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The Armageddon Files

Posted on May 22, 2013 by

The debate about whether Scotland could survive and flourish outside the Union is uncannily similar to the one that filled the media a year ago about whether Scottish football could live without Rangers. (And which by a strange and almost inexplicable coincidence tends to feature many of the same people on the respective sides.)

ibroxjack

As the events of the spring and summer of 2012 unfolded, even the game’s own governing body insisted that separating the rest of the SPL from the Union Jack-loving Ibrox club would reap a disastrous whirlwind of destruction, with businesses (sponsors) fleeing in terror and clubs becoming impoverished without the generous subsidy of thousands of visiting Rangers fans.

In the end, despite the most strenuous efforts of the SFA, SPL and SFL to override the wishes of their customers with a campaign of relentless and increasingly-hysterical fearmongering, the new “Rangers” was denied both entry to the SPL and a “leapfrog” into SFL 1, and joined Scottish football at the lowest professional level.

So how did post-apocalypse life turn out in the people’s game?

Firstly, of course, the terrifying scare stories about commercial abandonment didn’t come to fruition (just like we told you they wouldn’t). Sky and ESPN signed up for only slightly less money than they’d been due to under a previous draft contract which had included Old Firm games, with a much-needed share of the cash going to the SFL. Scottish football as a whole lost almost nothing. But what of the SPL?

spl2012

It’s surprisingly difficult to get anyone to agree on attendance figures for football clubs, but in order to compare apples with apples we’ve taken our figures from the official SPL website. Above is the last season of Rangers FC competing in the SPL. Now let’s look at the bleak, barren ruins of the division without Ally McCoist’s men and their army of ever-amiable travelling supporters.

spl2013a

Hang on, there must be some mistake.

Celtic were obviously the club most likely to suffer from the absence of their arch-rivals. With little realistic doubt that the Parkhead side would win the league and no head-to-head clashes with their Govan chums, league attendances were bound to suffer, particularly with fans also having the financial pressure of Champions League matches to accommodate. In the event, a drop of 3,987 per game will barely make a dent in coffers swollen by a vast cash bonanza from reaching the CL knockout stages.

For the sake of argument in this feature, we’ll assume very roughly that the average fan through the turnstiles is worth £25 to a club, in ticket price and anything they can be sold inside the ground, from programmes to pies and Cokes. Applying that figure, Celtic lost around £1.9m from lower league attendances, but gained ten times as much from the Champions League run. With no competition from Rangers for the SPL title and only a single CL place available from next season, the absence of the Ibrox side will likely continue to represent a sizeable net financial gain for Celtic for the forseeable future, even if they can’t repeat this season’s European heroics.

What, then, of everyone else? In a moment we’ll list the rise or fall in the rest of the league’s attendances, but first we need to point out a couple of things.

Firstly, obviously the non-Old Firm teams will have lost up to 75% of their big-money home games against the Ugly Sisters. Aberdeen, for example, had three matches at Pittodrie against Rangers and Celtic in 2011/12 but only one this season – a drop of 67% and a notional total loss of around 9000 tickets sold, or just under 500 per home game if spread across the entire season.

Secondly and less obviously, clubs also lost out by being on TV more. Sky and ESPN naturally tended to concentrate on Rangers and Celtic games, but they can’t just put Celtic on every single week to compensate, so other clubs were live on telly more often, damaging crowds.

Here, then, are the figures for clubs which were in the league in both seasons:

HEARTS: down 218
HIBERNIAN: up 580
ABERDEEN: up 314
DUNDEE UTD: up 65
MOTHERWELL: down 584
KILMARNOCK: down 890
ST MIRREN: down 104
ST JOHNSTONE: down 458
INVERNESS CT: up 15

Additionally, Dunfermline (4799) were relegated in 2011/12, with Dundee (5943) and Ross County (4430) joining the division. Let’s average the two promoted clubs at 5187, which gives us a notional gain of 388.

What all that means is that excluding the Old Firm, the SPL lost just 892 spectators net a week (or 178 per game) as a result of the absence of Rangers – a figure almost completely accounted for by the mass desertion of Kilmarnock fans.

(Whose 2011/12 average, it should be noted in fairness, was considerably distorted by Celtic’s 2012 title-winning party on April 7th, which saw almost 16,000 cram into Rugby Park – that’s 10,000 more than for this season’s comparable fixture against Neil Lennon’s side. Factor in the loss of Rangers games too and Killie’s underlying, like-for-like fall is closer to 155 than the 890 of the bare stats.)

traynor

Of course, devotees of succulent lamb will be screaming that you can’t just “exclude” the Old Firm. But we’ve already noted that Celtic gain financially overall because it’s much easier for them to qualify for the vast jackpots of the Champions League, and the fact is that most of the “diddy teams” have held onto most of their crowds – or even increased them – despite not hosting Rangers, and will also benefit from extra cash because they’ve finished a place higher up the league than they would have done with Rangers still in it.

