Questions, questions, questions

As SFM folk will know, Scottish Football authorities can be enigmatic at best, puzzling and corrupt at worst, and downright crazy and incompetent in either situation. On this blog over the years, we have asked questions constantly of the authorities and the clubs, but like anyone with a fan-centred interest at heart we get ignored. “Fans are not a homogenous entity”, they say, “there are more opinions than there are fans”. This artful premise gives the clubs an excuse to ignore fans’ input, and other than on platforms like this, fan opinion is seldom gathered or curated.
The following blog, put together by Andy Smith, the Chairman of the Scottish Football Supporters Association, asks a lot of simple questions that don’t get asked often. He also invites fans to raise their own questions and opinions.
Of course, there are headline atrocities committed by the people in charge of the game.
The Five-Way Agreement, the continuity myth, the refusal to punish the biggest incidence of systematic cheating ever experienced in the game, and the casual adoption of the post-truth model introduced so successfully by venal politicians on both sides of the Atlantic.

But what enabled those assaults on the integrity of the sport? In order to get away with the big con, there have to be wee cons. Ticket allocations, kick off times and dates for set-piece occasions which make it difficult if not impossible for fans outside of Glasgow to participate, refusal to hold match officials accountable in the way an underperforming player or a misbehaving fan would be, and countless other incidences where fans are inconvenienced, or even put at risk. 

The only way to combat that level of arrogance is to unite where we can, and although in a partisan sport that can be difficult to achieve, SFM is testimony that it can work. This blog is an invitation for us to begin to look forward, and not get distracted by the past. I  hope SFM-ers participate and make their views clear.

Big Pink


What did Alan Dougherty, Gordon Harvey and Eddie Hutch have in common?

They were teachers who gave their time, to thousands of kids, including me, and asked for nothing back. To a man they gave up, overnight, as part of a ‘work to rule’, in an ugly pay dispute in the early 80s.
They were never thanked properly by the game?
They were and are sair missed.
Why did football let that happen?
Why has nobody ever grasped this particular nettle since?

Should you be able to have a beer at Bayview watching East Fife play Clyde on Feb 5th?

Just like the fans at Murrayfield, just over the Firth can and will, at the sell-out game vs England on the very same day.

Should you be allowed to enjoy a beer at Celtic Park watching Celtic vs Rangers on Feb 2nd?

A smaller crowd than Murrayfield too, and very few away fans. But some history and maybe a different situation altogether.


Are our leagues too small, leading to constant pressure and short termism by clubs?

Club CFO’s say the pressures are brutal and when their team is in trouble everything else gets sacrificed to avoid the financial chaos of relegation.
Many CFO’s dread the thought of promotion too knowing full well the seesaw implications of our small leagues.

Should the bottom of SPFL be an automatic relegation to open up the pyramid?

Our unique, one league only, convoluted play-off formula was only ever a last minute switcheroo/deal by the SPFL2 clubs at the time to protect their places in the SPFL ‘old boys network’.

I’d suggest East Stirling, Brechin and Berwick would change their votes if asked again.


Your Invitation to Say What You Think

Scottish Football Alliance Fan Survey January 2022

The Scottish Football Supporters Association is an independent and growing fans organisation in Scotland with circa 80,000 members. We have members from all senior clubs in Scotland and throughout the pyramid.
Many of those members regularly visit the SFM site.

We have been asked by the new Scottish Football Alliance ( to provide an independent insight into what fans think about various aspects of our game, in particular what fans think our game needs to move forward. It is time for change, and football seems incapable of change from within.

Scottish Football might not acknowledge it, but it really needs the input of supporters like you. The fact none of us have been asked our opinions in the past says a lot.

We need to help and tell those running our game and other stakeholders like the Scottish Government what football needs to do.

Scottish football certainly has to think longer term and get closer to its fans.
In any business overview we are the core stakeholders.
The way we are treated and ignored is quite commercially bizarre.

To that end we have commissioned a short two minute survey, but we’d also welcome and appreciate any more detailed insights into what Scottish Football needs to do or do better. Please email those insights (in addition to participating in the survey) to me, at

I know from experience that when you get a group of fans in a room to talk about football, after the local rivalries and stuff gets dealt with, usually with humour, we can all see what the game has done for us, the power of good it can be for our communities and the things that need to change.

I constantly find that most fans not only see the bigger picture but also collectively want to give something back.

