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Andy’s Sting in the Tale (08/09/2023) “Kaye Adams – ‘The Elephant Huntress’? (Before and After the Westminster U Turn)”

Date: 8th September 2023

(Photo:@Homesoffootball)

 

“I’m delighted some daft Westminster plans have hit the buffers, aka we’ve seen a U turn.
This week’s Sting was already written.
I believe deep down football in Scotland should use threats like this to strengthen where we are liable to attack.
I’m glad the Stooshie that many fans and I across the country helped make has consigned the daftness to the dustbin but maybe we can use the existential threat it promised as a kick up our proverbials to start a healthy process of change.
Have a great weekend”.

Andy

 

“Sting, written before the U Turn, but the elephants still need discussion”

This week will be remembered for the announcement for a proposed consultation for some Orwellian, 1984, Big Brother-ish, Westminster plans for Scottish football fans buses.
It hit us from out of the blue on Monday night.
Some obscure ‘traffic management’ department linked to our UK government want to impose a draconian set of policies on us and have set out their plans for ‘consultation’ in Scotland before speedy implementation.

I knew less than half of bugger all about any of this till Tuesday morning but it seems somehow the proposals for consultation are in force, ‘as guidance’, for now, in Engerland, who we play in a meaningless fund raiser next Tuesday.
The plans are scary and right out of ‘right wing Trumpish nightmares’ and for once the SFA, SPFL, Women’s Game and Fans are united and anti.

And there isn’t much that unites Scottish football so comprehensively.

Controversial football supporter bus plan shelved - BBC NewsWe, the SFSA have been asked by the government to get Scottish fans to respond to the proposals, and you’ll find how to have your say below.

We are also collectively now asking our MSPs, and MP’s to make such a stooshie about this nonsense that whatever department and whoever is really behind this is sent ‘hamewords tae think again’.

Fair play to Humza Yousaf who heard me on the attack on the Kaye Adams show and came out later supporting us categorically against the plans.

Please take the time and help consign this keech to the midden it deserves.

In the meantime, feel free to listen to Kaye’s show on BBC Radio Scotland. Mornings – with Kaye Adams – BBC Sounds
I was her guest on Wednesday morning and your SFSA views and reaction feature quite heavily in the show.
Kaye is a real pro and her production team had briefed her well to try to bring a balance and avoid just listening to our attack the establishment for gross stupidity and political fascism.

And that is fair enough.

After listening to the first few callers, she knew the discussion wasn’t simply about some ‘Sir Humphrey’ plan to manage fan buses but that there might have been a much deeper issue.
It was maybe all about fan behaviour in football vis a vis what is acceptable behaviour elsewhere.

That leads on to, what is acceptable behaviour in Scotland in 2023, and why football fans behave differently, and are therefore treated differently?

In our research fans tell us that we overwhelmingly want positive changes in behaviours at and around grounds and we want to be treated better.

Anyway the debate lasted throughout the hour and can be summarised accordingly.

Borders CCTV camera upgrade 'not value for money' - BBC NewsThe ‘1984, Orwellian’ Plans

That was my quote and personal reaction to the plans.
Big brother and all that.
And ham-fisted at the same time.

It became apparent early in Kaye’s show that the callers agreed and thought that the plans were nonsensical and should be despatched with a proverbial flea in their ear.
I simply asked that this deserved despatch is ‘cross party’ and that includes Alister Jack as Scottish Secretary of State for Westminster, Humza, as First Minister, and all other parties.

It was relatively easy for me to further say that we don’t need more legislation and that there are enough rules and regs in existence that just need to be followed.
Police Scotland are stretched enough without new, badly thought through laws.

Some Home Truths

 

Scottish football bosses slam 'draconian' plans to clamp down on supporters' buses - Daily RecordThe debate under Kaye’s guidance widened and the BBC actively invited people who live near football bus-induced carnage to phone or text in and say what they think.
One hit home about litter, public urination, noise, and disruption.
I’d actually have expected more pushback from residents but the truth is people who live near grounds are used to the shit and just deal with it.
That doesn’t make it right and while I accept that we live in a country where public toilets and public litter bins are inadequate, we as fans should create and adopt a code of conduct that progressively cleans up our act.

