Date: 4th June 2021
In a week when the SFSA held its first national conference, which you can find here, we’ve introduced a new idea into Scottish football.
And collaboration is everybody’s business if we ever want to change and future proof our game.
In a week when reports stated that Barcelona are now in debt to the tune of $1.2Billion there is currently no financial sense in the business that is football.
The current nuclear spending-frenzy by clubs in the pursuit of ‘whatever’ is madness and there is only one possible outcome.
After the boom comes the bust.
That is an immutable law.
Back home in North Blighty numbers might be writ smaller but the same self-interest damage is there to be seen.
In England there is now an organised push-back looking for football to be run for clubs but not by them.
Up here there has been virtually no coverage of what has been happening there but happening it is, and it will head north.
Here’s a wee prediction to us from Gary Neville, ex Man U and a key member in the seminal English movement for change, ‘The Beautiful Game’.
“What we have started in England is heading your way. Football belongs to the fans and their communities”.
In the meantime there is the start of an uprising.
Enough of an upsurge to turn a pillar of the Scottish Establishment and ex First Minister into a card-carrying Rebel with a cause.
Our ex East Fife full back needs us all to do our bit and is asking for your help.
And finally as the Euros countdown continues on a wave of what looks like unscientific hope and optimism we have all our fingers crossed that there will be no breakouts of the wee beasties and that our boys do the business. (Last weeks Champions League Final saw 6 planes identified as spreader events and all passengers subsequently told to isolate)
6 Things Today
1. When Heather Met Stevie
2. Who Said This? (ahead of the Launch of an unholy alliance)
3. Henry on a Hat Trick
4. Brechin Take the High Road
5. Euros on Council Telly
7. SWPL Goes to the Wire
A Mourinho Moment (When Heather Met Steve)
Heather our SFSA board member caught up with Steve Clarke in a Zoom call facilitated by Darryl Broadfoot and the SFA so thanks are due guys.
At the end of asking questions the SFSA members had sent in, Heather then asked one of her own.
It went something like this.
“Steve, I know you spoke to the Scotland girls ahead of their World Cup in France and having spoken with the players I can tell you they really appreciated it. If you could arrange a pre-match chat to help motivate our boys from anyone, who would you choose?
“Wow” said Steve, “don’t know, is my honest first answer”.
“Probably Mourinho. Some of his pre match monologues, probably more like soliloquys were in real depth.
So it would be him”.
Let’s hope Jose Mario dos Santos Mourinho Felix, aka ’The Special One’ reads this column and puts in the call to his old assistant.
Every little helps.
2. Nobody Knew and Nobody Could Guess (Who Said This)
“The future of Scottish Football can’t involve just looking after the interests of a minority. What has to disappear is self-interest.”
Ahead of our conference I had come across that quote.
Surprisingly it comes from Stewart Regan ex CEO of the SFA.
My first reaction was to think “I wish he had thought like that when he was up in t’north”.
Although maybe I’m being unfair because it was thanks to Stewart that we have a pyramid now even if the SPFL cynically shafted the originally agreed promotion and relegation details. And even though they still as an organisation try to stop aspirant clubs in any way they can.
A further quote from our info gathering meetings by another ex-CEO at Hampden, Gordon Smith, provides an insight into how restrictive the governance can be, “Most people working in football would embrace change for the better. I’ve been there and have the scars. They are trapped in a system that constantly blocks change from within”.
3. What is the Difference Between McLeish 1&2 and McLeish 3?
In 1974 when we first qualified for a big tournament actress Barbara Mullen (Janet in Dr Finlay) would have said “The difference is in the thickness” and she’d have been right.
McLeish 1 and 2 were commissioned by the SFA and were serious tomes. Both are in the public domain and still available today although getting harder to find.
I think they are increasingly embarrassing to the SFA and anyway they are now considered irrelevant and more or less consigned to the famous Hampden long grass.
Looking back it is interesting to see why they were created and also why they were dumped.
A few short years before McLeish 1, Ernie Walker’s much heralded “Think Tank” for the future of our sport didn’t even make it to the publishing stage!
The SFA wanted change, yes, but in retrospect and with the 20:20 vision that brings, they really only wanted easy-peasy changes.
