Date: 6th November 2020
300 lucky season book holders will be allowed into tonight’s home County tie with Livvy in Dingwall after an early successful test event.
Wonderful news for all of us.
It’s the start of a move back to normality but it won’t be easy.
It’s seemingly all about red, amber and green zones and while Victoria Park will hear the noise of real fans tonight just down the road it’ll be very different tomorrow.
Elgin City Chairman Graham Tatters says the process takes time and he doesn’t even expect Borough Briggs to be ready for Tuesday’s home match with Queens Park either.
“ It’s not a case of flicking a switch. The Joint Response Group update came out of the blue and we are still in discussions with them.
Ross County had done their trial successfully and we will make every effort too but it depends on the criteria and protocols and we’re not sure at the moment.
It’s going to be challenging.
I don’t think we will make Saturday’s game, and probably not Tuesday’s either”.
Just Six Sleeps till Rajko Mitic
With Leigh Griffiths now recalled for our Belgrade play-off final along with Craig Gordon the excitement is building but definitely muted.
We’ve had easier opponents but the lack of a crowd will help a little and under Steve Clarke we are harder to beat.
It’s on Sky on subscription and also viewable via Now TV boxes for a payment.
ITV will show the England v Ireland match, free.
We’ll talk about the impecunious SFA later and how much they need the revenue this will bring but this particular fixture should be free on council telly at this particular time.
I understand the financial side BUT during an unprecedented pandemic with pub viewing not an option many fans without access to Sky will end up in enclosed front rooms with friends who have the package and breaking guidelines to watch the match.
It is inevitable that this will increase Nicola’s R number.
How stupid is all that?
A parallel aside is it looks likely that the English Premier League plan to drop their £14.99 pay per view during lockdown.
Well done guys.
Saturday 1107 Stop Press
Just heard the announcement that the game will be free on Sky.
Maybe one of them read this blog.
It’s not often sense prevails above cash in football but this is the right decision guys.
James Dean’s Message For Neil Doncaster
This week we’ve seen some quite incredible voting on both sides of the pond.
Yes Biden has whupped the Donald’s ass over there but over here we’ve had an incredible club vote with our own personal football politics.
Many times we have discussed and agreed that self-interest dictates how individual clubs vote and this week only 20 out of the 42 clubs backed a call to grant the SPFL the ability to call the leagues after a threshold of matches had been reached.
Even less and only 17 agreed to give the power to void the season if not enough games are played.
Just 12 agreed to increase the SPFL’s powers to manage Covid.
And only 4 were in favour of 3-0 postponement scores.
A lack of trust.
Is this madness I hear you think?
“You can’t go through life with one arm tied behind your back”
That is Jimmy Dean’s timeless message to Neil Doncaster, the other SPFL board members and the clubs who are hampering them from doing the job they are meant to do.
Let’s look a little inside the voting that has now consigned our SPFL board, a small group comprising employed, appointed and voted-on members from clubs into the current toothless ensemble it has become.
This is no lightweight board to be sent packing like that.
We have Neil, Murray MacLennan his chair and Karyn McCluskey the non-exec change specialist backed by a heavyweight club seven a side from St Johnstone, Hamilton, Celtic, Dunfermline, Alloa, Brechin and Clyde.
As recently as springtime we also had representatives from Ayr, Motherwell and Rangers.
If the current board is united and working as a unit that would give 7 votes out of 42 bankable in favour for any motion.
So the performance this week suggests even the current board members didn’t vote for all the options it was suggesting.
Why Do SPFL Motions and Resolutions Fail?
We have seen a series of what could be seen as votes of no confidence in the SPFL (and how Scottish football manages itself).
When you delve deep and ask why you eventually get to the insider and outsider club status.
The insiders are part of what is going down because it suits them for a bunch of reasons (mostly self interest) and generally therefore support it.
The outsiders mostly go along with stuff for an easier life but recently have been voting against the inherent secrecy and alleged back-scratching that always has and always will blight how we run our game unless things change.
I’ve spoken with three chairmen today from different leagues.
Here are three “off the record” insights.
“If we have to vote on everything then it slows them down and they have to be accountable to all the clubs and not just those in the know. What we have doesn’t work but there is no internal desire to change it all”.
“After the civil war earlier in the year we’ll keep our own counsel and prefer a step at a time approach because that constrains them”.
“Some of my pals are wondering out loud why we need an SPFL and an SFA. The SPFL only came into existence because of historic incompetence and we now have a camel of a set up. The JRG is a typical sneaky way for the SPFL to do stuff without consulting us clubs like they are meant to while hiding behind others and we’re watching closely. We’d support a future with just one organisation running all aspects of the game. It happens in lots of countries”.
So some of our chairs are revolting, nothing to see there.
VARY Poor Edinburgh Derby
It was ultimately a match of two penalties.
Neither should have been awarded and stupidly I looked up after the first to see the VAR.
