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Wings Over Scotland

The lead parachute

Posted on June 29, 2012 by

Right then. Around 14 hours after we first saw the SFL reconstruction proposals, we’ve just about coaxed our eyebrows back down off the ceiling and cranked our jaw shut again. Without further ado, let’s take a wild and wacky journey, line by line, through the tacky Powerpoint presentation comprising the most…

  • stark-raving-bonkers
  • howling-at-the-moon
  • loopier-than-a-box-of-Fruit-Loops-looping-the-loop-over-the-Leeds-City-Loop-Road
  • lights-are-on-but-the-hamster’s-got-the-house-keys
  • ten-sandwiches-and-seven-cans-of-lager-short-of-a-picnic
  • madder-than-a-suitcase-full-of-weasels-in-a-tumble-drier
  • wasn’t-April-Fool’s-Day-three-months-ago?
  • oh-my-God-they’re-actually serious

…document ever issued in the entire long and murky history of Scottish football.

We’re going to assume you know the fundamentals already, and will therefore get straight down to the analysis. Buckle up, readers, it’s going to be bumpy.


“Your Game, Your Club, Your Future



•Fear of the unknown

•Lack of involvement

•Lack of information

•Threat to power, or status

•No perceived benefits

•Fear of failure

•Unless behaviour changes, nothing changes


•Perceptions of being “worse off”

•If the reasons for change are not clear

•If implementation plans are not clear

•If there is no clear “link” with your own objectives

•If a change is seen as a threat to your long term security or well being


•Logical and positive communication to eliminate doubt, threat and insecurity

•Fully explained in terms of short and long term benefits to you and the organisation

•Not left to the last minute

•Involving you at an early stage

•And seen in the context of a wider strategic plan”

Rule 1: browbeat your audience with an avalanche of marketing-speak bollocks, and attempt from the title onwards to create the mindset, via a child’s crude attempt at neuro-linguistic programming, that anyone who disagrees with the assertions to come must self-evidently be a dangerously stupid lunatic.

As we’ll see, the phrase “fully explained” is used above in its very loosest sense.


•Rangers have no where to go

•SPL Clubs have indicated their voting intentions

•SFA wish to see a solution in the interests of the game

•Moral/sporting question vs financial collapse

•Are The SFL are in a position to accommodate a solution?”

Whoah there, tiger! Wind it back a line! You very nearly snuck that one past us! “Moral/sporting question vs financial collapse”? Firstly, there’s no evidence, and very little in the way of a rational argument, that ANY outcome of the Rangers fiasco might lead to “financial collapse” – and certainly not in the SFL, whose members have learned how to survive on shoestring budgets for decades.

Secondly, if there IS a danger of a fiscal apocalypse engulfing Scottish football, it’s considerably more likely to come as a result of ignoring moral/sporting integrity, not upholding it. There seems little doubt that fans of clubs at all levels will walk away from the game forever, in their thousands, if the rules are bent and trampled to give Charles Green’s newco Rangers special treatment. The briefest glance at Twitter or any club messageboard indicates with breathtaking clarity that these latest proposals have enraged fans who were already furious up to stratospheric levels, and if they leave they’ll definitely take untold millions of pounds with them.


1.Rangers stay in SPL

2.Rangers to Third Division

3.Rangers to First Division

4.Rangers to SPL2

5.Rangers terminated or suspended


•Not an option

•SPL clubs have indicated no


•Takes approximately £16 million out of the game”

Hang on – does it? Who says so? We can only assume that this figure relates to the Sky/ESPN deal, which at £80m for five years comes to £16m a season. But (a) Sky have already said they have no plans to pull out of Scottish football, (b) even if they did it’s ludicrous to assume there would be no live TV coverage at all, and (c) the SFL sees almost none of that money anyway, so why would its members care?

In fact, if anything, the main effect of the disappearance or slashing of Sky money would be to dramatically reduce the wealth gap between the SPL and SFL, and greatly enhance the chances of promoted SFL clubs being able to stay in the top division for extended periods, thereby generating their own increased revenues through their own footballing merit rather than just begging for crumbs off the SPL’s table. That’s bad?

“•Commercial partners walk away and seek compensation

•The settlement agreement becomes a major risk

In what way? The settlement agreement is the contract by which the SPL agreed to pay the SFL a sum of money every year (currently £1.8m) in return for being allowed to leave the SFL and set itself up in the first place. The SPL will still exist without Rangers, as will the SFL. The contract between the two will therefore still apply, and any attempt to renege on the payment will see the SPL dragged to court on two bleeding stumps, because it won’t have a leg to stand on.

•The sporting opportunity is quashed for other clubs”

Again, not a shred of evidence is offered for the statement that commercial partners will “walk away and seek compensation”. But what on Earth does “the sporting opportunity is quashed for other clubs” mean? Surely Rangers being demoted to Division 3 has the exact opposite effect, that is it opens up vast sporting opportunity for other clubs. SPL sides have a significantly improved chance at the league title, and Champions League and Europa League qualification. Every SFL team (assuming Rangers manage to work their way up through the divisions) gets the rare chance to pit themselves against a big-name club, at least four times.

