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. Not sure if just me but unable to logon via mobile phone for some reason.
    Picking up on the VAR discussion, there will obviously still be bones of contention across individual decisions. The statistic that I saw today did stop me in my tracks though. Pre-VAR this season there were 17 penalties awarded across 63 matches. Post VAR there have been 15 penalties in 25 matches (up to and including the St Mirren v TRFC today). That suggests to me that either:
    (a) Defending players are taking more liberties in the penalty box now that the cameras are watching; or
    (b) Our referees missed something like 20 penalties in the opening 63 fixtures if the VAR run-rate of penalties per match occurred in the first half of the season – suggesting they really should be visiting Spec Savers…
    If the VAR run rate of a 60% chance of a penalty in a match is the “right” run-rate this also begs the question for me as to whether a penalty kick is the appropriate sanction for some of the infractions in the box for which penalties are being awarded.

  2. I was in favour of VAR as I genuinely believed it would help improve Refereeing decisions. So far all I can see is that it’s introduced another layer of controversy.

    The Jota ‘goal’ incident is very strange to say the least. The pictures provided as evidence he was offside provide no evidence at all. Yet the SFA claim the technology is so advanced it was able to prove he was offside. So surely such advanced technology would be able to provide pictures to support that statement? In the absence of those pictures you can hardly blame people for being suspicious.

    So here’s my theory. For whatever reason, the camera that would have provided a better angle was not in use. That is an embarrassment for the SFA. However, they could have said ‘in the absence of the picture we reverted to the Assistant Referee’s original decision, and will take steps to ensure that this error is not repeated’. Would anyone really have been that bothered if they had said that? Instead the whole thing smacks of a cover up to me, simply because they don’t want to admit a failure. Doubling down is not always the best option, and I maintain that if they were so sure Jota was offside, we would have seen the evidence by now.

  3. Upthehoops 12th November 2022 At 20:45
    “…we would have seen the evidence by now.’
    Remember, UTH, that there is a ROT at the very heart of Scottish professional football, which allows sporting reality and truth to be dispensed with by allowing the fiction that a football club newly admitted to membership of the SFA in 2012 is 150years old!
    We are dealing, essentially, with a lying governance body accommodating a lying football club.
    What else can we expect but lies?

  4. VAR is a hi-tec system which has been put under control of lo-fi intellects i’m afraid. A bit like putting a computer under control of a keyboard with all the vowel keys missing. Essentially though, early use in Scotland suggests that the refs are seeking to circumvent VAR’s potential to throw a spotlight on their errors. The penalty at Celtic Park yesterday lends credence to that i argument I would suggest. Fans of other clubs, well most other clubs, will have examples of their own that back that up.

  5. Big Pink 13th November 2022 At 11:45


    Watching Sportscene on i-player this morning there were some VAR calls for and against a lot of teams. There is only one team since it was introduced who have not suffered a bad call. There are no prizes for guessing who that team is.

    Sadly it is panning out as many people predicted it would, and already the lack of transparency which is a trademark of the SFA is evident regarding VAR. We really need a complete overhaul of the Refereeing system to ensure we get the best candidates available. There is zero chance of that though.

  6. Upthehoops 13th Nov 13.57

    So Rangers are being favoured by the correct decisions being made after the intervention of VAR?
    I would be interested to see where & when those “bad calls” have taken place?. One only has to look at the ball to face incident in mid-week which caused such a furore on sm as one example of people seeing what they want to see rather than what actually happened.

  7. I have seen many comments on the injury woes of Rangers and it would be interesting to see how many were related to actual physical contact in games or training, how many not related to the aforementioned, etc. I believe most professional sports teams supply their players ( or assets) with a work out guide with the onus on the player to follow away from the on field training sessions. This program normally has a dietary program as well. Have Rangers supplied their players with such a program and is there any follow up to see if it is being adhered too. With their income strategy based on player sales for future investment you would think any such plan would be strictly applied. Who wants to buy a player with a history of injury problems . Oops, forgot about John Soutar. Maybe a question or two for the upcoming AGM.

  8. Just listening to a podcast of Radio Clyde’s phone in yesterday. Apparently Celtic can’t complain about VAR if they win. Apparently because they have a lot of good players at their disposal they have to accept rules not being properly applied.

    …oh my sides!

  9. Upthehoops 13th November 2022 At 18:39
    ‘…Apparently because they have a lot of good players at their disposal they have to accept rules not being properly applied…’
    Ha,ha!, UTH.
    We were speaking about ‘handicapping’ in sport recently, but by jingo that would be carrying things a bit too far!
    Mind you, the perverted minds of our Scottish football Governance bodies are already so set on the path of untruth as to make it not impossible that they quietly espouse the sports philosophy of the ars.hole on Clyde who came away with that one.!
    Honest to God

  10. From a piece by Anita Mulholland in today’s ‘The Scotsman’ discussing an Employment Tribunal judgment. The piece is headlined ” Football discrimination case ends in defeat for one avid supporter of Rangers.”

    ” Mr McClung explained that he had been a Rangers fan for 42 years and spent most of his excess income on games.He attended at least two home matches a month…He had club membership and supported their charitable organisations…He was also a strong supporter of the monarchy and unionism and he submitted that these were commonly shared traits amongst Rangers fans. He believed his support for Rangers was a way of life and considered it akin to a religion…
    The judge did not doubt that he was a devoted supporter. However, it was acknowledged that there is a difference between “support” and “belief”
    While a supporter of a football team might be ” actively interested in and concerned for the success of” their team, that is not the same as holding a belief that something “exists or is true”, nor does it have an impact on a weighty or substantial aspect of human life…”
    The full 23-page judgment dated October 2021 is at
    I found it entertaining

  11. I have just come across this mention of the deficiencies of Companies House.
    I have wondered over the years since 2012 how a newly set up plc whose source of revenue derives from the football club founded in 2012 of which it is the ‘holding company’ could get away with launching itself on the market as being the ‘holding company’ of a 140-year-old historically very successful football club!
    It seems to me that the whole system of legal control over the ‘business’ world really does need overhauling, and that the ‘law’ is heavily weighted in favour of chancers and bad guy ‘entrepreneurs’ and ‘businessmen’.
    Companies House does feck all, it seems, to check the bon fides of start-up companies, and I know from personal experience that the FCA can ‘lose’ correspondence that it does not want to read and respond to.

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