So, it has come down to this.
One game, and a two-goal margin stand between Motherwell and an end to their near-30-year tenure in the top flight.
What? You can here to read about Sevco, not Motherwell?
Are you #Obsessed?
OK, I’ll humour you…
So, it has come down to this.
One game, and a two-goal deficit stand between Sevco and their debut in the top-flight of Scottish football.
Or, if you are away with the fairies, between ‘Rangers’ and a ‘return’ to their ‘rightful place’ at the top of the game, after Scottish football vindictively ‘relegated’ them to the 3rd Division following the disastrous reign of Craig Whyte.
[My word that ‘same club’ stuff is laughable and nauseating guff, isn’t it?!].
Ever since Rangers let down the face painter and 275 other creditors, the media has been craving a top-flight Sevco. This would ‘bring back’ the days of duopoly-based football coverage, and mean regular meals from the Govan branch of the “Easy-Street Lamb Diner”.
In 2012, there were stories of numerous clubs going to the wall if Charles Green FC was not given a ‘leg up’ upon its creation. And ever since, there has been an unrelenting (but never evidenced) narrative that Scottish Football NEEDS a strong Ibrox-based entity in the top flight.
You know that’s pish.
I know that’s pish.
We all know that the last time such an entity was in the top division, massive financial doping and rule-breaking occurred, the game became a warped enterprise, and ultimately the entity died at its own hand.
So every time someone in the media has said that we need a ‘strong Rangers*’, most football fans in Scotland have laughed out loud and seen it as symptoms of lamb-withdrawal.
For the media, this afternoon’s game is huge. Many of their prayers will be answered if Sevco overturn the 3-1 deficit and open the door to old-school coverage of Scottish football again.
But it’s an even bigger game for our administrators. It should never be forgotten that for Messers Regan and Doncaster, this is a game that should never have had to be played.
If they had had their way, Sevco would have been admitted to the SPL without kicking a ball to merit it. Ahead of other clubs with a long history in the game, and a tendency to live within their means.
The fact that they were willing to forego any semblance of competition or sporting integrity (and yes I use that term advisedly and with some pride) simply to try and recreate the only model of Scottish football that they felt had any value tells you all you need to know about
- the perceived ‘special’ nature of the Ibrox brand at Hampden; and
- the apparent lack of interest in Scottish football being a genuinely level playing field.
It was, and remains a complete scandal.
A scandal compounded by the rhetoric used to try and scare the rest of Scottish football into one final fatal kowtowing to the alleged supremacy of the Ibrox brand.
“Slow lingering death”.
Gerrymandering Sevco into the higher divisions was that important to the governing bodies?
It might well have been important to the SFA, SPL and SFL, but Turnbull Hutton and the massed ranks of most Scottish fans raised an eyebrow, said “Aye right” and lobbied very hard indeed to see this nonsense put to bed.
It was a wonderful moment for the game in Scotland, and for the very principle of sport.
In the event, Charles Green Enterprises was able to field a team against Brechin in the first round of the 2012-13 Challenge Cup, and the likes of Spartans were left looking askance at the notions of rules and established admissions processes.
But some sort of common sense and sporting integrity prevailed. Despite the efforts of the… errr…’guardians’ of the game.
As I said in my previous piece, there is a long way to go in the Premiership play-off final, and we may yet see Sevco promoted.
Should that happen, it will be interesting to see whether the epic spending, loans, contractual arrangements and reduced squad catch up with Sevco next season. Then again, there is always the ‘War Chest’ to fall back on…
Fair play to Motherwell for putting themselves in a good position after the first leg and giving themselves every chance to stay up. I suspect they won’t care one jot about anything other than staying in the Premiership. And nor should they.
However, they have the opportunity to make a lot of people – if not People – smile.
They also have the opportunity to cause our football administrators a few sleepless nights. Which would be a shame.
This is a fixture that would never have happened if the people who run our game had had their way in 2012.
And that stinks. Terribly.
That Sevco are having to battle it out on a football pitch to get into the Premiership is a testament to the determination of those who love our game and who wish to see a level playing field.
So whatever the result this afternoon…. Fans of Scottish Football – take a bow.
You deserve the acclaim.