Exactly which sporting opportunities are being “quashed”? We honestly haven’t the faintest idea. The only possible thing we can think of is that SFL teams will face greater competition for promotion places, but that’s still “sporting opportunity”. And if it turns out that whatever’s left of Rangers is still too strong for the lower leagues, the problem will only last one season before they move on.


What? Since when has that snuck onto the list of possibilities? Less than two weeks ago, SPL chief executive David Longmuir explicitly said that a newco Rangers would have to start in SFL3, with Division 1 not being an option. His precise words were: “It would be a newco scenario and the only way we could accommodate any new application would be to create a gap in the Third Division through the play-offs with teams shuffling up. We would then judge every case on its own merits. There would be no provision for any newco Rangers to go into the First Division rather than the Third Division.” (Our emphasis.)

•Reduces SPL income by approximately 30%”

It does? 30%? Based on which, and whose, calculations? Evidence, please.

“•Balances short term need for redemption with a least worst case financial scenario”

Least worst case for who? Even leaving aside things like possible boycotts for now, it’s clearly not to the advantage of the two-thirds of SFL teams, who’ve just lost out on at least one season of having Rangers in their divisions.

“•It is financially possible to recover from this scenario”

Sorry, whose recovery are we talking about here?


•Currently not supported by the SFA

•Creates a bigger divide

•Leads to some short term commercial losses

•A legal challenge could paralyse the game

•The overall pot would be much less than anticipated”

Okay, this is where we need a really deep breath. We’re told (without an atom of proof) that if the SFL rejects the Division 1 plan, an angry SPL will swiftly form a second elite division in order to accommodate Sevco Rangers, and which the SFL1 clubs will be invited to make up the numbers in.

But hold on a minute – this whole situation only arises in the first place if the other SPL clubs have rejected Sevco’s application to join the SPL at the meeting on July 4th. So (a) why is it any of the SPL’s business what the SFL do with a club the SPL has rejected, and (b) if Sevco haven’t been admitted to the SPL, how could they play in SPL2 in the first place? To play in SPL Division 2, by definition you first need to be an SPL member, and Sevco FC won’t be. End of story.

(Plus, as we noted yesterday, it’s hard to believe that even the most catastrophically thick of SPL chairman would ever think the creation of an SPL Division 2 would fool/satisfy the fans who’ve so overwhelmingly, and apparently successfully, demanded the rejection of New Rangers’ membership. So the whole idea of an SPL2 being imposed on the SFL was crazy beyond comprehension from the word go anyway.)

At least there’s something in the proposal document we agree with, then – the alleged threat from the SPL to cut half of Scottish football clubs adrift (or at any rate, even more adrift than they are already) is an empty, cynical blackmail attempt which can confidently be discounted. It’s total rubbish.


•Complete financial meltdown”

Again: evidence, please.

“•Settlement agreement is obliterated

No it isn’t. See above.

•Fans are lost to the game forever

SOME fans will be lost to the game forever if Rangers are thrown out altogether, but not all of them. Let’s assume the entire typical Ibrox crowd of 50,000 decides to pack it in should Rangers get the boot, and none of them support local/smaller clubs instead. That’s bad news for the game, but it’s only one side of the equation.

Within just the last decade or so, Aberdeen have lost around 5,000 fans from the average Pittodrie attendance. Now, we’re not saying that all of them would come back to watch a more competitive Scottish game without Rangers, but those numbers certainly show that there are at least 5,000 potential Aberdeen supporters who aren’t currently turning up and who might be tempted to return to see a team with a better chance of winning stuff. Repeat for all of Scotland’s other clubs and you’re at least going to make a sizeable dent in that 50,000 shortfall.

•The game survives but where?”

We’re going to plump for “Scotland”.


•Rangers in the IRN-BRU First Division this coming season

•A one off fee to buy out the Rangers media value. (£1million) thus protecting the current contracts in place.”

This is perhaps the most obviously ridiculous aspect of the entire proposal. £1 million, for one season, to hand over the rights to Sevco Rangers’ games in SFL1 to the SPL? Firstly, who’s paying it? The other SPL clubs? So we’re expected to believe that they not only have to allow New Rangers to skip two divisions’-worth of punishment, but they also have to pay for it? You’re having a laugh, right?

Secondly, who does this money go to? Just the SFL Division 1 sides? If so then it’s £100,000 each, which is a pretty useful sum to clubs existing on tight budgets. But in that case why on Earth would SFL2 and SFL3 clubs vote for it, since they’d be cutting their own throats for nothing? So it can’t possibly be that – it must be to split between all 30 SFL sides, which means a pathetic £33,000 each.

Imagine you’re Montrose or Elgin City of SFL3. If the newco Rangers gets dropped into your division, that’s two home games against them at an absolute minimum. Let’s conservatively assume that just 2,000 of the normal Rangers travelling support of around 5,000 loyally shows up to its SFL3 fixtures, and that each one brings in just £15 in admission, refreshments, programme sales and suchlike. That’s £60,000 in one season – almost twice the SPL’s pathetic bribe. (And that’s assuming the proposal is to share out the £1m equally, which seems unlikely.) So any SFL2/3 chairman would need to have an IQ roughly the same as a sausage roll to vote for the plan.


