An elephant in George Square

Date: 16th March 2021

The latest blog from SFSA writer Donald Stewart:

Last weekend I went down to Ayr to pick up my daughter.

It was during the time that there was a global pandemic on.

You might remember it – I certainly do.

I expected, as was the norm when this event had been happening that I would get in the car, make my way and find very little in my way as I drove down the M8 and M77.

30 minutes on a traffic jam on the M8 and I was left to wonder.

Upon picking her up, I decided to nip into Asda, in Ayr, for things that we needed. We got stuck in a traffic am.

IN THE CAR PARK!

I am slightly amazed given that we are supposed to be keeping our loved ones safe and the infection rate of whatever strain from whatever country is managing to make us all very, very sick, that we have this type of panic and this type of activity when the warnings are dire.

I have, for the most part, observed the rules. There have been a few minor incursions because I am human and sometimes you do forget. Whenever I do forget I am reminded by myself and not by others. Maybe that’s the problem.

After all this is not a police state.

It never really was.

But the celebrations over Rangers winning the league have shown two things, in my opinion.

Firstly, that the rules are being broken regularly and there needs to be a wholesale clampdown on people who are guilty of major transgressions and that such action needs to be equally and universally applied. There is little point in the Scottish polis standing by and being all understanding when Rangers’ supporters with their Union Jacks are bouncing up and down in clear contravention of the rules whilst in London heavy handed tactics are punishing frightened and vulnerable women who are trying their best to show how scary being a woman can be in the 21stcentury. QED…

As they say in the media trade, the optics are not good on this.

Secondly, in my opinion it shows that it takes time for any manager to build a team and make the case for their own players, using their own tactics to make a significant change to results. Steven Gerrard needed time, got the time and made the difference in the year that was the most significant in the history of his career and the club he is managing. The team that captured the league was not the team he inherited and was not the team that many thought may never mange the feat of winning the league ever again.

Of course, the first point is the most important.

Perhaps there was a fire sale on toilet rolls in Asda last weekend about which I was unaware and there is little reason to feel that the focus upon football is slightly unfair given that the rest of the community have similar or the same issues with the rules. However the exuberance of the supporters who have waited so long, the analogies with the Liverpool fans with the same victory to celebrate or Leeds fans who went loopy over their team returning to the Premier League is simply about placing the focus on people who are following a trend.

Unfortunately, it is a very public one.

It has taken the focus off the discussions that should be happening about what it took a rookie manager to win his first trophy. Having never won the league as a player, Gerrard is celebrating in style, and so he should. But the focus on the actions of the many have obscured the focus on the success of the few. He is now well steeped in old Firm politics.

I for one hope that the Old Firm does not go ahead and is postponed, if only to stop the focus being about the behaviour of fans but about who should get the Parkhead hot seat and how should they respond to losing the league title. It should also be about the way that Rangers may also take the Invincible tag from Celtic, should they manage it. It may feel unfair but the side issues, the elephant that was in George Square, should be put to rest and not transferred to herring fences outside Paradise for people to debate and pick over. If they had any form of leadership, both the SPFL and the SFA would take action and not dither…

But then again…


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