When this survey ends we will aggregate and analyse the results and share them far and wide inside the game and to other interested stakeholders like The Scottish Government.

The results will also become the foundation of policies The Scottish Football Alliance will publish and circulate.

At each stage moving forward we will work closely with The Scottish Football Alliance providing then with further fan insight.

And we will keep you and all other fans involved.

Survey Notes
You can participate in the survey by follwing this link:

The questions are simple Yes/No and there are no right or wrong answers, just opinions and insight into what fans think.

1,093 thoughts on “Questions, questions, questions”

  1. PM 7th Nov @ 16.37

    Just a few random thoughts …

    In the close season prior to the 2020/21 campaign, Sevco (an outfit which, lest we forget, has made whopping losses in every season of their ten and a bit years existence, even when, as a new, club, they were climbing up the Divisions) went out ‘all guns blazing’* to thwart CFC’s 10iar’,

    * roughly translates as recklessly begging/borrowing inordinately more beyond their means than usual.

    Admittedly, they brought in some decent players and, ably assisted by a woeful Celtic, achieved their ultimate aim.

    I thought at the time that this would prove financially unwise in the long term (to put it mildly) and, come Dec 6, against a backdrop of what is probably a growing number of disgruntled lenders within Ibrokes, they will ‘reap what they sow’. The financial ‘gemme’s a bogey’, this particular ‘carnival of borrowing’ is over – and they will have to declare themselves SKINT! (Oh, wait a meenit, this is the WATP brigade, they can’t do that surely!?).

    They can’t afford, it seems, to sack GVB, Morelos and Kent will be gone in January and yet, the SMSM apologists/deniers will, ironically and stupidly, be screaming for ‘marquee’ signings in January.
    Why is nobody from the mainstream mob asking about the money from Patterson, Aribo and Bassey?
    Ah mean – geezabrek!
    (this wee rant, harmless as it is, does not take account of any breaking news!)

  2. Interesting decision from CAS : Chile’s appeal that Ecuador be turfed out of the Qatar world cup on grounds of having played an ineligible player (the same individual) in a number of qualifiers has been dismissed.

    Serious business, this player ineligibiity concept, eh, what?
    What a blessing that the authorities in Scotland can make light of it, when it’s a case of multiple ‘player ineligibilities’ of multiple players at the same club over a number of seasons to the point of simply ignoring the evidence.
    Chile might have done well to seek advice from Hampden.

  3. Paddy Malarkey 9th November 2022 At 12:47
    ‘..The long awaited numbers.’
    Not yet published in the pages of Companies as I write.
    Ha, haI wonder are they more accurate than the statement at para 2 of page 8 referring to the Dover House fake 150th birthday reception hosted by the ‘Government’?
    I haven’t yet had time to read all the stuff, but maybe Big Pink will get a podcast up for comment by an ‘expert’?
    We have to remember that Companies House does not guarantee the accuracy of the info provided by companies, so there’s no real check [this applies to any company, of course, not just RIFC]

  4. Headline figures today RIFC £5.9 million operating profit – great news for the long suffering fans .
    But wait , why the “operating” qualification?
    Further examination of the accounts reveal a “Loss for the year” of £919,000 .
    I wonder which figure is more accurate ?

  5. The accounts are great news for fans and supporters of TRFC. Almost £6M profit without counting Bassey and Aribo fees.

  6. Not by any means being any kind of accountant, I think I can nevertheless safely say that these two items in the RIFC plc Accounts tell us something about the governance of that company:

    Page 59 of the Accounts tells us that £6,070,000 was the total cost of legal disputes. Now that’s a lot of money wasted on what the eventual judgments show were pretty weak cases.

    Page 60 has this “The Group has entered into a revolving credit facility with existing lenders. This facility will be available until 31 July 2028” This, I think, shows that RIFC plc still has no access to normal external commercial borrowing facilities-not a happy position to be in.
    And now, of course, they have the Gee-oh problem! Another uninspiring and uninspired and dispirited manager, appointed for the wrong reasons? Stick with him or not?

  7. Gunnerb

    Please see my ‘reality post’ above – and what happened to the Aribo/Patterson/Bassey cash again?

  8. Court of Session Rolls

    Wednesday 16th November
    Procedural Hearing
    Case Management Hearing

    By Order Adjustment

    A294/21 Aviva Insurance Ltd v Alistair McCoist &c DAC Beachcroft Scotland LLP Jones Whyte Law
    Our Ally?
    What’s that about, if it’s Ally McCoist who played for the now defunct Rangers FC of 1872?

