THE REVIEW OF THE GAME - HELP US TO TAKE ACTION NOW!

Andy’s Sting In The Tale (12/05/23) “Scottish Football Needs YOU”

Date: 12th May 2023

 

(Photo:@Homesoffootball)

In Sting this week there is so much I could be writing about.
All roads in the pyramid lead to Ainslie Park tomorrow where Spartans host Albion Rovers in the first leg of an SPFL final double legger.
We could discuss and smile about how the ref last week at Brechin didn’t know the ‘no extra time’ rule after two play offs or we could ask why all the playoff cup finals are not just that – A proper final in a prestigious ground like Hampden.
There is a good idea, Neil.
We could spend some time asking why we call our sub level 4 leagues a ‘Pyramid’ when they are actually egg timer shaped with an acute blockage up and down.

A blockage that is now hampering the return of age old senior clubs with histories like Brechin and Berwick.

Maybe we should also be spending time congratulating Aberdeen on their Gothenburg success, forty years ago to the day, against Real Madrid.
Wonderful days indeed and what a great John Hewitt header.
Another good subject for fans to discuss would be why Inverness now have no competitive games for 4 weeks before the cup final and why it was moved back for TV at the 11th hour by the SFA  who had more than a year to get their act together.
There was no fan consultation and I hope the MSPs petition is successful, but it won’t be.
And finally, why is the English Football Leagues recently announced deal with Sky so much richer than ours?

All good questions from stakeholders to those who run the game on our behalf.

I’ve been privileged to be the Chair at the SFSA for nearly 3 years now and my biggest learning is that while most fans are fiercely passionate about their own clubs, when we come together, we can and do see the bigger picture.
Something football doesn’t seem able to do.
I know our game needs us all because fans, when united, see the need for common good above the relentless self-interest that has dominated our game for too long.
Self-interest is a honey trap.
Yes, it works for some clubs, usually the biggest for a while but it leads ultimately to a blind canyon and then internecine robbery and finagling.

Then power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely, scenarios dominate.
We’re there right now.

Scottish football has never been democratically run despite the ‘run for clubs by clubs’ mantra we have all heard time and time again.
The reality is Orwellian and about ‘enhanced equality’ over their peers for those in power.

Scottish Football is currently run by the big clubs for the big clubs and that means that common good and long-term welfare are constantly ditched in the pursuit of short-term personal gains.

Sometimes that means our SFA and SPFL get wedged into corners where they justify the resultant decisions from their dark and erstwhile smoke-filled rooms as the best way forward and simply implement them.
They then ‘railroad’ the outcomes they want, feed us the nagumbi and tell us that everything they do is the democratic will of the member clubs.

Absolute Nonsense.

Sometimes the decisions are so out of kilter that the members, especially the constantly squeezed middle, fight back like when the late Turnbull Hutton stood on the steps at Hampden and declared to the media and the world that the planned implementation of the still as yet unpublished, 5 Way Agreement, was ‘Corrupt’.
Former Raith Rovers chairman Turnbull Hutton dies aged 68 - BBC SportTurnbull was correct.
The ham-fistedness’ of that particular process and proposal maybe saved Neil’s TV deal but has since caused real damage to all the signatories of the agreement. An agreement which, as we all know, never existed!

Scottish Football needs more Turnbull Huttons.
And we need them today more than ever.

Mark my words.

 

We as fans and ultimate stakeholders are once and again in a fight for the very soul of Scottish Football.

And we need to unite or we have no chance.

The SFSA are an independent fans union, and we will only ever be as strong as our members allow us to be.
We are proud that Scotland is a country with the greatest percentage of fan terracing income because football is part of our heartlands and souls.
But you’d never guess that we are key and critical shareholders.
We are not welcome now and never have been in any of the forums that discuss the future of the game we collectively own.
Our monies are welcome enough but our opinions insights and influence are simply not wanted.

Please read Sting below.

It sets out the case for a fight where the fans need to tell those running our game that without real sporting integrity there is no point to any of it.

Scottish Football needs us fans to prevent a serious self-harming set of impositions from the very few over the many.
Scottish Football needs to protect the Beiths, and Selkirks and Buckie Thistles and encourage our game’s beating heart from the very bottom upwards.

SCOTTISH FOOTBALL IS EVERYONE’S BUSINESS

READ Sting and PLEASE do your bit.

 

Andy’s Sting in the Tale

SFSA Agree – Conference is Needed but We Mean ‘Discussion and Agreement’

Whereas they mean a ‘created league’ to suit two clubs and a lack of corporate imagination.
We came out against the Conference League proposal in a press briefing earlier this week and hit the spot with Scottish fans.
Many of you really care about this one.

SFSA STATEMENT – Rejection of new Conference League – Scottish Football Supporters Association – SFSA (scottishfsa.org)

Background

On June 6th our clubs are being corralled to vote in SFA plans for a new and recently invented ‘level 5 Conference League’ where Colts teams from our big clubs will pay a rumoured £100k per annum to be parachuted into a new league above ambitious community clubs who simply want to improve their levels.

