Date: 11th January 2021
The latest blog from SFSA writer Donald Stewart:
Thursday afternoon at the Hampden and there are chaotic scenes…
A youth coach is due to attend a disciplinary panel for his post-match comments
Picture the scene…
In the big room, which is down the corridor from the wee waiting room, are four big chairs, four people, opposite two wee chairs. In the big chairs are a lawyer, a youth justice worker, a former coach of a wee team and the Prosecution.
The prosecution is a former lawyer who has cut their teeth on substantial Sherriff and High Court matters and is now assisting the SFA in all things stick. They were told they were coming in to be at least contributing to both the carrot and the stick but since arriving they have not seen any carrots in the building.
Mr. Mourinho, youth coach to the Pumpherston Not So Athletic under 13s has been saying things.
The SFA do not like people saying things.
The fact that these things are things that are negative towards them has made them doubly no happy.
The SFA are often no happy.
When they are no happy, they get people to attend an independent panel and say why they are no happy. At the end of this no happy process, the people who are called, the guilty ones, get a stick or a punishment for making the SFA no happy.
The person who makes them come and see the independent is the Prosecution.
Today they don’t have their big stick with them. They don’t often need to bring it with them.
The door opens and the aforementioned youth coach, Mr. Mourinho enters.
The prosecution note that they are alone. “What dae they think they are, special?” thinks the Prosecution.
The chair of the panel, former coach of a wee team, and secondhand car salesman from Pitlochry indicates a chair and invites Mr. Mourinho to sit.
It is a wee chair. Mr. Mourinho objects.
“But that is chair for primary school,” he says.
The chair is ready for this.
“Mr. Mourinho, if ye are gonnae object tae every decision we are making and be aw thon argumentative way we are aw gonnae waste wur time being here and ah’m no gonnae be aw thon way where ah’m thinking yer a guid guy sae sit, please.”
The chair, using the vernacular of the street as he was told he should, in the online SFA Guide to Making Folk Guilty training course for independent panel members, feels quite good that he has mastered the art of speaking the lingo of the average coach.
Everyone else thinks he’s a tube.
Mr. Mourinho sighs. He knows what is coming.
The Prosecution reads out the charges.
“Mr. Mourinho, you have been asked to attend today because of your comments after an under 13 match was called off. You were overheard by the assistant referee suggesting that this was due to the incompetency of the organizers, to wit, this Scottish Football Association. How do you plead?”
Mr. Mourinho looks perplexed. “Plead? Is this court?”
Knowing that Mr. Mourinho was of the foreign persuasion, the chair takes a lead. After all he once sold a Lada to a Lithuanian. He has the necessary background in dealing with those of “an alternate persuasion.”
“Right, Mr. Mourinho. Over there.” He points to somewhere outside the room. Mr. Mourinho looks behind him. “You might get away wi saying yon thingmies in yer private time.” Mr. Mourinho looks back at the chair, none the wiser. “But over here.” The chair taps the table vigorously. “We dinnae pit up wi thon nonsense. Got me?”
Mr. Mourinho didn’t but nodded, in the belief that this was beyond him already.
The chair then turns to the Prosecution and asks, “We have the evidence from the assistant referee?”
The Prosecution nods and says, “We got a statement off them and they are a lawyer in a big office so they wouldn’t lie so we just accept it as fact.”
“And they are a referee.” Agrees the Chair.
The rest of the panel nod.
“Right son.” It is the turn of the lawyer to speak.
“As I understand it, the game was quite rightly called off before kick-off. This was due to there no being a referee and the other team no turning up. They had folk that were sick. You said it was “unprofessional”, is that right, son?”
Mr. Mourinho responds, “It was. I had players there and ready to…”
“Guilty then.” The chair notes this in his notebook. Prosecution nods. The panel agree though the Youth Justice Worker starts to become unsettled.
The lawyer continues. “So, the issue we have then is that it was a Sunday, and it was raining.” Mr. Mourinho looks confused. “You seemed to suggest we were responsible for that.”
“Sure, I said, that…”
“Guilty again.” The chair notes this in his notebook. Prosecution nods. The panel agree though the Youth Justice Worker is really becoming unsettled.
The lawyer brings matter to a close with. “And to cap it all, Mr. Mourinho, and I have to say the worst one of all, you compared this organization to the English FA!”
“Well, I did say, that…”
“Guilty once again.” The chair notes this in his notebook. Prosecution nods. The panel agree and the Youth Justice Worker finally speaks. “Chair, I must object…”
“Noted, two votes to one. Mr. Mourinho, have a seat outside whilst we decide your fate.”
Mr. Mourinho, unsure of what has just happened gets up and walks out of the room. As the door closes, the chair sums it all up.
“So, can we have some of that nice coffee? Here’s the deal. We sit here for another fifteen minutes, get him in, ban him for two games, warn him over future conduct and all is well that ends well?”
The Prosecution is up at the Nespresso machine whilst the Youth Justice Worker looks round the room. It may just be a voluntary thing, but she knows she shall never come back to this. It feels too much like the unbalanced way authority deals with the vulnerable young people she meets in their employ.
Outside the room, Mr. Mourinho is on the phone arranging his new appointment that is not in Scotland.
By the end of the day, Hampden notes, plus ca change… as Chief Justice Del Boy might say…
Whilst the author asserts his right to this as an original tale, there is no evidence that the SFA have a Nespresso machine, this is therefore not true, though a certain Mr. Mourinho did criticise the English FA over their handling of a match postponement and his complaints are used within this.
During the holidays a match between Tottenham Hotspur and Fulham was called off with 3 hours to go before kick-off. Spurs manager called it incompetence and likened it to when he was an under 13 and under 15 coach at Porto. There are some people who think such incompetence would never happen here; visiting hour is between 2pm and 3pm Monday to Friday should you wish to consult them.
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