Date: 23rd December 2020
Tom Walked Away with $242 but Didn’t Say Why
Mrs. Davies Only Needed $17.50
One of the finest scenes in “It’s a Wonderful Life” comes after Potter has created a rush on George Bailey’s bank just as he (Jimmy Stewart) is heading off on honeymoon with his new wife Mary played by Donna Reid.
All his worried shareholders are besieging his office fearful of not getting their money out and reluctantly heading to the evil and corrupt businessman Potter and his offer of 50 cents in the dollar.
Mary intervenes holding up and waving the newlywed Bailey honeymoon dollar fund to try to stop the bank-run in its tracks.
It was touch and go and in that short scene Frank Capra questions the ethics of business, banking and human relationships in a financially interlinked community.
Anyway back to the story and Tom, a grumpy sort had $242 lodged with George and wanted it all back instantly, not in the 60 days as per his account Ts and Cs.
He made a fuss and should have been told to bugger off but was given it all, although to the others in the room he was starting to look more than a little unreasonable against the very fair George and the community he represented, who were all present watching and listening.
Others in the queue were slowly brought round and bought over one by one by George simply asking them how much they needed not how much they had deposited.
He knew them all.
He knew them all well.
He lived in their community with them.
He knew their kids and parents.
He knew their business and businesses too.
Common Good broke out in Bedford Falls that day.
Ed had $300 but only needed $20 as a tide-over.
Mrs. Thompson needed $20 and took that.
Mrs. Davies only needed $17.50 and got a kiss from George for being so sensible and fair minded.
They were a community under pressure, worked as a community too and scraped by, just and no more.
Just a film and fair enough that’s all it was.
What’s This Got to Do with a Scottish Football Blog at Christmas?
The Scottish government in true Santa style allocated 10 million taxpayer pound notes to all football in Scotland, male and female, outside our top division and the National Lottery even threw in an extra £1.35M.
So there had to be some kind of divvy up needed for the £11.35M burning a hole in the SFA’s Xmas Santa Suit.
Mr Petrie and his very own SFA are said to have come up with the plan I outline below known hence as the “Emergency Funding for Football” and we are told the said allocated funds will hit club bank accounts imminently.
Hard pressed staff at one northern championship club were allegedly moved to tears at the news of £500K coming their way and the Health Minister Jeane Freeman got it mostly right in the press release when she said
“Football clubs are at the heart of their communities but have suffered real hardships with Covid restrictions preventing them playing in front of fans. This funding will help to ensure clubs are able to bridge the gap in revenue until spectators are able to return.
This funding will support the entire football pyramid and working in partnership we will support the clubs that have given us so much through this difficult time”.
Rod Petrie, SFA Grand Fromage, got a quote in too to scent mark his SFA on the Government constructed press release rather than tell us anything important.
“This announcement recognises the importance of our national sport at all levels of the senior game and we will work to ensure funding can be accessed by all clubs as efficiently as possible”.
(Divisional Funding it was later said would be split evenly between the clubs in each tier and don’t forget there is also a £20 loan fund available for Premiership clubs who are precluded from grants, although we’re not sure why. Clubs say they don’t want more debt at this time).
Rod’s Divvy-Up Plan for the Taxpayers Pound Notes
Total allocations per Sector
League 1. £1.5M
League 2. £1M
Tier 5. £1.1M
Tier 6. £0.65M
Tier 7. £0.950M
North Caledonian League. £24K
Scottish FA. £0.750M
Scottish Amateur FA. £100K
Scottish Junior FA. £12.75K
Scottish Welfare FA. £12.75K
Scottish Women’s FA. £20K
Scottish Youth FA. £35K
Para ANA. £12.75K
Thanks Jeane – But Who Did the Sums?
Where was our George Bailey with his insight into his community?
Who decided on the total amount on the government side and the stipulations?
On the football side who decided Championship sides get more than three times SFL1 teams just one league down?
That is one hell of a difference Rod and how is it fair?
It means Championship clubs get 5 times the amount SFL 2 teams two levels below are allocated?
How is that fair?
The game needs the money urgently and will need more but as in Bedford Falls people have different needs and so do our clubs too.
Was any of this ever factored in?
Can We Have An Explanation of how you have spent our money?
The allocation and planned distribution didn’t just happen, didn’t just magic itself on to a computer and isn’t random in any way.
Can we therefore please be told the whys and wherefores of such an important distribution of public money on behalf of our game?
The clubs want to know, the fans want to know and all taxpayers and voters certainly deserve openness with their money.
All in all a not unreasonable request and having seen nothing elsewhere about the detail despite all the reportage we’ll now commit to ask the Scottish Government on your behalves.
Why did none of the media coverage ask these questions I hear you thinking aloud?
And why are the SFA getting £750K is another good question?
How will it be used by an organisation who have just had a £10M Euros windfall?
Why also are community clubs in our top league who are “part of the entire football pyramid” as quoted by the minister in her press release not getting access to any of these grants when they are well-run community enhancing businesses hurting really hard without the fan revenues the minister quotes?
