Date: 7th October 2022
In the self-interest dominated world of football, the big clubs are constantly conspiring to tell everyone outside their wee cliques that football’s own parallel to ‘Liz Trump’s’ ‘Trickle Down Economics’ madness is for the greater good throughout our game.
It will never work for our economy and is not the way for football to manage itself either.
But don’t tell that to the Americans piling in to own English clubs, or Fifa with its huge bank balance.
Some giants like Real Madrid are starting to wake up to smell the coffee and see the constraints of their own, diminishing back yard ponds.
Yes there is a glamour game choice on telly 5 days a week to keep fans all over the world happy, but the reality is the game is only ever going to be as good as its foundations and the elite teams we watch on the box mostly ignore or forget that they are only there because of a huge worldwide pyramid, from grass roots upwards.
That is the way nature works and is an immutable law.
If you don’t water, feed and nourish the roots you will end up with the Libyan Desert where once was a paradise.
And since I am mentioning our current PM in passing, why not also paraphrase her equally scary, crimplene-clad idol who was christened ‘Tina’ by Norman St John Stevas, when under pressure to do the right thing for the country rather than her stubborn minded, self- interested preference.
‘There is no alternative’ (Tina) to a strong and flourishing root system but sadly greed breeds the current pandemic of GreedzHeimers Disease throughout football and political parties too.
Both forget that long term survival and success is bottom up.
In a mixed-week for Scottish Football our women’s international and Cerebral Palsy teams have shown our top three clubs that it can be done.
Liz Trump stole the old ‘house-purchase’ mantra of “Location, Location, Location’ this week with her ‘Growth, Growth, Growth’ but football has one that Trumps her because it is deliverable if we change.
Common Good, Common Good, Common Good
1. Heading for Kiwiland?
2. In the light of Day, Our League Just isn’t Good Enough
3. Well Done to Our CP Heroes
4.Silly Buggers at Our Crown Office?
5.Despertar y oler el café.
6. Football, Global Politics, and Qatar
7. ‘Our Friend Potts.’
8. Manslaughter in Indonesia.
1. Abi Sends for ‘The Girls in Green’
A very engrossing encounter against a good Austria side at 20, three places above us in the Fifa rankings.
Well done Abi for the winner and well done for a genuine team performance for 120 mins.
We spoke a few Sting’s ago how complex qualification now becomes.
It goes without saying we want to beat the Irish and get there but to do that we also want Wales and or Portugal to prevail against Iceland and or Switzerland in the earlier kick-offs.
If that happens we will kick off knowing we are playing for Australia and New Zealand proper and immediate entry to the real tournament in 2023.
But if Iceland beat Portugal, and Switzerland defeat Wales and we beat Ireland we will not be there yet.
We will just have another bloody pre-qualifying tournament in New Zealand to see if we can finally qualify.
That’s the world of Fifa where nothing is simple.
Just ask Phil Goodlad who tried forlornly to make sense of it on BBC Scotland this morning.
2. The Gulf
This is nothing to do with Qatar and a corrupting and corrupt World Cup next month.
Once again our professional ‘pundits’ and red-top journos talked up the chances of our three teams in Europe this week.
(I understand they are writing for particular population groupings rather than telling us what they really think, which I’d prefer).
I watched all three games and we were all well beaten.
Robbie Neilson rightly said there is a massive learning curve both at Hearts and elsewhere.
But it is more than that.
What works in our SPL doesn’t work in Europe and I say that knowing that Rangers somehow got to the final of the Europa League last year.
Our players simply want too many touches and too much time on the ball.
Their team mates don’t support them enough to make the easy pass look easy.
We don’t play at a high enough level on Saturdays to step up to what is needed during the week and don’t breed enough top level talent to change the spiral.
Against the top Euro sides like Liverpool the gulf is huge but it is also there for level 2 and level 3 sides.
We are just not as good as we want to be.
Rangers performances last year were quite extraordinary and not something to be expected for a long time.
I think we are well and truly Euro-stymied without some radical changes.
But when two or three clubs have all the money the others can’t compete and standards fall for everyone.
3. Runners Up and Doing Scotland Proud
A few weeks ago we talked about the difficulties of a young Cerebral Palsy sufferer and one of his pals getting dispensation to play the sport they love after the SYFA (Scottish Youth FA) told them they couldn’t play under the SYFA new and clumsy non-person-centred rules that were introduced far too close to the season start.
The permissions did come quite quickly after we intervened, (maybe it was helped by Ian Maxwell’s size 12 tackety boots after we asked for his help).
