me as I have said in the past Celtic winning the top league from 2012 to 2017 is the equivalent of myself beating Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles and David Blunkett at a game of I spy.  The minor placings and with it qualifying for qualifying for Europe is almost a irrevelence but lets give it to the New firm and have done with it.  Sorry to any other team hoping to get this honour but as I posted on 31 October (https://ronnydavies1972.wordpress.com/2013/10/31/celtic-and-other-participants/) being second is hardly a prize of distinction either.  In the lower half of the Premiership we have Heart of Midlothian (hampered some would say handicapped by a 15 point deduction a transfer embargo and whatever the Lithuanian is for mismanagement) are relegated and I think its not to much to assume that Kilmarnock will be in playoff place and given the Rugby park clubs boardroom issues and form they too fall into the Championship. 

From the Championship lets assume that Hamilton and Falkirk go up to the Premiership.  Cowdenbeath and Morton fall from the second to third tier.  From the third tier Rangers fly up and are joined by Dunfermline.  So lets look at what the Scottish Premiership and Scottish Championship could without much imagination contain. 

Scottish Premiership

  1. Celtic
  2. Aberdeen
  3. Dundee United
  4. Inverness Caledonian Thistle
  5. Ross County
  6. Hibernian
  7. Saint Johnstone
  8. Saint Mirren
  9. Partick Thistle
  10. Motherwell
  11. Hamilton Academicals
  12. Falkirk

Scottish Championship

  1. Raith Rovers
  2. Dundee
  3. Livingston
  4. Dumbarton
  5. Alloa Athletic
  6. Queen Of The South
  7. Hearts
  8. Kilmarnock
  9. Rangers
  10. Dunfermline


Is this the SPL 2 touted for the last years?  I suspect it is definitely not as weak as the top twelve had envisaged.  Certainly I am sure that a SPL 2, second tier league or Championship was by definition meant to take second place to the main event (Scottish Premiership).  Imagine the discussion in the Sky, BT sport, BBC Scotland or even BBC Alba office come a scenario of choosing what match to cover.  Motherwell versus St Johnstone in front of a Half full Fir Park lacking in atmosphere or ambition from the teams (Not one of them are realistically going to win the Premiership) or a full Tynecastle for Hearts versus Rangers in a six pointer for the Lead in the Championship.  Tynecastle’s tight stadia alive, bristling with atmosphere, the teams playing for something tangible.  I suspect that Jonathon Sutherland, David Tanner will be itching to attend Gorgie with a cameras.  Rather than go to rather dull meaningless to the masses fixture in Lanarkshire.  Please don’t think I am anti Lanarkshire and Perth pick any fixture that the Scottish Premiership throws up next season and you can argue to any neutral that any game fits into the criteria of low attendance devoid of atmosphere and meaningless to even the staunchest fans.  The Premiership is in real danger of being football by numbers.  Look at the last two years Celtic have been plaugued by the empty seat brigade only turning up for full houses at certain European games,  the new firm both charging for second place and Europe next year could not sell out twenty thousand seats recently.  A distance of 70 miles saw United sell around twelve hundred seats and Aberdeen have a impressive away support in terms of numbers and miles travelled to away games but failing to get past 75% of tickets sold at Home games illustrates a malaise that is infecting fans up and down the Premiership.  Aberdeen can argue successfully as being the second best supported team in the Premiership yet they fail to fill a stadium that thirty years ago you required vouchers to buy tickets for games.  All this and if anything the catchment area for Aberdeen Football Club has grown in geography and population. 


The permutations of the Leagues of 2014-15 are varied but without a doubt the league to watch by fans and media will be the Championship and not the Premiership.  Rangers fan still defiant in their support for the club joined by fans of Dunfermline and Hearts doing the same for the same reasons.  It has became normal for the biggest crowd in Scotland to be at Ibrox selling out to the legions,  it has been dismissed as a joke to some not attached to Govan.  I wonder how this Joke will be laughed at when Sold Out Ibrox is joined by Sold out Tynecastle and Sold out East End Park.  All in the second tier of a league structure without a sponsor. The knives may of been out within the Premiership punishing instead of supporting blaming instead of assessing their own failings as a private members club/governing body. The failings at Rangers, Hearts and Dunfermline owned by unsavoury persons who strangely passed fit and proper persons tests is all in the past. But in the future the same clubs who have suffered at the hands of hidden agendas will be in what to many paying customers and media partners alike be the best league in Scotland.

Celtic and other Participants

31 Oct

Its Halloween and as I watch fancy dressed trick or treaters traverse our streets I think what other occasions or events are enhanced by fancy dress.

I have a mate who a couple of years ago entered the London Marathon.  He trained hard and certainly contributed to the spectacle but to be fair I never really thought he would win.  Even though he confidently predicted a good performance and indeed talked a good race he did not win the event.  This is how I think the inaugural SPFL Premiership is for a number of clubs.  I think that most fans will agree Celtic will win the Premiership.  Sadly it’s not a question of if but when. This will mean that despite challenges from the other towns and cities the top league prize will remain in Glasgow for a thirtieth year.  With the absence of Rangers the big league trophy (probably being designed by Neil Doncaster as we speak) will don green and white ribbons and be paraded around the East End of Glasgow come May.  There will be twists and turns for second place but as Ron Dennis of McLaren F1 says “second is just first of the losers.”

