Fergus McCann v David Murray

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How Celtic Turned the Tables on their Glasgow Rivals by Stephen O Donnell:
A Review by Auldheid.

Stephen’s previous publication, Tangled Up In Blue provided a detailed history of the rise and fall of Glasgow Rangers FC PLC from 1872 until their demise in 2012. Clearly a lot of research had been done to cover the period in such detail and his follow up publication Fergus McCann v David Murray etc carries on with that tradition. It is a smorgasbord of a book with many different issues succulently served up in its 350 pages.

It tells of events under David Murray’s tenure at Ibrox which began in November 1988 and ended in May 2011 when he left Craig Whyte holding the rope that became a noose just under a year later in April 2012 when Whyte was found guilty of bringing Scottish football into disrepute whilst Murray claimed he was duped.

Readers of the book will come to the conclusion that if anyone did the duping it was David Murray and it wasn’t just Craig Whyte he duped but Scotland’s national game. If ever Murray were to be tried for crimes against Scottish football then this book would be cited as evidence.

It was against the background of David Murray’s tenure at Rangers that Fergus McCann first arrived on the scene in April 1989 with proposals to inject £17M of New Capital into Celtic that the Celtic Board rejected as per minutes:

Proposals put forward by Fergus McCann to provide finance for various capital expenditures were unanimously rejected by the Directors’; and then again in August of the same year: ‘Mr McCann’s latest proposals were discussed and it was hoped that this was a final discussion on the subject. Latest proposals were rejected by Directors.
Fergus later returned to the fray and the chapter on how he was successful in ousting the Board in 1994 is an informative read, particularly if in that period single parenting cares took precedence over caring for Celtic.

I was amused reading the tale of discontent aimed at the old Board after a Ne’erday 4-2 defeat to Rangers in January 1994 when a bemused Walter Smith was watching the hostility aimed at the Celtic Directors box, one fan in the main stand screamed at him, ‘What are you looking at, it’s got fuck all to do with you.”

For me anyway there were a few “not a lot of people know that” moments like that in the book.
The contrast between Fergus McCann’s and David Murray’s style was immediately evident, but the impact of Fergus’s shorter tenure from 1994 to 1999 became more than evident after McCann left and the author does not miss the role servile journalists played and hit the wall for turning Celtic supporters against McCann during his tenure, whilst they dined on Murray’s succulent lamb. A role that in the end helped bring about Rangers end, but not the culture of servility when covering the activity of Rangers FC PLC successor club from 2012.

Sky TV get it in the neck too and if David Murray played the part of Colonel Mustard in killing Scottish football through his financial recklessness and duplicity, Sky are the lead pipe whose toxicity still dictates the nature of the current state of play.( I said it was a Smorgasbord)

Fergus kind of did what it said on the tin. In his case a tin of nippy sweeties, but it was interesting to read about his early years when even then he was described as “a cheeky upstart” but his “idiosyncrasies” and appearance under a bunnet, disguised a sharp if impatient business mind where for him getting straight to the point was akin to procrastination.

So too has Murray’s early years been covered including his rejected attempt to buy Ayr Utd, a rejection by Ayr Directors, who considered Murray was too hot headed and most volatile, that infuriated him.

Their conclusion that he was trying to get Ayr United on the cheap with only £125k of his own money involved was an indicator of his strategy of using other people’s money to invest and not his own. Other people including unsuspecting taxpayers to a tune of £50 million or so.

As you follow the narrative of both Fergus McCann and David Murray and the events that surrounded them, you end up wondering how so many could have been fooled for so long by one guy, but when you have the Scottish media in your pocket it was difficult to separate fact from fiction during the tenure of both. You also wonder how Murray remains a Knight of the Realm since.

Luckily for Celtic Fergus knew business fact from PR fiction and avoided the illusion in which Celtic’s main rivals continue to struggle to this day.

The great pity is that few, if any of the Scottish main stream media will even give this book a mention, because if you don’t write about it, it never happened, except it did and this book is proof.

I therefore recommend anyone interested in the future of our game buys it and asks, is it not now time to revisit the purpose of Scottish football?

Auldheid

1062 COMMENTS

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  1. John Clark 25th July 2020 at 22:46

    “..’The clubs however have voted.

    They said NO!’

    They were not willing to give the SPFL board this power.

    Was this a vote of no confidence?

    Many have said that to me.

    So yes, it probably is sort of and informally.”

    ================================================

    So, did they get a vote proving the member clubs had confidence in them when their resolution to finish the league was passed, with something like 80% of the clubs agreeing to it. That must be the case using the same logic. 

    Of course not, people were voting on one thing. They supported that resolution. 

    Did the member clubs have a vote of no confidence at their AGM under a week ago, not that I have heard. That would have been the time to do it. Was it even put forward as a proposal. 

    How many of the permanent members of the board have been sacked because the clubs don’t think they are doing their job properly. I haven’t heard of any.

    The members failed to support a resolution, they are perfectly entitled to. It’s as simple as that. 

  2. Nothing in the DR today either from Keef about his “EXCLUSIVE”.

    There is a reference to testing in the readers’ phone-in,  “Hotline” section, with this;

    “…Mick Docherty, Kirkintilloch, said: “Are Rangers ‘a club like no other’? They were allowed to play in Europe – a game which should never have happened at the start of a pandemic.

    Now they are being investigated for the fear the club broke testing protocol for a friendly match against Dundee Utd. Surely they must be sanctioned, the rules are for everyone to adhere to.”
    Besides that, it’s good to see the Hotline returning to normality as we finally start bickering over results on the park…

    ========

    The Scottish Sun has this article today;

    “PATIENCE TESTED

    Several Premiership clubs left seething that costly twice-weekly Covid-19 tests have been ordered by SFA

    EXCLUSIVE

    TOP clubs were on a collision course with the SFA last night as the Covid-19 testing fiasco plumbed new depths.

    SunSport can reveal several Premiership sides are seething that costly twice-weekly tests have been ordered by Hampden…”

    indecision

  3. ‘reasonablechap 26th July 2020 at 09:55

    …Perception is one thing, reality is another and the main point I was making stands…’

    #########################################

    Actually, I think you’re confusing the two.