Anyway one of the youngsters we helped represented Scotland in the Scottish International CP team in Sardinia last week. The team was made up of players with Cerebral Palsy, Stroke, or Acquired Brain Injury conditions”
It was the CP World Cup with 4 groups of 4 international sides.
In our group, Scotland beat Italy 6-0, South Korea, 7-0 and Chile 7-2 to qualify for a semi, versus Japan.
We dispatched them 5-1 and faced Columbia in the final.
3-0 down just after half time we rallied to 3-2 and were the better team when the final whistle came too soon.
Well done to the team and why was there so little media coverage?
It should have been live on free to air.
4. Two Years!
That is how long it took David Whitehouse the Duff and Phelps exec at the time of the Rangers liquidation to get crucial documents he needed from the Crown Office.
The mismanagement of this by our Judiciary and Police Scotland and their chums, will send all us taxpayers a bill of over £100 Million.
But fear not, The Crown Office said this week, “The Crown is committed to public scrutiny of this case and more information will be made available in due course”.
As JM Keynes said in 1946, “In the long run we are all dead”.
This case makes the Calmac Ferries Fiasco look like little-league but why the lack of interest from our fourth estate?
5. “Football in Spain is Sick”
In a week when bankrupt Barcelona did a deal on Atletico Madrid’s super-sub Antoine Griezmann to sell him half price for just £17.5 Million, the Real Madrid president was quoted in Dundonian speak as saying Spanish Football is ‘awfy no weel’.
First the super sub Antoine, whose deal originally said the purchase price from Barca would be £35M if he played 30 mins or more in half Atletico’s matches.
Atletico then started playing silly buggers, only starting him twice and only putting him on after 60 mins in most games.
But Barca need the money and compromised.
They obviously really need cash flow.
Secondly this week Florentino Perez, Real’s biggest cheese, came out and said three interesting things.
“The current European competitions as they are designed today do not attract spectators interest, except in the final stages.
We believe that midweek European Competitions should change to be able to offer fans matches throughout the year at the highest level, between the strongest teams, and with the best players in the world competing against each other.
TV rights for the Champions League and the 5 major European leagues had been surpassed for the first time in history by the NFL”.
He said this looking enviously north over the Bay of Biscay and the Channel where the world league is morphing and the Americans are buying anything worthwhile.
He wants to join the Super League, any super league, but is also stymied, just not so badly as Celtic Rangers and Hearts, yet.
6. Iran 1 Uruguay 0 in Sankt Polten
Sankt Polten is a small rural town east of Vienna with a football stadium and a few pubs.
At a game there earlier this week anti Iranian regime protests about how women and others are treated in Iran were made even in an almost empty stadium and some of the very few fans there were thrown out at the request of the Iranian officials.
There was no press conference after the game but Iranian players spoke on social media.
Iran’s star striker, Sardar Azmoun, said on his own social media account, “Because of the restrictive laws placed upon us in the national team, I can’t take it anymore. I am not worried about being dropped. This will never be erased from our consciousness. Shame on you. You kill easily. Long live Iranian women”. (It was quickly taken down)
Former players also spoke up, like Ali Karimi, who has now left the country.
Iran are in England’s group in Qatar.
7. What Makes a Manager?
I hadn’t heard much about Graham Potter till he turned Brighton into a formidable force and then got ‘wheeched’ with his team into Chelsea.
Here is a nice wee insight.
In 2006 he was in his first job after a non-descript pro-football career having somehow become University of Hull’s football development manager.
There was a problem constantly happening north of the Humber.
Kids playing on the pristine university parks.
A group of kids were seemingly always scaling the fence to get into the main pitch and kickabouts ensued.
(Thinking back I smiled because we did this once at Telford Street in the early 70s. We organised, scaled the wall at the distillery end and had a full 11 v 11 game underway till chased rather aggressively by Mr Bisset, the very grumpy and freely swearing groundsman).
Anyway back to north of the Humber 20 odd years ago.
Keith Morris, Hull Uni’s Head of Sport had already said to Graham it was ‘a nightmare’ keeping these kids away.
‘Potts’ as Graham is known to his pals was tasked with getting rid of another batch of miscreants.
He simply approached the kids and struck a bargain.
“He guys if you leave now you can return the next day and take part in a proper coaching session”.
They all came back, and more too, for a good session that lasted over an hour.
Respect broke out.
Keith Morris also said poignantly, “There will now be blokes in their mid-30s in Hull who don’t know they were coached by Chelsea’s manager.
Potts cares about people and tries to make a difference”.
8. Tear Gas Tragedy
Yes some fans were out of order but teargas blowing into a packed stand was only ever going to end one way.
No more Andy words needed on this one.
Have a good week and feedback always welcome.