Andy’s Sting In The Tale (03/05/24) “Round Tables and Putting Something Back, Despite the Hamsters and Elderberries”

Date: 3rd May 2024


During a lifetime in business, managing constantly conflicting everythings, I genuinely found ‘Round tables’ a good way to openly discuss real issues and elements and more importantly to agree the best ways forward.
Not just for when there were problems or warlord spats, I used round tables as part of a strategic process to agree where we were headed and how to get there.
It wasn’t just about who shouted loudest round the table, who had the biggest codpiece outside, or even the biggest short term client revenue streams.
Discussions were partly about the now because you learn from the past, but mostly about the future and while none of us have crystal balls, honest research, facts, transparency and collaboration always trump bluster, short termism, politicking and corporate bullying.
Well-managed round-tables lead to the right questions, discussions, fact finding, research, and collaboration.

I smiled out loud last night on Stephen Jardine’s ‘Debate Night’ show when an audience member suggested that what the Scottish Government really needed was a ‘Citizen’s Assembly’ to help it plan its policy better.
I agreed wholeheartedly and I don’t know actually how they’ve ever got by without one.

Basically an ongoing, deep, consumer research programme focussed on the future, not the past.
A way of thinking that requires analysis of comparative dynamics rather than the usual comparative statics.
Every big company I ever worked with do it on a rolling basis.
They know they need to.

Stephen summarised what it could be on his radio show this morning as ‘A group of individuals from across society with different views and experiences whose insights and views can be fed into the political process and help decision makers to come to the right decisions’.

Just what’s also needed for…..

May 8th Minister’s Round Table


Health Minister Maree Todd accused of expecting abortion clinic staff to 'act like bouncers' - Daily RecordNext Wednesday our Sport’s Minister, Maree Todd has invited a heavyweight group including us, to discuss Scottish Football looking forward following the intensive research programme undertaken by the SFSA ‘Rebuilding Scottish Football’.
It was a year-long research programme and document (The Review of the Game – Scottish Football Supporters Association – SFSA (  which was presented at Holyrood last summer and then followed up by Ben Macpherson MSP with full and comprehensive cross party support and an insightful debate,  earlier this year. (Meeting of the Parliament | Scottish Parliament TV)

Two scary words emerged if you work on the 6th floor.
‘Independent Regulator’.

And England is well down that track to introducing one for the same deep seated reasons that all exist north of the wall, albeit writ a little smaller.

Scottish Parliament - WikipediaIt is a fact that Football in Scotland benefits from substantial public monies but it is also a fact that it repays the ongoing taxpayers’ generosities by creating and operating in a world where there are no public records or transparency of interaction with our governments at Holyrood and Westminster.

And particular, and questionable legally, decisions made by our SFA and SPL in 2012 produced not just a Secret ‘5 Way Agreement’ but resultant costs of well over £100M to Scottish taxpayers. ( The other 3 signatories were the SFL, and 2 Rangers entities, old and new)

SFA and SPFL ‘United’

There are lots of ‘Uniteds’ in football and maybe the newest is the SFA/SPFL Alliance against any outside influence in how they manage their knitting.
I’d personally like to see them even more ‘United’ too i.e. remerged.

Imagine just one future-proofed unit running our game from top to bottom, openly and with wide and structured input from more than just the dominant clubs.
Lots of healthy round tables and a fair and open internal voting structure as opposed to what we have.

Independent regulator for football outlined in King's Speech - BBC SportBut be aware that this possible reality is serious ‘Scary Biscuits’ to some.
The idea of an Independent Regulator is anathema for now because it will inevitably bring change by asking questions about the future and common good of the game and it’s communities rather than the current dominant ‘dash for short term cash and status’ that frames all decision making and outcomes.

In England there will be an Independent Regulator.
But even that won’t be easy.
The Premier League are currently fighting it like a scabby alley cat, directly and indirectly too with a horde of lobbyists said to be making a fortune across all fronts in trying to stop the inevitable.

The latest figures I saw for the cost of running an Independent Regulator scheme in England point to a cost neutral outcome for their game.