  9. Re Jota’s goal …

    First off we have:-
    “Human error was to blame for the VAR image used to justify Jota’s goal being disallowed” (Daily Mail)
    Well, that’s an interesting spin on modern ‘honest mistakes’ – made, as they now are, not on the park, but in a hideout.

    Maybe that’s so, but here’s another one ( readers note – as excuses go, this is such pathetic gobbledegook!)…

    “While the footage was only able to show a wider camera angle for viewere, Hawkeye technology is designed to calibrate an accurate offside decision” (SFA – embarrassingly caught out)

    But it didnae, did it? The angle might as well have been take fae a pub doon the road ffs! And – what happened to the benefit of the doubt when Hawkeye’s havin time off?

    On a lighter note, I’m reminded (anyone else this old?) of the disappearing BBC footage of the 1957 League Cup final (Celtic 7 The Then Rangers !).

  10. Bect67 11th November 2022 At 12:34
    “I’m reminded (anyone else this old?) of the disappearing BBC footage of the 1957 League Cup final (Celtic 7 The Then Rangers 1 )…”
    In my 1957 diary [ A ‘Transport and General Workers’ Union’ diary I got from my old man during the Christmas holidays 1956 from my remote school] the entry for Saturday 19 October 1957 has this, in my school-boyish, fountain-pen scribble
    ” Listened to match. Celtic beat ‘Gers 7-1.”
    No tranny radios then, of course. Our form master allowed us to listen to his steam radio.
    I’m not sure whether the whole match was broadcast live or whether the BBC was even then still only allowed to broadcast about 40 minutes of the second half of any games, the Leagues being fearful of losing gate money.
    I kind of suspect that the form master was listening by himself and decided on a whim to let us in on the occasion that was in it!
    The next line in that entry was unconnected to football: ” organised table-tennis tourney for Tuesday”
    Was the mystery of the disappearing film ever satisfactorily explained? I still harbour dark suspicions about the denizens of Queen Margaret Drive, and their sports chief, Peter Thomson!

  11. John Clark 10th November 2022 At 23:40

    Court of Session Rolls

    Wednesday 16th November
    Procedural Hearing
    Case Management Hearing

    By Order Adjustment

    A294/21 Aviva Insurance Ltd v Alistair McCoist &c DAC Beachcroft Scotland LLP Jones Whyte Law
    Our Ally?
    What’s that about, if it’s Ally McCoist who played for the now defunct Rangers FC of 1872?

    JC – See link to the McCoist / Aviva case. It relates to McCoist’s son.

  12. Westcoaster 11th November 2022 At 15:22
    ‘…JC – See link to the McCoist / Aviva case.’
    Thanks for that, Westcoaster. I thought unlikely to have anything to do with Ibrox dirty washing, but had to check.
    I’ve no interest whatsoever in McCoist’s family’s affairs.

  13. The Crutherland Hotel in East Kilbride? is it still in business?
    I had never heard of it until today, when I read what Martin O’Neill had to say about it.

  14. John C
    Yeah, hotel is owned by parents of my son’s friend. Very exclusive. Had a very douce lunch/afternoon tea there about a year or so ago. Very nice. Will take me another five years to save up for another. What was MON saying about it?

  15. Sorry John,
    Was confusing it with the Crossbasket Castle
    Crutherland is the one in the Strathaven Rd. Spa hotel known for girlie spa overnights. Wife and mother in law went there a few times.

  16. To paraphrase the estimable James Doleman, I feel it is appropriate for me to note that my first month as SFA VAR coordinator has gone extraordinarily well. ?

  17. Big Pink 12th November 2022 At 00:44
    “…John C… What was MON saying about it?”
    Martin O ‘Neil tells of his wife and daughter being evicted from their hotel, the Crutherland in East Kilbride Why? It was Rangers’ pe-match base.
    “It was astounding!” recalls O’Neill.” I had stayed there during that week You’d have thought someone might have just come up and said ‘you know, by the way Rangers stay here’…. It transpires that the Rangers manager has been told that my wife and daughter are in the hotel. Rangers use the Crutherland as a base for many of their games and have a contract with them. If Geraldine and Alana don’t leave immediately, Rangers will cancel their contract with the hotel”
    (From yesterday’s ‘The Scotsman’)
    The Rangers in question was of course the cheating Rangers of 1872 before it died the death and exited Scottish Football.

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