By Jim Thornton:
Too Little, Too Late?
Both the Daily Record and the Scottish Sun ‘exclusively’ revealed on Tuesday that Ibrox chief Charles Green was in last-minute secret talks with SPL chairmen ahead of the Hampden meeting to decide on New Rangers’ application to join the top league. As we now know, the SPL clubs all but unanimously rejected Green’s proposed package of concessions on voting rights, distribution of funds, etc., and opted not to admit the new club.
Rangers’ belligerent attitude from the outset no doubt coloured clubs’ attitudes. Super Ally’s diatribe about the members of the SFA Judicial Panel did him and Rangers no favours, and Sandy Jardine’s repeated threats of retribution tarnished his previously unblemished reputation as one of the game’s good guys. At least Rab C Brown’s Braveheart speech on the steps of Ibrox brought a moment of light relief.
Had Green the benefit of hindsight, he might have had more joy if he had put his offer to the clubs earlier and in a more conciliatory fashion. If only he had read The Away End on 15 March when we suggested Rangers do just that.
Steven Naismith wasn't convinced by Charles Green
SFA supremo Stewart Regan and Scaremonger General Jim Traynor are predicting financial meltdown if SFL clubs don’t give New Rangers a complimentary ticket straight into the First Division.
According to Sunny Jim and his pals in the Daily Record on Tuesday, three SPL clubs were at risk of going bust - or five if you read on a bit. By Wednesday, the number had risen to six - or eight depending on which part of the paper you were looking at. On Thursday, it had gone up to ten clubs across the SPL and SFL. A word to the wise, Jim – stick at ten or folk will think you’re just making things up.
We’ve all had a good gloat at Rangers’ plight. But let’s be honest and admit that if someone had offered the SFL a package of play-offs, a fairer voting structure, and a more equitable split of monies at the start of the season, then we’d have been lauding him as the saviour of the Scottish game. So, arise Sir Stewart, your time has come.
Regan and his pal Big Neilly actually had the right idea; they just went about it in entirely the wrong way. Dastardly and Muttley seriously misjudged and underestimated the mood of clubs and fans, and thought they could steamroller through their proposals as a fait accompli. Well, they know better now.
However, I’m prepared to give Regan the benefit of the doubt here, and think he genuinely believes that the Scottish game needs radically restructured (as most of us do). Knowing that he faced a long and uphill struggle to persuade SPL clubs, he saw the Rangers debacle as an opportunity to get the necessary changes in by the back door, and didn’t come up with them simply as a hastily-contrived mechanism to protect Newco.
In an attempt to play down the immediacy of the financial meltdown facing clubs, Regan says that the TV companies would be prepared to play ball for a year. So why not use that time to top and tail the plan of attack and come up with a rounded strategy that everyone will be happy to sign up to? Consensus rather than coercion. You know it makes sense.
The jury’s unanimous, however, when it comes to Neil Doncaster. As Mrs Merton would say, ‘Why does nobody like the smug, English lawyer?’
Burley in Blunderland
Craig Burley says in his Sunday Mail column that the chairmen of our SFL clubs should have the balls to ignore their fans and say ‘yes’ to New Rangers getting a free pass into the First Division.
One of the examples he cites as a plus point is that if a player from Partick or Cowdenbeath plays well against Rangers he could become worth £100,000 to his club. There are two obvious flaws in Burley’s logic, of course. Firstly, why does a player only become worth £100,000 if he turns it on in one game against Rangers rather than over the course of a whole season? And, secondly, even if we accept Burley’s argument, what’s to stop a Third Division player from, say, Clyde or Stranraer similarly doing the business against the Gers? (And won’t Stair Park be so convenient for the travelling Stena Loyal?)
But Craig really puts his foot in it when he holds up former Falkirk striker Farid El Alagui as an example of the kind of player he’s talking about. Yes, the same El Alagui who’s just left the Bairns for Brentford on freedom of contract. And how much did Falkirk get for him? Well, rearrange the words ‘haw’ and ‘hee’ to form a well-known phrase or saying.
And in his article, Burley also questions the intelligence of some chairmen. Glass houses? Stones?
If Carlsberg Did Rejects …
The Beeb’s Guy Mowbray was quick to point out during the course of England’s Euro 2012 game against Italy that Alessandro Diamanti was a West Ham ‘reject’. Given the outcome (Diamanti scored Italy’s winning penalty), Mowbray’s comment says more about West Ham and English football than it does about the Italian midfielder.
Try Switching It Off Then Back On Again
According to the latest FIFA rankings, England are the fourth-best team in the world, ahead of Italy, Portugal, Holland, and even Brazil and Argentina. Only Spain, Germany, and Uruguay are apparently better than the Three Lions.
If I worked at FIFA, I’d be on the phone to the call centre in Bangalore to tell them my computer’s on the blink again.
Where the Nuts Come From
So, Clarence Clyde Seedorf has turned his back on the Bully Wee and signed for some mob in Brazil. Do you think the shop at Broadwood will be able to take ‘Seedorf’ off the back of my new top, and replace it with ‘Judas’ instead?