But up here in ‘Chilly Jockoland’ the outrageous ‘invented’ figures being thrown at the MSPs by our two football establishment organisations started at £10 M  per annum and I’ve even seen a ridiculous figure of £28 Million quoted.
Stuff and Nonsense and naked scaremongering.

Kicking and Screaming

I already know some attendees don’t want to be round Maree Todd’s particular table and want to kill this process off on Wednesday.
Stone dead.

Stone dead never to return.

Three Monkeys by Mau Mau — onArtsThose with the power don’t want any pesky interference and believe they are actually paid to avoid stuff like this threatening the status quo of their key members.
That should get the rest of their membership asking the right questions but they’ve learned it’s easier to sit on your hands with your mouth zipped, pretending not to hear.


That’s a sad disgrace.


We Owe it to Future Generations

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs | Sample Essay | 15 WritersMy own personal Maslow Triangle wants to thank football in the future for what it has done for me in the past.

And the longer I’ve volunteered at the SFSA the more I’ve come across like-minded people who also want to leave the game in a better place than it was and more importantly than it is.

But the game is incapable of doing that from within.

The game has to learn to welcome outside expertise, and positive criticism.

So I’d like to think that the meeting is about the future.

The future for fans, boys, girls, men, women, communities, national teams from the very top to the amazing cup winning cerebral palsy heroes who asked the SFA for financial help and were ignored.
That was the wrong decision on so many levels.

Is Some ‘Pythonesque Poppycock’ Going to Get in The Way?

Dutch Republic - WikipediaLast week’s Sting introduced the real and quite amusing meaning of Poppycock.
If you were on the moon, it comes from two mediaeval Dutch words for soft and dung, and therefore in modern Scottish parlance means ‘shite’.

Poppycock Happens and is Happening

In December we were told by the SFA that despite having over 85,000 members and growing that we had been  effectively ‘blackballed’ as an organisation and for us not to speak to them or them to us.

The reasoning is not difficult to guess because we’re putting them under pressure.
But that doesn’t make it right.

It’s effectively a stick your fingers in your ears and shout out LA LA LA response to outside views.

We are not funded in any way by the SFA and that means we can and always will think and act independently and say things they would rather not have said, or even raised.

Things their members say to each other but don’t ever get heard in Glasgow.

I think they think a real ‘union of fans’ like the SFSA is dangerous and maybe we are indeed a threat to their current status quo.

On behalf of the fans we undertook a year-long review of the game involving hundreds of knowledgeable and caring insiders like Craig Brown and Walter Smith and came out with suggestions for the future that will help everyone.

BBC Sport - Major report demands changes to Scottish footballWe, the SFSA  then presented it openly as a challenge to the status quo, and to their annoyance the Hampden suits can’t kill it like they killed their McLeish Reports.

We can also raise and talk about internal issues like “the SFA marking its own homework” on everything behind closed doors.
(A skill that doesn’t just happen in the Post Office).

We can ask questions like “How on earth did Cowdenbeath get a berth in last year’s League Cup?
(It wasn’t on merit or statute and they took the place that should have gone to another club on merit, not old pals).

We can share fan research that shows fans want larger leagues and full transparency.

We can ask what the SFA did back in the day to stop Italy and Germany having 5 places in the Champions League when most Uefa countries have none?
And what are they doing now?

An Interesting Dynamic on Wednesday

Gather Round Table - Ambience DoréWe’re about to enter a round table meeting in good faith on your behalf with people who don’t want us to have a voice and have said so.

In their view of the future it’s easier to blackball outsiders like us asking questions.

The old ‘Nothing to see here, move along now’ we’ve all heard before.

Much the same way as John Cleese as a comic French Soldier batting away King Arthur and his Kniggets from the ramparts at Doune Castle in ‘Monty Python and the Holy Grail’.



Same script too:

“I don’t want to talk to you no more, you empty headed animal food trough wipers!

I fart in your general direction!

Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries’.