    The ‘reality’ is:

    The last Board of the SPFL identified a gap in their powers to deal with exceptional events like Covid19. As is common in business (& as a responsible Board should do in these circumstances), they attempted to gain these powers via a resolution. That resolution failed. The likely reason it did so was that the members believed the actions of the (19-20) Board in utilising a Director’s Written Resolution was the correct thing to do in the circumstances, enabling each club to vote for its preferred outcome. (The actual nature of the DWR used is subject to current debate/appeal, of course. )

    Your ‘perception’ is that, in rejecting the resolution, the clubs gave a ‘bloody nose’ to the board:

    My perception is that the clubs actually supported the actions of the (19-20) Board (however imperfect & rushed those actions were) & have indicated that by not giving the Board ‘carte blanche‘, the route offered by individual, as required DWRs is the proper, more cautious way to proceed in similar circumstances. If such a method is required to be used again, then I’d expect a more robust examination of the wording & scope before being put to a vote.

  4. Jingso.Jimsie 26th July 2020 at 11:23

    ———————————————

    My take on the failure of the Board to get the executive powers they sought is indeed a lack of trust in a Board that has majority representation from half a dozen clubs.  That is down to the self interest exhibited in the end of season vote debacle.  

    It is the governance model that is wrong. There should be an executive Board appointed to promote the league for the benefit of all teams without undue influence from individual clubs.  That Board should primarily comprise of skilled professionals with commercial and marketing skills. They should be contracted for fixed periods with renewal dependent on performance. 

  5. easyJambo 26th July 2020 at 12:56

    Jingso.Jimsie 26th July 2020 at 11:23 

              My take on the failure of the Board to get the executive powers they sought is indeed a lack of trust in a Board that has majority representation from half a dozen clubs. That is down to the self interest exhibited in the end of season vote debacle.

      =================================    

          Couldn't agree more Easy. The diversity of the SPFL association is huge, ranging from clubs that can generate or spend 10's of millions on a transaction, to dinner/dances of a few hundred quid. A "one fits all" solution scenario is a practical impossibility to achieve considering the varying hopes and needs and aspirations of all involved. This can occasionally result in conflict and even farce, as each club is affected by change in differing ways.      Often this may be detrimental to individual clubs, while favouring others, but all the while becomes detrimental to the overall direction of the collective. Short term-ism and self interest runs rife and unchecked to the long term benefit of no-one.      As things stand I have my doubts gaining structural change within the current structure would be unachievable, as without doubt, some clubs will be left out of the frame in a restructure.      The main problem being it may say, "Professional" on the tin, but too many biscuits will be discarded by quality control…….That is just business.      If ACME quick fit-fitters had 42 branches in Scotland, with many garages failing, HQ would take the appropriate action. It wouldn't ask the garages what it should do. It would issue KPI's to be met with the edict,  "fail at your own peril".      Football can be run as a business, or a sport/hobby, but they can't both be run from the same office. 

  6. Homunculus 25th July 2020 at 21:04

    Cluster One 25th July 2020 at 20:21

    Surely it ultimately has to be the match referee who is responsible for the game going ahead or not.

    Other people may have the opportunity to stop it before him, for example the officials of the team whose results have not been received. Who should presumably then go to him and declare that they were not clear to play.
    ………………
    If it is the match referee who ultimately has the say if the match should go ahead. If he was doing his job right he would have asked have the players been tested and are the results back.
    If the Ref never asked these questions and the match got the go ahead, the SFA should be punishing the ref.
    If the Ref asked these questions and was given the answer that the ibrox tests were not back yet and he let the game go ahead, the SFA have to punish the ref.
    If the Ref asked these questions and the answers he was given were not the correct answers then the SFA have to punish the club for putting everyones life in danger.
    Just because the results came back negative does not excuse the failings by the Ref or the club.

  7. Cluster One 26th July 2020 at 18:35

    =============================

    I agree.

    I would go further and say everyone involved should be held to account.

    The referee should not have played the game if the tests results had not come back as negative. It should even be open to any form of debate. 

    If he did not ask then the clubs should have gone to him anyway and made the declaration that they did not have the results back and therefore could not play.

    Everyone involved is responsible for getting this right.

    As you say them ultimately coming back as negative is irrelevant in this instance. The game should not have gone ahead without them. 

    This is an enormous story which seems to have gone very quiet. 

  8. Homunculus 26th July 2020 at 18:47
    This is an enormous story which seems to have gone very quiet.
    …………..
    I noticed that.

  9. Cluster One 26th July 2020 at 18:59

    We will just have to see what action the SFA choose to take.

    Presumably both they and the SPFL will wish to demonstrate to the Scottish Government that they are serious about this issue and that they and the clubs can be trusted to follow the Scottish Governments instructions.

    If they fail to do that there must be a prospect that the Government will simply ban them from allowing games to be played.

    It strikes me as madness, particularly when a private individual put up millions of pounds to assist the game deal with the Covid crisis. Though I believe a few of the clubs chose to pass that money on to charity instead. 

  10. Homunculus 26th July 2020 at 21:25
    We will just have to see what action the SFA choose to take.
    …………..
    Still waiting on them taking action on the ibrox club for bringing the game into disrepute,with their dossier saga and Stewart Robertsons Gross breaches of confidentiality.

  11. Homunculus 26th July 2020 at 21:25

    Cluster One 26th July 2020 at 18:59  

       We will just have to see what action the SFA choose to take. Presumably both they and the SPFL will wish to demonstrate to the Scottish Government that they are serious about this issue and that they and the clubs can be trusted to follow the Scottish Governments instructions.    ===================================  

          I believe they have H, and have instructed that the tests be bi-weekly as opposed to weekly. At a cost of approx £4.5k per club, it has now doubled….They should have invested in their own machines with the charity donations. They never !….I don't see that it can be in any way the fault of the governing bodies, other than failing to instruct clubs to use the donation wisely.   

          There was, (I believe), a list of do's and dont's came with the donation, but I doubt investing in a machine would have been on the don't list.. The unprofessionalism in not having their own testing facilities cannot be understated. What next?…Turning up withoot a ba'. 

        It was an action beyond rank stupidity. It is a basic H&S requirement for games to be played.. 

