Andy’s Sting In The Tale (04/02/22) “Fan Power in Fife”

Date: 4th February 2022

This weeks Sting:

  1. First ‘The U Turn’, and Coming Shortly, ‘The Clear Out’
  2. What’s Wrong with Scottish Youngsters?

 

 

1. A Moral Victory but No ‘Dancing in the Streets of Raith’

 

Transfer deadline day was last Monday.
Maybe you’ve been on the moon, or just stuck in a caravan with no power like my pal Mike, up on the river North Esk near Marykirk.
Anyway, I’ve tried to summarise a story where first our legal system and then football let a brave Scottish woman down.
But how football and society fought back, to many people’s surprise.

And I think positive change will result.

David Goodwillie is a professional footballer who was deemed good enough to be picked for Scotland vs The Faroes in Nov 2010 as well as playing for many club sides including Dundee Utd, Raith Rovers on loan, Blackburn, Dundee Utd again, Blackpool on loan, Aberdeen, Ross County on loan, Plymouth and Clyde.
He is currently a signed Raith Rovers player.

The records show he was also Scottish Young Player of the Year in 2010-11.

The wrong sort of records show he was convicted and fined for assault in a Stirling night club in 2008, and also in 2009.

In 2010 he seemingly came to the assistance of teammate Danny Swanson after a fracas at a Glasgow takeaway, assaulted a man called John Friel and was given a 12-month probation order and 80 hours unpaid work. Friel was also convicted.

Rape case footballers David Goodwillie and David Robertson lose appeal - Daily RecordIn 2011 he and teammate David Robertson, a fellow professional footballer, now retired, were accused of raping Denise Clair at a house in Armadale after a wild night in Bathgate.
At the time and indeed until 2013 Denise was not named publicly and like many other rape cases the Crown said there was insufficient evidence, and the case was dropped.

Despite this decision the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority disagreed and determined that Ms Clair had been raped.
They awarded her £11,000 which is the highest award they could make.

Unhappy at the decision of the Crown Ms Clair took her case to a civil court that was heard in 2016.

At the court, the way our system works, she, the victim, was on trial too and the case centred on whether she was too drunk to give the consent claimed by both players.

Medical and forensic evidence backed her story and Lord Armstrong, presiding, ruled that Ms Clair had been raped and awarded damages.

Judge rules David Goodwillie & David Robertson raped woman | Daily Mail OnlineLord Armstrong who I remember with a smile as a lightning fast winger, was critical of Goodwillie saying his evidence was partial and partisan and that both defendants had taken advantage of a victim who was at the time incapable of giving meaningful consent.
We also now know that pre-trial Goodwillie and Robertson’s lawyers had tried to buy her off with a £115K offer.

Goodwillie was declared bankrupt in 2019 and has never publicly acknowledged his guilt or apologised for the repercussions for his victim.
This may be a result of legal advice.

After the case Goodwillie left Plymouth Argyle stating he was considering an appeal and in November 2017 three appeal judges upheld Lord Armstrong’s earlier verdict.

David then joined Clyde in 2017 and after a brief fuss has played there since, becoming captain and player of the year.

In 2018 he was shortlisted as SPFL League 2 player of the Year and was also named in the team of the year.

Nothing Illegal

Raith Rovers: Who is David Goodwillie - what did a judge rule in 2017? | The ScotsmanDavid Goodwillie has not broken any laws by playing at Clyde or signing for Raith and the SFA and SPFL can also confirm he has contravened no football statutes or codes.
Being named as a rapist by a civil court did cost him his reputation and compensation to the victim .
There are those who would argue that he is also a victim who needs help and rehabilitation and that football can play a role.

Morality Just Trumped the Law

Mr Bumble called it right.
The law is a ass – a idiot’.

I can’t disagree with the Dickens character and think and hope that the publicity around this case will see changes to both our legal system and also how Scottish Football deals with those who are effectively role models in our communities.
More later on that.

In the meantime here is a diary of a club getting it so wrong.

The Rumour Mill Told Us He was on his Way to Starks Park

Val McDermid ends Raith Rovers support over David Goodwillie deal - BBC NewsA few weeks ago, I read somewhere that Val McDermid had heard that Raith planned to make this particular signing and made it known she was dead against it.
Our well known crime-writer is Raith’s most famous supporter, has a stand named after her, sponsors the home jerseys and has been a fan since she can remember.
She is also bright, passionate and very dogged.
Her dad Jim was a scout there and I’ve heard Raith have benefitted from Val to the tune of £250K plus.
She’s the kind of fan I’d listen to if I was on the Raith board.

On this particular signing rumour, she said she had asked the club’s CEO, Karen Macartney.
Looking Val straight in the eye Karen had said ‘The club has no interest in signing Goodwillie. I agree with you that we shouldn’t be signing someone like that’.

The self-same Karen also somehow later negotiated the transfer and package which Raith now have to deal with contractually and it may cost them over £100K.

Statement O’Clock After a Sunday Night ‘Game of Thrones’ Board

There were, it is reported, deep disagreements, a split marginal vote and righteous resignations.
Afterwards those in favour of the signing and the absentee owner in Thailand, John Sim, sensed a Stooshie blowing but thought it would quickly blow over just like happened at Clyde.

