Going back

Date: 28th July 2020

The latest blog by SFSA writer Donald Stewart:

During the week I got a text from a mate of mine. Keeping in touch with people has not really been a thing for me and I woke up this week to the thought, what if people aren’t there any more?

So, I text him – and a few more besides – just to check. Hew was one of the first to respond with, “Miss it don’t you? It’s not until the football is not there that you realise how much you miss it.”

He is right of course.

We all miss it.

Even me, an Ayr United supporter who you might think could do with a few weeks off the stress of trying not to get promoted to the premiership – it takes a lot of effort does that… I miss it.

Watching Liverpool managing to get ever the line, Real Madrid’s next La Liga win, the Bundesliga’s crowning of Bayern Munich once again or the pursuit of their 9thleague title in a row by Juventus suddenly does not have the same glamourous ring as St Mirren v Ross County on Sportscene.

Am I ill?

But the last week has clearly brought home to us all just how fragile the whole of Scottish football within a pandemic happens to be. We have had some positive COVID tests in Paisley that were false. We have claims that tests are not getting in quick enough and then hear of one team playing six players who had not had the all clear.

Then out comes the head of the League and says, worry not, we shall be ready to roll come the 1stAugust.

Sorry Mr D, you make me worry more.

It makes me worry that we are about to do in August what we were unable to do in July – play football. Surely there has to be some form of questioning over that and how we ended up there? Could we have played the league campaign out to a finish rather than relegate people on percentage points or on the basis of final games they lost rather than another few games that could have provided their security?

But then we could have avoided the controversy of relegation and applied fairness had we just taken the offer of reconstruction, but no, we had to do it the awkward way.

I am actually glad that we did not play the league out to an end but the reason has nothing to do with football. It is a bigger thing than football – it is survival. It is important that we are in the middle of doing the right thing because it is the right thing to do. It also means we should do the right thing at the right time. Getting football back onto pitches is at the right time. Before hand it might have felt like the right thing to do but it would have been at the wrong time – a very wrong time…

I have not lost anyone to COVID-19 but a few people that I know have come close. I do not know the feeling of losing a young relative, a son, daughter, nephew or niece but I have seen its burden. I have stood at gravesides as former pupils and youth theatre members are laid to rest – it is far too young and far too tragic. I want football back but I want it back at a safe time with safe practices meaning I shall not only to live to see my team play again but be safe in the knowledge that I shall live after seeing them too.

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