Date: 13th May 2022
The latest weekly blog provided to you by our Donald Stewart.
It has been some season and as I write this, it has not finished.
Cowdenbeath face their latest attempt to stay in the SPFL against Bonyrigg Rose, Fort William, having been the focus of a BBC documentary have now dropped out of the Highland League because they could not fulfill a playoff fixture, Rangers have made it to a European Cup Final and may be on their way to a cup double, Celtic look, just now, to have sealed their double, a Ukrainian on loan from St. Johnstone sealed one league title whilst the rise and rise of Cove Rangers continues into the Championship, Rangers look likely to take the title from Glasgow City in a change of fortune that shows the strength of the women’s game is building, and Arbroath and Dick Campbell have had more superlatives chucked at them than a Marvel super hero.
It has been quite the season.
As we take to message boards and internet discussion sites to thrash out if our own wee club needs an attacking midfielder more than a defensive pairing at the heart of the back four or a proven goal scorer that would complement the young boys coming through the ranks, the cliches shall be chucked like confetti and Scottish fitba shall roll on.
We have a game against Ukraine to look forward to as a nation and the hope, if we get past that we can take down Wales and get to another major championship.
Imagine that word, in that context, a few years back.
Scottish football at every level has so much to offer and the thrills, spills and drama are not confined to Maryhill.
But, as we listen to who might be players, managers or sporting heroes of the year, let us not forget that we have issues at the centre of our game which could do with some form of attention. During the year we also had the issues of governance once more come to the fore. We have not resolved that.
As we luxuriate in the comfort of our armchairs or seek that long forgotten passport and map to find out how long it might take to walk to Seville, let us not forget we also have a David Goodwillie, not playing and a pariah in the game who might not be able to enter Broadwood who reminds us that there are issues with which we need to deal. We have dealt with that too well.
Who owns football is less of an issue in Scotland as Chelsea gets fought over by billionaires, but we still have less fan engagement than is needed. The ability for this boys’ club at Hampden to bring out the frequent broom, sweep aside criticism whilst laying claim to success is not down to their leadership, but the continued support of the massive army of fans who turn up weekly in a mass spectator and participation event that requires respect and not being taken for granted.
Of course, I fully understand that not all fans can be positive role models. Neither can all players or coaches or managers. There shall somewhere already be the worry that the European stage shall be taken one step further by the fans who went to Wembley in the Euros rather than the ones who went to Manchester years ago. Someone somewhere shall raise a worry. But for every Crawley Town manager there are plenty others who are not governed by that example. Fans are no different.
Supporters often have their noses up against the window hoping to be heard. That should not only happen when things have come crashing down and people are forced to contemplate change. It should be when things have gone well enough for us to take a breather and consider what is likely to work best for the game. It takes the courage of someone who believes in Arbroath, the determination of someone who thinks that European finals are not beyond them when their season started badly and the belief of a legion of people who can find Ukraine and Wales on a map but cannot see them at a World Cup Finals.
Supporters have that in abundance.
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