Chairman’s blog: 19/6/2020

Date: 19th June 2020

This weeks chairman’s blog from Andrew Smith:

Indicative Votes Scottish Cup Result and New Season’s Preparations



26 – 16 But Don’t Tell the Fans


The indicative vote we were told by all and sundry in the mainstream media last Monday went 26 – 16 votes against Neil Doncaster’s eleventh hour proposal for the new season.

Lets look at the numbers.


If you take out the three losing members Hearts Thistle and Stranraer who would have backed it then you are left with 26 for and 13 against.

That is two to one in anyone’s book and a significant rejection of Neil and his board’s recommendations.


Surprisingly none of the usual well informed sources were able to tell us which clubs voted to move on and effectively relegate the three.

Unusual in a game where there are never any secrets.

Not for long anyway.


I heard stuff on the radio about the losing three needing to “take their own medicine” and I have to say I winced knowing our recent research because in the simplest of terms a substantial majority of Scottish fans see this as unfair.
Fans also want and would prefer that the relegations were dealt with by a reshaping of our league structure into larger leagues on a permanent basis.

And fair-minded fans from all clubs are rightly asking why the SFA is not fighting for their two disenfranchised members from the ignored pyramid?


Back to the vote.


No further word any time on Tuesday and on Wednesday in the strange information vacuum I dropped Neil a wee note.
This was before we heard about the court case alliance. We simply asked Neil to tell us how the individual clubs voted.


He responded almost immediately and confirmed it had been a confidential poll that he would respect but helpfully suggested the best way for us all to find out was to ask the clubs.

Fair enough and some clubs on both sides of the indicative vote had already been open and even vociferous on how and why they voted.


But finding the 16 since however has not been easy.


One of my office team has been trying unsuccessfully to get the complete list and as of now we remain 4 short in our quest to discover the 16 in the minority and by definition the winners whose vote has led to the unfolding legal stuff.


Nobody I’ve spoken with gets the need for the big secret about who voted what.

Nor do they consider it unreasonable that fans should know how their own club voted.

As stakeholders who directly and indirectly fund nearly all clubs revenues it’s hard to envisage what could be wrong with transparency?


After a lifetime in business I have seen on many occasions what happens when any business patronises its customers in this kind of way.

You don’t need to be a Harvard professor to know it seldom bodes well as a business strategy or foundation.


And here is something further to make you shake your head in bewilderment.


One club in particular, a fan owned entity, has taken a bizarre position of not wanting to tell their owners how they voted.

We will continue to try to piece together the jigsaw and share it with you but in the meantime the aftermath we collectively face is a very real, damaging and totally unnecessary civil war.

We’ve seen plenty of handbags at dawn in the past but this time it is for real.


No Surprise – When Cornered Clubs Fight Back


Hearts and Thistle have now joined up in a collective alliance to achieve the same result in our courts that similar clubs on the continent achieved last week.


I’m quite shocked at the open hostility but also reassured that underneath the unfriendly banter many in the game have sympathy for their fellow members.

This includes quite bizarrely one chairman who told me earlier this week that his club actually voted against Neil’s indicative vote but at the same time hoped that the Hearts/Thistle motion achieved the very changes and more he had voted against!


Work that one out if you can.


In the meantime the reality is our game is in disarray and there is a lot more to come.


And a hard fact is there was nothing in most club cupboards for the overnight cessation of revenues and the fast approaching economic winter.
Right from the top clubs are burning cash and clubs with no reserves are surviving on fumes and the generosity of their communities and directors.


The embarrassment of accepting the philanthropy last week already seems ancient history and since then Big Thanks are due for looking after our women’s leagues too James.



Stark Realities Hitting Home at a Club Near You


Social distancing among fans might or might not be 2 metres or less when play resumes in our three bottom divisions.

We don’t know now and might not know anytime soon but it is unlikely to be the old normal, pre vaccine.


That means that the lifeblood of our game i.e. turnstile income, local sponsorships and hospitality revenues might collapse.


With the top dozen clubs sorted for an August start (unless the courts intervene) and plans for The Championship also underway, a solution and working plan is now needed for the two basement SPFL leagues.


Accordingly Neil and his team have now moved into fact-finding mode with a simple “request for information” email now out there with the clubs.


It will be interesting to consider what the response will be to questions like.


Which members want to play a full season of 36 matches starting August?

Which would prefer to start in October for 27 matches?

Which want 18 matches starting Dec or January?

Do any of the members have a different or better proposal?


And a catch all at the end –

Are any of the members more inclined to sit out the coming season altogether?


All this in a world with unidentifiable revenues so who can plan and take the plunge on a budget?


We’ve all heard talk of some substantial clubs who currently have no players on their books and that is probably wise but how could they ever be ready for August or even later and why would they commit as yet unidentified pound notes on talent without knowing if the paying public can even attend?

And spare a thought for the players many of whom have become the forgotten toys in the football game for now.



2019- 2020 Cup Resolution


The Tunnocks and The Scottish Cups are all still scheduled but how do you get your head around how they will be completed.


Inverness Caley and Raith are slated to play The Tunnocks Challenge Cup before Christmas.
Both teams will be different post Covid and it is a new season.


Likewise the Scottish Cup semis and final again the teams are different and Hearts are not even allowed to train yet.


I got an email this morning from a fan of one of the remaining teams in The Scottish Cup.

She said she thought these cups belong to the past and that we should have them either shared or un-awarded.
I don’t agree.


There is a way to find a winner and the SPFL have shown us how and by doing so we are being consistent across all competitions.


The cup winner can be chosen based on points for matches played and if needed goal difference as in the SPFL leagues.

If this is seen as fair in bringing closure to the leagues why not last year’s cups to?


Scottish Cup 2019 – 2020
(By SPFL rules where there is no overtime or replays)


Last 4 Contenders and their performance records


Hearts (9 points) played 3, won 3, for 7goals against 0


Celtic (9 points) played 3, won 3, for 6 goals, against 1


Hibs (7 points) played 3, won 2, drawn 1, for 11 goals, against 5


Aberdeen (7 points) played 3 won 2, drawn 1, for 3 goals against 0

So Hearts and Celtic have the same points but Hearts win on goal difference (for the first time)


Scottish Cup Champions (by SPFL Indicative Voting Rules)




There you go.




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