Tag Archives: Stephen Thompson

Ladbrokes Championship Predictions 2016-17

31 Jul

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Continuing on from the Ladbrokes Premiership Predictions its probably a good time to step into the mire that is the Ladbrokes Championship.  Mire is a apt word as this league is by far the hardest to predict and Clubs finding themselves dropped into this league have found it easier to fall out the bottom of the League than gain Promotion to the Premiership.  In last three years only Hamilton Accies have moved up via the perilous route of the Playoffs.  Relegating Hibernian who have repeatedly failed to get out of the league.  Falkirk failed at the last Hurdle last year and Rangers the year before.  Don’t think for a second that remaining a in the Championship is easy too Alloa were last years whipping Boys and they successfully Beat or Drew with Teams chasing Promotion and Playoff Places.  Even before Ross Jack took some green paint to narrow the pitch.  The remaining teams will be delighted that their fixtures don’t include two trips to the dodgy carpet at The Innodrill.   

1 Falkirk
2 Saint Mirren
3 Hibernian
4 Raith Rovers
5 Dundee United
6 Dunfermline Athletic
7 Queen of South
8 Greenock Morton
9 Ayr United
10 Dumbarton
Falkirk Stad

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 In a League spoiled by Title Contenders I have plumped for Falkirk to gain automatic Promotion.  Peter Houston’s late goal kings simply have something money can’t buy they don’t give up which is good because the lack of any real investment in the Squad and relying on Loan’s and Youth to freshen up the Squad is the only real reason the perennial Bridesmaid cant walk down the aisle to the Premiership.

 

Alex Rae’s Saint Mirren in second is again, some will say a surprising choice.  It’s the former Rangers stars first real Season in Charge and he took Ian Murray’s Duds at Christmas and turned them into a team with something that the Paisley Buddies hardly recognised.  A Team that would play well at The Paisley 2021 Stadium not  just playing well a team that actually won at Home.  Rae has stamped his personality on the Squad,  determined, skilful, thoughtful and playing with a smile.  New Owners with Fan involvement should ensure smiles all round Greenfield Road this season.  Maybe not automatic promotion but a good chance in the playoffs.

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Scottish Cup winners Hibernian in Third.  Neil Lennon replaces Leith Hero Alan Stubbs but there is something worrying in Easter Road.  After beating the Cup Jinx can Hibs beat the League Jinx.  With tricky trips to unfamiliar surroundings and with a slightly lower standard of Referees will former Celtic Boss Lennon remain in the dug out long enough to exert influence.  The European failure gave the impression that the Hibs team has a feel of after the Lord Mayors Show.  No amount of exuberance can hide Hibernians terrible record in the Playoffs,  so with all this in mind my thoughts is another season of under achieving in the league.

If it wasn’t for Bad Luck Gary Locke would have no Luck at all.  Head Coach at troubled Hearts then being Sacked by new Board to move to take over at equally troubled Kilmarnock to be sacked mid Season.  Locke is a good Coach, one to watch and maybe the stability of Kirkcaldy will suit him so a nice easy Fourth and a playoff place.  No One would grudge Hearts Legend Locke that. From the good foundations laid by Ray McKinnon I suspect that Raith Rovers will cock a snoop at their previous Manager.

in Bottom half of the league.  Its by the talents of the former Raith Boss that I place United in fifth.Dundee United have that look of British Home Stores.  Faded glory,  if you look past the neglect and mismanagement you can see hints of gold leaf but you have to look through layers of dust. The Days of Jim McLean and Ivan Golak have been tarnished by Stephen Thompson’s colossal mismanaging his inheritance.  Board Room Family Squabbles, Managers on commission on sales of players,  Finger Pointing and generally blaming anyone but himself in conjunction with being a loud voice in matters not directly involving Tannadice.  If I have missed something out in that description its only because they are so many rocks a Arab can throw at The Tannadice Board Room and Pantomime villain Chairman Moan Thompson.  Ray McKinnon former player in the good old days has gambled his stock with the Tangerine Fans.  Ray has a top heavy demoralised squad with a mighty wage bill to service and a Shop Keepers Idiot son as His Boss.  If it wasn’t for sheer respect for McKinnon I would once again like last year place Dundee United

Dunfermline Athletic in sixth as the Pars recover from near financial meltdown.  If any club could have the tag too big to be… then surely its the East End Park Club. Allan Johnston has slowly filled a playing roster with youth and players on last chance to great effect.  A year to cement away days in Dunfermline as the development continues with a creditable Sixth place.

When Previous Managers flew north to Ross County James Fowler faced up with the expectations of the Dumfries fans and didn’t quiet reach the mark. Selling good players on or losing them to others didn’t help and I suspect Fowler is still learning at Queen Of The South. I suspect the influx of Teams with Premiership Experience has made Queen Of The South’s task of Challenging difficult.  It would be a Leicester City style shock of Biblical proportions for Queen Of The South to be in top half of the table but I don’t see them troubling the Playoff or relegation places either.

Jim Duffy what can you say about a man who is so enthusiastic and a Football Man.  Strip controversy apart their is a hard core loyal fan base to please in Greenock and on the whole Duffy’s Morton do just that.  Tight Budget constraints mean that Morton for me will shock sometimes awe but mainly settle for a nice Eighth.

Ayr United in ninth,  Ian McColl worked wonders bringing the Somerset Park Club up last term and with similar Budget to Jim Duffy along the coast at Greenock I think Ayr United will miss the experience of Morton and fail to overtake them in League.  I do think in the final shakedown a trip to the Beach will be on the fixture list next year.

