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Wings Over Scotland

The Spoilers

Posted on November 14, 2023 by

Zilch continues to happen in Scottish politics, so to pass a bleak November afternoon we’re going to do something we haven’t done on Wings for years: talk about football.

Try not to panic, because it’s really about the Scottish media – just like it used to be back in the good old days when they, rather than the SNP, were the main obstacles to Scottish independence. But there’s going to be quite a bit of football involved along the way, so if you can’t bear it, just go and stare out of the window and wait for Spring.

Our eye was caught by a couple of seemingly contradictory stories in The Times and the Daily Record – the first claiming that the football club known to some people as “Rangers” had just posted a small profit for the 2022-23 tax year (“tax” is a government levy paid by football clubs other than Rangers), while the latter claimed they’d actually recorded a loss of over £4m.

By most sensible interpretations the Record’s story is the more accurate. “Operating profit” is a subset of the accounts, and the overall picture was that the club spent more than it made. In either event, though, the underlying trading situation was grim.

The notional “profit” was only achieved through a couple of high-value player sales and a season in the Champions League group stages, which generated huge revenues (£19m) despite the team suffering abject humiliation on the field.

(For perspective, Aberdeen finished 3rd in last season’s Premiership but their entire turnover for the year was less than £14m – nearly £5m less than Rangers pocketed from just six thrashings against Europe’s elite.)

So excluding irregular events like the CL and a £10.5m profit from selling players, the “true” picture for the Ibrox club was more like a loss of £25-30m. But even the book figure was just the latest in an unbroken procession of hefty deficits since the new club’s formation in 2012.

2021-22: loss £3.5m
2020-21: loss £25.6m
2019-20: loss £17.8m
2018-19: loss £10.3m
2017-18: loss £12.3m
2016-17: loss £6.5m
2015-16: loss £2.3m
2014-15: loss £8.1m
2013-14: loss £7.6m
2012-13: loss £18.1m


That’s an awful lot of money to spend for one league title and one Scottish Cup in a decade. And yet on the same day the Record chose to run a piece from a columnist lambasting the rest of Scottish football for failing to compete with a team willing to burn more than £10m a season and £56m a trophy.

“Voice of the Hibees” Tam McManus laid into the other 10 clubs of the SPFL Premiership for not doing better against the Glasgow behemoths, angrily demanding that they “improve” without offering any suggestions as to how this could be achieved.

(His only tangible proposal was to increase the number of clubs in the top division, which even he admitted would reduce the revenue of everyone except the big two, so it’s anyone’s guess how it would be supposed to help.)

But recent history provides us with a striking illustration of how the competitiveness of Scottish football can be increased.

The above graph depicts the number of major Scottish trophies won by clubs outside of Celtic and Rangers in the past 50 years, and a few things leap straight out.

One is the formation of the SPL in 1998, after the “New Firm” decade in which Aberdeen and Dundee United mounted a serious and sustained challenge, winning multiple league titles and even a European trophy. This period clearly unsettled the Scottish football establishment, as gates at Parkhead and particularly Ibrox plummeted until David Murray arrived and started pouring vast sums of money into Rangers.

With the traditional Glasgow dominance reasserted by Murray’s millions, a new breakaway league from the old Scottish Football League instituted a prize money system which heavily loaded the distribution of cash towards the top two sides in the division, and immediately resulted in an unprecedented half-decade stretch where not a single trophy was won by any club outside the Old Firm.

Previously, while the Ugly Sisters still dominated the game, it was still very unusual for them to do a clean sweep of the honours. Prior to 1988 it had been a decade since that feat had been achieved, and it had only happened seven times in 25 years, but after the creation of the SPL it happened in nine seasons out of the next 13.

Those stats were doubtless assisted by the systematic financial cheating that was being undertaken by Rangers under Murray during the period, which finally caught up with them in 2011 and saw the club put into administration and then liquidation, owing the taxpayer tens of millions of pounds which will never be retrieved. And that event also had a dramatic effect on our graph.