•Play-Offs immediately, based on our format”

Again, there’s nothing here for SFL2 or SFL3 clubs, who already have playoffs. It’s a carrot benefitting solely SFL1 sides.

“•A new distribution model with the settlement agreement value protected and future proofed

•An amalgamation of the SPL & SFL

•A more balanced governance model (as circulated)”

Pretty words signifying nothing.


•Immediate cash benefit for all 30 clubs!”

We love the exclamation mark there. Give up a minimum of £60,000 this season or next in return for half that much now! We think that’s the dictionary definition of “an offer you CAN refuse”.

“•Gate receipt uplift in Division 1

•Potential hospitality & advertising values increase”

But sod-all for Divisions 2 and 3, who have two-thirds of the votes.

“•Sponsors receive added value through additional exposure


•Scottish Government remain committed to our community strategy”

That implies that they won’t remain committed to it if the plan is rejected. However, the Scottish Government has categorically denied this.

“•SFL has more influence at the top table”

In its dreams. Most clubs who are already IN the SPL have precious little influence.

“•Play-Offs restore the sporting meritocracy and deliver additional value”

Again, to SFL1. The other two divisions get nothing.


•A unified plan presented to the Scottish footballing public which offers real possibilities for the game”

Yeah, switch your computers on, guys. The “Scottish footballing public” sounds keen as mustard on your super-spiffy unified plan, doesn’t it?

“•Keeps all 42 clubs together avoiding a divisive SPL2 split”

Which isn’t going to happen in a million years.

“•Deals with the need for sporting integrity with regard to Newco”

Again, you might want to check your customers’ opinion on that.

“•Delivers innovation in the form of a single league, Play-Offs and a pyramid plan

•Delivers new value for the game

•Potentially narrows the financial gap between Scottish Premier League & Scottish League

•Shows leadership for the game in Scotland”

Implement pro-active solutions! Energise synergy! Drive component metrics! Re-align client-facing project processes!

“•Allows fans to engage in the bigger picture

•A positive media outcome”

How’s that working out for you so far?


And that’s the end of the prospectus. We know they’re under pressure at the moment, but we’re genuinely amazed that Stewart Regan and Neil Doncaster – whose work this shrieking insanity clearly chiefly is – have taken leave of their senses to the degree that they thought this five-alarm brainfail of an idea would do anything other than provoke riots from Dumfries to Dingwall.

If adopted, it would lead to the greatest mass exodus of supporters in the history of Scottish football. SFL2 and SFL3 clubs would be signing their own death warrants, and those of the SPL clubs too, which would in turn destroy the SFL1 clubs. They’re not that stupid. We said it yesterday and we’ll say it again today – it has absolutely no chance. Get down off the window-ledge and make yourself a nice cup of tea and a biscuit. Everything’s going to be fine.

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42 to “The lead parachute”

  1. redcliffe62

    Ogilvie and Regan must know a great deal about what is happening now and what happened before.
    A UEFA inquiry would close them all down. 

  2. ayrmad

    Keep it up, the lunatics are currently under the desk looking for the key.

  3. Juan Solo

    SFA + SPL + SFL = level of incompetence never before seen by mankind

    UEFA involvement is now long overdue!


  4. Doug Daniel

    •Rangers have no where to go”

    Guess what guys? NOBODY GIVES A FUCK! 

    That line sums up the document in one. This is all it’s about. Well I’m sorry, but I just don’t see why any of the lower league clubs (with the exception of Donald Findlay  QC’s Cowdenbeath) have any reason to vote for this.

    I think this is even worse than letting Sevco 5088 into the SPL. That scenario would just have shown that all the SPL chairmen cared about was money, and we could have all said “fuck this” and supported our nearest SFL team instead. This is far more serious. This is absolute corruption on the part of those who run our game. Even after this fails, we still have to live with the fact that our game is run by people with absolutely no integrity whatsoever.

    Doncaster and Regan need to be driven out of Scotland. We need the game run by people who care about Scottish football, rather than people who just care about “the bottom line”. And just how the FUCK is Ogilvie still in his position?

    “•Deals with the need for sporting integrity with regard to Newco” 

    They just don’t get it, do they? But why should we be surprised? These people HAVE no integrity, so they don’t understand what the word means.

  5. redcliffe62

    Remind me, Ogilvie got an EBT and knew of many others getting millions and did not bother to ask if it was OK? Rush job and they hope it gets buried. Lunatics running the asylum looking after themselves.

  6. theaztectim

    The Rangers fans like to have us think they will support the newco to a man. If they lose half of the support and SPL att rise by and average of 1,500 to 2,000 per team then virtually no fans will be lost to the game. Also what happens if Rangers do not gain promotion in season 1? Does the SPL give up £1m of their tv deal again? 

  7. Itim1967

    Little pigs little pigs let them come in or we’ll blooooooowwwwww your house down. They must think your madder than bag of ferrets. NO TO NEWCO!!!!!!!!

  8. Neal

    Our politicians have been uncharacteristically quiet about this apart from Mr Salmond’s (alleged) rash attempt at getting Hector to do a quick deal.
    There is real and institutional corruption afoot at the SFA who now plan to compromise their own rules for their “special member”.
    Real corruption yet the silence from Holyrood has been and remains deafening

  9. gnasher75

    “We’re told that if the SFL rejects the Division 1 plan, an angry SPL will form a second elite division to accommodate Sevco Rangers, which the SFL1 clubs will be invited to make up the numbers in.”

