Andy’s Sting In The Tale (17/03/23) “An Age Old Problem”

Date: 17th March 2023



I got a lovely email this week from a long term reader from Cambridge Mass.
The gist was that he thinks this blog is nothing to do with football but is an insight into how human’s interact, how power corrupts and how absolute power corrupts absolutely.
It has probably been ever thus, Mike.

When the game collectively and continually forgets, ignores, or probably both, that ‘Common Good’ should always be the driver and lowest common denominator then we see continual politics and power plays.
Both are everywhere as I write just like the dancing daffodils outside in the Spring sunshine.

Football in Scotland is a closed shop.

Do we know who from the SFA represented us in Rwanda this week at the Fifa Congress?
Do we know how they voted and if they sided with the Scandis on a few key issues that the majority of Scottish fans agree with.
No we don’t.
And don’t be stupid.

But Hail Infantino, leader and owner of a spanking new house in Qatar.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino moves to Qatar - SWI swissinfo.chIn the meantime, our game is playing fewer Scottish kids than ever before.
The gap between under 20s sides and the reality of Premiership Football is way too big and we are collectively  burning kids when they reach 20.
The Lowlife League have long been shafted by the SPFL2 and the LL’s current, “who cares about Beith and Darvel if there is money to be squeezed from Hearts, Rangers and Celtic” mantra, sums up how our game works.


If I hadn’t been round the block so often I’d be depressed.

On a happier note, welcome Angus Gunn to Stevie’s team and good luck from us all.

This Week’s Sting

1. What Happened to the Conveyor Belt?

2. Infantino, Norwegians and the SFA

3. Electrical Technician Wanted on the 6th Floor

4. Local Hero and it REALLY is No Big Deal

5. Spanish Dirty Washing

6. Russia Heading East


1. History Repeating, Repeating, Repeating

In the early days of my football journey I was signed by the local team I supported.
They had a fantastic crop of youngsters playing in the North Reserve League alongside older players on the way back to full fitness.

Claggan Park - WikipediaThey didn’t know how lucky they were to have that particular crop because they were never really fully committed to developing kids.

It was always easier to sign older pros doing better at other clubs.
My team therefore had a significant Aberdeen based contingent travelling through 104 miles for ‘home’ games and indeed my first two starts for the first team came when there were issues on the A 96 and me and other 2nd team youngsters were drafted in at the 11th hour when the Aberdeen based players were marooned somewhere in between.

They closed the youth programme and probably never even noticed that we all drifted away.

In those days Scotland’s top level had a strong reserve league and it blooded youngsters with pros.

It worked.
I remember well when I was a student playing in a friendly game that wasn’t very friendly at all against an Aberdeen side watched by management team Billy McNeil and John Clark.

BIRTHDAY BHOY JOHN CLARK: CELEBRATING 81 YEARS | Celtic Quick NewsThe Dons fielded their top 4 or 5 youngsters including Alex McLeish and Ian Gibson as well as Davie Robb, Joe Harper and others.
Internationals playing against students as if it was really important to them and it was because the management team treated it as such.
The Dons pros also nursed their kids through and the thing I remember the most was the amount of talking from older pros to their youngsters.

They really wanted to win and to play well.

It was football not reserve football.

Sometimes football makes dumb decisions for what it thinks the right reasons and the beancounters decreed that Reserve Teams were not needed.

The damage continues.

Did you know this season Celtic and Hibs haven’t started with anyone under 21 in the 11?
Aberdeen and Hearts have fielded only 2 and Rangers lead the way with 3.

Michael Beale said something interesting about how the Rangers Colts team playing in the Lowlife League doesn’t aid his needed recoveries of Yilmaz, Souttar and Hagi.

Fraserburgh head to the strollers | Scottish CupThe gap between Rangers kids playing Civil Service Strollers one week and Ange’s Celtic the next is acknowledged as being way too far too to jump for most and the system isn’t working.
He also said loans don’t work because the youngsters are not matched with clubs who replicate the top league style and they pick up bad habits.


Old pros almost unanimously want a return to competitive reserve football because they lived through it and saw the benefits at first hand

Most fans would agree that that was better for our game and the current nonsense of plans for a manufactured ‘Conference League’ just shows how bereft and ungrounded those who run our game have become.

No wonder the clubs below are well grumpy and disillusioned.

Sheer desperation and lashing out for change that benefits only the top teams.

The guys aspiring up are victims of club self-interest above dominating every decision and keeping them down.

2. Rwanda, the Place to Be for Someone at the SFA

Rwanda become fourth African host of FIFA Congress as Kigali welcomes delegatesThe Fifa annual convention was welcomed by the same man who cut the boat migrants deal with our Westminster blue party, Paul Kagame the Rwandan President.
He is a man with an ‘interesting’ past and he spoke to the football delegates there, but I really don’t care what he said.

He seemed on the day to be a big supporter of Gianni our re-elected Fifa Grand-Fromage who was recently given a house in Qatar by those nice people in that Gulf country.

Here are some snippets from the meetings.

Mr Infantino has been elected for his second full term in office and has also set up a third in the same sneaky way that other world leaders circumvent the rules to keep power.