Let’s take Hearts by way of example. Those lost 208 fans will have cost them roughly £99,000 in total over 19 home games. But finishing one place higher will recoup at least £85,000 straight away, and the rest will be taken care of many times over by the sellout crowd and TV rights for the Europa League tie with Liverpool. The club is of course still in a massive financial hole, but not because of the absence of Rangers.

And said absence at least gives the Tynecastle side a better chance of another Europa League spot next season. In 2012/13 the beneficiaries of that particular opportunity were Motherwell, who picked up two bonus home ties when Rangers went into liquidation and were ejected from European competition. The Fir Par club’s unsuccessful ties against Panathinaikos and Levante brought 15,321 fans through the turnstiles, which effortlessly eclipsed the fall in the side’s pathetic home crowds.

Divided across 19 SPL games, those “bonus” matches meant Motherwell’s average home gate in effect increased by 222 rather than falling by 584, as a direct result of the absence of Rangers. Add the TV revenues and the club is, like Celtic, a substantial net gainer from “Armageddon”.

(And that’s before you factor in the huge additional boost of almost £1 million that Motherwell’s bank balance will get from finishing second in the SPL rather than 3rd.)

motherwellfans

Similarly, St Johnstone may have lost roughly £218,000 from their steep fall in attendances, but they’ll play in the Europa League next season as a direct result of Rangers no longer being in the SPL. In 2012 their brief jaunt in the same competition brought 6,023 to McDiarmid Park to see the draw with Eskisehirspor, which would have instantly recovered £151,000 of those losses (at our £25 figure), before TV and participation money was factored in. Add the extra SPL prize money and it seems safe to say that the Saintees will also benefit overall from a Rangers-free SPL.

What we’ve learned so far, then, is that four SPL clubs managed to INCREASE their attendances despite the loss of Rangers fans, and three others were financially better off despite losing some fans at their home games. Of the others, most of Kilmarnock’s losses were accounted for by a single freak event, and St Mirren’s (104) entirely by losing Rangers fans (who boosted their average by 117 in 2011/12).

And in all this we haven’t factored in the effect on SFL 3, where everyone enjoyed two sell-out games against The New Young Rangers, often multiplying their typical crowds by ten on top of the TV money from the new Sky/ESPN deal and landing clubs run on shoestring budgets with a windfall that’ll keep them going for years.

peterhead0

It’s only possible to draw one rational conclusion from the evidence – “Armageddon” is in fact the best thing that’s happened to Scottish football for decades. Somehow, just about everyone seems to have come out a winner. Celtic are richer, most other SPL clubs are richer, and SFL clubs are richer.

(And of course, even the new Rangers is far richer than the old one was, having walked away from tens of millions of pounds of debt and a whole heap of wage bills and then somehow persuaded fans and investors to cough up another £20m, no matter how much many of them might be regretting that particular decision now.)

We’re not saying that Scottish independence will definitely work out the exact same way, of course. We’re just saying that perhaps it’s worth bearing in mind that people in positions of authority don’t always tell you the truth.

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    65 to “The Armageddon Files”

    1. David says:

      Scottish football still enjoys one of the best per capita attendance stats in Europe. For all the wealth and world-wide media attention that the English Premier League gets they still lag well behind Scottish football in attracting fans through the turnstiles.

    2. Finlay says:

      Comparing ourselves to England is pointless, so why does our media continually do it? Lately I saw the BBC ‘investigate’ if the the Welsh teams are eclipsing the Old Firm. Thee most pointless waste of energy of all time. What was it supposed to prove? Can’t we just focus on making Scottish Football the best it can be? Simply going ‘its not as good as the EPL’ then get depressed about it isn’t helping anyone. 
       

    3. Mosstrooper says:

      Your last sentence did it for me.
      People in authority don’t always tell the truth!
      Who’d a thunk it.

      Fitba eh? near as good as watching paint dry

    4. Another London Dividend says:

       While clubs must live within their means Scottish football is being ripped off by both BBC and Sky when you examine the relative TV incomes in England and Scotland against per capita viewing figures.
       From next season the lowest club in English Premiership will get £60 million a year from Sky for next five years.
        Using our licence fees, BBC recently paid £180 million to renew the Match Of The Day highlights programme which comes on top of  £15 million a year to broadcast highlights of lower English league games and an undisclosed sum for 10 Live English Championship games a season as part of a £265 million deal which brings English second tier £88 million a year.

      Contrast this with their failure to even attempt to bid for live Scottish Premier League football thus reducing the sum, £12 million a  year, Sky needed to bid to secure the rights.
       It doesn’t take a genius to work out that this is a terrible deal for Scottish football. The SPL is the 11th most-attended league in Europe, ahead of Switzerland, Austria and Norway, all of whom can command higher television revenue. 
       Based on viewing figures for SPL matches we should earn at least 5% of the UK total  which would be £60 million a year.  That would transform the game in Scotland.

