Scottish Football, SFA, SPFL

The Nuclear Option

Good Morning.

Many Scottish football fans grumble about the domestic authorities appearing to be a law unto themselves and utterly unaccountable to us. Many also have issues with the way the boards of our respective clubs operate.

We want changes.

Big changes.

And in the normal course of events we are left to whistle. The folk who run the game won’t answer to fans, and club boards don’t – despite the odd bit of rhetoric to the contrary  – really care what the likes of you and me think. 

To some extent that’s OK. The game and its member clubs need ‘professional’ administrators to run them [*insert joke here*]. But there is a line beyond which the ‘executive distance’ between those running the show and those paying for it becomes outrageous. A line beyond which it becomes obvious that the fans are being taken for complete mugs and contemptuously treated like a herd of unthinking cash cows.

Ladies and gentleman, as far as I am concerned, that line was crossed a long time ago, and those running the show at Hampden and at member clubs are so out of touch that they have disappeared over the horizon. The collective disgust of fans about the governance of our game and the clubs’ seeming reluctance to do anything about it probably doesn’t even register on their radar most of the time.

And it stinks.

But once a year football fans in Scotland are handed some real power. It may be fleeting, but if used wisely it is potentially devastating. So much so that the clubs are terrified of you using it.

I speak of course about season book renewal time. Scottish football is not blessed/cursed with the obscene TV income of the English Premier League, and so the revenue generated by the bulk-purchase of season books is absolutely crucial to their business plan and ultimate survival. 

As we saw with the ‘No to Newco’ campaign in 2012, if enough folk threaten to keep their hands in their pockets rather than splash the cash on a season book, the clubs WILL be spooked.

They WILL listen.

And they WILL act in response. 

Because they NEED your money. This goes as much for Premiership sides as much as it does those in League 2.

You know the stories behind that shamefully overfamiliar list of issues:

  • Resolution 12
  • The LNS farce 
  • The secret 5-Way Agreement
  • The Big Tax Case outcome
  • The leadership of the game provided by Messers Regan and Doncaster.
  • Etc.

You know that answers and transparency regarding fans’ concerns have been in extremely short supply, year after year.

You also know that things WILL stay the same unless unwilling hands are forced.

There is only one opportunity each year  to make change happen, and it is now upon us

If you have no concern about whether Scottish football is actually a sport with even-handed administration and proper accountability, and if your only interest is in following your team, then go ahead and buy your season book. 

However, if you have even the slightest pang of doubt about the integrity and governance of our game, and if you want to see your club stand up for a level playing field and competent, transparent administration, then you should exercise your leverage.

Contact your club, remind them of that list of ‘familiar issues’, and tell them that you will not buy a season book unless you receive reassurances about their willingness to act.

And then sit tight and wait for the panic to set in.

Thanks for reading.