Germany did not vote for him because of “a lack of transparency, communication and human rights issues”.

The Danish, Norwegian and Swedish FAs made a silent protest by not applauding his triumph in full view of the cameras.

Lisa Klaveness, Norways representative, submitted a proposal for a debate on whether Uefa had delivered its obligation on human rights and eight countries agreed with her motion.

Lise Klaveness Archives - Inside World Football

Amnesty presented 1 million signatures asking for Fifa to agree compensation for migrant workers injured or killed in Qatar which delivered $7.5 Million profit to Fifa.

A strange sideshow was a Swiss newspaper publishing a story that the Qatari’s had wiretapped Gianni talking with Swiss Attorney General Michael Lauber in Qatari owned hotel Schweizerhof.
Maybe that became his leverage to his rather nice free house in Qatar.
Just thinking out loud.

Finally, Arsene Wenger told us that Fifa plan to have a Youth Development Academy in every country by 2026 saying “The quality of coaching is vital”.
Our own Henry McLeish said the same 15 years ago but our big clubs finagled the outcomes and the result is the vision was pornographed to what we have today.
The original reports are in the Hampden long grass behind the North Stand.

Tell Us About the SFA in Rwanda Andy.

SFA chiefs Ian Maxwell and Rod Petrie slammed for accepting invite to Qatar World Cup summit | The Scottish SunWere they there?
Don’t know.

If they were there, who was representing us?
Don’t know.

Did they go with pre agreed and pre discussed voting intentions?
Don’t know.

Do they plan to have a press conference and debrief all fans?
Don’t know.

Did they even speak?
Don’t know.

The nonsense is they represent us all.



3. I Was Laughing Out Loud

Falkirk against Ayr was a great game and I decided to watch the cup draw.
4 teams.
Celtic, Falkirk, ICT and Rangers.
51,866 seats to fill over 3 games with a need to fill Hampden and maximise income.

Time for some traditional time honoured subterfuge and for Stevie the Sparkie to deliver Ernie Walker’s old Acme ball heater to facilitate the right outcome.

Jings Crivens and Help Ma Boab, Stevie says the Acme ball heater isnae working.
The balls are all as cold as a tramp’s porridge.
(Well the ball heater has been used rather a lot over the years).

Scottish Cup semi-final draw, Rangers meet Celtic & Falkirk v ICT - Glasgow NewsSo we now have a Glasgow semi final and Falkirk or ICT in the other and one of the wee guys will grace our final on Saturday June 3rd. But they won’t sell out their semi.


Stevie the Sparkie done bad and has been told he’s dropped and on a sine die like Rose Reilly was back in the day.





 4. Why Are We Even Taking About This in Sting?


Scotland's first openly gay footballer calls on fans to tackle homophobia - Daily RecordI watched a great BBC Scotland channel documentary and if you haven’t watched it then do on BBC i player.
It was Zander Murray ex Gala and now at Bonnyrigg.
He is the only gay player in our men’s leagues.

Bollocks, of course he isn’t.
He’s the only one brave enough to come out.

How shameful is that in our game there is so much prejudice around and allowed that players are scared to be themselves.
We’ve all heard homophobic  chanting and until recently accepted it as a downside of being a fan.
Just like some fans chant about Glasgow razor gangs and some want us to join and celebrate the IRA.

Yes the issues are societal, but football has been too accepting.
Strict Liability has to be part of a bigger solution because Scottish football has to help and be active as we normalise new levels of behaviour even if it will take a big-stick initially and might hurt the biggest clubs.


The women’s leagues have none of this nonsense and we can learn from them.


In England this week one fan who abused Ivan Toney the Brentford forward was given a suspended jail sentence and a 3 year ban.


We need a multi-faceted approach.

5. Que Pasa en el Barca?


FC Barcelona under investigation for alleged paymentsIt seems Barca the club with the high moral values who a few years ago gifted its shirt sponsorship  to UNICEF have been seeking help that might have not been fair.

Anyway, the current club is well known to be trading out with normal fiduciaries, (aka it is technically bust).
Between 2001 and 2018 the Catalan club gave £34 Million to Jose Maria Enrique Negreira a senior Spanish referee official.

Why would any club give such a lot of buckshee cash to referees or referee bosses?

It is currently almost the only thing being discussed in Spanish Media Steamies, has been for weeks, and has also gone legal.

So it’s serious.
This week ex Real star Emilio Butragueno said, “We must respect the times of justice and now must wait for the conclusion of the Public Prosecutor’s case”.

Javier Tebas, President of La Liga said, “Barca face a heavy sanction if found guilty of manipulating referees”,  and he has asked the club to publicly come clean.
“There is nowhere to hide and there will be penalties in the millions and demotion”.


 6. Head East Young Russian Men

Russia received an Invitation to Play in the Central Asian Football Association - - Sofia News Agency


Take your boots because Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Kyrgyzstan are holding a regional football tournament in June and want you to play.

Where does this leave Uefa and Fifa and any sanctions?

I know not, way above my pay grade.




Keep the comments and insights coming and have a nice weekend.



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