Date: 7th August 2020
Less than a week after our season’s kick off we have the first externally enforced postponement.
Saints v Dons is now off after two positive Covid 19 tests. Reports identify an illicit post-match visit to the “Soul” bar. Thankfully the two positives and 6 others are all seemingly unaffected but now confined and watching Supermarket Sweep, Netflix box sets etc.
“Not through bad luck but clear breaches of the rules” is a First Minister quote and while the players are reported as “fine” other Aberdonians caught up in this growing Doric pub-accelerated spike may be less fortunate.
She was probably also made aware of a wee football slip up that happened last week and was brushed under whatever carpets testing problems get swept under. Anyway the two positive tests were first announced yesterday. Despite them for a while it had looked like the unseen hands endemic in our game that normally manage all aspects sought to ignore the Pittodrie spike. This was I was told to honour the very important Sky contract.
That in-house plan was given a straight red card by someone with a broader perspective and in the full light of publicity too.
Nicola’s quite angry and very blunt message/ warning shot is still playing out as I write. It has since been described as furious and likened to ex-don Fergie and his legendary far-flinging hairdryer skills.
The reality, Neil and Ian, is Nicola is now on your case and therefore our case.
Maybe football has set itself up as an example waiting to be made.
We’ve become an easy target because the players broke the agreed rules. Football has no divine right to be played during the pandemic despite what football thinks.
Methinks this won’t be the last time the virus disrupts the best-laid plans of Neil, Sky, Ian etc.
A developing story.
How Much Does It Cost to Breach SFA Rule 78?
Many of you know the answer even if you didn’t know it was rule 78 (The year of Ally’s Army and our draw with the mighty Iran).
The fine is £2,500.
Hearts and Thistle are reported in the SFA press release printed by some as “naturally disappointed”.
I have no idea what “naturally disappointed” means and I am now on record as being naturally disappointed about that.
Fans, some of whom are legal people (and Lord Clark too I am told), are also “naturally disappointed”.
Naturally disappointed because we collectively want Rule 78 to be challenged and changed. In essence it seeks to stop individual clubs taking their league administrators to court and is almost certainly nonsense in law.
Neil, Rod, etc. it’s a really lousy rule that needs to be thought through now before an inevitable coach and horses comes by one day.
Or maybe a Nicola?
Meanwhile the clumsy attempts to leak information into the tabloids about Hearts and Thistle being the “guilty parties” blocking publication of the arbitration process and details are tawdry but typical.
Ian, Neil, et al – Hearts and Thistle wanted it heard in Open Court.
So did the fans.
Publish and be praised guys because there are too many secrets and secret processes built into Scottish Football.
That is a fact that won’t go away.
Alienated Fans Welcome
I’ve had an interesting email conversation with a new friend this week that started when he wrote to us about his disillusion with our game.
Here is an edit of some of his first email.
“I am taking the trouble to let you know why I want to unsubscribe.
I no longer wish to receive news about Scottish football as the events of the last few months have clearly demonstrated that, right from the very top, if you’re not one of the elite or in the “in club” you don’t matter.
I can’t trust the mainstream press and I include the BBC too and blame the lack of leadership in our game on the influence of a small group of clubs who dominate for their own benefit and who hold the SKY contract above everything else.
All our clubs were placed in impossible situations and their only option was self-interest.
This was then distorted and sold to all and sundry as democratic!
And who cares anyway in what is a statistically just a Glasgow District Premier League where only 2 cubs win and where only two clubs can ever win.
Most clubs like mine are makeweights at best”.
Several conversations later we have another alienated fan who sees the SFSA as an important union of fans who care as deeply as he does.
Hampden Deal Completed but Still a Lousy Place to Watch a Game
This week saw the Stadium changing actual hands from Queens Park to the SFA.
She’s an amazing historic lady who welcomed a record 147,365 fans at the 1937 final between Celtic and Aberdeen and also the European Cup record of 127,621 when Real Madrid stuffed Eintracht Frankfurt in the 50s.
I’ve never liked the place despite seeing some fantastic matches there including Scotland vs the Czechs and that Joe Jordan header in ‘73.
(I saw it better on telly later though.)
Sadly the reality was the ground was never fan friendly whether it was getting wet at the wrong end, walking through open urinals in the 70s or even being hit by a glass thrown by your own fans further back.
My last few visits to the modernised stadium disappointed because of structural and design issues of the revamped stadium giving poor views when the spectator in front is only of average height.
If we need a national stadium, and that in itself is a fair debate, I’d rather it was built with the fans in mind somewhere in central Scotland with good access for all.
Groundhog Pyramid Day Update
This still generates the most emails I get and many are quite angry and let down.
I’ve had no response to my follow up emails but fear not, Paul Goodwin our SFSA co founder has a scheduled zoom meeting with Ian Maxwell next week and I’ve asked him to ask these two simple questions.
Firstly were there 4 sign offs on the dropping of the pyramid as per clause C in the appropriate agreement?
Secondly what have the SFA done on behalf of Brora, Kelty et al in light of what happened?”
I’ll let you know Ian’s response.
Finally here is what I assume to be a football insight from Ali Smith one of Scotland’s finest writers.
Ali’s new book, Summer, the last of her unique seasonal quartet is out today and she’s in the news a bit. When I read her quote I immediately thought she must have been writing about our game.
I haven’t managed to speak to her yet to confirm that but a little digging tells me she is a proud Inverness Caley fan and her dad had indeed played a few games for Inverness Thistle back in the 50s.
She was asked a question by the interviewer What’s Currently Bugging You Ali?
She replied “Incompetent, shambling, bad and cynical governance”.
Ali Smith, New Statesman August 2020.
So now you know Ali Smith reads our newsletter too.
As always if you want to discuss any issues or want me to look and report something my email is Andrew@scottishfsa.org