The fall-out from the Josh Meekings handball in the Scottish Cup Semi-Final continues. Apparently the SFA has employed a consultant to pull together a straightforward, plausible account of what the officials saw, said and did. But he’s having a bit of trouble…
As far as we know, the SFA hasn’t yet replied to Celtic’s letter, ICT are unhappy that Meekings ended up before the Judicial Panel, and the MSM are openly questioning the competence of the men at the top. It’s all going pretty well!
Fair play to Keith Jackson for calling out Stewart Regan in fairly strong terms – portraying him as being Basil Fawlty-esque.
“Meekingsgate affair is a scandal, so why is Stewart Regan brushing it under the carpet?”
However, it seems likely that it will take much more than some harsh words from the Record to effect change at the top – most probably a concerted effort by clubs, media and fans over a significant period of time. The clubs have the most direct power, but are they willing to use it?
It was good to see the Record using John Cleese’s work to make a point about the state of the Scottish game. Now, about that dead blue parrot, Keith…
But the humour soon ran dry, and Keith followed the media pack in taking a pop at Celtic – particularly Peter Lawwell – for writing to the SFA and making a public comment about it, suggesting that
“They were nodding towards all manner of hoary old conspiracy theories. With that letter Lawwell dragged our game back into a very dark place – somewhere dangerously close to disrepute“…
“Regan should have been man enough to tell Celtic’s chief executive to wind his neck in”
Wind his neck in?! Is Peter Lawwell now Inspector Gadget as well as being ruler of the Universe?!
“Better still” continues Mr Jackson, “Regan should have reminded him of his duty to the game in this country as a member of the SFA’s board“.
Dear me! Is this before or after Mr Regan has a similar word with himself Keith?!
But that wasn’t the end of it. Yesterday, Gordon Waddell treated us to a full tour de farce on the issue:
“Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell is the perfect man to lead the Parkhead giants… but he should consider his position at the SFA”
Mr Waddell begins by extolling Lawwell’s virtues as Celtic’s CEO:
“Driven, obsessively controlling, politically astute, manipulative. A master of the dark arts. There’s nothing he won’t do to get Celtic what they want. No-one he won’t attempt to control to get it.”
Yes, I am sure that’s all meant to be complimentary…
But then the hatchet really comes out, suggesting that Lawwell
“is exactly the wrong type to be on the SFA’s board – because he wouldn’t recognise the greater good if the Green Brigade wrote it on a 40-foot banner and hung it on his office wall”
Lawwell apparently “appealed to the chip-on-the-shoulder victimhood of those convinced the establishment is out to get the Parkhead team at every turn. Forgetting all along that their man and their club ARE the establishment…. And then he trotted out John Collins to pour a little more fuel on the fire in midweek, cast a few more aspersions”
What a load of nonsense! Where exactly was the appeal to victimhood in Celtic’s public utterances?! Furthermore, a FIFA Vice-President (who Keith Jackson managed to quote in aid of his argument about the deficiencies of the SFA) was clear that Celtic were within their rights to ask questions of their Association, just as lots of others do.
For example, Stephen Thompson of Dundee United “blasted” the SFA and (brace yourselves!) sent them a letter regarding venue and ticketing for the 2014 Scottish Cup Semi-Finals. Thompson is on the SPFL Board and the SFA Council, and I don’t recall The Record pulling him up with talk of considering the “greater good”.
And at the more intergalactic level, we have the time when Campbell Ogilvie himself complained to UEFA demanding action against a player and referee following a controversial draw for Scotland against the Czech Republic during Euro 2012 qualifying. That was certainly far more robust than Celtic’s querying letter to the SFA, and didn’t exactly seem geared towards the “greater good”. [Hat-tip to Celtic Quick News, who covered this a few days ago
Peter Lawwell’s SFA position simply should not be an issue here. His club has the right to ask a question. End of story. Celtic didn’t grandstand or “demand” anything, and the manager didn’t have a public rant! Hell, the public statement about the letter didn’t even try to intimidate anyone by having Lawwell’s name on it! His club simply asked a question….
Contrary to popular opinion, Lawwell didn’t appoint himself to his SFA roles. He is there in a representative capacity like many other board members. In Lawwell’s case, he represents the clubs and professional game, and I hope he is a colossal nuisance on behalf of them all on a regular basis! People wear multiple hats all the time and are quite capable of making a distinction between them. In any case, Lawwell is just ONE person on the boards. Are all the other members silent and/or incapable of arguing with him? Of course not…
It could be argued that others around the SFA boardroom table have question marks against their ability to recognise the greater good. One was a former director of Rangers, had an EBT, and remained in office throughout the collapse and subsequent footballing investigation of the club.. Another seemed to cheer-lead the shoehorning of Sevco into a higher division, but was thwarted by fans and clubs who really were acting for the greater good of the game…
But no one is using a national newspaper to question their ability to act dispassionately for the greater good of the game. I wonder why?
It is worth noting when Lawwell was pressed in person about the Meekings handball issue a few days ago, he actually declined to comment further owing to his position at the SFA!
As for John Collins “adding fuel to the fire”… Well that seems to be a matter of opinion!
From the comments I saw, Collins seems to have gone out of his way to avoid whipping up the issue.
I suspect that Peter Lawwell isn’t going to be leaving his position within the SFA any time soon, and nor should he. The game needs people to ask questions of the governing bodies, and if Celtic’s CEO is doing so, then that’s a good thing as far as I am concerned.
Finally, although this blog has taken the Record to task, their unexpected flair for self-deprecation has to be applauded. Their current Twitter banner picture is a lamb…
Succulent irony, eh?