    The SFL clubs should let Sevco Rangers be transferred into SPL2 and then reject the invitation to join it!  Let “Rangers” play five-a-sides against themselves if they have enough players. 

    Or even better let their best friends Celtic join them.  Then they can play home and away against each other every week and the rest of Scottish football can finally get on with life without them.  

  10. Dermented

    The whole thing is nuts actually. What exactly are they trying to save in fact ? Rangers h
    ave no team. They are about to be hit with a massive hit from the Big Tax Case.Legally they are a minefield. Have Doncaster and co been living in some kinda time warp ? Events have overtaken them and they cannot even see it. If they try to push this through I can see UEFA and Fifa becoming involved, banning the Scottish Team from playing and also throwing all Scottish clubs out of Europe. What happened to Lord Carloway’s panel that gave Rangers the Transfer Ban ? They were due to resit in 30 days after Rangers got their decision overturned in High Court and it looked like a years suspension would be the only punishment they could give. Has Campbell Ogilvie locked the Appeals panel up somewhere ?there’ll be nobody at any games next season if they try to push this through.

  11. Killie fan

    re chairman  who may agree to it? possible that we have one, and yes, he does fulfil your requirements.

    Anyone find an author attributed to the report? Anyone come across a spokesperson for the report?

    Am convinced this a piece of propaganda to deflect away from the real issues . Have newclub applied today? Dual contracts, lack of playing squad, D&P regulators, CoS report etc etc   

  12. Col2324

    I thought corruption was supposed to be done in secret. You know, brown envelopes under tables in smoky bars. Nods, winks, secret gifts, prostitutes, anonymous threatening phone calls etc etc.

    Here we see corruption, bribery and blackmail openly perpetrated through the press, media and online sources. The football authorities (theres a laugh calling them authoritative) are now deliberately leaking documents and communicae designed to threaten, scare and bully one or other sector of Scottish football.

    When this is done and dusted, Doncaster, for a start, has to go as part of the package to rebuild the integrity and credibility of football in Scotland. Can you imagine an erstwhile sponsor sitting watching what is going on, a fair bit of it at the behest of Doncaster, who now seems to be acting completely contrary to the clearly expressed feeling of the majority of his member clubs, and still taking the decision to invest. He’s got to go, its an absolute essential for the re-moddeling of the game in Scotland.

  13. Seasick Dave

    Mebbe the busloads of Huns that travel the length of Scotland from their wee villages and towns to seek glory via fair means or foul will now support their local teams.

    Just a thought.

  14. bananaman

    I have to concur with Killie fan
    I think this has been a huge pile of concocted crap to deflect away from the real issues of dual contracts, EBT’s to old employee’s, and possible current SFA employees.

    UEFA really need to step in and pull a member association in to line, we are now a Worldwide laughing stock.

    Roll on the 3rd and 4th July to get the league issue sorted and subsequent punishment can follow to SEVCO for going to court etc.

  15. Doug Daniel

    theaztectim: “Also what happens if Rangers do not gain promotion in season 1? Does the SPL give up £1m of their tv deal again? ”

    Exactly! There’s a massive, massive parameter they’ve missed out of all their calculations: what if Sevco 5088 don’t become as big as Rangers were?

    What if they never fully recover? As Stu has highlighted on previous blogs, for all their “we don’t do walking away” guff, Rangers fans are just as fickle as any other team’s fans. Like Celtic, they have relied enormously on glory-hunters, who spurn their home team for Rangers. Without instant success, the glory-hunters will go, and they won’t be replaced – new generations of glory-hunters will all go to Celtic. Then who’s going to be interested in the Old Firm match, which will just be Celtic putting 5 past another bog standard team, except one that passes itself off as Rangers.

    Without all those fans seeking cheap glory, where do they get the money to afford players that make them better than the average 1st division team? What if Sevco 5088 get relegated? What then?

    Well, it’s fairly obvious “what” – if they’re willing to fudge the rules to put Sevco 5088 into the 1st Division, they’ll be willing to fudge the rules to prevent Sevco 5088 getting relegated. Who knows, maybe they’ll change the SPL to have 11 relegation spots? It’s absurd, but then so is everything they’ve done so far.

    This is just so ridiculously short-sighted. 

  16. Kenny Campbell

    Regardless of what happens now there will likely be a huge loss of fans to the Scottish game. Anyone who thinks Rangers fans will just go and support their local team is clearly not a football fan themselves.
    This sudden enlightenment to some on here that football is a hard nosed business driven by money is interesting to observe. There were no complaints by SPL clubs when non sporting financial barriers were put place to ensure that only ‘elite’ clubs with specific stadia types could be in the SPL. What for the purity of the sport and sporting integrity then… There are many layers of Big Clubs and its not just the Old Firm, its entirely dependent on your relative position.
    Just before you saddle up the high horses, my posts on Rangers have been consistent. They should in my view be relegated to lowest division of professional game. There may need to be some adjustment in terms of relegation/promotion made to make sure that the incumbent teams don’t get disadvantaged ‘should’ Rangers actually gain promotion. An assumption not guaranteed.
      That would be the best for the whole of the game and is the best option for Rangers as a team. Its certainly the only way out of this with any modicum of respect.
    The only other alternative for me is shut them down completely. I don’t actually expect any reasoned dialogue on the option of closure from fans of other teams as their reasoning is blinded by the foam round their mouths..
    As to the FIFA thing and how Rangers were threatening the whole of Scottish football…looks like as always it was a storm in a teacup…..feel free to look back at the predictions on here only 1 person said nothing would happen. Depending on how much a mess they make of this actually gerrymandering of the leagues to ‘slot’ Rangers in we may of course see other authorities involvement.