Because of just five seasons when “diddy teams” have won more than one trophy in the last 35 years, three were during the absence of “Rangers” from the top division.

And it’s not hard to explain, with the help of another graph.

The image above highlights the four seasons when Premiership fixtures didn’t take place at Ibrox, and the period is notable for having a substantially smaller average points gap between the champions (Celtic in each case) and the highest-placed of the non-Glasgow sides.

(The gap has only been under 20 six times, four of which were after Rangers’ demise.)

It’s one thing for the smaller clubs to have to compete against ONE behemoth with 10 times their resources, but battling TWO of them at the same time is asking a lot. And the situation the Scottish game finds itself in since 2012 is that “Rangers” aren’t good enough to provide a meaningful challenge to Celtic, but they’re too good for the rest, and it’s complete poison for competition.

The 2017-18 season, two years into the “return” of the still-weak new Rangers, is the only time the “diddy gap” has been in single figures since the advent of the SPL, when Aberdeen challenged Celtic all the way but eventually ran out of steam and finished 9 points adrift in 2nd, having dropped 11 points to Rangers.

In other words, without having to face the debt-funded and essentially perma-bankrupt Ibrox team, they might well have won the title, right in the midst of Celtic’s 9-in-a-row run, and broken a 40-year duopoly. (Which would in turn have catapulted them into the Champions League and its massive bonanza of financial rewards, strengthening them for subsequent seasons.)

But with “Rangers” in the league, other teams get fewer points, finish lower down, get less prize money and are less likely to qualify for Europe, all of which makes them poorer and less able to compete, in a vicious spiral illustrated by the near-record gap between 1st and 3rd last season.

(More money gets you better players and more squad depth with which to have a decent tilt at cups and at least keep the league notionally alive until April.)

That season was just a particularly stark microcosm of the eternal, impossible task that faces all the clubs Tam McManus berates in the Record today. There’s nothing they can do about it short of miraculously unearthing a couple of Lionel Messis one year, and nobody else cares about helping them.

Scottish football, then, has a parasite problem. A single club is screwing things up for everyone, without actually accruing much in the way of benefit for itself. (The new Rangers is essentially a vanity project, not a viable business or sporting endeavour.)

But rather than identify it, the Scottish media castigates the unfortunate victims, who like care-home residents under COVID were knowingly and recklessly exposed to the virus by the authorities (in this case the SFA and SPL, who fell over themselves to bend the rules to allow the new Rangers back into the league).

We wish that wasn’t so depressingly characteristic of so much of Scottish life, whether in football or politics or wider civic society. But there you go.

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0 to “The Spoilers”

  1. Stephen

    Amen! I’ve been saying this for years. Rangers are a poison at the heart of Scottish society. With luck they will be bankrupt again within a few years and we can consign them to the history books

  2. sarah

    Rev, you are right, of course. The Scottish establishment “fix” the rules and are the only ones to benefit. Everyone else has to struggle.

  3. David Hannah

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts on Scottish football. It matters. And you care about our national game.

    Aberdeen are getting humped right now. I want to say that Aberdeen must stay at Pittodrie. Spirit, soul tradition. But their chairman Dave Cormack has really let the country down. Going ahead with Peter Lawell to sign the breadcrumbs Sky Television deal when the future of the game is on streaming services.

    We need to conduct panelbase polling. I’d love to crowdfund it and chip in to do so.

    We can’t hold Neil Doncaster to account. He has a job for life and an increasing bonus. I think his promotion and marketing of our game is poor. He needs to know it.

    I would love to crowdfund panelbase polling on the abolishion of VAR.

    Let the powers at be know how we feel about the national game.

    That would be amazing.

    Thank you for everything you do.

