Andy’s Sting In The Tale (12/01/24) “What is it About Establishments and Closing Ranks?”

Date: 12th January 2024


And How Do We Smash Them Down, ‘Rose Reilly Style’ ?

Or at Least Get Them to Think and Act Differently

Everyone and his granny has increasingly known about the scandal over the ruthless Post Office pursuit of one of our nations treasures, aka Sub-Postmasters.
I can just about understand that initially the GPO had commissioned a brand spanking-new computer system called Horizon from Fujitsu, a huge Japanese megalith who had taken over ICL Pathway the UK based developers.
Obviously it was their new gospel and had to be respected like John Cleese’s ‘Holy Sandal’ in the Holy Grail Film.
I can also just about understand that at first the GPO might have thought that the shiny new system was in actual fact catching more ‘villains’ than they thought. And not the usual kind too.

But in the cold light of hindsight that belief should have lasted no longer than the first few investigations/trials unearthing the strangest collection of master criminals.


Something was wrong.
Something deep inside the GPO establishment was also wrong.
Someone somewhere knew.

Not just that but that someone knew and then made decisions to protect the establishment.
That’s what establishments do.
Post Office paid Fujitsu £95m to extend Horizon - BBC NewsPeople at the Post Office thought they could ride it out, and didn’t officially want to know (as they surreptitiously tweaked their faulty system behind closed doors) .
The public face was maintained as they continually sent their trained rottweilers into the fray.
People like ‘Stephen Bradshaw’ who was questioned yesterday.
He and others were on a commission-fuelled frenzy looking for hapless scalps and probably promotion too.

How could that all happen in post millennial Britain?
Well it did.

With no independent ‘gatherer of information’ or even ‘asker of the right questions’ the Post Office have not just prosecuted over 900 sub postmasters but have bullied funds they were not owed from countless others.

I hope there are criminal trials and sentences aplenty because what they did was criminal from the top down.

You and I, and the jailed Sub Postmasters collectively owned the Post Office and the prosecutions were even done in the name of us and our late queen.


The biggest disgrace is all the nonsense was not confined to just the corporate-wide behaviour of the Post Office, but also the failings of the whole ‘establishment pyramid’ supporting and making money out of what they were doing. By that I mean that every part of the chain from the methods of prosecution and our courts system and the crooked lawyers who knew to the politicians, (And in this I include our CPS and its establishment North of Hadrian’s Wall).

Edinburgh High CourtAnd the lack of digging, genuine interest and holding to account by our 4th Estate all over the UK tells you a lot about who owns our media and why?
There are many unlikely heroes in this story

Well done ‘Private Eye’, Computing World, James Norwich Arbuthnot, and Others Who Know Who They Are.

The facts were there for all to see and one as I write is that not one single person on  the Post Office/Fujitsu side has been sacked or asked to leave or offered, nay forced into the same free, full-board accommodation at Her Majesty’s Pleasure offered to so many.

And successful prosecutions were celebrated with oodles of fizz at bonus time.

A further disgrace is that this open sewer of a disgrace has been known about for years first as an issue, then a maybe, then a probably, then a for sure and finally now, a WTF!
And yet the Post Office was, until the drama aired last week, still ‘nickel and diming’ victims whose lives it had ruined over compensation, and ensuring there were and still are ridiculous hurdles at every turn and a need for lawyers.

Mr Bates vs The Post Office: Critics praise real-life ITV drama - BBC NewsPrime Ministers Knew
Cabinet Ministers Knew
The People Running The Post Office Knew

It was never going to just go away.
And now we can be certain that the final personal and financial costs as a result will be much higher than they would have been had action been taken when the problem was first identified internally.

So what has all this to do with Andy’s Wee Football Blog?

The GPO stuff is an insight into how establishments may start off with good intentions like the Penny Post which is now 300 pennies.
But without external control establishments soon evolve into protecting themselves and the gravy trains they have become.