Effectively relegating everyone below and putting up huge future barriers to progression.
Throwing sporting integrity out the window.

 

Some would say this is just the opening gambit in a move to have Colts teams playing in the SPFL proper, again at the expense of community clubs.
Maybe even as a breakaway top few leagues ditching the pyramid below.

I’d agree with that view, by the way.

At the SFA AGM on D Day 2023 in early June there are two key welcomes being asked.

The first is to welcome our new SFA President, Mike Mulraney who replaces Rod Petrie.
Mike has been through all the various qualifying committees, served time as Vice President and becomes President in a succession practice and process that dates back to Victorian times.

Nairn County Football Club Tickets & Hospitality at Station ParkThe second welcome, the SFA hope, is to their plans for a Conference League which has been designed to be an interim place to put Colts from our biggest clubs.

Essentially it is somewhere they can play each other and the top ex Highland and Lowland clubs ahead of a further unspecified reorganisation that will elevate them into the SPFL proper.
Unfairly placing them above all aspirant clubs .

The plan I’ve been told is not solely Mike’s and the SFA’s but has been driven by the big clubs and the SPFL who collectively feel that the current under 20’s structure fails to bridge the gap between kids and 1st teams.

The move started a few years ago when some B teams got access to cups ahead of more deserving pyramid clubs.
Alarm bells should have rang, but they didn’t.
Then 2 Years ago, Celtic and Rangers finagled their way into the Lowland League paying £25K each to jump the queue ahead of clubs like Linlithgow, Darvel and Tranent.
It was a one year only agreement as far as the LL thought but not for the clubs.
Last year there was push back from the Lowland League members and I’ve been told when the deal became £40K per club the wheels were oiled, just

Rangers vs Celtic Glasgow Cup final: TV Channel, live stream, teams, can fans attend, as B teams face off | The Scottish SunThis year there was a potential stand off when it looked like the Lowland League clubs were going to vote the continuation plans down.
I’ve also been informed that the SFA approach became threatening and the  LL was told Mike’s Conference League idea would as a result happen immediately.
There was never anything in writing but there was definite intimidation and a “We’re going to do this anyway approach” whether you back us or not.

The vote squeaked through.

The plan is now to vote though the ‘Conference League’ idea for a start in 2024 on June 6th  and here is a scary insight.

The SFA and the SPFL both know that communities and fans don’t want the New Conference League and that there is a growing revolt that means Mike’s vote might not be carried.

If that happens insiders now believe that the SPFL will then just ‘invent’ a new division below level 4 and invite colts and selected pyramid clubs into it and almost certainly ditch the rest of the pyramid below.

There has been no debate and no fan or club research for any of this.
Just the big guys knee jerking and their pals looking after them.

That is Scottish football. 

You may or may not know that Scottish football benefits from substantial government monies in many different ways yet the government has no input into how the SFA and SPFL run their organisations.
There are certainly no records of meetings between both.

How can there be Public Monies without Public Consultation?

We talk to fans all the time and our research tells us fans want two things.

1 A full review of the pyramid and a restructure removing self-protection blockages and recognising regionality issues.
2 A genuine person-centred review of the best pathway between youth and first team football.
For all clubs.
And one that helps those who don’t make it.

Questions for All Football Fans

 

1 Should any Scottish clubs be allowed to have more than one team playing in our senior football leagues?

2 Should any Scottish clubs be allowed to buy their way up to higher leagues?

3 Should the Scottish pyramid become just that and have a top down and bottom up review with full transparency and no inherent favours to any clubs in the system?

4 Should Scottish football urgently review how elite youth football interfaces with senior football and come up with a serious long term strategy for football as a whole?
Maybe using some imagination for a wee change.

5 Should the SPFL and the SFA open up how they operate on behalf of stakeholders including fans and the Scottish Government?

What You Can Do

Spread the word

The biggest and most urgent action is we need to get the plans for the introduction and implementation of  the proposed Conference League and what it means into the public domain.

Forward this Sting to everyone who cares about the future of our game.
Tell your clubs what you think ahead of the vote.

Email your MSP and MP

We already know the SFA and the SPFL will revert to normal behaviour patterns and ignore clubs not in their ‘inside chambers ‘and also fans like us all who have no role currently, or planned, in their modus operandi.
But the Scottish Government is a source of various revenues and financial input so diverse that nobody keeps a running total.
They should.
This is a political problem and the only way for fans to win is with MSP and MP support.

Involve the Media

If you work in the media or if you have contacts then make sure they hear and discuss the ins and outs of what is happening.
In the run up to June 6th and the Conference D Day vote we will continue to share with you what we know.

Scottish Football Really is Everybody’s Business.

But we will have to fight hard for them to listen.

Please Help.

 

 

Andy

Andrew@scottishfsa.org

 

Feedback and input always welcome.
If you are not a member please join – its free and always will be.

https://scottishfsa.org/reclaimthegame/

If the fans are united we can never be defeated.

 

 

The SFSA do not claim to own any of the included images which will be removed on request of the owner.


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