The Covid Hokey – Cokey

Date: 21st September 2020

The latest blog from SFSA writer Donald Stewart:

From the side lines or the sofa, we are a tad confused. Even with Neil Doncaster issuing some new instructions it is all a little fuddled.

It’s understandable as we are trying to get our head round second waves, local lockdowns and the new app but the fight against COVID continues to bamboozle.

There are those who think it is aw the fault o the young team, having raves and house parties. (When did house parties become a dangerous thing – they used to be daft Saturday night events fronted by a man with a dodgy beard, who was partnered by a big blancmange star called Mr Blobby, now they are life threatening…)

At Paisley, we have had false positives, losses of three keepers and Jim Goodwin bemoaning the lack of any leadership or explanation about why he was forced into playing against the champions when he was so restricted in his squad.

We now have Hamilton Accies posting COVID test results with four players self-isolating. This is despite a second test that was negative, they are still self-isolating for 10 days. In a crossover with St Mirren part of the issue was one Accies player was the housemate of a Paisley Buddy.

Into the breach came Neil Lennon saying, quite rightly, that if the Premiership clubs are all doing testing then being part of a League Cup campaign where other clubs don’t have to, down the lower leagues, is not the way to go about things. Lennon quite clearly is right about the unfairness of his club risking their assets to the possibility of a deadly virus because some clubs might not be able to afford the correct safety measures.

There is, however, a common theme. And that theme has been a vacuum.

Way back when the cases of the Aberdeen eight and the Boli Bolingoli nipping off to Spain, people, including me, asked why it was that punishments, forced on football by the Scottish Government, were not already considered, alerted to the clubs and in place?

The answer, there was none, until the statement from the SPFL on Friday the 18thSeptember.

Of course in the interim, we did get someone from the Joint Task Force, that would be Darryl Broadfoot, on Sportsound telling us that the Scottish Government could not stop Scottish football, only Scottish football could do that, as they discussed the entire opposite, when Scottish football were given a yellow card from the First Minister.

Do we need that vacuum properly filled?

Should there not be a leader rising to fill the void?

Should there not be an organisation, perhaps one that is membership based making the stand, taking the lead, giving guidance, or doing the job that according to the fitba authorities can only be done by them and doing so before someone calls for it?

Can we find someone who is ahead of the curve?

Both the SFA and SPFL have, of course, not been asked to comment for this article, though I have viewed the statement and plans for the cup competitions. It seems to suggest that all footballers are not equal. That the SPFL and SFA seem to believe that if you ply your trade in a lower league, you are OK to get infected, be infected and infect others. Given that this is a virus that knows no difference between a millionaire and a pauper, perhaps someone in SPFL can tell us why the value of someone playing for Stirling Albion is worth less than someone who plays for Hibernian. But Darryl Broadfoot told us why – money. The economic imperative that is behind our game. People will pay to watch two Premiership clubs and not the lower leagues. Bow down to mammon, we cry or is there someone out there able to lead us out of such a quagmire?

The time for such leadership passed that sell by date some time ago.

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