       In Norway their domestic league football rights have been sold for £44 million a year.   Why is Norway so much better off?   They are independent.    Vote YES

       
      Read more at
      http://www.heraldscotland.com/sport/football/knowing-our-rights.18109410

    5. Doug Daniel says:

      One thing Scottish independence would hopefully improve is the coverage of Scottish football. Imagine living in Austria, turning on your TV at Saturday lunchtime to watch a magazine-style football show, and being peppered with stuff about the German Bundesliga. Then, there’s stuff about German Bundesliga 2. Finally, towards the end – if you’re lucky – there’s maybe 10 minutes about the top two teams in the Austrian Bundesliga. That’s the situation we’re in just now, where Football Focus and Soccer AM have helped promote the EPL into little more than the British Premiership.
       
      When we have our own broadcaster, we’ll be able to spend that part of the licence fee which goes towards Football Focus and Match Of The Day on something far better than the pathetic Sportscene. I mean, is it any wonder we have falling attendances when year upon year, young folk are growing up with almost all the coverage on the TV being the EPL, all the football magazines being focussed on the EPL, and our national news broadcaster giving us the English football results every Saturday, rather than the Scottish ones?
       
      Oh, and if there’s one thing this season in the SPL has shown, it’s that whatever happens, people and organisations adapt to the circumstances they find themselves in. That’s a lesson we can definitely apply directly to independence.

    6. Desimond says:

      “We’re all doomed…..doomed……what?…you’re joking…..FACTS LIE…..FACTS LIE!!!”
      Bravo Rev…now if you can just compare Ogilvies dinner date with Craig Whyte to Gordon Brown & Tony Blairs Deal then we are sorted!

    7. So are you saying we can walk away debt-free and still keep the Bannockburn and Stirling Bridge victories?  Sounds like a result to me even if we’d then have to be known as Newsco.

    8. Swello says:

      Motherwell’s european ties weren’t a “bonus” – they had qualified for europe anyway regardless of Rangers – it merely changed the competition they played in. 
      Also – there is no TV “participation money” – that model only applies in the Scottish Cup – so a club being on TV more times than previously has no direct benefit. 

    9. John Lyons says:

      Awesome.
       
      I propose when Rangers finally return to the SPL Celtic are relegated to DIV 3. Everyones a winner.

    10. balgayboy says:

      Doug @ 12.15;
      Agree, Scottish Independence will not only have the opportunity to promote Scottish football but also the vast array of other sports participated in Scotland that get little or no coverage by the the MSM or EBC Scotland. A future Independent Scotland will promote, encourage and sponsor all sports not only for individual success but a healthy and successful nation. Probably sounds like B.S. in this present day but very achievable with the right aspiration.

    11. orkers says:

      That’s right Stu …………..the SPL is booming.
      Why do you think the motivation is for the hurried attempts at reconstruction?
      The SPL is dying on it’s feet without the money from Rangers Supporters. All the free tickets can’t hide the results of their demotion to Division Three
      As they say in Cockney land …………..leave it out squire!
       

    12. Rod Mac says:

      One thing that unites us all is the bias and distortions of the MSM and Broadcasters towards us cybernats and Independence seekers.
      The virulent hatred and gross misconceptions anger and rightly upset us.
      As a Rangers supporter for all my life I take the same umbrage at the hate filled posts and comments of so many about Rangers and their supporters.
      Some would have you believe that ALL Rangers fans are union Flag carrying knuckle dragging Sash singing louts.
      More and more ,,or should I say less and less do you see the Union  Flag and more and more the Saltire at Ibrox.

      The reality is that the biggest bastion of British unionism in British Football is not Rangers FC  but those cheeky little Irish chappies in the East end of Glasgow.
      No other football club in UK has as many MPs ,MSPs and Councillors sitting in their stands of a Saturday than Celtic FC.
      All these true Brits are toe tapping to the Home Rule for Ireland songs ,and songs celebrating the killing of British soldiers and citizens.
      Come full time they become rabid British unionists in an instant.
      Do the acid test next time you peak to a Celtic supporting Unionist ,remind him he is a unionist ,and wait for the hate filled denial, to proportions of saliva oozing from the side of the mouth denial.
      That is the complete hypocrisy of Unionism and Celtic fans

      To the best of my knowledge no British Cabinet minister has ever been a Director of RFC.
      I know from speaking to my fellow Rangers fans more and more of them are like minded in an Independent Scotland as me.
      Yes there are die hard Unionists ,but no more so than anywhere else.

      Lastly we all took great offence at the Swastika doctored flag in the Scotsman.
      Do  tell me Rev is that an actual picture of the Govan Stand  or a little doctored like the Scotsman story to have a dig at one of the biggest institutions in Scotland.?????
      Hate them as much as you like however without dispute the biggest support in Scotland.