We don’t have it.
Because of the cost I’d reckon but in a football world we will be consigning our referees and assistant referees too to a shrinking world of non-VAR football.
Maybe that is where they deserve to be after those awards but any country that does not have VAR will see their best referees simply unconsidered for the bigger stages and we will be the poorer for it all.
Post Covid in Scottish football technology has to become a priority for our teams and their fans and our officials.
£4.5 Million Shortfall and Leaks a Plenty
We’ve talked often here about the downturn being a full blown depression not a recession and this week the SFA beancounters went public with a projected £4.5 million Covid induced shortfall. This is in addition to their having already taken out a £5M business interruption loan from the UK government.
A few days on it is interesting to see how Ian Maxwell’s press release was interpreted in the media.
In the one I saw Ian said “the governing body is considering restructuring to future proof the national association due to significant loss of revenues from international and Scottish cup matches played without the fans.
It could lead to redundancies”.
I thought fair enough and the right thing to do despite the short-term pain.
Maybe salary reductions too Ian like Jacinda Ardern the Kiwi PM and her colleagues have just taken, although that wasn’t mentioned and none of the journos asked it.
When I read later that two Glasgow based newspapers boldly led with “18 Jobs to go” headlines (soon copied by other papers as they do ) I was saddened.
Whoever leaked that part of the news is scum and should be one of the 18.
Next Episode Mulholland Drive Airs Wednesday
This is the series of claims against our judicial system and Police Scotland that might cost the public purse (that’s you and me) £80M.
Wednesday sees Lord Tyre presiding over A54/19 Charles Green v Police Scotland and The Crown Office.
Charlie is reported to be looking for £20M.
Laurel and Hardy Dropped
But JRG Questions Remain Unanswered
I know it’s become a favourite because of the Stan and Ollie clips but we finally got a very, very late response from The Scottish Government.
They didn’t answer the question we asked .
Just so you know, we only received a response because we got to speaking and complaining to one of the civil servants who ultimately work for Joe Fitzpatrick.
Otherwise like Diana Ross we’d still be waiting.
To be fair they are all under severe pressure from Covid but until we had called in a favour we hadn’t even had an update to tell us that.
Straight from the Ryanair school of customer relations and not good enough.
Anyway our contact along with other public servants and I’d guess The Sports Minister too had as we thought been present and involved in the early JRG and some of the sub groups.
That is now a fact.
None of it is on public record.
Sadly the response we got was risible.
A predictable attempt to kick us into the same “long grass” that football uses to bury stuff and to try to get us to go away and bother someone else.
We don’t agree with the lack of an answer we were given or the attempt to block a reasonable request for openness.
We think our government should be accountable for all its actions.
One of our board members is ex First Minister Henry McLeish and he thinks that way too.
So as it happens do most of the people who work for the Scottish government so we’ll keep going.
We’ve now reformatted and asked these two questions back to the civil servant who helped us get their initial “Getae” answer polite as it was.
We’ll share any response with you all if we ever get one.
If we don’t get a real answer we’ll then play the long game and go through the same delayed channels.
It will all be a matter of record for some future discussion.
Revised SFSA Questions for the Minister
Knowing the Scottish Government have been involved in the JRG formally and informally from day one and believing governance should be open and indeed your government tells us it we’d therefore still like to see our original question ref no 202000088184 answered properly and also our two current related questions set out below.
Where can we find records of all the governmental involvement you speak of about the JRG where government or parliamentary employees, civil servants, elected officials and associates were, are, will be involved?
We know there are records of the JRG sub groups and main group which you or any other governmental employees, elected politicians or associates attended or provided input or advice for on behalf of The Scottish Government and Parliament and our second question is
Are they a matter of public record and if not why not?
Maxies Groundhog Day
Still Showing in a pyramid near you.Still no answers from Ian to 4 questions from you the fans on how the SPFL could consign the pyramid for 2019 –2020 into the famous Hampden Long Grass without Ian Maxwell and his team throwing a hissy fit and thcweaming and thcweaming or similar like Violet Elizabeth Bott.
Not a great way to treat the top end of your aspirant members Ian.
My First Nomination for Fan of the Year
Ruaridh Kilgour a Raith Rovers fan has so far raised over £275000 for clubs selling tickets for matches to people who can’t even attend.
He has spent £4K of his own money setting up his web based https://donateaticket.com/
He even got more tickets sold (646) for Stenny v Berwick where only 300 fans attended the last time they played.
Check it out and do what you can to support it.
As always feel free to contact me about anything or ask me to share this with the 70,000 plus Sting readers each week.
I do my best to reply to everyone who takes the time to get in touch.
And well done Glasgow City for getting though the first hurdle and good luck to Forres Mechanics who are taking a gap year from the already truncated Highland League.
The SFSA do not claim to own any of the included images and will be removed on request of the owner.