Stark's Park - WikipediaSo thinking it was just a two day problem and with a game on Tuesday they put out a statement thinking and hoping football would break out and change the agenda.

It was printed in most papers and was a dreadful concoction of platitudinal ‘wisdom’ with stuff like,
‘David is a proven goal scorer who will help us push for promotion.
It is his second stint with us, and we have carefully considered our position as a community club.
We respect the differing views among fans and stakeholders, many of whom we have spoken to in the past 24 hours and are continuing to engage with.
We acknowledge this signing has divided opinion amongst our fans and we aim to rebuild the trust.
While acknowledging the gravity of what happened 10 years ago, we fully support and encourage rehabilitation’.
And finally, and most short sightedly,
‘This was a football related decision’.

What on earth does that mean?

Does it mean that as long as we get more points it doesn’t matter how we get them, who we walk over and whether or not we are doing the right thing for our community?
What does it mean for our kids teams?
What message does it give to our women’s teams?
What does it say to our fans?
Are they not all part of ‘football’?

Basically a ‘We know better and it’s our club so get lost’.

They called it wrong, so wrong.

Three Days Later

Raith U-Turned, they had to, but if they think normality will just return, they are wrong again.

Here are some people with their finger on the pulse, unlike those left round the table after Raith’s Sunday night bloody board, when the good guys had left.

Tag Games, Raith Rover’s away shirt sponsor said.
‘We no longer believe the remaining board and management are capable of acting in the best interests of the club’.

Val McDermid witheringly commented,
I welcome the unsigned (U-Turn) statement, but it is just the first step in a long road back.
The same people who made the decision are still in charge.
Those who love and value the club are still on the outside and they need to be on the inside shaping the future for the community’.

Raith Rovers: 'Goodwillie signing poor and badly misjudged', says Scottish Women's Football chief | The ScotsmanAileen Campbell SWF CEO on BBC’s Good Morning Scotland asked two tough rhetorical questions that both end with the answer No!
You can shout it out like I did.

After sparking an outcry can the club regain the trust of the community?

Is the U turn enough’?

Stephen Morrow the football finance academic was asked on GMS

Is football blinded by a quest for success?
His easiest answer ever,
‘Yes.

Hannah Bardell MP at Westminster who had valiantly defended David Martindale (pictured) at Livvy when his criminal past became known, hit the nail 

Livingston boss David Martindale defiant in defeat to Alloa but wants new signings for cinch Premiership campaign | The Scotsmanbang on the head and raised what football needs to do.

‘There is a lot to discuss like whether David Goodwillie should ever have been ‘registered’ after the Lord Armstrong case and that is a fair question to ask.
The level of outrage has shown how the world has moved on.
Footballers are role models and people like David Goodwillie has no place’.

Then later on Radio Scotland DriveTime Hannah took exception to Graham Spiers’ earlier tweet that has said that the fan and societal reaction was all a bit like ‘A Mediaeval torch bearing Witch-hunt’.

Hannah roasted him on that one and made Graham look like one of the old guys sipping gin at the gentlemen’s club in the Spice Girls first ever video for their Wannabe single.
I hope that is a nice picture in your mind.

 

So Where Next?

A wee hat trick and a hope in question form.

Nicola Sturgeon accused of 'jumping on bandwagon' with Raith Rovers Goodwillie comments - Scottish Daily Express

 Q i) For Nicola

Are our laws fit for purpose when all types of violence against women is perpetrated?

Q ii) For Neil Ian and Aileen

All players are role models in their communities.
Should be a code of ethics that doesn’t allow certain types of transgressors?
Should we create a Clair “Fit Player for Football’ Law?

Q iii) For the Raith Board

Don’t be Borises.
Will you do the honourable thing and give the good guys the reins?
That is what Turnbull would be asking you to do.

Q iv)  For Us All

When Football takes the moral high ground it can be a power for good right through our communities.
Fan Power is bigger than any single rich or wannabe rich chairman, any foreign company or country on the make or clubs combining in cabals to keep their dripping roasts dripping.

How do we get football and clubs who self-run our game for their own individual benefits to change for the common good?
And morality is a fine starting point.

 

2. How Do We Stem the Long Term Decline in Kids Football?

I watched Celtic play Rangers on Wednesday.

Home | Rangers Football ClubNot long after the start my pal John texted me and drew my attention to the fact that there were only 3 Scottish players in the starting line ups.
I was shocked but he was correct.

This is part of a long term problem.

The research many of you guys just filled in shows that 89% of fans want schools football to fully restarted and prioritised and 87% of us think it should be free for kids to play.
And 87% think the Scottish government should be involved.

Only 37% of us think elite talent should be entrusted to our clubs.
And even worse only 9% think the number of kids signed by big clubs is acceptable and good for the game or the kids.

It is a chilling fact that since the teachers ‘work to rule’ pay dispute in the early 80s our game has been affected badly.
That is 40 years without the right remedial action by the clubs and the SFA.

This is a huge national priority and is for the good of all kids, boys and girls, and their communities.

Maybe when Val has sorted out the Raith Board and brought the good guys back, she can help us out on this one.

 

Thanks for reading, more fan insights next week.

 

Andrew@scottishfsa.org

Comments and input always welcome

 

The SFSA do not claim to own any of the included images which will be removed on request of the owner.


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