Apart from the SPL clubs and the Setanta situation, there are several football clubs in the SFL with one foot in the grave and another on a banana skin.
Foremost amongst these are two clubs, Clyde and Livingston. Both clubs inhabit stadiums built for them and owned by their local councils. Both clubs moved to their current home towns in relatively recent times, Clyde from Shawfield in Rutherglen just outside Glasgow and Livingston from Ediburgh where as Meadowbank Thistle they played at the former Commonwealth stadium in Edinburgh bearing that name.
Cumbernauld and Livingston did much to attract senior football to their towns but both clubs have had a chequered history since making the moves.
Clyde had an association at one time with current Hamilton Accies owner Ronnie McDonald which saw them flirt with the SPL. They also famously knocked Celtic out of the Scottish cup a few years ago, but the Cumbernauld public never seemed to respond in the required numbers to push the club higher.
Livingston did play in the SPL and they actually won a trophy (The CIS Cup) under the stewardship of Dominic Keane. Unfortunately Keane’s bankers were less than impressed with the balance sheet and called in their debt leaving Keane a broken man and forced out of the club.
Enter Pearse Flynn an aggressive Irish businessman whose mission seemed to be complaining through the media that first division clubs needed to have a bigger slice of the financial cake. He was one of the main architects behind SP Hell 2.
Unfortunately his business which was run from Ireland and cold called people in the UK with debt advice, ie how to pay Paul by robbing Peter, hit problems when staff who hadn’t been paid for seven weeks were laid off in early 2008.
At that stage Flynn needed out of Livi quick and he sold out to an Italian consortium led by Angelo Massone.The club has lurched from crisis to crisis in the intervening period. Various episodes including wages not being paid to Flynn suing the new owners (successfully) for £300k, culminated on Friday with Scottish Power cutting off the electricity at Alamondvale.
Romanov pinpoints the source of Hearts problems.
Bates. Many consider him to be Master.
What is it about owners of Scottish football clubs who come from outwith Scotland? From Canadian Ron Dixon at Dundee who thought that greyhound racing was the way forward, to Englishman Ken Bates at Partick Thistle who talked of challenging the dominance of the Old Firm through Gretna’s Brookes Mileson, Flynn mentioned above and Lithuanian Vladimir Romanov at Hearts who spoke of winning the Champions League (!).
They have all provided plenty column inches for the papers but one wonders whether the highland air affected them all in some way?
Some may say they were/are all barmy, I couldn’t possibly comment.
Anyway, getting back to Livingston’s immediate problems, a potential saviour has appeared on the horizon. He has promised to work with Massone to resurect Livi and continue senior football in West Lothian.
(At this stage I’d advise any Dumbarton FC supporters to sit down)
He’s Neil Rankine.
Several contributors here know Neil well from his twenty year spell as major shareholder at Dumbarton.
I knew him pretty well.
Hmmm, Nice stadium - on land too!
On the plus side Neil got Dumbarton a new stadium of a manageable size and kept them clear of the kind of debt that other clubs are struggling with. It was a strategy that ensured the future of the club.
On the negative side one never quite knew what Neil was up to. In the twenty years prior to his stewardship the Sons were consistently in the first division. Under Neil’s guidance we became permanent fixtures in the second division. This situation was only remedied by the introduction of a third division.
His reputation became such locally that one newspaper editor (perhaps unfairly) Christened him “Rankbadyin”.
Neil seems attracted to small football clubs. As well as his now relinquished interest in Dumbarton, he owns by proxy, the major shareholding at East Fife and also attempted to take over Airdrieonians a few years ago when they were in a Livi type situation.
Neil has an unerring knack of spotting opportunities connected to potential land value. It may be that this could be turned to Livi’s advantage in dealings with the owners of Almondvale and major creditors, ie the local council. In that respect look for a proposed deal this week if Neil does become involved.
However much it would be to Livi’s short term advantage to have Neil on board, I suspect the long term advantage will accrue to Neil himself.
Knowing Neil that’ll certainly be the plan!
Edit: I almost forgot, the reason for the title of the post apart from the play on words was that Neil glories in the name he gave himself while at Dumbarton – “Doctor No”
Filed under: Football, Scotland | Tagged: almondvale, angelo massone, dominic keane, dumbarton fc, livingston fc, neil rankine, pearse flynn, SPL 2 | 6 Comments »