Your mother was a hamster, and your father smelt of elderberries!" : r/totalwarIt’s actually funny because that is what they have tried to do to us.

But it paints a picture that tells more than a thousand stories.

Wednesday will be interesting.





Andy’s Sting in the Tale


1. Welcome Back Buckie

2. Do We Need VAR?

3. Graeme Stymied By Technology?

4. The Dark Side of Football

5. Unite Guys, Unite and Fight

6. Value?


1, What Did Cowdenbeath Do Wrong This Year?

Buckie Thistle BANNED from SPFL promotion this season as Highland League champions don't meet SFA criteria - Daily RecordThe establishment were deeply embarrassed by last week’s Buckie shambles
And Buckie and Brechin, the clubs, the towns, their fans, and players are righteously angry at the collective cock-up.
A situation where nobody except Kilby, gets any benefit.
But worry not because somehow, under-licenced Buckie and licenced-Brechin have been invited along with licenced-Kilby into next year’s Scottish League Cup sponsored by those nice fellows who used to be Setanta.

The ‘Premier Sports Cup’ beckons but sadly not for Donald Findlay’s Blue Brazil who have been dumped after somehow inexplicably getting the nod last year.

Buckie’s GTF from the pyramid process is not one of our game’s finest moments.
And now there is the usual fight to avoid any blame naming or heaven forfend, mud sticking.

The briefing from the 6th floor was that “Buckie never actually wanted to join the SPFL and that is why they only had the same base accreditation as a gaggle of current SPFL members”.
The additional infrastructure and operational costs were said to be “too much” too for the Highland club.
Those under-licenced clubs already in the SPFL were not mentioned as if it was just Buckie.

Another aspect of the briefing was that Buckie were said to have had “previous debts”.
These were caused by having overspent in the challenge over the recent years and that the club’s benefactors having got some of their money back after the unbudgeted revenues from the Celtic cup game wanted less risk going forward.

And finally the secretary of the Highland League was said to have decided not to have a vote months ago on whether if the top club didn’t want to go into the play offs then the next eligible club, Brechin, could.


“So a big boy did it and ran away”.

East Kilbride FC - News - Club StatementAnd the team in hoops who fought like cornered pit-bulldogs to win the league and the right to play The Kilby are just casualties of a dysfunctional organisational mess.

Meanwhile the pyramid is not properly open, is under commercialised, and tomorrow we’ll find out if The Kilby will be playing Stranraer or Clyde.

Either way we need bigger leagues and a fully open two-way trap door.


2. Time to Ask the Audience

How does VAR work in Scotland, how many cameras are used in the SPFL and where do referees watch games? | The Scottish Sun26 Incorrect VAR decisions out of 1181 made so far according to the published report.
That doesn’t include fan frustration at a loss of spontaneity.
Sweden have already decided that in its current form it doesn’t help their game.
Many other countries are grumbling and may follow.

Do you think there should be a full and open discussion?
We do.
We agree with the late, great football commentator Bob Crampsey who sagely noted, “if you’re on the wrong bus you don’t wait till it gets to the terminus before you get off.”

Our working question for now is:


Do you agree that the Scottish Football Authorities should work with ALL stakeholders, principally the fans who are the lifeblood of the game, and under an independent, external chair, to conduct a comprehensive review of the way VAR has worked so far in Scotland, with nothing off the table, including extending VAR into new areas or scrapping VAR until it works properly in the view of the majority of stakeholders?  


NO – I think VAR, despite its faults, should be persevered with as it solves more problems than it causes.

I’ll post the link when it opens and as Laphroaig says in its advertising blurb, “Opinions Welcome”.


3. And No Souvenir Tickets for the Wee Man

Opening the 1998 World Cup against Brazil was huge.. it took Flower of Scotland to prevent us being crippled by fear, says Kevin Gallacher - Daily RecordLast time we played abroad in a prestigious competition was Paris 1998.
I was on the periphery having arranged and supplied the team with wonderful McEwan’s Kilts and Dress Jackets produced in less than 2 weeks by the amazing Deirdre Kinloch Anderson in Leith with McEwan’s Tartan material provided by Brian Sharp of McEwan’s the brewers.