  12. What's it all about , Alfie ?  (from L'Equipe ).

    Tracked for two good years in Ligue 1 (Nice, OM and Rennes in particular), left-hander Alfredo Morelos has never been so close to landing in France. As announced earlier today, LOSC has reached an agreement with the player who is obviously very keen on playing for the Mastiffs . If the salary offered by Lille to the player has not leaked, we can reveal to you that it is a four-season lease. But while Luis Campos and the player have struck a deal, that's not quite the case between LOSC and Rangers. According to our information, the northern club offered € 15 million (+ € 2 million bonus) to afford the talents of the Colombian international (7 selections – 1 goal) under contract with the Scottish club until June 2023.

    Insufficient to convince the Rangers who hope at least 20 M € to release the striker much appreciated by Steven Gerrard. As a reminder, the formidable Colombian striker with warm blood (6 reds and 26 yellows in all competitions over the 3 seasons spent in Scotland) is above all a scorer. Since arriving from HJK Helsinki, Morelos has scored 56 goals in 118 appearances for Glasgow Rangers. This would be an excellent pick for the club coached by Christophe Galtier in search of offensive reinforcements since the official departure of Loïc Rémy and that of Victor Osimhen.

  13. Corrupt official 26th July 2020 at 22:44

    Homunculus 26th July 2020 at 21:25

    Cluster One 26th July 2020 at 18:59 

    ==============================

    I spoke to my match official friend in the pub tonight. He told me that the match officials have no responsibilities for club testing protocols. Apparently each club has a nominated Covid-19 person who has responsibility to ensure that the club adheres to the testing protocols agreed between the SFA and the Scottish Government.

    He could understand the issues resulting from the delayed test results that meant that the Hibs v Ross County friendly was cancelled and the Rangers v Motherwell friendly was delayed, but considered that the Rangers (B) v Dundee Utd friendly to be a much more serious issue, particularly if Rangers had failed to adhere to the protocols.

     

  14. 'Fergus McCann v David Murray

    By

     Auldheid

     -26th July 2020'

    ' .the author does not miss the role servile journalists played and hit the wall for turning Celtic supporters against McCann during his tenure, whilst they dined on Murray’s succulent lamb. A role that in the end helped bring about Rangers end, but not the culture of servility when covering the activity of Rangers FC PLC successor club from 2012.'

    """"""""""""""""""""

    Indeed.

    The 'succulent lamb' diners lied to protect the arch-cheat of Scottish Football, and continue to lie in their propagation of the untruth that TRFC is the same identical cheating club that was RFC of 1872 .

    We really must call out those 'journalists' who , basically, are liars-and who know themselves to be liars and as morally bankrupt as RFC of 1872 became financially bankrupt to the point of Liquidation and death as a football club.

     

  15. easyJambo 27th July 2020 at 00:16

    “..He told me that the match officials have no responsibilities for club testing protocols.”

    “”””””””””””””””””””

    And really, when you think about it, it would be a bit absurd if football referees were to be expected to be covid-19 health authorities and adjudicators any more than they are expected to be crowd safety or fire  or hygiene authorities.

    Mind you, it might have been sensible for the SFA to instruct refs to satisfy themselves that all the covid testing requirements had been met. 

    If they had done, then of course the referee of the match in question is hung out to dry.

    But I think that not even our dysfunctional SFA would seriously have contemplated imposing that duty on the refs.

     

  16. For those interested in purchasing Fergus McCann v David Murray here is a link.

     https://t.co/qcZSt7dKTx 

     

    Although the book obviously focuses on a part of the history of Celtic and Rangers,  all of Scottish football lives with the outcome today, hence posting a Review on SFM.

    The impact of decisions that put the fate of our game in the hands of Sky for example. 

     

  17. As you follow the narrative of both Fergus McCann and David Murray and the events that surrounded them, you end up wondering how so many could have been fooled for so long by one guy,
    Whyte was found guilty of bringing Scottish football into disrepute whilst Murray claimed he was duped.
    …………………….
    Like Murray pretending to be Duped, so many were not fooled. They went along.
    They went along with Murray and did not care, who was going to complain?
    Murray knew he was cheating scottish football. Even back then people were asking where is all this money coming from? Who cares would be the reply. As long as an ibrox club was winning no one cared if they were being fooled or duped The glory years* was all that mattered. The problem now is that most of the ibrox fan base and SMSM look on those years as the height of scottish football and not the steroid using junkie that it should be looked upon.Ask any ibrox fan if they would give up those titles they won during the cheating years they would say NO, Ask any other fan in any sport if they knew titles or trophies won by cheating would they like to see them kept and celebrated the answer would be shove them up your ar**
    When you idolise a cheat and you know they have cheated but you go along with it you are not fooled, you are part of the problem of seeing a fair game ever being fair again.

  18. easyJambo 27th July 2020 at 00:16
    I spoke to my match official friend in the pub tonight. He told me that the match officials have no responsibilities for club testing protocols. Apparently each club has a nominated Covid-19 person who has responsibility to ensure that the club adheres to the testing protocols agreed between the SFA and the Scottish Government.

    John Clark 27th July 2020 at 00:40
    And really, when you think about it, it would be a bit absurd if football referees were to be expected to be covid-19 health authorities and adjudicators any more than they are expected to be crowd safety or fire or hygiene authorities.
    ……………………..
    Jesus! i can’t leave the house without a “Have you got your mask, have you got your hand sanitiser. If a club nominated Covid-19 person at ibrox never set alarm bells ringing when the players took to the field, that club should be punished. Like when i leave the house there are many questions asked, how many people were at ibrox that day? did no one ask any questions?
    Have (you got your mask) Have the players been tested? have the results came back should have been questions everyone at that ground should have been asking no matter what there job was that day, that should have been the first question on anyones lips even if you have no responsibilities for club testing protocols. Hiding behind not my place to ask or not my job does not cut it. Everyone and their granny should have been asking those questions that day.
    Even a couple of don’t know answers should have set alarm bells ringing.

  19. Deja vu… again? indecision

    Could it be, that the SFA has repeated a simple mistake, regarding testing results and protocols:

    it trusted ALL clubs to honestly self-certificate?

