Scottish Football

The Scottish Sports Pundits’ Benevolent Fund


Good Afternoon (and please vote ‘Clumpany’ by 30 October!).

The Scottish Sports Pundits’ Benevolent Fund is a little-known charitable organisation. So little-known in fact that I might have made it up…

But apparently it does great work in helping those who have fallen on hard times. ‘Hard times’ being defined as ‘having run out of vacuous clichés to spout, and obvious things to say’. As you can imagine, it does a brisk trade…

But today they are in for a HUGE windfall!

The money is going to come rolling in quicker than you can say “Dave King’s overflowing war chest”!

Kerching! Kerching! Kerching!

And what is the cause of this unexpected torrent of cash?

A huge number of pennies are going to be collected up and given to the fund. The pennies in question being the ones that dropped in the minds of the Scottish sports commentariat following Scotland’s narrow defeat to Australia in the Rugby World Cup yesterday.

Yes folks, there has been a sudden overwhelming, anger-inducing realisation that [*gasp*] referees sometimes get things very wrong indeed. And sometimes on the big occasion. And there is nothing you can do about it. And it can really hurt, and leave you calling for reviews and an improvement in the quality of officiating.

Here is an example of the collective angst that has been on display today. I picked Tom English’s comments because the first line of this quote is so ‘spectacular’ that it deserves a wider audience!

“What happened next will be the source of bitterness and rancour until the end of time. Craig Joubert is now, to Scots, the rugby equivalent of Butcher Cumberland. 

It wasn’t just the fact that he got his call hopelessly, and head-wreckingly, wrong in giving Australia the match-winning penalty. It should have been a scrum, not a chance for Bernard Foley to drive a dagger into the heart of the Scots.

It wasn’t just the fact, either, that before the fateful line-out that led to the fateful penalty Joubert had missed a late tackle on Stuart Hogg and then, inexplicably, declined to go and check it on the big screen. Why would he not check it? It’s the dying seconds of a World Cup quarter-final. You check it.

Joubert was a catastrophe for many reasons. A sin-binning for Sean Maitland early in the second half was another ludicrously harsh call. Australia would have had their own gripes, no question. They, too, had plenty of cause for protest, but winners don’t protest. Winners advance and say nothing.

The South African’s piece-de-resistance came right at the end, though. Not the Hogg incident or the penalty that should have been a scrum, but his sprinting from the field on the full-time whistle, like a scalded cat, without having the respect to stand and shake hands with two monstrously brave sets of players and, yes, take the heat of the crowd into the bargain.

Joubert ran away. On a day that contained so many heroic performances, his last act was to turn on his heels and disappear.”

Wow! Who knew that match officials could be so bad, and with such disastrous consequences?

Well maybe Scottish football fans knew. We have long felt that the standard of refereeing in our game is appalling, and have repeatedly felt that a variety of games (both show-piece and routine) have been ruined by them. Saturday’s Alan Muir-fest in the Motherwell-Celtic fixture was just the latest example of this apparent ineptitude which never seems to result in either sanction or improvement.

However, now that parts of the sports media have realised the effect of desperately poor officiating, and can see the benefit of improving it, we can presumably expect to see them applying their frustration and scrutiny to the SFA’s men in black.

Can’t we?


NB The Clumpany has made it to the final of the Football Blogging Awards 2015!Many thanks for your support! All votes from the previous round have been wiped out so your renewed support would be greatly appreciated! I understand that you can vote more than once.

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