Les Says It is Time to Ask The Audience?

Saying the last couple of weeks has been colourful for Scottish Football would be an understatement.

We are now in a position where we have a Taskforce co-chaired by the heads of two clubs to look at what needs to be done in the Covid 19 landscape right now and into whatever future unfolds.

Representatives of the clubs first convened last Monday and Graham Tatters, Elgin City chairman told BBC Saturday Sportsound that the 2nd division has already agreed unanimously to back 3 leagues of 14 as their preferred option.

On the same show Iain McMenemy, Chairman of Stenhousemuir effectively told us among other things that nothing in Scottish Football is ever easy, and mentioned that he believed the fans should be involved in any process.

Around the same time a very welcome conversation was underway between Les Gray, Taskforce co-chair and Paul Goodwin of the SFSA with Les asking for and welcoming fan input.

Dave Allen Called Our Future Years Ago

His oft quoted “I wouldn’t be starting from here joke” is a remarkable insight into where we find ourselves.
Our game is on the cusp of internecine war following the confusing combination of events we’ve all see playing out.

The hastily convened Taskforce has co-chairs who have also been quoted in the MSM as having different agendas, one for an immediate solution and one for a long-term plan.
Nothing wrong with that, in fact brilliant, we need both because they are interrelated.
Collectively we have to ask not just how do we minimise the economic and social impacts of the pandemic but also how do we start to shape our game for a better future?

Both these needs are right nows and both are the remit of the current Taskforce.

Now is the Time to Circle Our Wagons

This unique, open-ended, revenue-winter hit our clubs unexpectedly and overnight.
It is already brutal and will get worse with no current exit plan and no future certainties.
We know Dave Cormack’s Aberdeen is currently burning £1M per month.
No club has Covid immunity and a world of salary reductions, deferrals furloughed staff, little in the coffers and no exit strategy or road map out is a stark reality.
It’s hard to imagine that footballers have become liabilities rather than assets in a blink of an eye.
But it’s not hard to foresee that the financial stress on our clubs will see casualties.
Never before have we needed inter and intra-club teamwork for the common good.
But not in Scottish Football where an internecine spat is about to flare big time.

Civil War Breaking Out?

The record will show the recent SPFL Good Friday vote got an 80% plus backing vote from the clubs but in reality became a farce as Dundee eventually changed their “casting” vote.
This was paralleled by the “whistleblower” outburst by Rangers interim chairman Douglas Park demanding immediate suspension of Neil Doncaster and Rod McKenzie and an independent inquiry that sort of happened but not to the satisfaction of some.
One week later it rages on in the media with words today like “damning evidence, serious concerns, lack of fair play, coercing and bullying” being the vocabulary fed to the MSM to share with their audiences.

It seems some clubs have become unhappy with how our game is run and want to do something about it, so welcome to our world guys, – us fans have been saying that for a long time.
Our game needs big change but it won’t happen overnight and a pandemic crisis is maybe not the best timing for internecine strife.

Closing Down 2019 – 2020

This season is already ended for all Scottish clubs outside the Premiership.
UEFA didn’t do much to help and could have been more proactive in stopping inter club squabbling but plus ca change.
Most football people I have spoken to (with their self-interest hats off) were not totally happy with the implications of closing the season early and pro rata-ing points to decide champions but pragmatically accept it is the best answer or the least worst solution.
Asked about teams being relegated while having a bona-fide chance of fighting back there is less support and indeed genuine heartfelt pushback.

Some more enlightened leagues like the Lowland League who took the decision to avoid further damage on some of their members at this time through a no relegation policy and a wait and see what’s best are seen as wiser.

What Needs To Be Done Today?

We all know that out of the Budge/Gray Taskforce there will be a few options put on the table.
There is always the status quo of 4 leagues 12, 10, 10, 10.
A 14, 14, 14, setup was discussed and voted on by the current second division clubs last Friday.
Our own similar suggestion published on your SFM was 14, 14 and a bottom league of 16 to keep the integrity of the pyramid.

Two weeks on, a more pragmatic option and one to be considered by all might be to agree no relegation for now and to wait until more is known over the next crucial weeks.
We have time on our hands and no need to rush.
Why not take our lead from the sages at the Lowland League?

As a fan what do you think?

Should we plan for an interim period?
Should it be status quo?
Do we apply parameters (like no relegation) but accept that any other plan has to be kept flexible till more is known and agreed?

Your insights and views are welcome by Ms. Budge, Mr. Gray and their team either on this forum where I’ll read and collate them or if you prefer sent to me at

What Needs To Be Done for Our Tomorrows?

We live in the real world and that means money is and always will be the prime driver and starting point.
Money is entwined with self-interest, status, power, politics and sometimes greed.

A given is every club will always want more and that is the easiest of several elephants in any room when looking at change to impact positively on the future of our game as a whole.

But maybe, just maybe now is different.
Post Covid many clubs will be on their knees financially and it will be a different world.

Les Gray’s Million Pounds Question For all Fans

No surprise it’s not an easy one
If you were charged with helping to create a sustainable and healthy future for Scottish Football is what would you do?

How would you advise Les, Ann and their Taskforce team about the right moves to make?

Once again insights welcome on SFM or to

As a starter for 10 some stuff that has come up in previous SFSA fan surveys about our game (in alphabetical order) includes –
Better Communication, Bigger Leagues, Community Involvement, Council Telly live games, Gate Sharing, Grass Roots Investment, Fairness, Family Friendly, Fewer clubs, Integrity, Kids Free, Leadership, Less leagues, No Bigotry, Openness, Outside expertise, Same rules for all, Schools Football, Simplicity, Standing Sections, Summer Football, TV Kick-off times, Regional Lower Leagues, Reserve League, Strict Liability, Transparency, Wholesome Sponsors etc.