That is a round table action point awaiting and should be two parts.
1. A fans code of conduct.
2. A football bus code of conduct.
I’m not aware of either existing just now.

We also all know that some Scottish football fans are not, perhaps, always as respectful as we should be.
There is no excuse in 2023 for that.

Football alcohol ban needs reviewed to create extra income for cash-strapped clubs, says Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson - Daily RecordScotland’s Alcohol, and Drugs Problem

The discussion moved on to why this particular consultation was happening at all and it came to the old chestnut.

Boozed up fans and Bad Behaviour.

And what that means.

I made the point that dealing with Scotland’s problem with alcohol needs more than some football bus guidelines.
It needs a deep societal shift and not some civil servants hiding behind a BBC sitcom-esque scenario.

Politicians should be facilitating deep change, not surface nonsense like ‘bus monitoring’.

The Constant Elephant in the Room

Elephant In The Room: Thai Family Gets Repeat Mammoth VisitorKaye got there first and credit to her for that.
Most Scottish fans go to matches where there is no trouble and no issues from buses or fans.
The programme and callers came to an easy consensus that football fans are treated differently to rugby fans and this is because they behave differently.

Some callers thought these new ‘out of the blue’ plans  were seen as a ‘blind side’ attack, i.e., a way to put more control over football fans.

That’s fair.
They are.

And clumsily so.

But when some callers also mentioned and linked in our two biggest clubs and the unhealthy reasons for their rivalry and what that does to our society then we have to think about more astringent self-regulation from within.
It will always be better than if that comes from outside and is imposed on us.

Cyprus 0 Scotland 0 LIVE score and goal updates as Euro 2024 crunch gets underway - Daily RecordThink about our Tartan Army in Cyprus this week.
Whatever the result they would have come home with an exemplary report card.
Self-regulated to a man like our Rugby fans in France for the World Cup.
So how is there a difference between that and some games in Scottish football?

And following on, how do we become more ‘Tartan Army’ and less ‘old school’ for the good of the game?

Going even further and risking reaction, why do we still accept certain fan behaviours at football matches in Scotland that would not be acceptable in the street?
Our research shows the vast majority of fans agree.

Why don’t we wake up to a new world?

Hearts owner Ann Budge confirms final bill for new main stand to reach £22.5m – The Scottish Sun | The Scottish SunI’ve been part of the traditional nonsense and that is what it is.

In my case what exactly did Tynecastle of old singing, ‘Up to our knees in Hibby blood” mean and WTF has that to do with Scottish football?
Why is a Glasgow street gang’s take on an American civil war anthem relevant today, apart from on European nights?
What if you substituted ‘Fenian blood’ with ‘Muslim blood’?

And why do some fans want us all to join the IRA?

Most of us have moved on guys.

And thankfully.

We don’t have the Black and White Minstrels on BBC or The Comedians on ITV with their racist outrageousness, and rightly so.

Our  burgeoning Scottish Women’s game is not built on bile and hatred.
It eschews dirty money from booze and betting.
It has ethics and there are no poisonous chants or chanters allowed at the matches.

I have friends from all clubs and leagues and we all abhor the inherent racism that is still seemingly allowed to flourish when certain clubs met or from certain away fans who think it is some kind of badge of honour.
Nobody is in favour and there are laws in place alrady to stamp it out!

So, WTF is it endemic?

But I’m also old enough and wise enough to know that ‘polarisation’ can lead to increased revenues.

Football Needs to Wake Up

 

The nonsense this week demonstrates that either we start to clean up our own act and address Kaye’s elephant or else Sir Humphrey’s successors in the ‘traffic’ and other departments will bludgeon ‘nonsensical policies’ on us against our wishes.

The Commercial Benefit

 

Right now, I’d argue with anyone that our game needs to adopt the strict liability approach that our top clubs are happy to play under in Europe but aggressively veto at home.

Archie, Oprah and the Battle for George Square – Bella CaledoniaThat means cleaning up the song books, the chants, the shouts, and the attitudes and without self-policing it will be a long drawn-out and painful process.
It means paying for damage to George Square too.