      Alieniate them if you wish ,that is a real wise way to profess  inclusiveness  and have them support the cause of Scottish Independence.
      It came over to me during the troubles of last year that indeed the ones most revelling in their hatred towards Rangers and their fans are the very same ones defending the Union and hating the SNP.
      One exception was Rufus of Scotsman fame  it was only time he and I were on same side.
      I have often reminded him he is now in the BT mob surrounded by a load of people who  attacked him and his club over last year.
      I am sick and tired of this “Unionist” type nonsense about Rangers and their fans
       

    13. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Do tell me Rev is that an actual picture of the Govan Stand or a little doctored like the Scotsman story to have a dig at one of the biggest institutions in Scotland.?????”

      It’s an actual picture, taken from what I hope you’ll consider a reliable source:

      http://forum.rangersmedia.co.uk/index.php?showtopic=239924

      I’m not that good with Paint Shop. And it’s not exactly hard to find similar things:

      http://images.yuku.com.s3.amazonaws.com/image/pjpeg/3231438ec0f284c13e361729ece50065fbba56.jpg

      http://stusreview.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/255tnvb.jpg

      http://images.ookaboo.com/photo/m/Ibrox_Stadium_Glasgow_Rangers_v_Internazionale_28Milan_29_2005__m.jpg

    14. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “That’s right Stu …………..the SPL is booming.
      Why do you think the motivation is for the hurried attempts at reconstruction?”

      Had the article said “the SPL is booming”, you’d have had an excellent point there. However, it doesn’t say that. It merely notes that the SPL isn’t any MORE fucked without Rangers than it was with them, which is what we were being told last year would happen. Indeed, it’s turned out to be slightly LESS fucked overall.

    15. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Motherwell’s european ties weren’t a “bonus” – they had qualified for europe anyway regardless of Rangers – it merely changed the competition they played in.
      Also – there is no TV “participation money” – that model only applies in the Scottish Cup – so a club being on TV more times than previously has no direct benefit. “

      Being moved up to the CL meant they got a bonus game, because they got bumped down to the Europa League when they were knocked out. And there’s certainly “participation money” in the Champions League – see the STV link in the Celtic bit.

    16. Rod Mac says:

      https://www.facebook.com/pages/Rangers-Supporters-for-Scottish-Independence/109020345928189
      Perhaps you all want to so scathing about Labour for Independence?

    17. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Hate them as much as you like however without dispute the biggest support in Scotland.”

      Um, the 2012 figures seem to fairly clearly show Celtic on 51,000 and Rangers on 46,000.

    18. Rod Mac says:

      From the  official Rangers website  you will note the very same stand minus the “doctored” Union flag
      http://www.rangers.co.uk/

    19. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “From the official Rangers website you will note the very same stand minus the “doctored” Union flag
      http://www.rangers.co.uk/

      Nothing has been “doctored”, at least certainly not by me. The picture is a few years old, as noted in the link.

      And just checking – are we REALLY disputing that Rangers fans have a fondness for the Union Jack? Because there isn’t a word in this article that attacks Rangers or their fans. It’s an article about whether we were fed a load of scaremongering bullshit by the Scottish football authorities and media last year, like we are about independence. Check your paranoia settings, they may be a little over-sensitive.

    20. Shinty says:

      Rod Mac, I agree.
       
      I am not a footie, but I know a lot of local lads who support Rangers and all of them are in the YES camp.

    21. Jamie Arriere says:

      I am continually weary of people talking down the quality of Scottish football as well as undervaluing it for satellite broadcasters – of course the English league is stronger, but some of the best matches I’ve watched this year have been Scottish cup games (Highland derby 3-3, both Scottish cup semi-finals, and the League Cup final were excellent games with high quality goals).
      Congrats on the cool calm and detailed analysis, Rev. Wrong perceptions and fears can be allayed.

    22. Rod Mac says:

      Without showing my age too much my old man took me to my first game in late 50s.
      There never was a stand with the union flag ,perhaps on a match day the fans had those cards to show it I remember that.
      I also remember the Copland Stand having the Saltire in a similar fashion.
      Someone has doctored that picture I fully accept not you ,however like the Saltire Swastika it suits some to paint or profess Rangers to be a 100% bastion on Unionism  ,it is truly not the case.

    23. Niall says:

      @rodmac Well said. I’m a Rangers fan and an SNP member. It’s always upset me that, because I support the Gers, I had to be a de facto Unionist, in some peoples eyes. Truth is that  there will be plenty of Rangers fans who wil be open to persuasion that we stand at the brink of fairer, more democratic Scotland. We just have to find the persuasive arguments and put forward the positive case for them.

    24. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “I’m a Rangers fan and an SNP member. It’s always upset me that, because I support the Gers, I had to be a de facto Unionist, in some peoples eyes. Truth is that there will be plenty of Rangers fans who wil be open to persuasion that we stand at the brink of fairer, more democratic Scotland. We just have to find the persuasive arguments and put forward the positive case for them.”

