Scottish Football, SFA

Social Unrest Disguised As Bullsh*t

Good Evening.

Today’s earlier blog was all about the sheer joy to be had from Scottish football playing out its amazing story this weekend through a series of competitive fixtures which took place on a level playing field.

A Feast Of Football

My blog, and an old Express article from the excellent ‘@mintys_lamb’ Twitter account promoted me to dwell upon someone whose utterances at a significant point in 2012 seemed completely at odds with the concepts of open competition and level playing fields. Someone whose views still seem as utterly appalling now as they first did then.

I speak of Mr Stewart Regan, Chief Executive of the SFA. And if anyone can explain why the senior clubs in Scottish football continue to stand by while he remains in office I would love to hear it!

The particular ‘vintage’ piece which led to the writing of this blog is available at the following link, and I urge you all to think about it very carefully indeed:
Regan fears dark times if Gers disappear

Published on 5 July 2012, the article was written in that strange Twilight Zone of which the Scottish MSM will never speak. That head-in-the-sand period when Rangers had been sent off to the liquidators, and the new owners of its assets were trying to find a senior division in which the basket of ‘stuff’ they hoped to name ‘Rangers’ could play.

These things definitely happened, folks! And the liquidation-deniers writing the daily sports news in Scotland can never make the facts disappear! 

As its contents are so significant, I am posting the article from the Express in full:

“SFA chief executive Stewart Regan last night warned that Scottish football without Rangers would lead to social unrest. Regan’s remarkable claim followed the SPL’s decision to reject the newco club’s request to be admitted to the top flight.  The Hampden supremo talked of meltdown and Armageddon for the game in an emotional declaration designed to persuade SFL clubs to back the SFA’s plea to let Rangers join the First Division.

Regan, said: “Without Rangers, there is social unrest and a big problem for Scottish society. The club has a huge fan-base and to contemplate the situation where those fans don’t have a team to support, where those fans are effectively left without a game to follow, I just think that could lead to all sorts of issues, all sorts of problems for the game.

“There are thousands of Rangers fans whose fathers and parents and grandfathers have been Rangers fans. You can’t contemplate a situation without that and if Rangers weren’t to exist that could have dire consequences.”

The SFA is adamant that putting the newco into the Third Division is not a viable option. Regan maintained: “There is no alternative (to the First Division).

“There is a lot of emotion around this because Rangers are a huge institution in Scottish football yet they are where they are. Their fans have been hurt, they don’t know what’s happening. There hasn’t been a great deal of leadership at the club or a huge amount of communication from the football authorities for the right reasons because a lot of it has been legal dialogue and managing of judicial processes. But there has to be an understanding about how serious this is. And as much as there was a lot of emotion at the SFL meeting on Tuesday there was also a realisation from a substantial group of clubs that they couldn’t contemplate the future without Rangers.”

Rangers have requested SFL entry and Regan is adamant it must be in the second tier of Scottish football. He said: “I think there is room to bargain but I wouldn’t position it as a negotiation because we have to work in collaboration. This is time for clear heads. There is time to get it in place because the SFL can call meetings at short notice – five days – and I understand that could be Wednesday or Thursday next week. 

If there is an agreement amongst SFL clubs there would also have to be an agreement of SPL clubs at their AGM on July 16 and a legal document setting out terms by which Rangers re-enter football through the First Division. Then it would be all systems go.”

Regan was asked what might happen should Ally McCoist’s side not get promoted in one year.

“The game would have another year to suffer with the financial consequences that brings,” he replied. 

“But there isn’t an alternative to them in the First Division other than a long, slow, lingering death for the game here.””

Seriously, have you EVER heard such nonsense? “Bend to the SFA’s interpretation of what is best, or face the death of the game they are duty-bound to protect, as well as some social unrest”!

The spectacle of the Chief Executive of Scottish football’s governing body seemingly trying to use economic and societal scare stories to influence his members is absolutely laughable! And – let’s be honest – a media worth its salt would long-ago have put this issue to bed by asking Regan to back up his assertions with evidence…

I must admit that the first time I heard Regan’s ‘social unrest’ comments they struck me as something that a former cricket administrator wouldn’t ever normally say in any context whatsoever. I wondered then (and I still wonder now) if someone had perhaps suggested to Regan that he should use the phrase, no matter how many cries of “horsesh*t” it generated.

If someone did suggest the idea to Regan, the taxpayers of the United Kingdom still deserve to know who it was. What’s more, we also deserve an apology from the SFA regarding its brazen scaremongering in 2012. The game survived – as it always would – because it has priceless tradition and lots of money-spending people who love it.

One might argue that the only real threat of ‘Armageddon’ ever faced by Scottish football was the awful prospect of its senior administrators being tempted to put something before the basic concept of ‘achievement on merit’ in our national sport in 2012.

I don’t know about you, but I feel inclined to social unrest just thinking about it… 😉