  17. Juteman

    I would welcome a UEFA investigation, alongside the police.
     I fear there is corruption at the ‘highest’ level, and i don’t trust the Scottish football cabal to police themselves.

    Why not get the Electoral Commision to adjudicate? 😉 

  18. Rev. Stuart Campbell

    “Just before you saddle up the high horses, my posts on Rangers have been consistent. They should in my view be relegated to lowest division of professional game. There may need to be some adjustment in terms of relegation/promotion made to make sure that the incumbent teams don’t get disadvantaged ‘should’ Rangers actually gain promotion. An assumption not guaranteed.”

    Yep, all well and good. I just wish you’d let go of this tired old guff implying other teams fiddled the rules too, specifically with regard to Aberdeen’s non-relegation the best part of a decade ago. The situations aren’t remotely comparable. No rules were changed for Aberdeen’s benefit. Aberdeen didn’t systematically cheat for 20 years, or defraud anyone of tens of millions of pounds.

    I do realise that some Rangers fans support independence or are at least open-minded, and so I’m really trying* not to be arsey to them, despite 30+ years of ingrained hatred (based on direct personal experience rather than prejudice). When you come out with rubbish like that, amid otherwise reasonable comment, it makes it difficult. Let’s try to meet halfway, eh?

    *(Yeah, okay, “Reservoir Huns” was a lapse in that respect. But YOU try coming up with another three-letter word that’s shorthand for “Rangers fans” and where the first letter is a “tall” one.)

  19. Pete

    I hope you are not implying that all supporters of Celtic not resident in Glasgow are glory hunters, Doug. The community that Celtic provided for Irish immigrants, including my ancestors, who felt it necessary to change their (and my) surname in order to find work in the hostile environment that Scotland then was for Catholics, creates strong bonds that are passed down through the generations.

    I myself live in Edinburgh, so do I support Celtic because I was/am hunting glory? Well, considering I started to get into football about 1990, I think that argument might be a little tenous. Rather, I support Celtic because they are a part of my past, and even if I knew they would never win a game again, I still wouldn’t switch to the Hibees. So no, it is not for glory or riches!

  20. Juteman

    I’m sick of weedgie ‘fans’ going on about the ‘past’, to justify sectarian shite.
    Do Livingston fans sing a song called ‘The Boiler Suit my father wore?
    After all, they used to be Ferranti Thistle.

  21. Kenny Campbell

    Rangers are due plenty of punishment and their crimes I think we can all agree are utterly unparalleled in Scottish football.  I’ve never wavered on that view myself and as more and more of this mentalness comes out the more distant I feel to the club.
    The reason I’ve banged the gong on the relegation thing is that I find this epiphany regarding sporting integrity a little hypocritical when the businessmen of Scottish Football have in the past many times over stacked the cards in the favor of rich/richer SPL clubs. Sure the Old Firm have been ripping the TV money but in relation to Brechin or Stranraer, Aberdeen and Hearts get a great deal.
    You are right in comparison its SPL to SFL3 for the current Rangers situation to the blocked relegation situation in comparison but my point is that bigger clubs getting advantage is not a new phenomenon. I’m just making the point relative to you in that rules have been made to disadvantage lower league clubs . Its clearly difficult for me to make a point against Aberdeen that is close in relation to the shitstorm Rangers have put themselves in. 🙂

  22. Kenny Campbell

    I’ve seen this Glory Hunter thing before, there seems to be a snobbishness around supporting a local club. I can’t see it myself that the accident of birth relative to where your dad lived and worked should be the most honourable reason to support a team.
     I’m from the West of Glasgow and lived midway between Kilbowie and Ibrox(Maybe I’m the Johna)….naturally the river was a barrier to me supporting Rangers but physical relief in a map is surely not a barrier to support. I supported both clubs as a boy and settled on Rangers when Davie Cooper moved from Clydebank…..such is the fickleness of youth. There will be no going back for me as Clydebank today are actually Yoker Athletic.

  23. Rev. Stuart Campbell

    Clearly, everyone has individual reasons for their club. The reasons I support Aberdeen are pretty arbitrary, and it’s wrong to assume that EVERY Rangers fan is a frothing Unionist dickhead just because a few thousand of them spat and threw coins at you from the upper tier of the away stand at Ibrox while singing jolly songs about slaughtering Catholics.