These change will come and are unstoppable despite what some unreconstituteds think.
I can guarantee it will be better if we do it internally.

Ask yourself, for the good of the game.
How can our commercial departments sell our game when it is riven with elephants in rooms?
How much does that damage wholesome, long term sponsorship partnerships?

 

It Will Take Leadership

We have 2 in place and yes, they can hide behind the fact that they are there to represent clubs view.

But we can all see through that, Ian, and Neil.

All the laws that you need are in place.

The political support is in place.

You just have to start by convincing two of their members.

It’s downhill from there.

 

This Week’s Sting

1. Heidbangers

2. Well Done Stevie, Whatever?

1. A No Brainer?

Joe Jordan heads the goal against Czechoslovakia that sendsI was thinking about the growing momentum behind the damage that heading the ball does to our game when I saw Stenny pickpocket 3 points at a very sunny Ainslie Park last week.
A great game from level 4 in the pyramid.

I personally can’t see how football as I know it can survive without heading.
I love how it can influence the game.
I love the memory of ‘The Lawman’ hanging in the air.

I remember Joe Jordan’s header against Czechoslovakia and Kenny’s against Wales.
My own best ever goal was a header.

Etc!

But as a youngster I also remember taking paracetamol before and after games to stop headaches.
I remember heading practice with heavy, old, waterlogged practice balls.
I remember playing on bravely and stupidly after head knocks.

And I, and the guys I played with, all have tickets in this unnecessary health lottery.

Wherever this goes from here will come down to three things.

Former UK football players risk developing dementia at high rates, new study says | The World from PRXThe first is Dr Willie Stewart and other researchers will either prove the link between heading footballs and dementia or eventually not.

The second is that if a link is proven, any damage occurring after football knew will leave football wide open to compensation claims though the courts.

The third is football will change and fast because it can.

I can’t see how right now and agree with Gordon Smith on the radio that heading is a huge part of the game.

But I don’t think it can be controlled because to be good enough you have to practice.
I’ve done a lot of heading practice.

No game can consist of any element that causes brain damage and dementia.

Just think again about The Lawman, Billy McNeil, Frank Kopel, Ally McLeod, and Gordon McQueen and many, many others.

What would they advise youngsters and the game to do?
What would they advise Uefa and Fifa?

Would they obfuscate or take it seriously and fight?

And just as I write this, I got an email from an old club colleague about a fundraiser for Alzheimer Scotland.
Sign Up – Scotland’s Memory Walk 2023 (alzscot.org)

It’s a deserving cause and I’ll help and think about a few old friends who lost the lottery that I hope passes me by.

Here’s a prediction.

Heading in football is toast!

It’s just a matter of time.

 

2. One Step at a Time

Who will win Cyprus vs Scotland? Our writers make their predictions for Euro 2024 qualifying clash - Daily RecordI’m writing this a few hours before Scotland take the field.
I don’t know the team yet and I know that Scotland have seldom taken the easy path.
Defeat from the jaws of victory and all that.
There are lots of questions I can’t answer and things I don’t know.

But I do know we have a management team that gets it and will give us our best chance tonight and in the forthcoming fixtures.

In my Saturday morning final edit I’ll put in a wee para to dot the t’s and cross the i’s but at the moment I think we’ll get there.

 

 

In Steve I Trust.

And what a first half.
5 wins.

And that 7-1 away win tonight in Georgia shows Spain are taking it seriously and are not a bad side.

That’s it for this week

Feedback input and wee stories welcome as always.

andrew@scottishfsa.org

 

 


Andy’s Album of the Week

Can't Buy a Thrill - WikipediaThe Morningside Seagulls have been replaced by the Malaga pigeons, traffic, and a Spanish Airforce Red Arrows style display.

All the windows are open in the 28 C heat which my phone tells me is less than in the Northwest of Scotland.
No problem, the tapas here are better.

Anyway, this week its Steely Dan and Can’t Buy a Thrill.
I first heard it in ‘74 and it still works today.
My favourite track is Dirty Work and read into that whatever you like.
I remember Tony Blackburn introducing “Do it Again”, as the new single from well-known, folk rockers, Steeleye Dan.
He was always a prat.


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