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Whether Sporting Integrity?

What a hollow ring that phrase, used so often last year, has now.

The main protagonist was Raith Rovers chairman Turnbull Hutton when he accused the football authorities of bully boy tactics in trying to parachute the Rangers newco into the first division. Of course most football fans agreed with the notion that the newco should start again at the bottom and that is what they did.

However the bellicose tripe from Hutton didn’t cease. He was lauded as a folk hero, the small man speaking up for the downtrodden – the mouse that roared etc.

Given events yesterday, I can only assume that Turnbull and his fellow integritists have been kidnapped. This is because we have SPL2 back on the agenda. Perhaps someone can tell me quite how sporting integrity is maintained by giving a V sign and a ‘f**k you to smaller clubs staging a breakaway from the Scottish League?

I listened to Hamilton Accies Chairman Les Gray on the radio last night bleating on that he still favoured a ’42 club all through distribution model’ but if they can’t have that then a breakaway is on the cards.

Gray declared that it was impossible for his club to maintain full-time football on crowds of 1,000 and with the current distribution of sponsorship money.

Using your skill and judgement, see if you can think of a financially prudent and quite simple step that Mr Gray could take here.

That my own club Dumbarton, seem to be involved in this nonsense surprises me but we’ll no doubt hear more details in the coming days.

Making a Point

The Sons, almost unbelievably, are one point from first division safety following their comfortable 4-1 home victory against Airdrie United yesterday. In a reprise of last season’s 2nd leg play off result at Airdrie they never looked in any serious danger of not winning the game.

Goals from Graham, McGinn, McDougall and Agnew settled the comfortable affair and now Sons only need a point from their last two games, or indeed for either Dunfermline or Cowdenbeath do drop a point in theirs to guarantee safety.

This is all of course notwithstanding tomorrow’s meeting at Hamilton called by the seriously deluded and frankly bonkers concerned Hamilton chairman Les Gray following the SPL vote which kicked the league reconstruction vote into touch this week.

The meeting will no doubt discuss the idea of an SPL2 once again.

Hopefully wise counsel amongst the other clubs will prevail.

It may not though.

In the meantime, another quite remarkable season for the Sons.

Clear as Mud

Les Gray the Hamilton Accies chairman is actually in a tribute band for Mud, they’re called ‘Fud’ and they do an amusing angle on some of the old hits.

All night long, it’s been plain to see
We’ve had more decisions from the referee
We’re full time in this town
We’re SPL 2 bound
With a crowd of nine hundred and forty three…….

That’s right that’s right that’s right that’s right – I talk a lot of shite
That’s neat, that’s neat, that’s neat, that’s neat – We’ll get there if we cheat

We’ll get there if we cheat

If we cheat
If we cheat
If we cheat


Talk about Dunfermline if you like
Why don’t you all just go and take a hike?
We’re for the latest wheeze
Survival is a breeze
With all the dough Donkeyster’s gonna gie’s……..

That’s right that’s right that’s right that’s right – I talk a lot of shite
That’s neat, that’s neat, that’s neat, that’s neat – We’ll get there if we cheat

We’ll get there if we cheat

If we cheat
If we cheat
If we cheat

Fool time!

(Middle eight!)

I know the crowd was less that that last night but 943 rhymed

Fool Time

I have been listening in recent days to the thoughts of Neil Doncaster (SPL chairman) and Stewart Regan (Chief Executive of the SFA) on league reconstruction.

I have become quite alarmed by what seems like a collective fixation, an obsession with maintaining full-time status for middle ranking clubs in Scotland. Hamilton Accies chairman Les Gray was on the radio at the weekend maintaining that if the wee clubs don’t fall into line with his thinking of everyone subsidising his vanity project, then Accies would possibly join a breakaway SPL2. Shortly after the interview, Les watched his team, along with 942 others (over 300 of whom were opposition supporters) being defeated by a part-time side.

Last night Sons visited New Douglas Park again and this time the crowd was 775.

It seems like Accies are a bit like Gretna, but without a benefactor slowly (rapidly) going broke by subsidising them.

What is it about club chairmen like Les? Haven’t they witnessed like the rest of us the vain attempts of middle ranking clubs at maintaining full-time staff and financial equilibrium?

Gretna, Partick Thistle, Livingston, Airdrieonians, Clydebank and Dunfermline have all either ceased or almost ceased to exist because of this policy. Morton, Falkirk and Raith Rovers have all had well publicised financial problems too.

Every single full time current middle ranking club in Scotland is on that list.

And yet club chairmen like Les Gray ignore the evidence.

They seem to all have embraced and jumped aboard a bus with no brakes bound for oblivion.

Donkeyster and Regan repeat the full-time mantra as if it were written in scripture. Indeed it is almost like some religious faith that is being placed in the thoughts of these guys, neither of whom had probably given much thought to Scottish Football before they were employed by it.

Neither will they have to pick up the pieces when they have gone and the consequences of their actions manifest themselves.

Here we have an ‘industry’ whose companies, individually and collectively, are in the eye of a financial shitstorm.

And yet all the discussion on how to move forward, focusses on how to maintain the high costs of a tier of clubs who are all pretty much struggling.

Donkeyster says they’ll get more money.

But from where?

The proposed new league doesn’t have a sponsor as far as I know.

Les Gray seems to think that his club will benefit to the tune of £250,000 should the proposals go through.

Last night’s box office at Hamilton, even if you include season ticket holders’ contribution, would not even have been £10,000. Just how will more supporters be attracted to watch a similar game next season just because it has a different label?

They won’t.

So Les wants subsidised. The £250,000 won’t be found down the back of a chair in the Hamilton boardroom.

The fans have consistently said that they want a bigger top league. Regan and Donkeyster say a sixteen top league is a non starter because there aren’t sixteen teams strong enough to compete at the top-level.

Yet they maintain there are 24 strong enough to maintain a fool time set up?

In what other industry would there be a market research which showed that the consumer didn’t like purple coloured baked beans and the industry responded by telling them it was purple or nothing?

I finish my rant with this point. Who is the better motivated player?

A full timer on £500 per week with a club struggling to pay that wage?

Or a player who has a job outside football paying him £500 per week and he gets £200 for playing part-time?

And which model would help the medium and long-term future of Scotland’s middle ranking clubs?

Safe in the Seventies

First in a series. Les’s jacket is cool but his breeks are cooler!