It is in this notion that lies the problem recently Aberdeen hosted Dundee United “The New Firm”  a feisty tasty clash it looked like on paper too before the game the hype and hope was intense.  Thirty years ago a guaranteed sell out between European Cup Winners Cup Holders and League Champions.  A battle between Ferguson and McLean.  A pitch littered with Scottish Internationals and household names.  A few weeks ago barely half full Pittodrie witnessed Derek McInnes Aberdeen beat Jackie McNamara’s United one nil.  When this game was for cups and titles you could not get a ticket for love or money now it’s for  at best second place in a devalued league you get your choice of seats.  This is not to deride the eleven thousand Aberdeen Fans or the twelve hundred United fans who braved a misty damp cold October day, no they stand by their teams some would say stand free admirably.  For even this many to want to follow teams with no realistic hope of winning a league is to be applauded.  The Question is though what are the hopes and ambitions of clubs in the SPFL Premiership?

  1. Not get relegated
  2. Finish in top 6
  3. Do well in a cup
  4. Don’t accrue debt
  5. Hope none of our fans (customers) notice so we can continue this charade of competitiveness next season.

Lets take this one by one I think and am agreed with widely that Hearts are going down automatically.  The deductions just make it impossible now I feel for The Jam Tarts to survive in SPFL Premiership.  Also I feel that given current circumstances that Kilmarnock are not a team you would bet on staying up.  There is just too much uncertainty going on at every level at Rugby Park for me to believe they could survive.   So that’s relegation taken care of for ten teams.

Finish in top six?  This can only be because in doing so you have a 40% chance of hosting Celtic (Maybe for a title party) with all the additional income their fans and TV bring.

Do well in a cup?  Allows Chairmen and Managers to cling on to some Brasso and looks good in next years team photos.

Don’t accrue debt? look at Hearts and for 75% of the SPFL premiership the question is not accrue debt its service the current debt.

Number 6 needs no explanation.

So you see from my view Celtic will win the SPFL Premiership Hearts will go down to a Championship that is looking incredibly tasty next season already.  Kilmarnock will join them.  Sad to say the rest of the League is nothing more than also ran’s and fancy dress charity merchants.  Looking to beat personal bests raise money for just causes (Usually banks they own money too).  Pick a club out with Celtic Hearts and Killie and all you really see is participants,  and like my mate who participated in the London Marathon they too are desperately hoping the guy in the divers suit does not overtake them.  For the record my mate finished in over six hours and was not happy when I suggested did that include the time he sat down for a pub lunch mid way through.

Neil and Stu – Trotters not so Independent Traders

7 Sep

Followers of my words will know that neither Neil Doncaster or Stewart Regan are on my Christmas Card list.  I am acutely aware that I am not on theirs.  Safe to say I won’t hold my breath for a invite to hampden ivory towers for tea and crumpets.  I try to be fair and chatitable to the leaders of Scottish Football but the latest freshly baked batch of news to emerge from Hampden is beyond reason.

Let’s take all the statements from Neil and Stu.  Turmoil, financial instabilities, needing investment just some of the paraphrased comments.  From member clubs you hear the need of two things

1 financial income/investment

2 support from the associations and league.

So why did Stewart Reagan’s SFA close TWO DAYS before the rest of the world on transfer deadline day. 

This suicidal move to restrict trade has 41 clubs wondering why they didn’t benefit from the HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS of Pounds swilling around European Football.  The only club to benefit seems to be Hamilton who cashed in on a Scots born Irishman via a sell on clause.  We’ll done them.  The sale that keeps on giving, just male sure Stewart Regan isn’t your bank manager because you wouldn’t get your money till Christmas. 

There is a Christmas theme what the sfa did by closing is the equivalent to marks and spencers closing on the 21st of December!  Why because it’s a working day! 

It’s a reason that does not stack up, not now not then not ever.  Much talk of Pyramid systems well by shutting up shop early the sfa cut the player pyramid off in its prime.  Directly hurting ambitious players, destroying the possibility of clubs making survival til January easier.  I hope a club does not fold potentially because it wasn’t able to sell a player on.

The merrigoround of transfers traditionally spins and drags in some Scottish interest.  Player A goes from Scotland to England, player B goes from lower league to Scottish  Premiership. Players develop clubs survive.  Simple that’s what happens on transfer deadline day. 

Celtic for example fresh from Champions league qualification suffered a potentially long term injury blow with Lustig, even with a early Saturday Kick off Neil Lennon had no time to find a replacement.  This proves that the SFA have no intrwst in supporting or developing clubs and players in Scotland.  Let’s make no bones about this,  Supporting and Developing The Game (clubs & players & officials) is The Foundation of the remit of the Association it is not a opt in.