Football, the game we all love, is full of self-protecting gravy train establishments.

I’d agree that they are not in the same league as the GPO but nevertheless our football establishments despite what they might sing are no longer there for the common good in football.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino attends Highland League match - Football ScotlandAnd I’m starting to think that maybe they never were.
That is because self-interest is a dominant over-riding human response to any and every personal opportunity.
That is the simple reason why Fifa, Uefa, National Associations and even football clubs attracts an array of hangers-on , opportunists, and sadly but predictably, also users and abusers.
Mostly in it for what it brings for them or their personal protegees.

If you’ve been on the moon, in England and Wales there is a very, very strong likelihood of an independent football regulator being appointed soon ‘to protect the game at large from its current self’.

Our SFA and SPFL don’t want that in Northern Blighty.
They certainly don’t want that.
They don’t want anyone asking questions that they don’t want to answer and instead want Scottish football to maintain its space where it is governed in dark rooms with overt secrecy and omertas.
Like it always was since the Victorian times when the model was first set, then tweaked to suit.

The establishment insiders are subsequently shackled to their own gravy trains and can’t see that independent control is for the good of the game, for the good of all the game.

A Search for Justice - Celtic Boys Club - LWOS life Abuse Survivor VictimsScottish Football also  has its own mini Sub Postmaster vignette and has had for years.

I think an independent Scottish Football Regulator would probably have picked up on the historic kids abuse at some of our clubs , or their arm’s length boys clubs, and an early solution would have considerably reduced both the personal grief and the lawyers and compo bills heading our game’s way.
And a regulator would also be asking questions about how football treats hopeful and then rejected kids today, and 100 other things.

What’s not to like?


Andy’s Sting in the Tale


1. Football is a Business

2. Saints Fan Backs Tracey’s Idea

3. Russia vs Serbia Green-lighted

4. Under Our Watch

5. “Improving Scottish Football”


1 .  The Numbers Have to Work


Celtic fans sent Scottish Cup Final ticket warning as Inverness vow to get tough over briefs - Daily RecordMy team, ICT, dodged a bullet last year when Queens Park’s cup victory in Inverness was reversed because of a cup tied loanee sub and ICT were reinstated into the cup, eventually reaching the financially beneficial final.
Looking back, too many of Scotland’s teams have shown financial recklessness in the quest for soon forgotten whatevers.
I lost count in my head of just how many teams have been caught out by reckless gambling.

I was therefore sad to see Edinburgh City, who I first played against when they were ‘Postal United’ back in 1978, in the dreaded ‘Edinburgh Gazette’ on 22nd of December.
‘Financial issues’ led to a winding up petition presented at Livingston Sherriff court on the 22nd on  behalf of the taxmen (HMRC).
I then read last week, I don’t know if it’s true, that early this summer as part of a fan takeover there had been survival discussions for them to merge with my old team Spartans who at the time were in the Lowland League.
That won’t happen now.

I don’t know where it will all end up but wish Postal United as was well and hope they can regroup.

Then this week I saw this on a social media site and again don’t know if it’s accurate.
It is said to be the annual losses at Dundee Utd, totalling a truly incredible £15.3 over the last 8 seasons.
I hope the numbers are bollocks and maybe one of our Arab members can update me.

Dundee United announce massive loss of £1.55million in latest financial figures – blamed on relegation to Championship – The Scottish Sun | The Scottish Sun15/16 £2.8M
16/17 £.63M
17/18 £2.3M
18/19 £3M
19/20 £3.8
20/21 £.22M
21/22 £1M
22/23 £1.55M

Cumulative Losses 2015-2023    £15.3M

We all lived through the 2011-2012 fall and fall of Rangers and the damage that did to our game and to the Rangers fans.
I’ve no idea how this is seemingly being allowed to happen again in full view.
Maybe it is one of the first tasks for an independent regulator?
Take the ‘gambling’ out of Scottish football.

