Sting In The Tale (Chairman’s blog 21/8/20) “An Endemic Approach to a Pandemic”

Date: 21st August 2020

Piercing Insight from One of Our Members


“Was there ever a more astonishing decision made by the members, an association of business enterprises, at a time of huge crisis, that they should not authorise some executive authority of their choice to consider the dire consequences of a pandemic and come up with some agreed plans as to how any of all the possible effects should be dealt with? All the ‘what if ‘ scenarios?

There should not be any kind of ‘making rules up as they go along’. Every single possibility should have been considered, ranging from complete abandonment of the season all the way down to determining how games that were affected by Covid, or by the willful actions of individuals, were to be assessed and so on”.


I was sent that yesterday. A succinct incisive analysis penned by John C, a fan who cares passionately about our game yet despairs where we are.
For those who don’t know, John was referring to the recent democratic vote or perhaps indication of a vote (I’m not sure which) that refused to give the SPFL Board a mandate to deal with Covid 19 related issues. This was to allow them a mandate to move forward without having to continually revert to the clubs as per the SPFL statutes, articles etc. etc.

The bottom line is we have a full time staff paid by the clubs to run the SPFL alongside elected board members (some from the self same clubs) but the clubs don’t actually trust them to get to grips with the strategies and tactics our game needs to move forward.

Quite a shocking situation however you look at it.

I’ll share a quote from a club chairman this morning “It seems most clubs want to grind the organ and hold the monkey’s tin too. If we don’t or even worse can’t trust the SPFL to deal with stuff like this we should close it down and find a better way. You’ve heard some clubs dismiss and put down potential fan ownership of clubs by the advisory adage “Fan owned but never fan run” – we’ll here’s a new take on that and apply it to the SPFL.

If you ever want it to work,  “Club owned but never club run”. That would get my vote.


Covid 19 Issues

We all heard some fantastic news yesterday when Nicola has said that fans might return to games after September 14.

I can’t imagine how the big clubs will decide who gets to come and who doesn’t.

There is no doubt it is good news but Nicola also warned us all when she said “Given the volatility of the virus there is the very real possibility that some, or all of these plans could change”.

They will Nicola they will have to but will we be up for them?

It’s not easy making and taking the right decisions in a Pandemic.

The SPFL would agree. It hasn’t been a great summer for Neil and his team. We’ve seen some howlers some internecine strife and calls for internal red cards and some unnecessary damage to members.

Last week we found out they are not alone in incompetence.

The decision by football’s Joint Response Group chaired by SFA President Rod Petrie seemed to carry on where the SPFL left off in their summer pantomime. This led to red carding Hearts from their training fields for a week and a day and made all the Hull City team and officials very lonely at Riccarton.

The stylish manner this was executed in with a 4.30 Thursday phone call and a mandate to stop immediately was no doubt impressive in a theatrical way.   To then infer through the usual sources that it wisnae really them but wiz government policy reeked of over zealousness and a bullying tendency.

Luckily Jason Leitch says things as they are and outed this wee tactic for what it was when asked. I am told there were red faces on the JRG who have a difficult enough job in plotting a way forward without scoring own goals.

And to answer W Macdonald from Glasgow who asked “Is the football JRG just a way of them (SPFL and SFA) getting round the SPFL Member failed vote that said Pandemic decisions had still to be referred to club votes”?

Good question Walter. I don’t know the answer and hadn’t thought about that one, so mibbees aye mibbees no.


A few other Covid related emails have asked things like –

What if the season is stopped again?
What if teams breach protocols will there be a policy in place?
What if fans breach protocols inside Stadia?
What if the league cards are stopped?
How many games does it take to make a season where the league can be called?

All good questions from the floor.
I don’t have the answers and I don’t think they exist.

Here is another good question from the floor to add to the two Ian Maxwell still hasn’t answered yet.

Ian Maxwell’s Groundhog Pyramid Day Update (With Extra Stuff)

No answer but our co-founder Paul’s zoom meeting with Ian Maxwell diarised for last week didn’t happen but has been rescheduled (again) for next week.

Our two original questions remain live.

Ian were there 4 sign offs on the binning of the pyramid as per clause c in the appropriate agreement?

What have the SFA done on behalf of Brora, Kelty et al in light of what happened?”

We also have a new one from Bobby in Ayrshire.
“Currently, Andy, by my reckoning the Highland League represents circa 15% of the Scottish population and the Lowland League circa 85%. As of now both are treated equal in the SFA pyramid set up. Are there any plans to review how the feeder leagues feed into the SPFL so that it is more equitable?

And why is the relegation spot into the SPFL not automatic with maybe the 9th spot a play off position?  That is what happens elsewhere in the leagues here”.


SFSA Fan Still Best Seller

A good news story at last.

SFSA’s very own Ali Smith’s novel, Summer, is still No 1 bestseller in the UK. Ali, a well known Inverness fan whose dad played for Thistle and brother played for Caley has been in the press as saying she is driven to anger by “Incompetent, shambling, bad and cynical governance”.

A lot of other fans feel that way too Ali and welcome to all who have joined us this week.


Forthright Hard-hitting and Revolutionary 1

I was saddened to hear of the passing of Tam Forsyth last week.
I was at Hampden in 1976 sitting in the North Stand with my late dad. As a student I hadn’t read the newspaper interviews with Tommy Docherty who at the time was miffed that Tommy was in the team instead of his own player the also wonderful Martin Buchan. He’d come up with a classic Doc quote about them “Like comparing a Clydesdale with a thoroughbred”.

My dad was a Doc fan and was espousing that too till we all saw how good Tam was.

I and all the rest there will never forget that tackle on Mick Channon, clean through and beyond any last ditch tackles, apparently to all but Tam.
Some game though,  – The Kenny Dalglish goal through Ray Clemence’s legs and Tam’s tackle.


Forthright Hard-hitting and Revolutionary 2
This is actually a quote from a past president of the SFA.

What about I hear you thinking.

Here is another from the same source.

With Henry’s guidance we will drive the implementation of key recommendations outlined to enhance our game”.


Next week and in the coming weeks I will be revisiting some of the stuff that was in the McLeish Reports.

Just what happened to the contents of McLeish 1 and 2?

From initial delving I can see it will take some super-sharp scything to penetrate the deep grass it was all duly consigned to.

Never more have we needed external insight into how we collectively move onwards and upwards from here.


As always if you want to discuss any issues or want me to look at any story or have something on any aspect you want to share, my email is

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