      Can you quote me the lines in the piece which attack Rangers or their fans?

    25. creag an tuirc says:

      O/T: I see Eric (fighting around the world) Joyce has been at it again http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-edinburgh-east-fife-22626211

    26. Rod Mac says:

      https://www.facebook.com/pages/Celtic-Fans-Against-Scottish-Independence/514169358607336?ref=nf
      The hypocrisy of the ones vilifying the Brits at every match   and waving the tricolour of our Irish cousins.
       
      https://www.facebook.com/HeartOfMidlothianFansAgainstScottishIndependence?filter=1
      Then we have the Jambos 
      so when it comes to tainting fans as unionists ,let us remember other clubs in Scotland are opposed to Scotland not just  some Rangers fans

    27. Desimond says:

      There you go rev…never try mixing Politics and Football…you tried to make a nice wee point about yet another example of The Fear Bomb…but like that time we were on twitter arguing with celtic fans regards SNP Govt and the recent kettling issue, its always gonna run off on a tangent. Sad but true.

    28. Rod Mac says:

      As the events of the spring and summer of 2012 unfolded, even the game’s own governing body insisted that separating the rest of the SPL from the Union Jack-loving Ibrox club would reap a disastrous whirlwind of destruction, with businesses (sponsors) fleeing in terror and clubs becoming impoverished without the generous subsidy of thousands of visiting Rangers fans.
       
      I would suggest Rev the “Union Jack -loving club” is somewhat pejorative and tends to imply we are ALL that.
      when Unionists “imply” all in the internet space are Cybernat, Braveheart loving swivel eyed loons”  we take exception, with “smears” against ALL Rangers fans it is a similar feeling of annoyance.
      I am generalising, and not accusing you Rev, it is for the wider audience to remind them that there are probably the same amount (in% terms) of Scottish Nationalists at Ibrox of a Saturday as there are at any other ground.

    29. Tony Little [aka Aplinal] says:

      @Desimond
       
      Good point, well made.  NOWHERE does the Rev criticize or lambast Rangers or their fans.  This is about why we should believe anything that comes out of the mouths of those same people telling us that the SPL would implode without one club.  Let’s keep to the point.
       
      For the record, I am a life-long Celtic fan and I have the greatest sympathy for Rangers fans who did nothing wrong but have suffered due to greed, machinations in the management, and duplicity in the boardroom of their club.  (I also get extremely frustrated with some Celts who can’t see past labour politically, and seem tied to the mythos about Scots unique inability to do anything on their own.  However, as Rod Mac says, it’s not all of them either!)
       
      Football and Politics – (with a bit of Religion thrown in for good measure)  Mix vigorously and stand well back.

    30. John Lyons says:

      No-one said “All Rangers fans are Unionists” and it’s great to hear of so many supporting the YES cause.

      The point here is The world did not end when Rangers went into div 3 and neither will the world end when Scotland becomes independant. Whos fault is what and what songs they sing is irrelevant. The message is don’t blindly swallow what the Press and politicians tell you.

    31. Rod Mac says:

      To the crux of your article ,football may not have imploded but not far off of it.
      The debacle of last year was an affront to our game.
      The authorities were like deer in the headlights I would suggest not the actual demise of Rangers was the problem for sponsors etc it was the sheer incompetence and dithering of those in charge.
      on the broader issue the quality of our football is maligned too much and too often especially by our own useless media.
      For example this year Celtic got as far in Champions League as any of the zillionaires of EPL.
      However our journalists  sort of implied “well it was really a fluke and Celtic got lucky” type of stories.
      Similarly the case when within the space of 5 years both OF Clubs got into UEFA Cup Final.
      Prior to this year with  Chelsea I think lat and only other English club was Middelsborough under Mclaren.
      There seems an inherent wish in our entire media to downplay the “Scottish brand” in all apsects of life including sports.
      As a footnote the BBC in England give English football £265 million  we get £1 million and Dougie Vipond!!!
      even if was shared evenly and Scottish Football got £25 miilion then perhaps  Hearts ,Dunfermline and others would not be in the dire straights so many clubs find themselves in now
       

    32. Keith Brodie says:

      Sorry to go totally off topic but a new UKIP site has just been launched – fully thought out manifesto and FAQ’s to boot.

    33. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “The debacle of last year was an affront to our game.
      The authorities were like deer in the headlights I would suggest not the actual demise of Rangers was the problem for sponsors etc it was the sheer incompetence and dithering of those in charge.”

      No argument there.

    34. Adrian B says:

      Nice find Keith Brodie,
       
      Migrant of the week was entertaining.
       