The ‘pound notes survival factor’ in any business is ‘books have to balance’.
And that rules from the top down to the very bottom.

2. Southampton Fan at Wham Stadium

Rishi Sunak says independent regulator can force Premier League to 'fairly' redistribute revenue - The AthleticAs a kid I had read about Accrington Stanley in one of the comics like Roy of the Rovers. A club who because of financial issues had self-destructed and fallen out of the pre-pyramid English Leagues where even Crewe were never slung out.
It was a sad story so well done to the fans for the revival.

This week Rishi, the man at the very top of our Westminster Establishment, who now, all of a sudden, cares about the Post Office victims passionately.
Well after last week’s ITV series, hosted a “PM Connect”, at League 2 Accrington Stanley’s ‘Wham’ Stadium.

Andy Holt, the club’s current owner asked if Saints fan Rishi supported the planned introduction of a regulator in England.
His reply, “It’s important that the incredible financial success is shared through the pyramid so clubs like yours can nurture the sport for generations to come. That’s why the regulator will have the powers for financial redistribution. Supporting football in communities like this up and down the country”.

The first reading of the bill has cross party support, will happen in the next few weeks, and is seen as a formality.

Ian Maxwell: SFA chief executive will get clubs' backing - Hearts owner Ann Budge - BBC SportMeanwhile North of the Wall?

Our SFA say we don’t need one.

Here is a copy of how I imagine their press release lead-statement read:

“Move along all of you, nothing to see or do here”.

3. Uefa at Its Best

Russian national teams may have been banned from official competition because of their territorial aggression in Ukraine but Aleksandr Dyukov the Chairman of Uefa ex sponsor, Gazprom, has nevertheless held on to his influential seat at Uefa’s top table, the executive committee where our very own Rod Petrie tried to get a seat.

The same one Norway’s wonderful Lisa Klaveness also missed out on.
I’d say because the Uefa establishment don’t want people who think about the greater good of the whole game.

UEFA to hold an 'extraordinary meeting' as it considers the future of Alexander Dyukov | Daily Mail OnlineAnyway we’re now told that Aleksandr will head the Russian team at February’s Paris Uefa Congress and Fifa’s in Bangkok in May.
They shouldn’t be at either of these meetings.

But Russia are on the move again in Uefa and Fifa and Aleksandr has already used his power, friendships and potential sponsorship money, I’d guess, to arrange a friendly between Russia and Serbia in March.

He is said to be so far in with the Uefa Establishment that the friendly’s self declared status is seen as ‘unchallengeable’ by other members and this is the first serious and landing ‘wedge’ since they, the Russian Federation, unsuccessfully tried to reinstate their under 18s late last year.

It’s such a dirty business that there should be a reset in world football.

Football really needs a serious schism-led break away and the good guys should gang up, walk and start over.
A new establishment that is not a Swiss based gravy train for opportunists.

4. Our Establishment Heads Who Didn’t

We have 6 to blame for the crime of didn’ting.

Hampden Park, Glasgow – Football | VisitScotlandErnie Walker 1977 – 1990
Jim Farry 1990 – 1999
David Taylor 1999 – 2007
Gordon Smith 2007 – 2010
Stewart Reagan 2010 – 2018
Ian Maxwell 2018 – Present day

Blame for what, I hear you think?
And what is didn’ting?

These 6, August chaps are the SFA Grandest Fromage succession group who didn’t do anything to repair the damage when the biggest group of advocates to the future of our collective game walked away from it, en masse in the early 80s.
It was the teachers, the humble teachers, making a point to an un-listening political establishment about being undervalued and underpaid.

They won the money in time but football either didn’t know or value what they did or didn’t know what to do to rebuild something they had always taken for granted.

School sports teams line-up to show off their skills in 1980s West Cumbria | News and StarWe now know the teachers move holed our supply of kids and lifetime fans below the waterline and real football people know we haven’t recovered since.

Why has none of the above not seen that and done something about it?

