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Our Donald – Now is not the time to moan … is it?

Date: 9th September 2023

In this weeks first blog from our resident writer Donald Stewart:

Now is not the time to moan … is it? 

So, we are just a stone throws away from getting to the second Euro qualification in a row. And people think we might be dreaming. It certainly feels that way. 11 games won on the spin, top of a qualifying group after 5 games and unbeaten. A 2-0 demolition of former world champions under our belt.  

What’s not to like? 

Viaplay. 

That’s who… 

Now fair play, I was able to watch the highlights but a few hours after on the BBC and YouTube. I was able to listen to the commentary and often I much prefer the audio as it means the commentators describe the action rather than witter on an agenda that bores me. But this is a national event for the biggest mass participation sport in the country and whilst John McGinn can talk about the wee boy inside of him getting excited, we are letting down every wee boy and every wee girl in the country who wants to share in that excitement. 

The Viaplay deal is, and always was, a rank royal bad yin. We do not need Bud Neil to draw that out for us.  

Months ago, the Scottish Football Supporters Association – aye us – called for this to be sorted and the shambles of Viaplay – who had ditched the international games after the UEFA contract – binned. This needed resolving then and it needs it done more so now. We need to see Scotland games on cooncil TV. 

You can go on and on about the BBC, its bias and failings BUT it is one of the channels people have unfettered access to – as long as they pay their license fee… 

The BBC are also served by a number of pundits who attend live games, put on matchday programmes and, as a public service broadcaster should be out and about and delivering for the people they are supposed to serve – not shareholders and the like, like Setanta/ Premier Sports/ Viaplay…  

I would even take STV hosting it – or Channel Five. Remember how Channel Five bought the rights to the European Cup Winners Cup one year and Chelsea made their surge in the competition and their punt put them front and centre of sports broadcasting in a single swoop?  

What I am fed up with and I am sure that every fitba fan in the country is, is juggling the Sky package, trying to work out why BT Sport is now called TNT Sport, await DAZN buying up more football, hope that Amazon Prime do not take up any more sports packages and retreat into Netflix when it all gets too bloody much! 

Scotland have a new breed of world beaters. We are getting used to McTominay, McGinn, Robertson and Tierney looking like they may finally replace Souness, Dalgliesh, Miller and McLeish in our affections. And there are no more happy people about that than Souness, Dalgliesh, Miller and McLeish. 

But the wee people, the ankle biters and former rug rats, the kids who want to have a kick about, get out into the street and recreate that goal against Cyprus, the celebration against Spain, hope we can deal a bloody nose to the English in what is laughingly called a friendly are being cheated… The grown-ups, the adults, the ones in charge are denying them that opportunity. Why? Because they have done a deal with a broadcaster that cannot fulfil its promises.  

And yes, we have been here before and seen what happens when the proverbial hits a very real fan – it is the fans who lose out.  

Time is ticking.  

We need a wall of resistance to the awarding of any contract that gives us a pay wall in response. This game is more than one person who can pick the ball up, a solid defence, a marauding midfield and lethal strike force. It is something which we argue over, debate with our friends, argue about when arguing is futile, hope for when all hope is gone and celebrate like the world has delivered the best Christmas present in September. It’s a DNA thing. It’s a sharing platter. It is NOT something for the elite and it certainly should never be put somewhere where the ordinary working class family cannot access it. For the development of the game, we need that excitement spread as widely as possible. There will be increased attendances this weekend because someone somewhere has said, that was brilliant, right I am off to see my wee team this weekend. Or not. Because so many will not have experienced 90 minutes of golden joy so will not want or be able to spread it. 

SFA – sort it.  


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