      LOL

    35. Rod Mac says:

      On a brighter note I think long term the Rangers situation will become a blessing in disguise for both Rangers and Scottish football in general.
      Rangers were forced into blooding and playing a lot of youngsters that in previous seasons would never have been given a chance.
      Over the coming seasons in the lower divisions these boys will gain experience and by the time they return to the top tier they will be hardened pros.
      Similarly Celtic can afford to blood more youngsters and ease a few of the overseas badge kissers on and still win the SPL comfortably, as well as enhance their bank balance.
      Look at CL Semis 2 teams from Germany and 2 from Spain both leagues where the indigenous players are in the majority .
      It was same in Euro Finals Spain ,Germany ,Italy and ???? (someone help me)
      These leagues for sure have their own nationals in the majority in their club teams I would like to see ALL our Scottish clubs using more of our own kids than foreign imports.
      Maybe when it comes to footy I am more UKIP ,than SNP!!
      however I truly believe for the good of our game home grown players are the best recipe for success.
       

    36. Colin Dunn says:

      @ Doug Daniel
      “One thing Scottish independence would hopefully improve is the coverage of Scottish football.”
       
      Thanks for that. You’ve just convinced me to vote No in 2014 ;}

    37. Dal Riata says:

      @Doug Daniel 12.15pm
      Absolutely spot on, DD! That’s the crux of the matter right there. What we get now is basically the UK broadcasters promoting the EPL as The Best League in the World™ (It really isn’t, the German Bundesliga is) with wall-to-wall coverage given to it. Then comes “The Championship”, followed by the First(?) Division and the Second(?) Division. We will also get the Blue Square Premier (the English Fifth Division in all but name)…. before we get any news or reports about Scottish football – reduced to a minor non-entity by our ‘State Broadcaster’.
       
      Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of English football. This is not a complaint about their football system or the massive inequalities that have arisen with the huge injections of cash that have transformed the English game, for better or worse. No, this is about the disregard and disrespect shown to Scottish football by the BBC which has the temerity to charge a licence fee under threat of arrest. What do they deign to give us, one programme, Scotsport on Saturday night, which is rank amateur, boring pish…and that’s it? Jeez, thanks BBC, we’re on our knees in praise! Having said that about the BBC, ITV/STV are no better – as of last season they didn’t give us anything!
       
      Nah, like Doug Daniel says, independence for Scotland is the only way. With our own broadcaster, there to promote the Scottish game *first* , and *then* to give coverage of other leagues, the youngsters in Scotland will see that our game is not inherently rubbish and insuperior (Yes, I know that’s open to question!) and can aspire to play for Scottish teams.
       
      Compared to what we get now, the coverage of *any* sport in Scotland, and not only football, will surely be improved with our own broadcaster. It can’t come soon enough.
       
       

    38. Tony Little [aka Aplinal] says:

      @Rod Mac
       
      Agree about the opportunity for fielding more home grown players.  The EPL also had the effect of closing down chances for good Scottish players to improve their experience at a high level.  So many over-paid journeymen in the middle ranking teams, and too many over-paid “names” in the top clubs has forced out good Scottish players.  What disappointed me was that Celtic, Rangers, Aberdeen, Dundee(s), Hibs etc. didn’t use the opportunity to blood more Scottish players.  The national side suffers now because of this long term trend.
       
      I think Rangers will come back far stronger than they left.  And given the relative paucity of the current opposition, Celtic will have a battle royal on their hands when they do.
       
      At the national level the whole set up stinks, (IMHO) and we will get no where until the current crop of leeches and hanger-on are replaced.

    39. Jiggsbro says:

      I would like to see ALL our Scottish clubs using more of our own kids than foreign imports.
       
      I’d prefer to see them compete in Europe.

    40. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “I think Rangers will come back far stronger than they left. “

      I agree with your wider reasoning, but at this stage I’m not sure The Rangers will make the start of next season. They surely couldn’t survive a second administration?

    41. FreddieThreepwood says:

      As a previous defender of the Rev’s occasional forays into footy matters, I feel I’ve earned the right to, for once, join the anti-footers and ask we just close this over and move on.
      I watched Django Unchained last night and none of the blood, gore and casual cruelty in Tarantino’s latest offering upset me as much as stumbling upon things like Celtic Fans Against Independence on this thread – complete with union jacks and links to Better Together!
      Luke Skywalker discovering who daddy is never felt so disorientated and appalled.
      Can we all just agree that indy supporters can be found among fans of all clubs – as can those poor brainwashed souls who have embraced the dark side – even, gulp, among my fellow Tims.
       

    42. handclapping says:

      I who know nothing about football have read with interest all these warm words about Scottish football but, and I may be going OT here, no-one seems to have thought what Sepp Blatter will make of Scotland voting No it doesn’t want to be an independent country. When you think of the alarms and excursions of the Tartan Army over TeamGB for the London Olympics, why is nobody worried about the standing of the Scottish national team if we vote No? No World Cup, no Europeans not even the matches against San Marino that we might win. No travelling fans so we’ll loose Ryanair, Glasgow Airpost will close and we’ll have to travel to Prestwick for flights. All because we voted No. Don’t do it!
      Vote Yes 🙂

    43. BeamMeUpScotty says:

      My wife,by no means a football aficionado (but a recent supporter of Ross County),says that the standard of football in the SPL is better this year than she has seen for many a year.The Rangers and Celtic football league has been stifling real competition for too long and without Rangers,other clubs think they have a real chance at winning things.Long may it continue.

