Who else can be selfless?

Date: 14th December 2020

The latest blog from SFSA writer Donald Stewart:

My initial interview to become a KickTalk presenter/pundit, back in the day, was quite simple. Chris wanted a Morton guy. I was not a Morton guy. He needed a Morton guy. I was an Ayr guy. He had an Ayr guy.

I became the second Ayr guy.

Then I started to head up to Greenock.

Having been an Ayr fan all my life I had always wondered what it would be like watching another team. It was a fascinating feeling. My fortnightly trips up the west coast to tell the guy on the gate I was press so I didn’t have to pay for the car park, the guy at the turnstiles with his list and individual tickets in individual envelopes was quite old school so I didn’t have to pay the entrance fee and then standing outside the tunnel for Allan Moore to come out and swear at us became a Saturday treat, before haring it down to Ayr to send in the audio files.

Over time I became very fond of Greenock Morton.

There were colourful incidents like when me and my partner were challenged for getting in the crowd early, ostensibly it appeared cos she was a burd and nae burds could be press… Then there was the old guy who was upset when I sat in his seat. Or the day that Warren Hawke reported on his son scoring his first goal for Morton. There were trips to the catering down the stair and hot food for the cold days near the bitter Clyde; all part of the experience that made it positive and enriching.

Not bad for a ground where my own team had faltered and been relegated in our Centenary year…

The people in and around the club, like almost every other club I have visited, had that mixture of friendliness and efficiency that came with the legal responsibility of looking after crowds.

The pandemic has clearly cost this great club in the way that it has cost others and despite the word Millions frequently displayed on the front of the jerseys, there is little by way of that amount of cash that the Raes, who have held the chair at the top of the board for many years have to spend in keeping the club afloat and punching well above its own weight.

But the loss of any job during this time is not good.,

Gary Holt fell on his sword at Livingston and people speculated if he was being lined up for something else. The news this week of another managerial casualty, who has a distinct link with Livingston came out of the blue, I am sure, for supporters but looking back is hardly surprising.

The Cappielow Board have reluctantly accepted the resignation of David Hopkirk as manager to allow the club to save money.

Now I have no idea what Hopkin’s bank balance looks like. He may be sat, sitting on an ancestral style pile in rural Renfrewshire, and the club had time to turn their fortunes around as they sit 7thin the table. It’s not been a stellar start to the season but if reports are to be believed then his departure is one that is for all the right reasons.

I hardly think that Hopkins’ record as Morton boss compares to his at Livingston, but supporters should thank him at the very least for doing the decent thing. There are fans throughout Scottish football at other clubs hoping their man might take the hint too and find the sword in the cupboard upon which to fall. We are but fickle people, fans.

I have never called for someone to lose their job as a football manager, but this is one departure that fills me even more with both admiration and sadness than usual.

Out of it all what has also been heartening is that this “selfless act to help safeguard the playing squad” was done to help fitba. My problem is, after similar events at Dundee, Airdrie and others, who may be next and a loss to the game?


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