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Andy’s Sting In The Tale (15/03/24) “Commercial Cynicism and Current Conundrums”

Date: 15th March 2024

(Photo:@Homesoffootball)

This week Hibs came out publicly in favour of ‘Strict Liability’ in Scottish football after first a feisty AGM and then recent ‘big’ games where one particular ‘songbook’ was fully and heartily aired and a fair degree of actual physical damage was done, again.
The Easter Road club have since added that they will in future restrict away fans from certain club(s) and while this decision will almost certainly harm them fiscally it is what they and more importantly their fans want.
Well done Hibs’ board.

To back up the Hibs ‘post AGM decision’ the blue away fans at Easter Road are said to have gone well beyond banter last Sunday.

But that is not new in Scottish football 2024.

The repeated incursions into their particular form of darkness have become so normalised that Michael Grant, a fine football journalist, writing about the match in Murdoch’s Times on Monday, the day after, didn’t even see fit to mention the sectarian bile he had witnessed at first hand.
And the stadium was often ‘bilin’ last Sunday.

Why is this shit not headlines in all the papers and on the Beeb?
I’ll tell you why.

He and we seem to somehow have been brainwashed into accepting that damage to property, religio-racist chanting and singing, displays of challenging Tifos and hand-held 4000 degree Pyros are somehow acceptable in our football grounds.

Hibs right to cut Rangers and Celtic allocation as pundit blames 'unacceptable' sectarian chants - Football ScotlandAnd this is not just a criticism of the away Rangers fans last Sunday.

The stark reality is no single Scottish club has a monopoly on anti-social behaviours.
Behaviours that would not be acceptable anywhere outside certain Scottish football grounds.
And the SFA and SPFL seem hamstrung, (more below).

Ask Yourself – Does This Collective Crap Enhance or Damage Our Game?

It somehow unites the perpetrators at the time and they would say adds to their ‘cohort’s’ creation of ‘atmosphere’.
I can understand that and we all know that away fans know they get away with much worse behaviour on the road.

It is not easy to deal with it especially at micro levels when things kick off.
Stewards would make things worse if they waded in so most just treat all away fans as tolerated-unwanteds, as lowlifes and undesirables.

We seem to be caught in a rut where it is easier to do nothing, send the damage bill to the club’s finance department and for our game and our fourth estate to ignore it all and pretend it is somehow normal ‘stadium’ behaviour.

It isn’t.

In pictures: Scotland fans celebrate England result - BBC NewsYou don’t get nonsense like it anywhere from our Tartan Army even when we’re playing the white shirts.
The Tartan Army wouldn’t accept it.

This cancer in our game can be blown away and the solution lies with the clubs even if they don’t like that.

Hibs Have Lit a Blue Touch Paper

Hibs came out and said they think part of the solution is ‘Strict Liability’.
You’ll have heard scare stories about S.L. from the likes of Neil Doncaster, and others from inside, but like the ‘Independent Regulator’ idea for all those millions, emanating from  the 6th floor they are  just ‘big bad wolf’ scary stories.

And Grimm! But they are not real and just there to protect the worst culprits with the most fear of change.

Basically Strict Liability means clubs are responsible for the actions of their own fans.

And why bloody not?

Rangers v Benfica | Rangers Football ClubIt is no different to what our big clubs sign up to for European ties.
Rangers were playing under ‘Strict Liability’ at a very rainy Ibrox in Scotland last night when they were unlucky to lose out to Benfica.
There was none of the Easter Road song book.
Celtic would have loved to have been playing under strict liability against anyone, anywhere!

Have you ever asked yourself why they and all other Scottish clubs in Uefa competitions meekly and positively accept S.L. from Zurich but not Edinburgh?
We all know because we’ve had ‘previous’.
In the very recent past we’ve seen Glasgow‘s George Square trashed by both our biggest clubs with the city eventually picking up the clear-up tab instead of the clubs.

How is that acceptable?

Why does the Scottish Government not step in?

Bad Fan Behaviour Damages Our Game Financially

Why would any wholesome sponsor want to have anything to do with Scottish football?
And did you know that some clubs in our top league say that as many as 25% of their season ticket holders avoid the visitations of two sets or rival supporters and leave their seats sitting paid for but empty.
That shocked me.

 

Why Are The SFA and SPFL Hamstrung, Andy?

Ask them and they’ll tell you that antisocial behaviour is really a deep-seated social issue that manifests in football rather than a social weakness that some Glasgow clubs exploit for financial gain.

The SFA/SPFL will also identify all the wee tick boxes they are studiously ticking to look like they are trying to eradicate it.

The Rangers and Celtic fallacy. - The Big Kick OffThey’ll even call it ‘sectarianism’ rather than the more ugly but also more accurate descriptor, ‘racism’.

You also have to understand the SFA and SPFL and how they work.
Both are member-run organisations .
Good places to work with good salaries and perks too.

Over the years the control of both has migrated into the hands of the biggest clubs.
And the manicured voting structures ensure that any change or changes needs 2 particular clubs and not much more.
When you run the SFA or SPFL you are well paid to deliver no surprises, and continuity for the controlling members.

Strict liability is only accepted through gritted teeth in Europe because of the revenues.