    But similarly, it’s a bit unrealistic to expect people not to assume things about you from the company you keep. When Rangers were regularly getting crowds of 10,000 to 20,000 when they were crap in the 1980s, only for 30,000 more people to show up when they started winning stuff again and start waving around ironic flags with the word “Loyal” prominently displayed on them, it’s hardly surprising that people accuse them of being glory-hunters.

    (I’m fond of pointing out that Aberdeen’s average crowd in the season you like to go on about when they finished bottom was slightly HIGHER (12,813) than the previous season’s (8th/10) and the season after (7th/12). It’s taken years to fall to the current level.)

    As I said, the reason I ended up with Aberdeen specifically was pure chance, but I knew from the age of 7 that I didn’t want to support either of the Old Firm despite living much closer to them, and am deeply suspicious of anyone who couldn’t see the horrendous ugliness that surrounds them, if I could see as a not-particularly-bright 7-year-old child.

    Living in Scotland and choosing to support the Old Firm is like cheering Mike Tyson on in a fight against a little girl in a wheelchair. Actually living within a stone’s throw of Govan is at least some sort of excuse, but backing either of them is such an obviously, fundamentally, morally unpleasant thing to do that you’re always going to face an uphill battle convincing anyone that it’s about football, even if it’s true.

    Even if you lived halfway down Edmiston Drive, you must at some point have chosen to turn a blind eye to all the purple-faced men around you working themselves into a furious rage about “Fenians” and thought “Yep, this is the place for me!” And that’s why people look with great suspicion on the concept of the “decent Rangers fan”, even if – as I do – they count some among their own closest friends.

  24. Dál Riata


    I’m not here to cause a rumpus with you or get us all waylaid by any kind of  sectarianism guff, but you say you support Celtic because they “are a part of my past”. Okay, fine, but that leads to the conclusion that you support them because you are a Catholic and nothing else. I am aware of what Celtic means to a lot of the descendants of Irish immigrants. But, why does what happened to your ancestors, bad as it was, mean you ‘have to’ support Celtic? Don’t you think that some people might believe that following Celtic, or Rangers when they were still extant, purely for religious reasons gives credence to those who suggest those ‘fans’ are bigots and purveyors of sectarianism? Why not support your local team? Or pledge allegiance to a team purely for footballing reasons, as in you like their style of play, etc.? 

    I’m not here to flame you or accuse you of anything here, Pete, so please don’t get upset or pissed-off! If you’d like to answer the questions I set then please go ahead. I’d like to hear what you’ve got to say. Thanks!  

  25. Dál Riata

    @Rev Stu

    You’re forgetting what peer pressure can do. If you’re living in an estate, or anywhere for that matter, where everyone else in your peer group supports a certain team, when you’re a young kid, if you want to stay within that group you’ll support the same team as them.

    Celtic and Rangers have been part of Scottish football for a long time. Unfortunately, religion has been the main driver of what team a kid supports, especially in Glasgow and the west of Scotland.

    Example: My uncle used to play for Celtic back in the day (sorry, no names!). I still remember getting a gift of a Celtic football strip from him for my fourth birthday. I felt like the bees knees and Celtic were my team. At the age of five I started school. The school was/is in a small town in the west of Scotland. It was/is what can only be described as a ‘Rangers town’, almost exclusively Protestant. (My uncle was Protestant, by the way) Now, even at that young age, I knew the consequences of pledging allegiance to Celtic! Everyone in that town/school was/is a Rangers supporter…now that’s what you call peer pressure! Of course I didn’t want to be ostracised from the group so I very quickly became a Rangers supporter.

    All that was, of course, many years ago, and sound pathetic now. But that was the way it was then. And, I was only a kid. And now? Well things have moved on as regards to a lot of things in Scottish life, but peer pressure?… Not, at all. It will always be there. It’s just part of the human condition. 

    Incidentally, I stopped supporting Rangers and going to Ibrox as I couldn’t deal with the bigotry and all the shite that comes with it any more. As I got older I just couldn’t keep kidding myself on any longer. It became a complete anathema to everything I believed in. All the sectarian and pro-union songs that I couldn’t bear to listen to any longer, never mind actually sing… One day I was like, “I am a Scottish Nationalist for god’s sake! What the fuck am I doing here?!!” That was the last time. And I’m glad I’m away from it. 

    While on the subject, there are/were a fair number of good and fair-minded ‘Gers supporters who don’t/didn’t get much credence. (I suppose it shows that peer pressure follows us throughout life. If all around you are singing,shouting/chanting something obnoxious at a football match, there’s a fair chance you’ll join in too, no matter your true feelings.)

    Finally, Stu, don’t let your hatred of Rangers influence what you write to such a degree that you become rabid and ranting. Some of the things you said (above) about the reasons for people supporting the Old Firm are quite offensive, I’m sorry to say. It’s your blog, of course, and you can say what you want. I enjoy your blog entries and visit here regularly. But sorry, that attack on Old Firm supporters and their reasons for supporting those teams was unfair and wee bit uncalled for. 


  26. Jonathan

    can we please put an abrupt end to the term “relegation” being used in respects to SEVCO 5088?

    As far as I know they have never played, and do not play in the SPL, so it is impossible for them to be “relegated” anywhere.

    Amazingly, as it stands they may be the first football club to get promoted 2 divisions without ever kicking a ball! 