    44. Mosstrooper says:

      Fitba Eh? Readin’ aboot it jist as bad as watchin’ 
      Right, another coat of paint and that’s me set for the night.

    45. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “no-one seems to have thought what Sepp Blatter will make of Scotland voting No it doesn’t want to be an independent country”

      It’s an issue we’ve covered in depth here on Wings Over Scotland:

      http://wingsoverscotland.com/is-barry-bannan-the-key-to-independence/

      😀

    46. handclapping says:

      Sorry Rev 🙁 As I said I know nothing so Barry Bannan meant nothing to me and I didnt know about WoS last year.

    47. Derick Tulloch says:

      I vote for the Football Act 1424 to be reintroduced as soon as possible.
      Fitba and golf to be illegal: what’s not to like!
       

    48. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Sorry Rev 🙁 “

      I was only joshing you, fella.

    49. Dramfineday says:

      Tony Little [aka Aplinal] says:
      “Football and Politics – (with a bit of Religion thrown in for good measure)  Mix vigorously and stand well back.”
      Ach Tony, that line was crying out for “Light the BLUE touch-paper”.  Get it? See what I did there? No? Oh well, never mind.
      PS Mosstrooper I know a really nice bench where I can watch the grass grow if you ever get fed up with the paint drying. Maybe Colin Dunn could join us and we could have a go at getting him to vote Yes again

    50. velofello says:

      You surely have picked up the wrong end of the stick with this article Rev. The parallel question to ” whether Scotland could survive and flourish outside the Union”  is surely whether Glasgow Rangers would survive and flourish outside of the SPL? not whether the SPL would survive without Rangers
      And indeed Rangers have survived and flourished with much credit to their +45000 supporters who have continued their support for the club. 
      A parable of loyalty and steadfastness Rev?

    51. Tony Little (aka Aplinal) says:

      @Dramfineday
       
      hahaha.  But it was a bit TOO obvious, wasn’t it?
       
      Interesting take about Blatter, I must have missed that one Rev.  It would be the perfect storm for UEFA with the ‘behind the scenes’ frustration at the UKs four federations.
       
      Vote No = no more football
      Though some might say that’s what we have already 🙁

    52. Alan MacD says:

      Rev,
      I seem to remember vaguely that i had a go at yourself for persistently ‘having a go’ at my club and my city…..My apologies Sir, you were correct. 
       Any tips for the dugs this weekend?

    53. kininvie says:

      Just to bring in the ‘other’ sport, the only way I can regularly watch Scottish club rugby is via BBC Caesar!, with Gaelic commentary. Don’t get me wrong, it’s better than nothing, and it’s doing wonders for my language skills, as I can now tell you the Gaelic for ‘penalty’ and soon might learn ‘scrum’. But it’s not exactly ideal – all you wendyball people are relatively lucky!

    54. ewen says:

      Ach, the standard of the SPL will improve  elevenfold now the Jags are up.
      Cmon the Harry Wrags!

    55. Anna Ningin Eenana says:

      You mean ‘Sepp Blatter’ is a person?
       
      I thought it was what a Swedish window-cleaner uses.

    56. Peter Sneddon says:

      Check the official police figures for Celtic this season Stuart not the doctored one’s being spouted from the Celtic park!” They are available under freedom of information! And just what where you thinking bringing football into this debate? you have just pissed off thousands of Rangers supporters like me who are pro independence, it’s well obvious your not a politician as this will just chase people away from wings as it now appears to be anti Rangers.

    57. Lochside says:

      As remarked at the beginning of this thread we should examine the money that Sky and the BBC are throwing at the ‘Greatest League in the World (not!). The BBC provide both full and  highlighted coverage of every single game in the English league. They provide hours of coverage and pay exorbitant fees to ex-professional dullards to spout hackneyed cliches every week during the season. Figures quoted for this are between £!80- £280 million. Even on a percentage basis of population, we are entitled to around 8% of this total from a British Broadcasting Corporation. Add into this the £1.2 billion paid out to the English Premier clubs by SKY. Again, Scottish subscribers should have the right to question why clubs such as Fulham deserve to receive several times the amount all the clubs in Scotland get in total each season. The old Firm, love them or loathe them are in the top six supported clubs in Britain after all.
      The conclusion, yet again, is that divided leadership by weak and imported carpetbaggers with no understanding of our game or with any business acumen, vision or backbone have allowed our game to be sold short. Our divided loyalties amongst our clubs, particularly the two Unionist loving and biggest aforementioned clubs has allowed this state of affairs to develop over the last twenty years. Our supine bottom-feeding media with their never-ending ability for cognitive dissonance continue to undermine and criticise their only livelihood by misrepresenting the real problems in Scottish football: i.e chronic underfunding by the media; a major recession; admission prices that are ludicrously high; tunnel vision focus on two clubs; and meagre youth development of indigenous players. Until the clubs and the various useless Representative associations unite and demand Scotland’s share of the money from  the BBC and SKY our game will wither and die because of our big neighbour’s greedy control of the resources..sound familiar?