    The Hampden blazers simply don't do 'learning from experience' and steadfastly remain stoopid…   smiley

  20. easyJambo 27th July 2020 at 00:16

    I spoke to my match official friend in the pub tonight. He told me that the match officials have no responsibilities for club testing protocols. Apparently each club has a nominated Covid-19 person who has responsibility to ensure that the club adheres to the testing protocols agreed between the SFA and the Scottish Government.

    ==============================

    Thanks very much, I find that absolutely extraordinary.

    Rather than have the match official confirm that the players have been tested and are negative they are leaving it up to the clubs themselves. What happens, that is then abused almost instantly.

    The SFA really do need to take strong action in relation to things like this. We are talking about the safety of the players, the officials, anyone they come in contact with etc etc.

    Absolutely appalling.

  21. I would have thought that  the Coronavirus Joint Response Group  might have had something to say about TRFC's breach of testing protocol?

    Have I missed it? There's nothing from them on the SFA website later than 23 July.

  22. It is being reported that Hearts and Partick Thistle have lost the arbitration hearing and they will play in the lower divisions next year, with the promotions of Dundee Utd etc standing.

    I have no idea what happens next, if anything. 

  23. I find it odd that none of the parties involved have said anything as yet, but the MSM appear to have been advised of the outcome, despite the lack of leaks earlier in the process.

    If that is indeed the final outcome, then everything just moves on.  I would like to see the reasons for the decision though.

  24. SPFL Statement

    https://spfl.co.uk/news/arbitration-panel-hands-down-unanimous-judgement

    ARBITRATION PANEL HANDS DOWN UNANIMOUS JUDGEMENT

    MONDAY, 27 JULY 2020

    SPFL Chairman Murdoch MacLennan said: “The formation of this SFA Arbitration Panel was an important step for Scottish football and one which enabled a minutely detailed examination of the entire process of ‘calling the season’.

    “Directors and officials from the SPFL co-operated with the panel to the fullest possible extent, during which they were subjected to forensic examination by QCs, all under the scrutiny of a Senator of the College of Justice and two experienced Sheriffs.

    “No-one should be under any illusion about the rigorous and challenging nature of this process. I would fully expect all those involved to agree that no stone was left unturned, no allegation left unanswered. Every aspect of the various arguments put forward by both Heart of Midlothian and Partick Thistle was examined minutely, with full access to all relevant documents, records, emails and telephone logs. 

    “The panel heard from many witnesses, including senior figures from across our game and three members of the SPFL executive team. Thousands of pages of evidence were considered.

    “I’m therefore very pleased that the tribunal unanimously held that the challenges to the written resolution of 15 April 2020 failed, and that the SPFL were entitled to pass, and give effect to, the written resolution and all that flowed from it.

    “Throughout the process, and whilst under the most severe pressure, criticism and media scrutiny, the SPFL has followed appropriate legal guidance and acted in accordance with the best interests of the SPFL as a whole at all times.

    “It is regrettable that the league had to be concluded in the way that it was. However, despite calls to the contrary from some parties, subsequent events, including the virtual shutdown of our entire country for months, confirm that there was no viable alternative. With contact training only being allowed to resume on 29 June, it was simply impossible for games to be played or for Season 2019/20 to continue. 

    “I want to make clear that it is unfortunate the early curtailment of the season relegated Hearts, Partick Thistle and Stranraer. However, in circumstances where reconstruction was comprehensively rejected by SPFL member clubs, there was no viable alternative. I sympathise hugely with all three clubs, but given this clear and unequivocal tribunal decision, it is imperative that everyone accepts it and works together to ensure that our game can move forward and tackle the enormous and continuing challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.”

    SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster said: “This is a clear, comprehensive and unanimous decision.

    “I am absolutely delighted that our approach has been vindicated throughout, following an intense period of legal scrutiny and review.

    “It has been a very demanding process, but I had complete confidence in the actions and decisions of the SPFL board and the SPFL executive team.”

  25. McClennan:"I would fully expect all those involved to agree that no stone was left unturned, no allegation left unanswered,"  

    Oh that the President of the SFA could say as much of that 'governance' body's own  LNS Inquiry, and of the Res 12 matter, where there were and are plenty of stones left unturned , and plenty of allegations not even looked at let alone 'answered'. 

     

     

     

  26. MacLennan:”I would fully expect all those involved to agree that no stone was left unturned, no allegation left unanswered,”  

    ============

    In that case…….I would fully expect all those involved to agree that the full detail of the arbitration hearing be made public.

    To have any hope of moving-on, we need full transparency.

     

  27. John Clark 27th July 2020 at 14:52

    McClennan:"I would fully expect all those involved to agree that no stone was left unturned, no allegation left unanswered,"…

    ===================

    There must be quite a few stones – piled high – at Hampden, which are clearly marked;

    "DON'T TURN OVER!"  indecision

    The SFA website has a current virus update – which specifically mentions St.Mirren.

    However, there is specifically NO mention of a club fielding 9 untested players.

     

  28. Arbitration is a confidential process. 

    I would be surprised if much comes out by way of details on the deliberations.

    Apparently that confidentiality is backed up by legislation, I do not know enough about it to say more than that. 

    "Arbitration in Scotland is a confidential process, and unlike the position in most jurisdictions, the duty to treat proceedings as confidential is backed up by legislation.  The obligation to treat all matters relating to the arbitration confidentially is enshrined in the Scottish Act, and is has been strongly backed by the Scottish courts."

  29. https://www.heartsfc.co.uk/news/article/joint-club-statement-1-2-3-4-5-6

    Response to Scottish FA Article 99 Arbitration: Determination – 27.07.20

    Arbitral Tribunal:

    “The tribunal appointed in terms of Scottish Football Association Article 99 issued its decision today. It unanimously held that the challenges to the Written Resolution of 15 April 2020 failed, and that the SPFL were entitled to pass, and give effect to, the Written Resolution and all that flowed from it. Accordingly it refused to grant any of the orders sought by Heart of Midlothian FC and Partick Thistle FC and continued the arbitration for submissions about expenses.”

     

    Joint Statement by Heart of Midlothian FC and Partick Thistle FC:

    “As all Parties have been requested not to comment on the tribunal’s decision or reveal details of the hearings on the grounds of confidentiality, all we can only say is how disappointed and surprised we are at the outcome.