    It is not only insane, but totally inconsistent with fairness, and this is why many a decent fan, myself included, will not be back and paying hard earned money into a clearly corrupt game. 

    thanks for the original article, very informative and totally on the ball. 

  27. Rev. Stuart Campbell

    “Finally, Stu, don’t let your hatred of Rangers influence what you write to such a degree that you become rabid and ranting. Some of the things you said (above) about the reasons for people supporting the Old Firm are quite offensive, I’m sorry to say. It’s your blog, of course, and you can say what you want. I enjoy your blog entries and visit here regularly. But sorry, that attack on Old Firm supporters and their reasons for supporting those teams was unfair and wee bit uncalled for.”

    I’m not sure what you mean. I didn’t cite any reasons people supported Rangers or Celtic, I cited the reason I didn’t.

  28. Jonathan

    I hope this does not descend into a morality debate on which team one should support, and instead keep focussed on the real issues at hand

  29. Juteman

    A good post Dal Riata. You’ve made me think a bit more deeply. Respect.

    My hate of bigotry goes back to when i was a child. Around 40 years ago, my uncle brought an Irish girlfriend back to my grandparents house for a Hogmanay party. He had met her whilst serving in the RAF in N.I.
     I was only a kid at the time.
    As the girlfriend was leaving, she was full of how much she had enjoyed the night. Great folk, great singing, great craic.
    She went into a bedroom to retreive her jacket as she was leaving, and came out she had spotted a crucifix on the bedroom wall. ” If i had known this was a Fenian house, i would never have set foot in it”, she spitted at my grannny.

    Luckily my granny was old school and slapped her in the pus.

    That woman has now lived in Dundee for the past 40 years, and is best friends with regular Catholic church goers. 🙂

    Nature or nuture?

    Btw, i’m a trotskyist buddhist.        

  30. Dál Riata

    @Rev Stu

    No, you didn’t cite any actual reasons for supporting those teams. But it does read as a slur on those who did/do from where you say “…deeply suspicious of anyone who …” in the third to last paragraph, through to the end of your post.

    Most people start supporting the teams that they do going by where they were brought up, how they were brought up and by whom, whatever the rights or wrongs of those social realities. Factor in, as I mentioned, the huge influence of pressure from your peers and the decision, when you’re brought up in a football ‘environment’ is more or less pre-determined. When you are older and, hopefully, wiser as an adult you can decide what is right or wrong for you and act upon it to suit your situation. However, as you know, most supporters stay with the team they started off with come what may. (There are exceptions, of course, as in my own experiences mentioned above)

    Anyway, Rev, I’m not going to, nor trying to make a big deal about it. Just my personal opinion. 

  31. Pete

    @Dál Riata

    I think you misunderstood my point. It was the conditions that the Irish immigrants experienced that led to the creation of Celtic, in order to try to better those conditions. Understandably, my Irish immigrant ancestors would have been very supportive of this, and along with religion and other family traditions, it would have been passed down to the next generation. My grandfather was born in Rutherglen, so it is fairly recent connection.

    As it happens, my Dad is agnostic despite his Catholic upbringing, and I have not been brought up as a Catholic and do not consider myself one. I am in fact baptised as a Lutheran (my Mum is from the continent), so I can categorically say that for me, religion in no way comes into it. Culture, however, does, and Celtic are what I have grown up with. It’s also a reminder that others went through hard times to provide us, their descendants, with a better life.

    As for supporting a local team or choosing a team based on style of play; if you know what team you support when you are 5 years old, you will never be able to consider that objectively. Quite apart from that though, what is the point if you have no passion? As someone who believes in self-determination, I seek it for my own country, not the one I think has the most promising prospects (even if I believe they are convergent in this case!).

    So to answer your question, it is because football is in the heart. If it wasn’t, would we really all spend 57 hours a year watching 11 mercenaries in our preferred jerseys kick a bit of leather around a field, and occasionally between some sticks? 🙂

  32. Dál Riata



    And, yes, bigotry and sectarianism is a hellish blight anywhere it rears its ugly head. Coming from the west coast of Scotland and Glasgow I could tell you a load of stories about its shite-yness … unfortunately. Everything from girlfriend’s and their parents, to ministers and priests, to schools and school uniforms, to pubs, to football, of course … and plenty others!

    Religion has got a lot to answer for… a plague on all their houses (Sorry if you’re religious).

    Things are slowly improving, thankfully.  The sooner its poison is eradicated from Scotland the better. 

  33. Dál Riata


    Thanks for answering my questions! And very eloquently put, I must say!
    Good on ye, and Cheers! 

  34. R Louis


    Meanwhile, in BBC land, people are commenting here;

    On the story that no Scotland players will be in the team ‘GB’ football squad.

    Sadly, the comments are seriously mis-informed, with supposed Scots posting about how angry they are that Scotland has been kept out.  Not only have such people not actually read the BBC article, but they clearly know nothing about what has been happening regarding Olympic football and the SFA.  Oh, and there is at least one mention of ‘the act of union of 1707’.

    Clearly the people who read their sports news on the BBC are not very well informed.  Or daft. Or both.