    58. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “You surely have picked up the wrong end of the stick with this article Rev. The parallel question to ” whether Scotland could survive and flourish outside the Union”  is surely whether Glasgow Rangers would survive and flourish outside of the SPL? not whether the SPL would survive without Rangers
      And indeed Rangers have survived and flourished with much credit to their +45000 supporters who have continued their support for the club. “

      I think such an analogy might prove, shall we say, a hostage to fortune in the quite near future.

    59. velofello says:

      Que sera sera Rev. I’m indifferent other than not wishing disappointment on people who have been loyal to their football club.

    60. Jim smith says:

      Yeah the spl is doing brilliantly, that’s why they are so desprite to reform the entire league and essentially close themselves down (pure booming i tells yae).

      Of course in your in rush to spin any kind of anti-Rangers propganda you seem to have left out that Celtic and Aberdeen are closing stands next season due to lack of ticket sales,

      but how can that be they only lost pure like 20 fans or something???

      Would ask the question as well as to how you know what the sky deal is worth now when no-one else does bar a few at the top of the spl?(Yeah sure sky are paying the same for reduced ratings?) Also no mention of the Harry hood case either which if won will bankrupt the spl??

      But you just stick by the line of all is well with the spl it’s just going to make it all the better when clubs start going under and they come begging for the blue pound again.

      Hearts £25M+ in debt, Aberdeen £!2m+ in debt needing to find £50m to builld a new ground, Killmarnock £10m in debt etc, 128 spl first team players released,No league sponser for next season,30% of it’s customer lost from the previous season, a one horse race league that’s won before a ball is even kicked.

      You really do have a strange definition of booming in a week when the spl thought about religating the 2nd biddest club in the league due to them being totally insolvent and owing millions in tax.

      But don’t worry i’m sure the spl with it’s non-competitive league,no spounsers; reduced tv money will fair well next season against an EPL that has just signed a £3bn tv deal, (surly sky should pay billions to the spl, as pure millions watch it, right?)

      Oh wait silly me spl viewing figures are the worst they’ve ever been, 10,000 watch Hearts vs Hibs this season beaten in the ratings by aerobics oz style lol

      Celtic vs St Johnstone – 87,000 viewers.
      Hull vs Cardiff – 399,000 viewers

      Both played on the same day, pure booming…

    61. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      Dear Jim,

      Learn to read.

      Love,
      Everyone with an IQ over six.

    62. Pete says:

      Good to see this report and it’s expose of the lie that Scottish football needs Rangers. From my point of view, I don’t miss them and I don’t want the newco or their fans in the spl. I’m sure that’s a sentiment shared by most fans in the spl as well as the police and emergency services who have to deal with the affects of alcohol and violence resulting from these ‘peepul’ and their ingrained mentality. Scotland would be a better place if they didn’t exist at all. Fingers crossed.

    63. SFTB says:

      Thanks for the figures, Rev. Campbell. A fine piece of neutral analysis.
      I am, unfortunately, less interested in the Independence debate which predominates here. The figures for those likely to vote yes have remained remarkably consistent at around the 1 in 3 level (and no, I do not assume that 2 in 3 are opposed as many are non-voters). The percentages of SNP and Independence supporters in the support at Ibrox and Celtic Park will be pretty close to that figure too, as they will be at Pittodrie, Tynecastle and The Caledonian Stadium.
      The SNP do not sponsor any one football team or deplore another. I think it is highly likely that well-intended Scottish Government concerns about Rangers failing to exist and possible resultant public disorder, led them to exert influence over the football governing bodies to come up with the secret fantasies contained within the 5 way agreement.
      I am happy to talk football and football politics but, as I said, I do not share the blog’s preference for campaigning over the next 2 years on Independence.

    64. abigdoob says:

      I suspect that, given the almost hard wiring of football into the collective Scottish psyche, the  comparisons with the ‘greatest league in the world’, dreadful TV deals, dreadful highlights programmes, and general relentless negativity of the game here, isn’t an accident. Especially by our state broadcaster.

    65. Rory says:

      I would suspect that Dundee Uniteds crowds and Dundee’s were boosted by the return of the Derbies, most of them were sold out(nearly),also outwith the league,in the Scottish cup,Rangers boycott hardly affected us, we pulled in a good few more  that day,and also the europa qualifier against Dinamo,and the 1/4 final cup tie against our neebors brought in a large support ,I would say it has been quite a good year for united 



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