Date: 16th April 2020
The following article was sent into us by a member, detailing their take on recent events at the SPFL:
A fanciful day in a fancy full sport…
Votes. You would think, in recent years, after three General Elections, two referenda and Scottish Parliament elections, and countless rounds of arguments over each that we would have been able, in Scotland to organise a vote or two.
Well not if you are involved in Scottish football.
Picture the scene.
Neil and Rod are at their jointly owned and lived in home – a bit like Morecambe and Wise but without the humour. Neil is the workie, Rod the self-made man at the top. In a contemplative moment, Neil says “I have an idea Rod.”
Given the influence of Key Workers and how we now see them as “Good People” who were “UN DER VAL UED” whilst Rod thought it was a phrase from his German Standard Grade exam – he is getting on a bit – he is aware that Neil, who is the closest in the house to a Good People, should be listened to.
Noting that he has Rod’s full attention and that he needs to act quickly to retain it, Rod suggests, “let’s have a vote.” It being Scotland and Neil not being Scottish, there was no cute wee colloquialism like “ye ken” to drive home the point. Rod though, him being Scottish and a wee bit servile to his Anglo partner remarks, “Ye ken that would be a good idea.” Rod is keen, “not to let the side down”.
They stand for a time. Neil scheming, Rod pondering until Rod manages to rouse himself enough muster to ask, “About whit? Neil? About whit is it we shall have “the vote”?”
Neil, well prepared for this question, ne’er misses a beat. “Ending the league season, Rod.”
Rod raises an eyebrow meant to be as withering as the objections he knows shall come from “certain quarters”.
“Ah,” says Neil knowing that he and Rod have often clashed over “sporting integrity” for finishing the league season would mean having to take on the might of Rangers, Hearts, Partick Thistle, Stranraer, Falkirk, Brechin City et al – the very van guards of “certain quarters” who at times hold “sporting integrity” dear – often in times of their greatest peril.
“Very simple,” says Neil. “You know how we pay them?” Rod nods. “You know how money is determined by what position in the leagues they hold?” Rod nods. “You know how there are clubs strapped for cash and struggling to survive?” Rod nods. “Then if we can put a stop to the league season, we can stop the stop on paying out.” Rod squints. “The clubs can get their cash.” Rod squeals. It is a good squeal; it is followed by a smile of the righteous for he has found that Neil has proven more than the worth of being “UN DER VAL UED.”
Rod nods away until. He spots the “fatal flaw.”
He turns but once again Neil has the answer.
“Ah,” says Neil, knowing that they managed to put into the league constitution some nonsense about a percentage of those able to vote to avoid making clear cut and “painful decisions.” Now we have “The Great Lockdown” Rod knows that he can’t get everyone round a table to meet and throw their hands in the air, well Neil don’t care – he has a solution.
“Very simple,” says Neil. Rod is struck by how very simple everything appears to be – it’s a dramatic irony. “You know how we made the rules up?” Rod nods. “You know how the percentage we need does not make sense underneath the top league?” Rod squints. “There are four leagues, there is the top league, the Premiership and “everything underneath the top leagues?” Rod nods. “You know how we made it so the ones being saved or kept in the league that they are in can vote together and win the vote?” Rod nods. “You know how long before in the dark days, in BD (Before Doncaster – a time he rose from the ashes of others to become Supreme) in the Premiership this was a bad idea?” Rod nods. “It’s a good idea now because I know we can count on 15 in Leagues 1 and 2, 10 in the Premier League. The only problem is in the Championship.” Rod squeals again. It is not quite a good a squeal as before. Then Rod smiled. It was not as broad or as smug as before as it recognised a problem. Rod has found that Neil may not be proving the equal of all of the great UN DER VAL UED.
Rod is now wondering about the “obstacle in their path”.
“Ah,” says Neil, knowing that just one vote could scupper the whole idea, just one vote could bring down their resolution, just one vote could mean that “The Great Plan” from the UN DER VAL UED might not make it and they could be foiled.
“Very simple,” says Neil. Rod is comforted by the simplicity of it all – he wonders as to whether it is a pathetic fallacy or just half true. “You know how most of our clubs struggle with technology?” Rod nods. “You know how most of our football clubs have volunteers running them?” Rod nods. “You know how they have websites, wee boys running them and less computer savvy folk sending and receiving emails.” Rod nods. “You know how our systems instead of being 21stCentury still ask for real copies by post and through fax machines?” Rod squints. “The big machine that used to sit in my office that made noises al day?” Rod squints more. “Not the one that made coffee, the other one.” Rod nods. “We ask for a vote that should be done by 5pm one Friday. We count up the votes as they come in. when we know we have the vote in the bag for leagues 1 and 2 and the Premiership, then we lose the others.” Rod looks shocked. “OK, OK, not them all – maybe just one. We announce they are the club that is holding things up and the we start working on them.”
Rod nods. Of course nobody would think they would be “at the pockle.” After all since “The Great Debate” of 2013 about “Sporting Integrity” their integrity has been a “Good Thing.”
It is then that Rod exclaims! “But Neil, what about the fans?”
“Rod,” Neil replies with a sardonic sigh and a wicked grin. “You’re a fan, I’m a fan, all we need are 8 fans in the Championship and we’ll be home and dry. We don’t need to bother about the rest”
Rod smiles. It is a good smile, a smile of the righteous for he has found that Neil has proven more than the worth of being “UN DER VAL UED.” After all. What could possibly go wrong.
The author, whilst agreeing that this is his work and naebody else’s would like to point out that any relationship or relevance to anyone living or dead is entirely deliberate. However, he asserts, on good authority, that neither Neil (Doncaster) nor Rod (McKenzie) live together and this conversation must be entirely fictional.
He also would like to lay claim to all the clichés being original but that may be one farce too far.
It should be noted that there was a “vote”. Leagues 1 and 2, and the Premiership voted to end the league season whilst only 7 allegedly cast votes in the Championship with 2 voting against ending the season. One club – Dundee – have claimed to have emailed their vote against but the SPFL have claimed it has not arrived.
With abject clarity a Friday deadline which was a deadline has tuned out constitutionally to be advisory and Dundee have 28 days to submit their vote. Strangely, they have asked the SPFL to disregard any previous vote made that has never arrived, apparently but was sent, allegedly. The abject misery is set to continue.
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