Scottish Football, SPFL

Neil Doncaster’s Cyborg Super-Squirrels

Good Morning.

After high-profile instances of

  • thousands of people publicly their yearning to be up to their knees in Fenian blood; and
  • the utterly reckless and tedious of pyro by folk who refuse to help themselves or the clubs they profess to love…

…the SPFL told us that it was going to discuss what to do about it. Personally I would have thought that an outright unambiguous public condemnation from those running the game would have been a good start, but that hasn’t yet really materialised.

Instead, yesterday’s Big Meeting discussed the notion of introducing Strict Liability – which was never likely to be accepted by the clubs and ethereal entity. It was – after all – roundly defeated the last time it was put to a vote.

With that idea having been dismissed, STV reports that:

“Clubs will consider a new set of rules and sanctions surrounding supporters’ conduct. The new plan would see punishments increase incrementally for clubs that fail to address misconduct and act to eradicate disorderly behaviour in stadia.

‘At the start, it’s a warning,” [SPFL Board member] Mike Mulraney explained. “That’s much the same as a number of punishments that happen in the law. Ultimately we’re looking at points deductions. That would be mandatory if you reached the top of the ladder: you would get a points deduction for failing'”.

It will be interested to see what these propsals ultimately look like, and whether the clubs and ethereal entity are even remotely willing to accept them. But on the face of it, this more specific and gradualist approach to sanctions is more appealing (and likely to be more consistent in its application) than allowing the game’s disciplinary processes carte blanche to police their perception of ‘inappropriate behaviour’.

But the big headline-grabbing idea from yesterday’s meeting is that Neil Doncaster has been busy in his shed, and has has created a race of genetically-engineered cyborg super-squirrels which can be let loose before every SPFL fixture. Provided that the SPFL can get £2m of public funding, the cyborg super-squirrels will scamper through the crowd recording every word uttered by fans, and monitoring every movement that they make. 

At the end of the match, they will reconvene in the back of a special Police Squirrelmobile where the collected data will be downloaded on to a computer in return for a handful of hazelnuts and ballbearings. The information will then be processed, and anyone found to have done something wrong will received a 5am visit from the Chief Cyborg Super-Squirrel, who will issue a ban from football and any other appropriate punishments. 

And it will eat all the nuts and metalwork in your house. Because it can.

That’s right, isn’t it?

Because this idea can’t be any more ridiculous than the notion of asking for taxpayers’ money to fund the installation of facial-recognition technology in football grounds. Technology that is entirely unnecessary given that there are CCTV and TV cameras in football grounds, as well as police who should be able to spot and address wrong-doing, and club databases of season-ticket holders that could be used to identify people if necessary.

It really is a stroke of genius by the SPFL to seriously contemplate the use of superfluous facial recognition technology, and thus further victimise and alienate its paying customers.

If they really want to introduce some helpful technology, why not try…errr… goal-line technology, or make preparations for the possible future roll-out of video replays for certain incidents (which could soon be trialled in the English and Scottish Cups). This might actually improve the officiating which infuriates paying customers week-in and week-out. 

Failing that, why not install Farce Recognition Technology at Hampden? It might actually improve the administration of the game and ultimately reduce the number of bat-shi*t crazy ideas we have to listen to…



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