There are so many disconnects.
So very, very Scottish Football.
An Alternative View, aka the Four Maybes
Maybe the SFA should have allocated the grant cash on specifics and needs given the business uncertainties past, present and future heading our way at speed.
With Tier 4 imminent and no fans back until next season almost a certainty some clubs will soon be back asking for more instead of downsizing in our grave new world.
Maybe now is the time to address the stark realities of a no-fans season for all the clubs from now onwards and to help them address the issues this will bring to the clubs and how the game is run on their behalf.
Maybe trying to protect the status quo is the wrong strategy and has been all along.
Maybe its time for Scottish football to become customer focused rather than just a continuation model for a broken system dominated by self-interest and arcane control by the very few?
SFSA Ebenezer Scroggie Awards 2020
Born in Kirkcaldy in 1792 and deceased quite young in 1836 Ebenezer Scroggie was a real person.
He was a cousin of Adam Smith, the Kirkcaldy “Wealth of Nations” writer and economist, not my son Adam Smith who lives in Mexico and who has never had the inclination to have written a treatise on political economy.
Ebenezer Scroggie was a successful Edinburgh merchant and corn dealer which was writ as “meal man” on his grave stone as his epitaph.
In addition to being a “meal man” Ebbie was also said to be a dandy, a philanderer and by all reports all round good guy, worth meeting up with for a few swiftish clarets in one of the Royal Mile hostelries after work.
Then death and interment and that should have been it but years later in a strange twist Ebenezer Scroggie deceased had his name stolen and vilified for eternity by Charlie Dickens as his new baddie in his play “A Christmas Carol”.
Not out of badness to Scroggies from Kirkcaldy by the Londoner scribe and social commentator but simply because he was said to have misread “meal man” as “mean man” on Ebbie’s worn tombstone.
Anyway here is our ……
Ebenezer Scroggie Award for All Round Good Meal Men
A joint award with Two Winners, both as it happens English.
James Anderson for his gift of £3 plus Millions through the SPFL trust and big thanks to Ann Budge for the introduction even if our Neil didn’t originally believe her on a really good Saturday Sportsound programme eons ago in lockdown. That programme really came into its own this summer so well done Richard and team.
Marcus Rashford for his inspirational intervention and dogged work on feeding hungry disadvantaged kids during holiday periods.
Marcus would have and should have walked last week’s BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award but didn’t make the list for editorial reasons.
Instead Aunty Beeb awarded him the “Expert Panel Special Award” (EPSA).
Sounds like a Disney park.
Anyway I was personally amazed at the government U turn to the Rashford pressing game and their subsequent newly-garnered commitment to feed disadvantaged kids during school holidays.
So there are some good guys in football on and off the field and some common good.
There are still some Dickensian style Scrooges too – some real Mean Men in and on the edge of our game.
And since it is the season of jolly awards too here we go.
Sting in the Tale “Scrooge Mean Men” Awards
There was only ever one team in the running.
Yes you’ve guessed.
Not Kermit, Piggy or Michael Caine.
It was our own Bold Sir Douglas and his Blue Five a side team who did their utmost to stop 22 year old upstart Marcus in his tracks and by doing so helped Boris put to an end Rashford’s campaign to feed hungry kids in the adjoining country just south of ours.
Our government in Holyrood sided with Marcus and agreed and committed to hungry kids being fed.
Lets set the scene as it was back in late October, so long ago, a time when I could even still have a pint in Wee Bennett’s bar when I was officially meant to be walking the whippet.
Multitasking but I digress.
Boris and his team, it can be said, wanted the Labour Parliamentary Motion containing the football upstarts proposal to fail. They needed support from Douglas’s small but bold team of Scottish Conservative Westminster MPs.
Douglas Ross, well known assistant referee girded his loins and those of his bold team of 5 battle-hardened Scottish Westminster MPs.
He personally boldly managed to abstain but his leadership prevailed mightily in the fight to defeat Rashford.
David Duguid, Banff and Buchan, Alister Jack, Dumfries and Galloway, Andrew Bowie, West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine, John Lamont, Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk, and David Mundell, Dunfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale all did their bit, like my grandfather in the Somme and Ypres, and boldly voted with Boris.
OK in reality what they did was nothing like Pte Robert William Smith doing his bit under fire but in the fight to defeat Marcus, Boris, helped by his bold Scots won the day and triumphantly declared it a mighty victory.
(That is, before he made his U-turn).
But Boris declared that a mighty victory too.
“Not our finest day Andy”, admitted my very blue Scottish Tory pal of 40 plus years from his elevated eyrie in the House of Lords. Always a master of understatement but I’d say genuinely embarrassed at the level of discussion allowed now in his party and rightly so.
But its Christmas and I’ll wish him and everyone else well and we’ll share a beer again in Wee Bennetts soon enough.
Have a nice and safe Christmas and as always feel free to contact me about anything football related or ask me to share a story that needs shared.
If I can leave you with all one thought I’d like you to keep and share with anyone who will listen.
Common good has to break out in Scottish Football.
Only the fans can make this happen.