  35. McHaggis

    At what point are football’s governing authorities gonna wake up, smell the coffee, get sevco into div 3 and in my view, SAVE Scottish football? Yes, a less attractive football for some corporates, but in time a much better, competitive proposition which will almost certainly benefit clubs and the national side. The dragging of heels is a nightmare.

    For the record, i’m a Cowdenbeath man for no other reason than thats where i was brought up and my grandad and dad took me to games from the age of about 6. 

  36. Semus

    Thank goodness to get even more football Is that all there is to Scotland?a man kicks a ball to another man, and then another man and takes 9000 hours to do it while we are robbed as you all watch bloody sport. I remember in Govan a nice bit of graffiti at the Glasgow Garden Festival “You can fuck yer garden festival.We are all off tae the opera”
     The same goes for your football.
     Every Saturday as a child the misery would start of results at 5.00 p.m. Numpty Athletic 1 Arbtoath Smokies 0
    etc etc etc etc etc etc etc
     It still goes on but it is bloody everywhere. I and an Irish colleague started a fight in a pub in Tralee over an imaginary football match.Guards were called for.
     and the unionism of both sides. I designed an orange and greenn union jack for Celtic.
    A well as being hammered at school by Pe Instructor for being a “poof” for not playing football. Eventually I worked upo enough anger and hurt at his taunts to say”Sir, it is you who watched 23 men run about in silk knickers every Saturday”
    I know I ama all alone in my hatred of this time wasting in SCotland the daft.

  37. jimmyarab

    Getting Sevco Scotland into Division 3 won’t save Scottish football. This would be against the rules and would be open to challenge. The rules say that clubs need 3 yrs accounts before being considered for entry into the SFL. So legal challenges would tie up the SFL for years. The attempt to gerrymander the rules at the 11th hour is doomed to failure and will see ‘our leaders’ in the SFL and SPL and SFA having to walk at some time in the near future.
    But I agree that Division 3 would have been the best option if the rules had allowed it to happen. The rules that should have been done and dusted after the McLeish report a few years ago. Many Sevco Scotland supporters feel the same way.
    The rangers Tax Case website were reporting that the Zeus Capital website has been brought down by angry bears.
    A harbinger for things to come ?

  38. Morag

    I’m with Semus.  It’s a bonkers game.
    Now hush while I concentrate on Wimbledon, you plebs.

  39. russell

    i would like to point out that rangers didnt ask for this senario its the spineless leadership in the spl sfa thats got us to where we are just a qos supporter i would like people to take a wee step back and have a wee think to there self instead of trying to kick a team while there down we should be very careful what we wish for ie in 12 months time 4 teams in administration maybe more you cant turn the clock back i feel there has been too much kneejerk reaction in scotland.

  40. Rev. Stuart Campbell

    If teams can’t survive without Rangers, they should fail. I include my own club in that. I’d rather see Aberdeen die than live on their knees begging for scraps from Ibrox.

  41. DG

    “I would like to point out that rangers didnt ask for this senario ”

    No, Rangers asked to be put straight back in the Premier League as if nothing had happened and with all the players the old team had forced to play for them.

  42. MCA

    First time reader to this site, and I believe from reading through the comments there is a “historic” nature to the support of a particular team, traditional in Scotland as “back in the day”  it was a religious divide that dictated (more often than not), which team you supported.  However in today’s society of “multiculturalism” the melting-pot of Europe being what it is I sense there is less of a  religious decision and more of a personal allegiance to one particular team based purely on other dynamics such as  demographics (not to say there is still not a religious influence), but increasingly more diluted I would say – which I would state will become obvious if Rangers FC are relegated to the 3rd Division there will be a move by many to other teams until Rangers return to the SPL.

    BUT what the Rangers (The Rangers or whatever it is called at this time), issue has brought to light with a blinding flash is the “old days” where Catholics were seen as the poor relation, ignorant-Irish-uneducated-fools many who had to change their names or pretend not to be (at least in public), in any way related to the Catholic or Irish Community. Otherwise they would not even be interviewed for a job let along considered an equal to the masonic-rule-Britannia-protestant faithful – I know people who not only changed their names but also lied about what school they went to and what part of Ireland they came from – many even joined the Masonic Clubs so they could “fit-in” and feed their families. 

    This whole “Rangers Affair” has dragged the community and society back in time to when there was blatant favouritism and bias “just because” and it was an accepted part of society as a whole -BUT – in 2012 it is no longer tolerated and this has been seen by the shear uprising of voices Catholic, Protestant and other people of other religious beliefs who have an ounce of common sense are fighting back against the once old-age belief – protestants/Presbyterianism is the handle that rocks the cradle of the land. The desperation and almost fanatical panic running through the community and the football associations is so obvious it is mind-boggling but they are fighting not only for the Football Club but their core existence as the primary force within Scotland; the dire-hard protestants does not want to “surrender” the control of their religion, sense of self-importance or masonic rule are fighting equally hard for that as they are for “Rangers FC”.

    The bigger picture is the loss of all their “history” of control, power and “God-given-birth-right” simply because they are born and bred true-blue protestants who’s lifelong right is to hold-down or back anyone who does not agree or accept them to be the dominant race – generations of bigotry may well be lost with the demise of Rangers FC and all that it stands for and it’s not all football!!!

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