    “We don’t regret taking this action as it was the right thing for us to do. There were better ways to deal with ending the season, fairer ways other than putting the burden of a pandemic on to three clubs.”

  30. In addition to the joint statement, Partick put out their own, and much more emotional, statement, in which Jacqui Low seeks use the decision to galvanise the club and its supporters.

    https://ptfc.co.uk/ptfc-news/message-to-the-partick-thistle-family/

    Extract:

    But I ask everyone associated with Thistle to never forget today. To never forget how it feels to be relegated unfairly. To never forget that there are many good decent people and clubs in Scotland who stood with us, publicly and privately – but there are some whose fear and self-interest got in the way of doing the right thing.

    The Board, CEO and I are grateful for the unwavering support as we have navigated our way through this crisis. This is now a defining moment in our history, it’s time to stand together and make season 2020/21 a winning one regardless of what the rest of football says or does.

    We have every right to be angry. So let’s use that anger as the fuel that drives our campaign in 2020/21. This is now about Thistle, no one else. Our fate and our success once again lies in our own hands and our hands only.

  31. The correct resolution under extremely difficult circumstances was reconstruction in my opinion.

    Without that it was inevitable that someone had to lose out. Whether it be the clubs which were relegated, as has been confirmed by the arbitration, or the clubs losing out on promotion, which they will now get. Someone was going to lose out.

    Promotion with no relegation was achievable, the SPFL board wanted it as far as I could see.

    The clubs rejected it, and that was the matter dead.

     

     

  32. Homunculus @ 19.12

    The correct resolution under extremely difficult circumstances was reconstruction in my opinion.

    ——————————————————————————-

    The best decision would have been to complete the season behind closed doors resulting in nobody losing out.  If this was not possible, and I'm not convinced it wasn't, the second best solution would have been reconstruction, if only on a temporary basis. What we have ended up with is a nonsense.

     

  33. bordersdon 27th July 2020 at 19:48

    Homunculus @ 19.12

    The correct resolution under extremely difficult circumstances was reconstruction in my opinion. ——————————————————————————-

    The best decision would have been to complete the season behind closed doors resulting in nobody losing out. If this was not possible, and I'm not convinced it wasn't,

    ====================================

       There wasn't a reliable test available until quite recently BD, and even when one was discovered, the equipment required was naturally prioritised in directions it would do most good. 

        In addition there were legal matters such as player and partner contracts to consider, and furloughed groundstaff etc, One club even ripped its pitch up. 

  34. bordersdon 27th July 2020 at 19:48
    The best decision would have been to complete the season behind closed doors
    ………..
    When?
    There were no test kits avaliable, even when they became available only two clubs bought them. Even now we can’t even get a club to follow the right protocol for a friendly with testing never mind a real game. So just when would these games be played behind closed doors? and at what cost? Remember one club refused point blank to play games behind closed doors. So just when and how do you think the season would or could be played behind closed doors?

  35. bordersdon 27th July 2020 at 19:48
    Homunculus @ 19.12

    The correct resolution under extremely difficult circumstances was reconstruction in my opinion.

    ——————————————————————————-

    The best decision would have been to complete the season behind closed doors resulting in nobody losing out.

    No doubt that was the best option at that time and that it was what every club wanted and every set of supporters wanted.

    However they had to work within the confines of what the Scottish Government would allow, even behind closed doors, in addition to what could be afforded by the clubs. It is only fairly recently that the clubs were allowed to play at all. Even then they seem unable to stick to fairly simple instructions.

    Once it was decided the league would be finished, by a resolution voted on by the clubs, the correct way to go was reconstruction. Which this time the clubs would not support.

  36. Sorry if my previous is a bit confusing, the edit function has gone.

    I was responding to

    “The best decision would have been to complete the season behind closed doors resulting in nobody losing out.”

  37. Ann Budge has now issued a statement which includes a couple of barbs.

    https://www.heartsfc.co.uk/news/article/a-message-from-ann-budge-1

    What has been allowed to happen in Scottish football, where fellow member clubs and our governing bodies have stood back and allowed totally disproportionate financial damage to be imposed on 3 of its members, can only be described as shameful… as indeed, should the SPFL’s recent self-congratulatory statement.

    For too long, Chairmen and Owners have stood on the sidelines bemoaning the decision-making processes, the perceived lack of leadership, the lack of commercialism; the general shortcomings, as they see it, of Scottish football. However, if they really want things to change, it will take more than words. They will have to stand-up and be counted.

    We tried to do just that. Unfortunately, the very fact that we tried and lost, will cause many others to be even more wary. I can hear them now… “You can’t fight the rules; you can’t fight the establishment; we must support the centre.” Sadly, I see little cause for optimism that things will improve any time soon in Scottish football. I hope I am wrong.

  38. Homunculus

    You have captured my feelings completely.

    I would add that I think reconstruction could have happened if Ann Budge hadn’t suggested what sounded like pre-conditions and the ICT CEO hadn’t been exposed as a truth twister. Both did their clubs and Scottish football a disservice.

  39. It looks as if the clubs who have suffered most from this episode are preparing to ‘move on’.
    If that is the case, then it reflects more favourably on them than the authorities. Sadly it also means that the opportunity to get some laundry aired has again been lost.

    My problem with the SPFL board is not that they have been found to be doing anything wrong. Despite our knowledge of the systematic corruption that pertains in the Scottish game, I was never convinced that this was a legal hill high enough to die on.

    Even if the original vote had been carried out legally (though not professionally) and all protocols were followed to the letter, here was an opportunity for a statesmanship to emerge that recognised the spirit if not the letter of the rules. That statesmanship is absent in the game, and whilst many will observe that Hearts and Thistle probably would have been with most of the rest if they had not been at the sharp end of the Covid19 stick, that matters little to me – because someone – anyone – would have been at the sharp end of that stick.

    There was for sure a way out to prevent or mitigate the damage to those clubs. The spirit of sportsmanship and fairness had an opportunity to emerge, but that spirit is as scarce in Scottish football as an ice sculpture at a bonfire.