Happy days.

My pal Graeme who is the biggest free loader I have ever met was on holiday in France and just before kick-off was outside the ground when a Scots fan handed him, gratis, a brief for one of the best seats.
Lucky B, but it won’t happen this time because there are no tickets, no wee bits of paper souvenirs like my Wembley brief from 1977.
It’s all digital and I hope they have a fall back.
I’m not too worried about that but have spent ages wrestling with thoughts about how Graeme will get in for free this year?
I bet he tries and succeeds.

4. What Happens Next to all the Kids

Rangers 2 Aberdeen 1 RECAP as young Gers clinch Scottish Youth Cup trophy after stormy final - Daily RecordThe Scottish Youth final was played at Hampden and is a harbinger for the end of the season and the dropping from the elite programme of a lot of talent.
Some kids will ride it some will be destroyed.
We’re not good at dumping kids and never have been.
As one of a few S form signings Inverness Caley never even told us we were not part of their plans back in 1974 and we just left.

Shocking, but we had other fish to fry and didn’t care.

It’s much harder when it’s taken over your life and you’ve dreamt about wearing the green or blue in front of 60,000.

Football should realise that everyone who has ever kicked a ball well or badly should be a fan for life and have a retention programme.

5. Italy 5, Germany 5, England 4 etc

Fifth Champions League spot: Premier League misses out to Germany on extra place for 2024-25 - BBC SportWe heard this week Italy and Germany will have 5 teams each in the Uefa Champions League in 24-25.
Most Uefa countries will have no representation at the top table.
We can’t put this particular genie back in the bottle now or ever but we can disrupt for change.
The Champion’s League is based on TV revenues and the small countries need to unite and walk away to a fairer alternative.
In time we’ll take the bulk of the TV audience with us.

All it will take is some leadership.



6. Why Are Foreigners Buying Scottish Clubs?

This week it’s the Saints.
When Hibs were purchased the late Ron Gordon said the reason was ‘Value’.

It gives me an uneasy feeling and I’m not sure why.

Whatever, the real reason is for now certainly beyond my pay grade but time will tell.
It always does.

That’s it from me for this week.

If you are not an SFSA member, please join on our website and help us fight the blackballing nonsense.

Join over 80,000 Scottish football fans and let’s #reclaimthegame – Scottish Football Supporters Association – SFSA (


Andy’s Album of the Week

I wanted it to be Abba’s Waterloo but it’s too patchy.

However I’ll stay on Eurovision.

50 Years Ago it was a Saturday night and Gordy Maclaren and I hit the road at 7pm walking the mile and a bit to the Hayloft, our venue of underage choice to meet other venue of underage choice, choosers.
With 10 pm closing the law, we were home before the end of Eurovision voting to see some unheard of Swedish group called Abba victorious.
Abba had some fine albums but Waterloo was an early journey rather than a masterpiece so I’ve moved on dug deep into my library and revisited my favourite Eurovision artist of all time.

France Gall.

France Gall dead at 70 - French pop icon and 1965 Eurovision winner passes away as Elton John leads tributes | The SunShe was the kid who sang and won Eurovision in Naples in 1965 with ‘Poupe de Cire, Poupe De Son’.
Yes her voice was a little flat on the night but it was a great song and playing it a couple of times today the memories are flooding everywhere.
I actually have two of her albums.
‘Poupe de son’ a compilation from 1992 and ‘Baby Pop’ a joyous dip into France from the year England won the world cup.

‘Baby Pop: France Gall’


My sister had sent me this album on CD just a few years ago after she somehow discovered it and when I first played it I soon realised it was the same French singer.
It is a 60s masterpiece that never made it to the UK, it’s perfect for a Friday afternoon and comes with a standout track ‘Nous Ne Sommes Pas Des Anges’.
Google it and spend a couple of minutes in Swinging Paris.
It is joyous and innocent from the year before Scotland had a European Cup winner.

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