Date: 17th July 2020
The late Turnbull Hutton (The conscience of Scottish Football on the steps at Hampden)
Andy’s Sting in the Tale. (SFSA Chairman’s Blog 17 July 2020)
Secrets and Allies
Most of us have no idea what stage the arms-length SFA Arbitration Process has reached.
The MSM silence is quite deafening.
We will never be informed by the SFA or the SPFL who the three, combined Judges/Jurymen are and how they came to whatever conclusion they will reach.
No press release about the hows and whys.
Just the findings and any executive spin that’s felt necessary.
That’s the way the arbitration process has been set up.
It is even a possibility we may never know but past experience suggests different.
Most of us have seen different drafts of the solution to the last big crisis in our game in 2012.
I refer to the very, very secret (at the time anyway) 5 way Agreement that was deemed “not for the eyes of the likes of us”, the fans and stakeholders.
Its subsequent early appearance in the public domain suggests and reinforces the reality that is that there are no real secrets in Scottish football.
Not for long anyway.
Eventually most of what is happening about everything will seep out.
Too many people and their pals already know.
By the time this particularly cancerous secret process reaches the public domain the three clubs deemed to be relegated and the three deemed promoted will have learned what the wisdom of the three secret Judge/Jurymen has mandated.
And we’ll be in a happier place.
What a mess and doomed to get messier.
This arbitration will very soon be seen to be a vinegar and brown paper exercise on growing structural cracks that won’t go away.
Where is Turnbull Hutton When We Need Him?
I’ve had lots of correspondence on the Arbitration all week.
Some of it is angry, much of it contradictory but pretty much like you’d expect in a civil war.
It’s not creating good and bad guys just collective dismay.
I never met the man but we have never more needed the wisdom of the late Turnbull Hutton.
I’ll share a summary of a couple of the exchanges that need the wisdom of Turnbull to fix.
Firstly a concerned Raith fan this week asked us what we, the SFSA, could do to support the three totally innocent clubs who have been dumped-on big style.
Dundee Utd, Raith and Cove have somehow been caught up in Scottish Football’s unnecessary but time-consuming civil war stramash.
It is ridiculous what has happened to them.
No excuses from the SPFL (and not enough support).
An outrageous way to treat member clubs who have done absolutely nothing wrong apart from winning their leagues.
In a parallel series of discussions I have a series of exchanges with Bob Ward from sunny Yorkshire.
Bob has looked back at the statistics of teams at the bottom of our leagues at the same time this year’s leagues were called.
The statistics don’t lie.
Over the last twelve years in 25% of all years the bottom club has escaped their bottom spot by the end of the season.
That is not to say Hearts, Partick or Stranraer would all have saved themselves this year but statistically speaking one of them would have and all three could have.
Bob says relegation is Not Proven to use a Scottish legal term.
Most fans agree but want to move on.
We agree with both points of view.
But without a Turnbull Hutton-esqe leader pragmatically uniting our clubs under a common cause for the good we’re rudderless and self-harming.
There is an open acceptance right through the game from Chairmen down that the wrong decisions were made but frustratingly there are a lack of ways, wherewithals and focus to do something about it.
Time isn’t helping either in a week where friendlies are being played and we have 2 weeks till the hoped for start of season 2020 – 2021.
Since Neil’s Good Friday Disagreement on April 10th we’ve seen the SPFL, and all it is, dig its collective self deeper into the mire.
It’s a uniquely Scottish black comedy that isn’t even remotely funny.
Despite what some might want us to believe the fans can see both sides and the best solution.
We are united in a belief that we need bigger, permanent leagues.
Conflict is normal in inter club fan exchanges but sooner or later the guys running our game will understand that we collectively see the bigger picture that they don’t seem willing to embrace.
The Essence of Good Comedy is Timing
This week’s dramatic move by the SFA on their two errant members, Hearts and Thistle, while being expected, came across nevertheless as vindictive, heavy-handed, badly timed and clumsy.
It’s also possible that the particular rule they are said to have heinously broken is not one that would stand up in a real court.
(Maybe that is where this will go too)?
But the incident in the meantime fits well in our Scottish Football pantomime noire.
In particular the very early response demand while the two members clubs are otherwise occupied demonstrates a lack of support and understanding of how and why the two members had got to the impossible position they are in.
Like the three promoted clubs they are also innocent victims and fighting their corner the same way I’d expect most clubs would.
We’ll probably never know the dynamics because The SFA are pretty secretive too but it would be good to know who drove this particular gambit and why.
Whose energy, time and money?
Pyramid Groundhog Day Week 4
While we are talking about the SFA our simple but as yet unanswered question on behalf of the fans of not just Brora and Kelty but all the other aspiring pyramid clubs is still unanswered.
For those new to this we sent Ian Maxwell.
“what have the SFA done on behalf of Brora, Kelty and the fact that the pyramid has been dropped for season 2019-2020”?
I guess it would be cynical to say the hard pressed, home-working team at the SFA have been too busy implementing their latest attack on Hearts and Partick to talk to the SPFL about why they thought it reasonable and no risk to break their half of the Pyramid contract.
Now in our book that is something worthy of legal action and with a fast response too.
I’ll update you all next week either way.