    Compare and contrast the casual, offhand dismissal of these three clubs’ pleas for help to the demented Armageddon calls of 2012 – set up to try to enable and reward a club who had actually cheated.

    And consider that the rationale for that demented leap down the rabbit hole was to “protect the game’s finances”.

    Perhaps an Edinburgh derby or four isn’t a money maker?

    No matter what happens next season, I hope (and I know that this is inexplicably not the consensus view on here) that Hearts, Partick Thistle and Stranraer win their respective competitions comfortably, and that they can use this episode to galvanise their staff and fans and use this as a springboard to greater success in the future.

    For the rest of Scottish football, they will have to be content with the realisation that they are as small and parochial as the English media have long characterised them.

    For once in Scottish football, nobody cheated. Perversely though, this time five clubs were punished.

  40. Corrupt Official
    There’s not a reliable test now!! Legal matters? Yeh we avoided them! Not.
    Cluster one.
    As soon as possible, even if it impacted on season 2020/21.
    Don’t recall any club saying they would not play BCD’s

  41. Am I correct in thinking that there is no financial compensation for the clubs involved?

  42. Big Pink 27th July 2020 at 21:02

    For the rest of Scottish football, they will have to be content with the realisation that they are as small and parochial as the English media have long characterised them.

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    I would be loathe to say that without knowing the views of all 39 other clubs. How many of them would have supported reconstruction for example. Or how many would have supported it if it did not have to be a temporary arrangement.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/52822935

    Would reconstruction be permanent?

    Budge is very keen to stress her proposal is a short-term measure and reconstruction is only temporary. Unless enough clubs vote otherwise, the structure would return to 12-10-10-10 in the summer of 2022.

    This idea is not popular with several clubs contacted by BBC Scotland, who point out that it could mean three clubs being relegated from the Premiership that season, and six demoted from the Championship. Are those who that would endanger going to support that?

    One senior club official said that he was “sad” about the proposals, adding: “We had a real chance for change – but a two-year deal?”

    =============================================

    I’m afraid that Hearts, Partick Thistle and Stranraer good, everyone else bad is too much of a sweeping generalisation for my liking.

  43. I started out with a deal of sympathy for Hearts suggesting early on that clubs suffering through premature call of seasons end should perhaps have been offered some financial compensation at the least. The opinion of the majority was against reconstruction and no sweetening of the pill seemed to be forthcoming.Hearts and Thistle have both issued statements that wouldn’t have been out of place if posted by an entity that has a deal of experience in statements.I have just finished watching Fear City on Netflix , a documentary series on the pervasive influence of the mafia in New York during the 70/80’s. The ‘Commission’ was a gathering of the most influential gangster families at the time and they turned on one of their own ,Carmine Gallante.Nothing personal Ann,just business.

  44. bordersdon 27th July 2020 at 21:04
    As soon as possible, even if it impacted on season 2020/21.
    Don’t recall any club saying they would not play BCD’s
    ……………………
    https://twitter.com/ClusterOne2/status/1287848105581465600/photo/1
    …….
    Uefa have stated that all leagues must finish on Aug 3 at latest. scottish clubs are not allowed to play until Aug 1. so when would you expect the games to be played behind closed doors?
    Also if the SPFL does not start on time there will be penalties from sky

  45. bordersdon 27th July 2020 at 21:17

    Am I correct in thinking that there is no financial compensation for the clubs involved?
    ………………….
    Clubs involved have been hit with a letter of complaint for bringing the game into disrepute they could end up with a fine.

  46. Cluster one @ 21.38

    Uefa have stated that all leagues must finish on Aug 3 at latest. scottish clubs are not allowed to play until Aug 1.

    Did we consider taking a year out from UEFA competitions? Nah I don’t suppose that would work for all!!

  47. adam812 27th July 2020 at 20:56

    I would add that I think reconstruction could have happened if Ann Budge hadn’t suggested what sounded like pre-conditions and the ICT CEO hadn’t been exposed as a truth twister. Both did their clubs and Scottish football a disservice.

    I think you misrepresent what actually happened.

    The SPFL Board knew that there was a risk of litigation (their QC told them). They knew that reconstruction would largely have removed that risk, but deemed it a difficult sell to clubs who have historically opposed it. As a result the composite resolution proposed by the Board did not include reconstruction as part of package to be voted on.

    There was a token commitment to explore reconstruction if the resolution was passed. A working group was set up, including representatives from a third of SPFL sides plus HL and LL representatives. That should have been sufficient to come up with a proposal that should have had a chance of getting through, but what happened? They didn’t even get the chance to present their proposals, because half a dozen Premiership clubs had already indicated that they would not support ANY reconstruction proposal. Reconstruction was doomed to fail before it started. I don’t see how that was of Hearts and ICT’s doing.

    There remains a “closed shop, old school, gentlemen’s club and blazer” mentality by owners and CEO’s of many Scottish Clubs. While that remains Scottish Football will remain the parochial, backward looking and insignificant entity it has become over the last decade and more.

  48. bordersdon 27th July 2020 at 21:45
    …………………..
    Did we consider taking a year out from UEFA competitions? Nah I don’t suppose that would work for all!!

    I believe you have to give two years notice, happy to be corrected. It is not just the clubs that take part in UEFA competitions that make money. Every SPFL club recieve solidarity payment funds. if clubs do well in europe. A good cash boost for many clubs

  49. Cluster one
    I’ll leave it at that. A big cash boost for some. Maybe in these “unprecedented times” even uefa would have been willing to change the rules (if indeed that is a rule)? Just wondered if that was considered.

  50. easyJambo 27th July 2020 at 21:57

    There remains a “closed shop, old school, gentlemen’s club and blazer” mentality by owners and CEO’s of many Scottish Clubs. While that remains Scottish Football will remain the parochial, backward looking and insignificant entity it has become over the last decade and more.

    If Hearts had not been in the position they were in, I am quite sure Anne Budge would have been happy to be part of the closed shop, old school mentality. I am also quite sure had other clubs been in Hearts position, they may well have taken the same route as Ann Budge. What I can’t accept is the notion that only Anne Budge cares about the greater good of the game. She has had a longer honeymoon in Scottish football than anyone I can remember other than David Murray, who was on permanent honeymoon!

