Zeroes, Heroes, Villains

Date: 30th November 2020

The latest blog from SFSA writer Donald Stewart:

Zeroes to heroes … well at least victims…


Forget the serum that shall be made available to us all to stop us from getting the disease. The illness may be a physical manifestation to be dealt a fatal blow through a vaccine but the effects go way beyond a visit to any hospital.

Consider being an Aberdeen fan…

It was not so long ago that we were castigating the eight who dared to eschew the rules and expose people at their club to the illness.

And yet a few days or weeks ago, they were making headlines because the SFA – you know the bunch who were head castigators against the Dandy Dons, who were giving it large and tight to the upstarts of the North, and declaring that despite a yellow card form the First Minister they couldnae be touched – were admitting responsibility for exposing the players on international duty. They were grassing themselves in or embarrassed by being caught out by their own inability to … ahem … follow the rules.

In characteristic understatements, Aberdeen boss hailed the SFA apology for getting Lewis Ferguson and Connor McLennan quarantined, whilst Ross McCrorie was infected a “step in the right direction.”

Ian Maxwell’s apology is to be followed by a thorough review.

Three players from the under 21s had given positive tests, with a further eight being made to self-isolate, after their games against Croatia and Greece.

The SFA have found themselves being caught in a part of the story that does not bode well for how we are doing in the fight against the virus. With Falkirk, Clyde and Albion Rovers also suffering the problems associated with a global pandemic ripping through our society, we are asking for fans to be back in stadia whilst the clubs are struggling to keep the darn thing at bay. As for the Aberdeen fans, they have had to watch weakened squads and trips over themselves as they try at the very least to qualify for Europe on a playing filed that seems as tipped in one direction as the Easter Road playing surface.

So, what is the solution and how shall we stop getting further yellow cards as they stack up in the crime count statistics that may be used in evidence against us?

If we accept that clubs in the lower leagues like Clyde and the wee Rovers have players who need to supplement their earning through alternate employment, thus increasing significantly the risk of contracting the thing, should we not target resources there to aid the clubs and stop the headlines?

Of course I am aware that a wee club from Coatbridge being unable to fulfill fixtures is a world away from a privileged footballer hoping on a plane to Spain for the weekend but there is something in how we are approaching this which seems out of sorts. The premiership clubs don’t all have the funds to make the tests happen but if they don’t then the lower leagues clubs are further behind in the COVID testing sporting queue.

I have written before that I think that there is a lack of considered leadership in what needs to happen in the response to COVID-19. Some see a degree of change. This is an unusual set of circumstances, truly unique and we are beginning to understand more about the disease and how we need to respond to it. That means we should know that what is tried now should be based on improvements to what we tried then. I live in hope. Derek McInnes was more positive than I would be. He was reported to have said, “I think it was important that message was there. I think we were all encouraged, the chief executive comes out, issues an apology, recognises things could have been done better and they would look at improving it all. I think that is all we can ask for.”

But I am greedy. I think we should be demanding much, much more and for the lower league clubs this is much more than a lifeline for the future. It is about investing in something which in a community is vital to its survival and the community’s pride. C’mon fitba, take the chance to show the world you can…

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