Date: 5th November 2021
This Week’s Sting
1. When Gordon Met Alex Part 2
By the time you read this, ex Bournemouth boss, Eddie Howe will probably have been reunited with Scotland’s ex Cherries winger Ryan Fraser in a rerun of Alex Ferguson’s arrival at Old Trafford in 1986 to an open mouthed Gordon Strachan*.
Maybe it’s an Aberdeen thing.
You may recall that after the first Covid wave and lockdown was easing, Ryan’s contract at Bournemouth had expired.
When the Premiership decided to fully complete the season it meant confusion and some players like Ryan were un-contracted, free agents and off the books.
It was an unprecedented and quite complex mess.
Ryan was always leaving at the end of that season. Can’t blame him with a £10M plus, 5 year deal, at St James on the table. He chose not to sign an 8 week, Bournemouth contract for fear of injury and a less secure future.
He got pelters at the time from some.
Weeks later after Bournemouth were heading down, he said, “Some of the lads in the Premier League signed an extension and fair play to them but if the virus hadn’t come, I would have played every game under my contract. I didn’t want Bournemouth to go down and have since spoken with Eddie Howe. There are no hard feelings”.
Fair enough wee man but oh, to be a fly on the wall at your first meeting with the new boss who as we all know didn’t exactly stick to his own agreement at Parkhead and left them somewhat let down.
But it’s football, we all move on, and I hope under Eddie, Ryan once again regains his confidence and form.
(*Eddie does have a track record of 11th hour, post-handshake, walking-aways)
2. Six Years into a Ten Year Financial Plan
Some serious business stuff from Rangers today and an unwanted ‘going concern’ warning from the accountants.
To set the context and probably also to relieve worries we were all told by their chairman, Douglas Parks, that financial stability by 2025 was always his ‘ten year target’.
The reality is for now the club is being sustained by deep-pocketed directors who provide ongoing loan facilities to keep the business functioning at its current levels while incurring significant annual losses.
Mr Parks said, “When the current board and investors wrestled back control in 2016, we foresaw a 10 year recovery project and that prognosis was accurate”.
Three key totals in the numbers released today are.
The operating loss to June 30th is £23.5 million. (Last year it was £17-ish M and the year before £11-ish M.
Big big numbers for any club and huge in Scotland)
The estimated Covid losses attributable are £10M but the ongoing issue remains that revenues are lagging expenditures by a significant amount.
The additional requirement the club will need to keep the engine running between Nov 2021 and May 2022 is another £7.5M above anticipated revenues.
No number was provided for the current ‘running total’ of losses under the present board.
In the meantime it is reported directors like Douglas Park, John Bennet and shareholders provided £21M in the last financial year and announcing today’s financials the club said ‘there is a reasonable expectation that there will always be adequate resources to continue in existence for the foreseeable future’.
I can see my old financial director, a big Rangers fan, looking at these very sobering numbers through squinty eyes and trying not to think of anything other than winning the league again.
I am no accountant but I do know incurring year by year annual losses, especially significant amounts brings mounting challenges.
In Cop 26 Glasgow sustainability is at the heart of much of our thoughts.
In the long term there is no other way, anywhere and that law is immutable, eventually.
3. How Cricket Deals with Racism
Roger Hutton, the chairman of Yorkshire cricket reacted to a series of events over the club’s ‘inadequate response to racism’ by ex-player Azeem Rafiq and called on the executive members of his board to also resign to make way for a new path.
Despite denials and obfuscations by the club for around a year an investigation had concluded that Azeem had indeed been racially harassed and bullied.
Mr Hutton said in his valedictory press statement that Yorkshire cricket, where he has been chairman since April 2020, has a culture that ‘refuses to accept change or challenge’.
The changes at the top were triggered yesterday when the ECB told Yorkshire that because of their actions they were as from now suspended from hosting future England cricket matches.
At the same time sponsors including Yorkshire Tea were walking away in a kind of perfect storm.
Racism in sport whether by players, clubs or fans is unacceptable.
So fair play to the ECB and the sponsors too.
They are showing our game how.
4. Uncomfortable Viewing on Youtube
The Ryanair flight was full of West Ham fans en route to the 2-2 draw in Genk.
An orthodox Jewish man walks up the aisle towards his seat and the ‘banter’ kicks off big time.
It seems that West Ham fans want the world and especially this wee man to know that they all have prepuces.
Most of the other songs in the 45 seconds are of the same ilk but I struggled to make the words out.
It was the kind of shit we’ve all seen and heard around our game here too.
Stuff that doesn’t happen elsewhere in society.
The club said, ‘We have a zero tolerance approach to any form of discrimination. Any individuals identified will be banned indefinitely. Equality, diversity and inclusion are at the heart of the football club, and we do not welcome any individuals who do not share those values.’
5. The Honest Mistake Was Mine?
The ‘Celtic by numbers’ web site firstname.lastname@example.org got their Yorkshire whistler to review the penalty incident I wrote about last week.
The penalty that Bobby from Hamilton had said was a ‘Tom Daley’ level dive and appeal. The same one I then watched on Youtube on my phone and said I wouldn’t have given because there was no contact.
Anyway, with thanks to the excellent site here is what t’ref said.
“On first viewing I could not see any foul challenge by Bates as Sakala is off balance when attempting to head the ball, (before his Tom Daley dive).
However, watching the footage back, in the preceding few seconds, as the ball is in flight, Bates being on the ‘wrong side’ of his man has two tugs on the shirt of Sakala and this is enough to affect Sakala’s movement”.
Well done ref.
Ref 1 Andy 0 on this one.
I’d love to see that kind of refereeing clean up the game and an end to all the pushing, shoving, and cheating in the box.
The sport would be better without it.
And just to keep us up to date.
The end of October totals in the ‘Yorkshire Ref’, post-review, ‘Expected Points table’ is as follows.
The Green corner are running minus 1.13 points so far this season on dodgy decisions upheld to their disadvantage and the blue corner plus 2.1 points.
But there is a long way to go.
6. Carbon Neutral by 2040?
And no, that doesn’t mean by twenty to nine.
I don’t actually know what it will actually and specifically mean and I suspect nobody else does either.
It does means that the SFA and the SPFL working together will make a commitment on behalf of us all.
They will sign the UN pledge, joining Hibs who are already a signatory, to commit to halving football’s carbon emissions by 2030 and be neutral by 2040.
And yes, I can hear you asking, when were the football authorities ever neutral?
But fair play to Maxie and Neil.
Well done from us all.
Tell us how we can help.
Be open and transparent and take the fans with you.
Thats just about it for this week.
Thanks for all the feedback – it is appreciated and makes a happy man very old.
Finally good luck to Stevie and the boys in Chisnau, Moldova and as always stay safe and feel free to contact me about anything in Scottish Football.
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