I’ll tell you why.

The solution needs consultation, listening, planning, thought, spend and will be like a dog at Christmas because it is a lifetime commitment.
Things that a regulator might think important?
Things that don’t have a short term impact on those paid to run our game.
It is not a ‘measurable’ on the current contracts.
And maybe Ernie, Jim, David, Gordon, Stewart and Ian were too busy to consider non-measurables anyway.

I’d love to get these guys around a table and hold an open discussion, or at least the ones still alive
It’s been 43 years and every year we let down more kids, and the game as a whole.

5. If You Could Improve Just One Thing in Scottish Football, What Would it Be?

I came across this site on social media and liked how it was asking fans a simple question.
Yes there was banter and some of it talking about the elephant in the Scottish Football room where 2 clubs are so dominant of everything.
Here are some of the things that were being suggested.

Use a Tickler File to Reduce the Size of Your Lists - Thinking DirectionsExpanded leagues.
A proper more open pyramid
Regionality below the top 2 expanded leagues
A minimum number of Scots under 21s per match squad
A media who can see beyond 2 teams and are impartial
A British Leagues’ Cup
Better commercial nous
VAR discussions and pictures broadcast to the stadium like in Rugby
Summer Football
More equitable sharing of wealth and resources
Better match day experience and a review of the alcohol ban
An independent regulator like in England
50/50 gate share and all cup semis in neutral cities
Democratic voting with the current 11-1 nonsense binned for ever
All teams in SFL to run youth teams for boys and girls
Clean up how the SFA works from top to bottom and back again
New TV Pundits with less allegiances.
No plastic pitches in the top league
No B Teams in the Lowland and no Conference League

And last but not least a youngster called Andrew Smith said
“Work with the Scottish Government to make football free for all kids and restart the schools leagues. And start 45 years ago.

SRJ Windows extend as main club partner | Dunfermline Athletic Football Club -Finally, Big Thanks to SRJ Windows who are Dunfermline’s main sponsor.
After some young Pars fans beat up Kieren Ross, a young Raith Fan, they got in touch with Raith and bought a season 2024-2025 season ticket for him.
“Our chairman is a father himself and spoke with Kieren’s mum in person offering help and support.
Rivalry and competition is healthy but friendship, tolerance and respect are much more important”.

I like that kind of football.

That’s it for this week.

Feedback input and wee stories welcome as always.


Today’s Album of the Last Century


It’s probably my favourite album of all time

The Blood Is Strong - WikipediaMaybe it’s the heat or the UAE sand but I’ve started looking at our homecoming weather forecasts and also playing “The Blood is Strong”, by Capercaillie.
It is a compilation of short, mostly traditional tracks and originally the backdrop to a 3-part Grampian documentary from 1988. (Remember Grampian TV, a fine, homespun, uniquely amateurish, yet ambitious and well-loved wee TV company who got taken over by STV in 1997 and virtually, and some would say cynically, demolished).
The mini-series was probably inspired by The Proclaimers lyrics from their 1985 “Letter from America”.
“Well broke off from my work the other day
Spent the evening thinking about all the blood that flowed away”.

This album will give you and bring back memories you never knew you had and was actually recommended to me back in the day by my pal and well-known Dundee United fan Mark Anderson who was a ‘A List’ music industry high hitter.

When I get invited on to Desert Island Discs or BBC Scotland’s very own Life Tracks I don’t know which track from this album will make the show.
Maybe I’ll just play the whole album?

And while I’m in recommending mode, I was given a lend of a paperback last week.
I’d obviously been on the moon because I’d never heard of ‘Red Notice’ by Bill Browder.
The cover says it is “A true story of high finance, murder, and one man’s fight for justice”
Its one man’s fight on Russian corruption and ties neatly into the Uefa discussion above.

There is now also a follow up ‘Freezing Order’ that is said to be an early candidate for the year’s best book, whatever that means and I’ve been told a 3rd book heading our way too.


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