It’s a strange phenomenon whereby any old person can rock up at an Ibrox football club and instantly be given a platform to spout whatever pish they like by sections of the mainstream media.
And so it is that Minister Warbmeister has (once again) been given free rein to set out an unquestioned manifesto for Scotland’s national game.
As Kevin Ferrie explains in the Herald:
“Improving Scottish football would involve playing fewer Old Firm games than was customary before Rangers fall from grace rather than getting back to a routine of playing four a season, according to the Ibrox club’s current manager.
Mark Warburton has previously made clear his support for extending the Premier League and for all that his team took a step closer to regaining top flight status last week he is in no mood to retreat from the view.
Instead he has gone further in suggesting that having just one guaranteed home game a season against Celtic would be good for them and good for Scottish football as a whole.
‘If you want things to change, if you want things to improve, then there has to be some short-term pain for longer term gain,’ he suggested.
‘Sometimes you’ve got to embrace some different ideas, but my personal opinion is that you’ve got to improve the quality of the product.'”
Well that’s all very nice Mark.
But the key point here is unwittingly highlighted by Mr Ferrie in the next paragraph:
“New to the Scottish game as he may be Warburton is speaking from experience of what adds real value to fixtures and competitions”
And what experience would that be? What does Mark ’47 Text Messages From England’ Warburton actually know about adding real value to fixtures and competitions?
Let’s have a look at what our good friend Wikipedia has to say:
Even if we add in his coaching career and role in the creation of the short-lived NextGen Series, you still have to conclude that his “experience of what adds real value to fixtures and competitions” is more likely to be in organising the ‘City Traders’ Dominoes League’ rather than in reshaping the structure of Scotland’s national game.
And he certainly has precisely no knowledge of what a so-called ‘Old Firm’ game was like. And never will…
But bless him, Warbo tries his best:
“In my personal opinion it is (worth sacrificing two Old Firm games) because last year, playing for the Championship Brentford fans hadn’t been to the City Ground for many years, hadn’t been to Blackburn Rovers, hadn’t been to Elland Road, hadn’t been to Carrow Road and they were big days out.”
“They hadn’t been to Fulham for a while and took six and a half, seven thousand there and those type of big days out were great for the fans. It was fantastic. The backing we received was magnificent.”
“Here we’ve now played Hibs four times (11 in all since the start of 2014/15) is it? That tells you everything… we’re not at the end of the year yet and we’ve played our nearest rival apparently four times. I’m not sure how you maintain the uniqueness or the attraction of a fixture if you have that many games.”
Hmmm. Warbo seems to have missed the slight difference in size between the Scottish and English Leagues, and the number of ‘clubs’ south of the border with attendances of (say) 20,000 and above against whom the first fixture in a number of years could genuinely be seen as an ‘event’ to get excited about.
There is also the question of whether the strength-in-depth exists in Scottish senior football to justify league structures that would only allow teams to play each other twice per season, and the crucial issue of whether such arrangements would be attractive to sponsors and broadcasters.
And the last time I looked, Sevco seemed as though they should be particularly keen to attract as much money into the game as possible.
But such trivialities are clearly not worth pondering in a national newspaper. Warbo has had his say as the Sevco manager, and that is seemingly good enough for the Herald!
And finally, congratulations to the Herald on making me laugh out loud by describing Rangers’ self-inflicted collapse and liquidation as a “fall from grace”. That was an absolute belter!