The kind you do with a magic wand in a Disney film.
Not the messy kind of change where people and clubs had to do stuff and er, well, change.
Sure a few tick-box findings were put in place to justify the spend but the real issues were left unaddressed and as someone else’s problem.
Henry got paid though so it wasn’t all bad.
This time Henry’s review will be done for free.
Is he an Idiot?
No. Like many of us he wants to change our game for the better.
The New McLeish Report might not even be called McLeish 3.
The name doesn’t matter.
It will be a collection of works that address the real issues facing our game as raised by a team of people whose only motive is ‘Putting something back’.
That is a dangerous concept.
Get people with the right skills, knowledge and passion to come together and collaborate to agree things that need to be done and how to deliver them.
Oh and within a timescale too.
Write it all on a wall somewhere. Get the appropriate backing and challenge the establishment to start establishing.
This is way bigger than the SFSA and we have established ‘The Scottish Football Alliance’ to help Henry deliver the blueprints for change that our game needs.
Here are some of the subject areas that have been raised in the various Scottish Football Alliance Zoom calls.
Among Other Things Scottish Football Needs:-
– A new focus on kids, all kids
– A joined up ‘elite’ system
– Open and transparent governance
– Run for the good of the clubs not by them
– A review of league structures top to bottom and bottom to top
– Rainy day fall-back resources
– Working with government not in constant conflict
– An end to box ticking
And that is just the start
We Are All Part of the Solution, and You Are Invited to Help
Henry’s Scottish Football Alliance will
– Work with fans to agree what needs to be done
– Put expert teams to work on practical pathways
– Welcome input and feedback
– Share the recommendations
– Work with other stakeholders
– Avoid the dangers of being side-tracked or bogged down
Change starts with your input.
4. It’s North of the Tay (or the Highway, Ken)
Brechin City are now both the newest and the most southerly member of the Highland League.
Their furthest fixture as an SPFL member used to be a 4 hour and 193-mile trip to Stair Park.
Now their trip to Wick as an SPFL aspirant is the best part of 5 hours and 215 miles.
Not great for travelling fans on a wet Tuesday in February.
Brechin tried hard over the last two weeks to get into the Lowland League and even offered to buy 100 tickets at £10 for every away game but seemingly the Lowland League unanimously told Brechin that “they were the wrong side of the river”.
I think that means the wrong side of the river Clyde.
So, despite offering almost almost the same financial lubrication as the Celtic and Rangers Colts and being a bona fide senior club they were told where to go.
Ken Ferguson the now ex Brechin Chairman is well connected having just stepped down from the SPFL board.
Our advice to him would be to help us address the current league structures and the need for regionality at the bottom end.
The Scottish Football Alliance needs people like Ken Ferguson.
The good and surprising new is that Scottish games are mostly on council telly.
1. Vs. Luxembourg (Warm up) 17:00 Sunday June 6th Sky
2. Vs. Czech Republic 14:00 Monday 14th June BBC
3. Vs. England 20:00 Friday 18th June ITV/STV
4. Vs. Croatia 20:00 Tuesday 22 June ITV4/STV
Here is a message to all Scottish Fans from all Scottish Fans about the game in England.
Please don’t go to Wembley on Friday 18th if you don’t have a ticket.
Don’t be a prat.
6. SWPL Goes to the Wire
Last week’s results went as expected.
With a Championship and 2 qualifying spots to be played for we have a three team finish with a big winner and one big loser guaranteed.
Glasgow City sit on 53 points having won 6-2 at Ainslie Park against Spartans and only have to win or draw on Sunday against Rangers to have 56 points and be crowned champions.
Rangers beat Motherwell 6-0 but can’t now win the title as they can only reach 51 points which would make them second if Celtic stumble.
Celtic on 50 points play at Motherwell. 53 points guarantees them at least second or possibly even champions because their inferior goal difference of 3 can be turned around if they win and Glasgow lose.
What a great end to a great season.
Glasgow City Vs. Rangers kicks off at 1610 on BBC Alba and yes there is a clash with the men’s friendly with Luxembourg.
It seems the right hand doesn’t care what the left hand is up to.
Scottish Football can really act dumb sometimes.
As always thanks for all the emails and feel free to contact me about anything in Scottish Football.
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