The list is not exhaustive. Please feel free to add any others.
Some will be contradictory, some nice to haves but the crucial thing to do is to find the smartest moves and build on them.

We’re responding to Les and Ann in good faith

Never before have we the fans been asked in such an open way.

Collectively we have a short-term end of season issue and a need to set up our game for what comes next which might include an interim period.

The background to any responses you offer is uncertainty exacerbated by growing internecine chaos and increasing vitriol.

I’ll end with some wise and hopeful words by a Taskforce Co- chair

Without openness, transparency and pragmatism we will simply keep making the same mistakes.

Ann Budge

708 thoughts on “Les Says It is Time to Ask The Audience?”

  1. From 'The Herald' online's Matthew Lindsay this morning:

    "..But the “dossier of evidence” they supplied the other 41 SPFL clubs on Thursday showed they had received legal advice from advocate Eoghainn CM MacLean about their chances in court.

    '"In the circumstances, Rangers has a reasonably good prospect of obtaining an order for Mr Doncaster's removal as director and chief executive,” the dossier stated. “The prospect may be enhanced, if other clubs joined in an application for such an order."'

    That's an interesting observation by the dossier(I don't think the statement is actually quoting Advocate MacLean's opinion ?) – implying that judges can be swayed not by force of legal argument but by how many folk are on one side rather than the other? 

    Absurd nonsense, surely.

  2. The SPFL are incapable of change from within and are hamstrung by well structured member self interest.

    The SFA are also incapable of change from within and are also hamstrung by the same self interest.

    Our economy will not just return to what we thought was normal a few months ago.

    Financial stress will bite hard and while all clubs should rightfully qualify for any available government help they only have a right to a fair share rather than any kind of priority.

    In the coming deep depression the revenue challenges will affect the top and middle end clubs much more than the lower ranking community clubs and on restart, whenever that happens, change to the membership is inevitable.

    The faux civil war playing out in front of us comes from a complicated series of interacting factors including fear, opportunism, immediate self interest and more.

    It is more handbags than peaky blinders and is more about money, status and position than any real desire to make things better.

    It has been easily compounded by the dearth of leadership at both SPFL and SFA.

    That might seem like a criticism of Doncaster and Maxwell but it isn't just about our two "toom tabard" heads.

    Neither organisation in reality want any leadership or leader who might become a threat to the current inherent dominance from our more powerful clubs.

    Our two intertwined member organisations are hamstrung by what their power bases will fight to hold on to in an attempt to get back to whatever normality was.

    Maybe that normality just wasn't and isn't good enough.

    What fan in reality wants another 35 years where there will only been two league winners and over 20 years where our national team has become a serial under-performer?

    Most fans want change, real change.

    To me it seems the powerful clubs just want plus ca change.


    I am not optimistic.








  3. nawlite 10th May 2020 at 17:18

    Finally managed to read the ICT statement (which is signed both by the CEO and Chairman) It is wide ranging.

    As with your question re ‘big hitters’ and The Clumpany banging on re the ‘False deadline, I have to wonder why these particular issues are extracted from a message that covers a lot of ground.

    More important to me is the explanation of ICT’s view on the process.

    ICT clearly contradict what Doncaster said on the radio yesterday. They say they are actually willing to testify that there was bullying and they reported such to Doncaster.

    “These were threats and not robust conversations.”

    They outline their stance in simple language 

    “We fully admit to having an agenda, that is that no fellow member of the SPFL should be more financially damaged than we all already have been since the complete shutdown of our industry. We believed that no club should have been relegated or expelled during an unfinished season.”

    To me it is a matter of sporting integrity and support for fellow members of the organisation they are a member of. It does not mean they have borrowed ‘T’Rangers crayons’ to in someway support them and that mob’s east coast cousins etc etc.

    Their stance does nothing in practical terms to assist T’Rangers whatsoever.

    Given Partick’s fury are we now to believe the club seen as being ‘neutral’ in Glasgow has suddenly been turned to the ways of Castle Greyskull and therefore on the other side of the ‘divide’.

    As for big hitters then taking ICT’s league position there are 13 clubs above them in the league structure.

    There are 16 clubs above ICT in terms of average attendances.

    All could be described as bigger hitters in Scottish Football than ICT.

    Big hitters could be members from Aberdeen or Hibs as  two of our top five clubs.

    They could be the six club members on the SPFL board, three of whom are from the Premiership

    It could be Doncaster, McKenzie or MacLennan.

    What about Petrie or may Alloa Chairman and SFA VP Mulraney, sticking their noses in?

    Maybe the big hitters are from Sky?

    Finally, yes, maybe it is someone from Celtic.




  4. Wottpi

    You seem impressed, and inclined to believe that …

    "these were threats and not robust conversations"

    How about

    "these were robust conversations and not threats"?

    In other words ICT et al might say potayto, whilst SPFL lawyers rejoinder with potahto.

    Whose next to jump on  this farcical bandwagon? Now is not the time I would (again)  suggest.

    Let's get the future of our game secured first.

  5. John Clark 10th May 2020 at 20:36 Edit






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    ElCapitano2013 10th May 2020 at 18:14

    '.. As an aside, not a fan of ND in the slightest in view of his previous actions but find it galling that the BBC have only just found their voice to ask him questions when they have had years to do so about the events of 2012. No wonder people have serious questions about the impartiality and motives of the BBC.'


    Hold, hold, hold 

  6. With Douglas Park announcing that the funding gap of £10 million pounds for this year has been made good by current investors then I see no further charges against TRFC on companies house. Not that there is a lot left to secure loans against other than Ibrox stadium.No share issue either so it appears to be unsecured loans or gifts. Maybe the investors are acting like Ticketus and are understandably agitated by slow take up of season tickets.

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