  51. easyjambo
    So much has happened during lock down that I cannot be sure what information became available to us in real time and what has come after the event.

    A lot of my knowledge came from Sportsound where it seemed to me that Ann Budge and people like Scott Gardiner were treated with reverence and Neil Doncaster the complete opposite.

    If my memory serves me correctly I believe Ann Budge told Tom English that she wanted temporary reconstruction a long time before we heard anything about the legal advice the SPFL received.

    Media people and others, including myself, seemed to fail to understand fully why Neil Doncaster spoke about the need to put forward single issue resolutions. If you put forward multiple options you will struggle to get concensus and I would respectfully suggest Ann Budge, by voicing her opinions to Tom English, muddied the waters too much.

    Many posters on this site will have realised this. You state black is black and white is white and get thumbs up all round (maybe one or two “awkward” people will go thumbs-down!) but if you included a comment about green or blue it was very different! The result was that you didn’t know if there were lots of people disagreeing that white is white!

    One final question from me on this subject is to ask was there really a need for Ann Budge to end her statement with the comment “I am sorry we did not win this battle but as we all know, it is winning the war that counts”?

  52. What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger , and we’ve not died a winter yet . Onwards and upwards (etc !) Back to football , please .

  53. jimbo 28th July 2020 at 00:51
    ‘..JC, having an early night?
    I like to read your midnight-ish post to put an end to the day’
    “”””””””””””””””””””””””””
    Ha, ha, jimbo.
    At about 22.00 last night I read adam812’s earlier post of 20.56 , and then I graciously had to hand over the pc to Mrs C, for her to communicate with Australia. (In any case, I didn’t have anything to say that would have been worth the bother of using my phone to do so)

    And that was that. By the time she was finished it was bedtime.

    I’ve read the rest of last night’s posts ,and this morning’s, of course.

    I think my general position is expressed by BP in his post (Big Pink 27th July 2020 at 21:02):

    “Compare and contrast the casual, offhand dismissal of these three clubs’ pleas for help to the demented Armageddon calls of 2012 – set up to try to enable and reward a club who had actually cheated.”
    together with eJ’s (“easyJambo 27th July 2020 at 21:57)
    “There remains a “closed shop, old school, gentlemen’s club and blazer” mentality by owners and CEO’s of many Scottish Clubs..”

    For such an inter-dependent aggregation of businesses to have accepted the ‘Big Lie’ to try to save one club from the ordinary consequences of its decade-long deliberate and calculated cheating and yet perversely refuse to find some way of recognising the truly extraordinary circumstances brought about by Covid19 ,is a measure of the rank rotten ‘values’ cherished by the ‘SPFL’ ( and, of course, shared by the SFA).
    Frankly, Scottish Football as the antithesis of any kind of soundly and honestly administered ‘sport’ deserves to die.

  54. adam812 27th July 2020 at 20:56

    I would add that I think reconstruction could have happened if Ann Budge hadn’t suggested what sounded like pre-conditions and the ICT CEO hadn’t been exposed as a truth twister. Both did their clubs and Scottish football a disservice.

    easyJambo 27th July 2020 at 21:57
    I think you misrepresent what actually happened……

    =======================

    I agree with EJ for the same reasons he presents in the same post referenced above. I`d also like to point out how ‘faulty’ narratives can appear and if favourable to general views on X or Y, are easily and eagerly adopted #confirmationbias

    IMO, this has a lot to do with why throughout this omnishambles, the SPFL executive have prioritised a spin campaign in the media, rather than consider or be in a position to be able to show considered leadership. As far as the print (& online presence) were concerned, it was mainly done through Keith Jackson at the DR.

    Going back to something I mentioned yesterday….

    MacLennan:”I would fully expect all those involved to agree that no stone was left unturned, no allegation left unanswered,”

    In that case…….I would fully expect all those involved to agree that the full detail of the arbitration hearing be made public.

    I know secrecy can be a regrettable part of the arbitration process but I seem to recall it being reported, that if all sides were willing to have the details made public, then it could be done.
    Can anyone give a definitive on that, please. EJ ?

  55. reasonablechap 28th July 2020 at 11:1
    “””””””””
    Arbitration(Scotland) Act 2010 Schedule 1
    “Rule 26 Confidentiality D
    26(1)Disclosure by the tribunal, any arbitrator or a party of confidential information relating to the arbitration is to be actionable as a breach of an obligation of confidence unless the disclosure—
    (a)is authorised, expressly or impliedly, by the parties (or can reasonably be considered as having been so authorised),

    (b)is required by the tribunal or is otherwise made to assist or enable the tribunal to conduct the arbitration,

    (c)is required—

    (i)in order to comply with any enactment or rule of law,

    (ii)for the proper performance of the discloser’s public functions, or

    (iii)in order to enable any public body or office-holder to perform public functions properly,

    (d)can reasonably be considered as being needed to protect a party’s lawful interests,

    (e)is in the public interest,

    (f)is necessary in the interests of justice, or

    (g)is made in circumstances in which the discloser would have absolute privilege had the disclosed information been defamatory.

    (2)The tribunal and the parties must take reasonable steps to prevent unauthorised disclosure of confidential information by any third party involved in the conduct of the arbitration.

    (3)The tribunal must, at the outset of the arbitration, inform the parties of the obligations which this rule imposes on them.

    (4)“Confidential information”, in relation to an arbitration, means any information relating to—

    (a)the dispute,

    (b)the arbitral proceedings,

    (c)the award, or

    (d)any civil proceedings relating to the arbitration in respect of which an order has been granted under section 15 of this Act,

    which is not, and has never been, in the public domain.”

  56. In the spirit of moving on could I please recommend a very useful location app to fellow posters.

    Thinking about a time in the not too distant future when mass attendance football is once again safe and you are planning to pick up a friend in Inverness before you travel on together to watch Ross County. Your friend suggests a retail park car park as a good place to meet.

    When you’re travelling up the A9 you get a text from him saying “foster.bumps.song” which you enter into the what3words app. You can download the app from the Play or App store and try the words out to see how it works.

    It’s more than just a friend finder as I have used it to get an ambulance to an otherwise difficult to explain location following a serious accident.