 Dumbarton in automatic relegation place as the Championship waves goodbye to the Rock.  Stephen Aitken is a good coach but there are only ten teams in this league and some one has to finish last and its difficult to argue against Dumbarton not filling that slot. 

 

 

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30 Oct

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The four teams that remain in hat for The Scottish League Cup Semi finals have it has to be said a look of familar suspects about them.  Aberdeen, Celtic, Dundee United and Rangers.  All uniquely motivated to reach the Final at Hampden on March 15th 2015.  All hoping for the impossible a favourable Draw.  In the world of the “Hot Ball” Consipracy theorists this draw will be big news.  Ties to be played on the 31st of January and 1st of Februry, so that is nearly three months to look forward to the semis.

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Holders Aberdeen must be thinking they can beat the other three.  A bit of history beating Celtic last year in Cup competitions. 

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Dons Boss Derek McInnes

They will fancy beating their erstwhile “New Firm” compagnions and will want to play Rangers just even to see if they can.

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Celtic will fear no one and look to give Ronny Delia his first trophy as boss and make up for the lack of cups in their recent history. 

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Celtic Boss Ronny Delia

Their fans will scream for a Old Firm match they have been missed by most.  Aberdeen in a semi would be a good game, the open space of Hampden suiting both teams ethos of attack.  Dundee United wary of a repeat of the drubing they recieved in the league would be a more defensive opposition.

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Dundee United will hope for a Rangers tie in semi they are no strangers to Rangers having beaten the Ibrox team in cups the last two seasons.  

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United Manager Jackie

A New Firm tie would probably be the most entertaining and a tie against Celtic would be a park the bus job.

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Rangers are not anywhere near the standard required to compete regularly at this level yet. For the Ibrox loyal a sense of invincibility is at least two years away. It is a complete turn around in fortunes and mentality.  Rangers are underdogs and as Rangers have in 143 years of history a panchant for being included in underdog shocks albeit as the big team losers so maybe its time for Ally McCoist’s men to be the victors in a Cup surprise. 

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Rangers Gaffer won the League Cup as a player

The League Cup has been good to Rangers in all its guises so who knows.

That is of course a purely football matter of opinion as we know the off field ramifications of these four clubs being in the same hat with a ONE HUNDRED PERCENT chance of a Semi Final Tie with extra spice and a FIFTY PERCENT CHANCE of a FINAL with the same pleases only the Sponsors and Media. 

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The Police are for want of a better phrase CANCELLING ALL LEAVE the Last Weekend of January 2015. In addition to a added provisional cancellation on Sunday March 15.

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The reasons are simple for all to see. With the recent history of these four clubs as far as Police Scotland are concerned Aberdeen or Celtic or Dundee United can’t be trusted to play Rangers. The oxymoron called Police Inteligence will already be monitoring the internet. That special squad of Football Police based in the dungeons of Glasgow’s Helen Street Office will be racking up overtime. Shame is that any man in the street could tell you this, Police Scotland will decend onto Hampden in numbers resembling the Normandy Landings display their usual Guantamino Bay style courteousy to any Fan in the area.

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Using the power of Police Inteligence miss or be late for any incident inside or outside the ground. Arrest some people for singing the wrong words to the wrong tunes. Monitor the assault charge statistics post match. Then a day or so later congratulate themselves on a bad job well done blame alcohol consumption and send a bill to SPFL.

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There is a bonus of the games being played at Hampden. It will be good to see the pitch back after the commonwealth games. This neutral venue on Glasgow will of course upset one Chairman. Mr Moan will no doubt emerge from under the speccy stone in the Tangerine side of Dundee and suggest that it’s no fair on his fans to have to travel. Old firm fans won’t care where the game is played. With the resounding success of last year’s displaced final at Celtic Park, prints still on sale in the club shop Aberdeen won’t mind one bit.

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43,000 Dons fans League Cup Final 2014

Who knows Steven “huffy” Thompson might give his customers a break and go into the club officials area at Hampden rather than inflict himself on his fans because he didn’t like the owners of the neutral venue that was hired out to a organisation he sat on ruling body that actually approved the fixture.

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Petty and Illinformed

The man who must be spending the family silver bestowed on him by his bigoted Former Motherwell FC Supporting Father Eddie on a pipe dream must now be the definition of Petty.

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Former Motherwell Fan and Dundee United Chief Cheerleader

Even the poisoned dwarf of Lorraine “I support my home town team, oh no I dont” Kelly has removed herself from Stephen Thompson.

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East Kilbride Born Kelly

What can we expect from Rangers fans? Thousands of them no boycotts this time out. We all know the level of displeasure that Bluenose will direct at any of the three others fans whatever the draw throws up. This will undoubtedly create a atmosphere that we haven’t seen since some if the 1970’s Scotand England Matches.

I been to Old Firm games where you lost your voice, games where you shook for hours as adrenaline coursed through your body. Boring games where both teams cancelled each other out. Games where the fans created something beyond football, and not always the twisted voices so loved by Politician and Police alike.

In fairness I have been to games between Aberdeen and Old Firm that have came closer to this intensity than has been reported.

Make no mistake who ever makes the draw on BBC Sportscene Results on Saturday makes history. Then we wait like the surfer in the Guiness Horses in the surf advert.

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This wait will focus the mind of the four clubs whom I predict will forge on til new year fuelled by the prospect of these semi finals. There will be a lot of football to be played and a Transfer window to boot.

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.

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.