Peter Lawwell must be realising his position on the sfa board. He must wish that he was appointed earlier. He like every other club in Scotland must look at England with envy.  Then again Greg Dyke etc were not insidiously employed by a Lawyers firm masquerading as a employment/hr firm.  I doubt that even former employee of the month Lawwell will ditch his former employers and his friends though because he is part of the problem even though Celtic have been indoubyably disadvantaged by the SFA.

If Neil and Stu’s motivation to close the case and run off to the three wheeler van was aimed at Rangers then that is not just bad but cause for absolute horror.  If the vendetta against one club Rangers, allows for the REST OF SCOTTISH FOOTBALL to suffer then that my friends is a crime beyond Jim Farry.

Ian Black The Heart of The Matter

20 Aug

Ian Black cited for breach of betting rules. Well if the evidence stacks up then get any accused into the tribunals and the truth will out. Keep to the principal held dear in all good democracies – INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY. I do hope we won’t get the usual Scottish fare of let’s just call them the usual suspects procrastinating about Ian Black being guilty before he has been given a opportunity to prove otherwise. If this happens and we all expect it too in some form or another then I am afraid that the lessons that should of been learned by media outlets from the “Top Tier Tax Tribunals” original decision have not been realised.

Quick Question. Who is is line for Scottish Bafta for making up untruths this time?

Like me though do you wonder who discovers any possible breaches.  I mean is this the bookmaker upset that Ian Black possibly won money?  A fellow gambler upset that he was not included in the syndicate.  To be honest I have no clue who but what does it take to be the catalyst for investigation.

Notice I say investigation not citing or punishment but inveatigation. What does it take to be looked at by the authorities. Is there a Crimewatch style hotline to the SFA special branch. If so it must be a secret (hardly a good template for a hotline) because no one seems to know how you inform on a Club, Player, Official, questionable match or dodgy character.

So we are left with the only route to justice being exposed by the press.  A press who appear to be suffering from their own hypocrasy issues regards their mandate of purity and truth.  The print media suffering from Levingson/hacking scandals and the broadcast media suffering shock from becoming a camouflage for a number of abusing employees.  They are hardly in a position to become the moral judges. 

In truth a story to the press is not based on how the truth will out but how much it will increase their circulation or kudos. 

The SFA react, they appear not to be proactive.  As long as no one says different Hampden thinks nothing is wrong.  It’s a definition of bunker syndrome. Nothing said and nothing done till the postman delivers bad news. Then they engage the systems and hope the defendant does not employ a hot shot lawyer to help in his defence.

Ian Black may be innocent he may be guilty time will tell but waiting to be informed makes the sfa a sitting duck for informants with,agendas rather than actively attempting to root put any law breaking itself.

For example no one in the SPFL SFA Hampden Hide away appear to be even vaguely suspicious of one of the last round of games of the SPL season 2012/13.

One team had a reasonable motive not to try to win and accrue three points.  Points that would directly hurt this club in season 2013/14.  A club already possibly guilty of bending the rules in the days previous to this match. Not sure about teams selling the jerseys more about no one raising the issue.

Maybe its just me but the last week of last season requires careful investigation if only to remove suspicion.

Will anyone at Hampden do this I doubt it, the information is hidden in plain sight not delivered in a brown envelope signed with love “Deep Throat”

Thems The Rules

3 Aug

Oh dear.

You see if you change the rules enforce new rules to the fullness available to you and make your motive for this rather clear. Then you had better make sure you continue to follow to the letter. Because moving the goal posts about is fine and dandy if not clear and stable. It’s also helpful to remember that your barely hidden target is watching taking notes.

It is illegal within the rules of association to take your national association or league body to court. It’s a rule designed to make the authorities final arbiter beyond contempt. Shame Neil Doncaster and Stewart Regan are now in the dock with contempt the least of the charges.

Rangers began in January looking to use a loophole in the rules regards Trialists. Murray Park planned out how to use this loophole to the maximum and things looked reasonable. Cometh the hour cometh the puppets. Enraged that anyone in G51 would spot a loophole yet alone use it. Scottish Footballs own Nookie Bear and Orville the Duck slam shut the loophole and celebrate their pyrich victory. And it is a pariah victory because by showing willingness to make up rules bend rules change the landscape what have Orville and Nookie achieved.

No business is willing to engage them in any form of contract, why?

If you are willing to move the goal posts about with your member clubs then you are likely to do Yeh same with business partners and they can at least sue. Even if they don’t want too.

In addition to the lack of income (begging the question what is paying Orville and Nookie’s wages) the legality of every word of the SFA SPFL is now tagged with “subject to scrutiny”. The obvious confidence of the two puppets to do as they please will only lead to complacency. A dangerous mix with these two.

The real danger is though if as the pattern seems to show the more you move the goal posts and make up rules to suit a agenda you have is that eventually you paint yourself into a corner and then is when the trouble really begins.

Already Rangers have asked for clarity on rules and decisions. This is just the beginning. In time the Muppets will fond themselves in a position that quiet simply brings down the house of cards.

With teams struggling to make ends meet would it not be better if Doncaster and Regan secured new funds rather than try to settle old scores.