  57. John Clark 28th July 2020 at 11:46

    “””””””””
    Arbitration(Scotland) Act 2010 Schedule 1
    “Rule 26 Confidentiality D
    26(1)Disclosure by the tribunal, any arbitrator or a party of confidential information relating to the arbitration is to be actionable as a breach of an obligation of confidence unless the disclosure—

    (a)is authorised, expressly or impliedly, by the parties (or can reasonably be considered as having been so authorised),

    (e)is in the public interest,

    ==========================
    Thanks JC !

    The HMFC/PT joint statement had this to say about it……. “As all Parties have been requested not to comment on the tribunal’s decision or reveal details of the hearings on the grounds of confidentiality, all we can only say is how disappointed and surprised we are at the outcome.”

    The SPFL statement was very keen to sell the process as having been rigorous, thorough and leaving no stones unturned but never mentioned the restrictions in giving us the detail to back that up.

    Who made the decision to tell the parties not to comment or reveal details ?
    Given the level of public interest (ie. the main stakeholders:fans), why ?

  58. reasonablechap
    I am happy to accept that I have likely viewed the events of the last few months with more than a little bias but I try to acknowledge it. Indeed when I share concerns about events at Ibrox with my Rangers supporting sister I always acknowledge that I am wearing green tinted specs!

    I do struggle with your comments about media spin by the SPFL though as there seemed to be very little support for them. Maybe the North of Scotland gets a different online product from the DR!

  59. John Clark 28th July 2020 at 10:34

    Frankly, Scottish Football as the antithesis of any kind of soundly and honestly administered ‘sport’ deserves to die.

    IMO, Scottish football doesn’t need reconstruction,
    but some form of creative destruction.

    Initially, I was thinking that the pandemic could be the external / unexpected catalyst which finally forced wholesale changes on the game.
    Mibbees it still will…?

    But, so far in 2020 events have only reinforced the position that our clubs and the blazers just want to preserve the status quo.

  60. Have we lost the ‘edit’ facility, and the scroll back to previous pages function? Or rather, I seem not to have these .Am I alone?

  61. Me too JC.
    Lost edit facility and the icons, and the separator indicator of ‘=’ signs.
    What did you do JC… ? 🙂

  62. reasonablechap 28th July 2020 at 11:17
    I know secrecy can be a regrettable part of the arbitration process but I seem to recall it being reported, that if all sides were willing to have the details made public, then it could be done.

    Can anyone give a definitive on that, please. EJ ?

    Maybe if you emailed the parties involved asking, "If the others grant permission, will you?", you may get a response. If nothing else it may help you narrow down the circle of suspect secreteers.

  63. Testing Time for Prem 12.
    By kenny MacDonald.

    The aim is to make sure there’s no repeat of TWO issues which caused problems during pre-season bounce games last week.
    The SPFL wrote to rangers after their B-Team game against Dundee utd last week to make sure all players had been given the all clear.
    Hibs and Motherwell also recieved letters from Hampden requesting clarification on testing delays.
    ST Mirren then reported seven of their staff had tested positive – but after further tests it emerged onlyone had the virus with the other 6 being false positives.
    ……………………………………………….
    One. I see THREE issues here, the ibrox one The Hibs and Motherwell and the ST Mirren one. But being reported that there is only TWO.
    Do they deem one of these are not an issue?
    ……………………
    easyJambo 27th July 2020 at 00:16
    I spoke to my match official friend in the pub tonight. He told me that the match officials have no responsibilities for club testing protocols.

    The SPFL wrote to rangers after their B-Team game against Dundee utd last week to make sure all players had been given the all clear

    Your friend may be correct. Why would the match officials have any responsibilities for club testing protocols, when the SPFL will write to you to make sure all players had been given the all clear.

  64. Whilst a recurring theme on SFM is the disconnect between Hampden / clubs and the supporters, this is an example – IMO – where supporters themselves can be disconnected from reality.

    It’s being reported that the proposed takeover of Newcastle United is still being stalled by the FA. A BBC quote caught my eye;

    “…More than 97% of Newcastle United Supporters’ Trust members are in favour of the takeover, and many fans have dismissed the manner in which the media has raised issues which could derail the Saudi bid…”

    I appreciate that the Toon Army is desperate to see the back of Mike Ashley – but is the Saudi state really a ‘less bad option’?

    Do they expect that NUFC will quickly become like Man City or PSG – awash with cash and a team full of superstars?
    Saudi has its own economic woes, and it’s surprising, to me anyway, that it wants to splurge on a football club at all.

    Mibbees NUFC supporters are just desperate, but I thought there would be more opposition to a Saudi takeover.

    [Disclaimer: I’m assuming that the BBC has not simply copied/pasted a press release from the Saudi side!]

    Moot point I suppose, as the FA will undoubtedly rubber stamp the transaction, eventually.

  65. I have it on good authority (JC & EJ) that Big Pink is not restoring the Edit and Emoji options until the Summer Fundraiser target is met!

  66. John Clark 28th July 2020 at 10:34

    For such an inter-dependent aggregation of businesses to have accepted the ‘Big Lie’ to try to save one club from the ordinary consequences of its decade-long deliberate and calculated cheating and yet perversely refuse to find some way of recognising the truly extraordinary circumstances brought about by Covid19 ,is a measure of the rank rotten ‘values’ cherished by the ‘SPFL’ ( and, of course, shared by the SFA).
    Frankly, Scottish Football as the antithesis of any kind of soundly and honestly administered ‘sport’ deserves to die.
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    I haven’t been on here lately but agree that because of the circumstances more should have been done to prevent the Hearts, Partick and Stranraer relegations.

    However, my understanding is that the SPFL leadership had it in mind to implement some sort of reconstruction but this was cut across by other agendas opposing any reconstruction and the “Null and Void” Brigade.

    Clearly they made an arse of handling the situation but the bottom line is, it was the clubs themselves who vetoed any reconstruction.

    I will finish with a question which never seems to get answered. What should replace the incompetent SPFL Board/leadership? Many call for them and the SFA to be disbanded but what next?

  67. bordersdon 27th July 2020 at 22:35
    ….
    Looking back at the comments yesterday i feel my tone towards your posts was harsh, Sorry for that.

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