 


This Week’s Andy’s Sting in the Tale

 

1. 30-23 at GlenUrquhart Road
2. Rangers in Pot Two, Above Celtic in Pot Three
3. A War ‘Knock Knock’ Joke
4. Bargain Tops in Time for the Euros
5. Gavin and Gillian Get us a Result

 

1. Heading for Holyrood, Via Inverness

Inverness Caledonian Thistle's multimillion-pound battery farm plan rejected by council | STV NewsOn Thursday ICT’s proposal for a battery storage unit at Fairways Business Park on Culduthel Hill was voted on by Highland Council and for now lost 30-23.
As an ICT fan I was flummoxed from the very start by this wee vignette so have found out more.
I’m still more than a little flummoxed though and feel there is stuff I don’t know.

The plan is to use a small scrub site on the edge of a failed golf course.
The site is good because it in a good location for pylons feeding from vast power sources on the hills to the southern markets.
The deal seems to be the club has been given the land and will benefit from the significant uplift in value if the site is given the go ahead.
Battery storage makes sense nationally and is part of a greener future.
The developers, ICT’s Sponsors, say there are no pollution, fire risk or situational issues with this site.

 

SPFL club 'in grave jeopardy' after £3.8m project collapses as chairman says people are 'hellbent on killing the club' | The Scottish SunFor some reason, and I have not spoken to him, Paul Oldham, SNP Nairn, and Cawdor councillor who is Vice Chair of the Highland Council Planning Committee doesn’t want it to happen and he and his Chairman, Thomas MacLennan, Highland Independent, from Fort William and Ardnamurchan, have fought the application.
Neither are from Inverness.
A statement said, “Lithium BESS is a hazardous heavy industry with a high risk to the local community because of the close proximity to housing, schools, offices and retail”.

It’s a stooshie right out of Clochemerle and it will end up at Holyrood because if the councillors are correct and this is replicated elsewhere in Scotland then the green developments we all need will just not happen.
It is that serious.

As far as I’ve been told the club is not planning to become a player in green energy, it just happens to have a site in the right place that it can make a fast profit on.
That’s business.

What is more of an issue to me as a fan is the club has been running a football business with full time pros that their current income streams don’t cover or justify.
That’s their real knitting.

Football is first and foremost a business and businesses are not immune to financial dynamics.
And I don’t see the 6th floor concocting another secret 5 way agreement if ICT or any other aspiring club screws up.

2. Uefa’s Revamped Champions League

What is the Champions League trophy made out of? Do the winners get to keep it? | The SunI read a headline this week that the 2024-25 Champions League will follow a new format delivering a 50% increase in matches and more TV bucks.
No, Champions League doesn’t now mean that Uefa will now have a genuine league for all the champions of Uefa member’s leagues.
Don’t be silly!

This new format is just a wheeze to deliver more revenues to the big clubs and to stave off the Spanish driven, and still existing, Super League project.

Anyway as it stood this week the good news is Scotland will have 2 teams in the draw.
One  in pot 2, Rangers, and one below them in pot 3 Celtic.
The positioning is due to individual recent historical club performance in Europe.

Cynical Andy thinks it is an over complicated set-up designed to help the big clubs get even bigger, but that is how Uefa works.

3. Wry Smiles at Pittodrie

Knock Knock

Who’s there?

Neil.

Neil Who?

That’s the Dons for you.

 

 

4. Commercial Insight to the Soul of the 6th Floor

Our new ‘manmade fibres’ top made somewhere on the cheap by multinational Adidas in time for the Euros is a ‘bargain’ at £75 for adults and £55 for kids.

I’ve just checked and it’s not available on Ali Baba yet but soon will be.

They do have last year’s £75 top which is now on sale there for  between 2.88 to 7.88 dollars each shirt.

That tells you how much these cost to make.
Less than 4% of the current sales price.
A bargain worth waiting for.

The SFA are well out of order on this one.

There is a financial crises all around, guys.


5. Scotland Warm Ups Now on Council Telly

BBC to broadcast Scotland friendlies in run-up to Euro 2024 - Ireland LiveWell done to an MP and an MSP.

Gillian Mackay Green MSP, and Gavin Newlands SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire.

These guys created and helped the fan push-back that means that Scottish warm up games will now be on free to air BBC channels instead of the failed Scandi channel who took over  Viaplay who used to be Setanta.

I will never be able to vote for either Gillian or Gavin but they have shown that our elected politicians can and do make the difference.

I’m proud to know you both.

That’s it from me for this week.

If you are not an SFSA member, and want to see football resetting for the common good rather than the extreme self interest of the few, please join.

Join over 80,000 Scottish football fans and let’s #reclaimthegame – Scottish Football Supporters Association – SFSA (scottishfsa.org)

It’s free, always will be and if all Scottish fans were members we’d see different behaviours managing our game.

andrew@scottishfsa.org

 

Andy’s Album of the Week

Careless: Stephen Bishop.

Careless (album) - WikipediaI didn’t know much about him till I heard “Little Italy” on a Stewart Henry show back in the day and Chaka Khan’s vocals hit that wee button in the back of my neck.
It was an immediate choice between the album or a night at the Union in bad company and the album won.
So a wee number 12 bus to the ‘Other Record Shop’ on Union Street and it was mine.
A debut album that was and still is magnificent.
‘Little Italy’ is so good it will be one of my choices when I eventually guest on Desert Island Discs.
I didn’t know at the time but Eric Clapton and Art Garfunkel also appeared on the album.
‘Sting’ takes longer to write than a single Stephen Bishop album and it’s been a pleasure hearing it a few times on a wet, miserable, Morningside Friday afternoon that hasn’t even hit 8 degrees.
And looking back Stewart Henry was only 43 when years of multiple sclerosis finally took its toll nearly 30 years ago.
What a loss.


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