  4. Giesabrek

    Despite me being a (casual) Celtic supporter, could the same not be said for Celtic, rather than just pointing all the blame at New Rangers? What they did in the 90’s was seriously dodgy and their titles should’ve been taken off them since they had an illegal advantage, but now it’s supposedly all above-board.

    But I do agree that having only Celtic during those years New Rangers were climbing the leagues made for a much better competition, although I think part of that is that Celtic management only spent what they needed on players to be just a little better than the rest of the league rather than trying to match Rangers spending.

  5. Johnny

    The thing I find frustrating about it is that their fans and the media castigate the diddy teams for being too hopeless to provide a “challenge” and this is apparently to blame when they don’t do well in Europe (in fairness, Celtic fans also join in on this line of argument to some degree).

    They also complain if teams are “too defensive” against them (on the grounds that it isn’t entertaining, usually, but this is just Arsene Wenger-like complaining that “why won’t you just open up and let us score?” in reality).

    And the second a diddy team provides “too much” of a challenge and wins a rare victory over them, they scream for their manager to be sacked.

    So they don’t really want a “challenge” at all.

    As you say, it’s very hard for diddies to compete when (just when they might build up some momentum with a few wins versus other diddies) they meet one or other of the big boys and get walloped.

    And, look, I can accept it’s only right and correct that they get more money from matchday revenues, merch sales etc etc as they simply have more fans. I don’t think it’s right to blame them for taking advantage of that, but they could at least do the rest of the teams the service of recognising how that means they have an in-built advantage which makes it very hard for the others to compete and stop blaming the diddies for that!

    The diddies all have to play (at least) six and, if you’re competing well enough to be nominally “challenging” at the top end, eight (very hard) games against the big boys. They only play four, which helps them build up heads of steam that the others cannot.

  6. David Hannah

    Our beautiful game needs grass pitches in the top flight.

    Kilmarnock will play on a plastic pitch when rivals Ayr United play on beautiful lush green lawn like all good football teams.

    The fans are being conned by plastic pitches. We must conduct polling.

    Niel Doncaster must know what we want. We’ll have to do his job for him.

    I want £16 tickets. Bring back the away day.

    Boosting the local economy of the towns. Like all good European football leagues.

    Celtic has been banned by Rangers. And stuck in the corner at Hearts.

    With a cheaper price ticket. Designated as the away day. Aberdeen can bring 5,000 if they wish to Celtic and Rangers. For the cheaper away day. That promotes the game.

    Aberdeen need to stay at Pittodrie in the city centre. If Dave Cormack moves the club to Kingsford the match day experience is gone. The chippy. The pubs. The bars. The hotels. They are Aberdeen as well.

    Dave Cormack, I hope he reads this. These are my ideas.

    Tear up the sky television contract. It’s a poor man’s deal. Corporate negligence.

    And then we can extend the top flight. So can visit more towns like Morton Greenock. And boost the economy.

    Hail hail.

  7. socratesmacsporran

    Yes, Rangers has been a basket case for years, but, you have to ask how Celtic would look without the soft loans from Mr Desmond.

    IF the other clubs formed a united front, they could easily make the changes needed to our game, but, it’s easier to go with the status quo and have two special teams ruling the roost.

    Forty-two “senior” teams in Scotland is a nonsense, as is the 12-club top division.

    There should be a CBA (collective bargaining agreement) which would mean all the clubs working together, but, this would harm the Ugly Sisters, so, it will not happen. There is also a case for implementing Chic Young’s “eight diddies rule” (eight Scotland-qualified players on the field in each team at all times) – to promote young Scottish talent and get rid of the third-rate imports we now have taking most of the team slots.

    Rangers had a great chance to grow their own Scottish talent in the years it took them to get back to the top flight. But, they preferred to do things “the Rangers Way,” by buying-in non-Scots who were “Not Rangers Class.”

    The game up here is broken beyond repair.

  8. Michael Pryor

    According to, in Manchester alone there are 7 players, 4 at City and 3 at United, who each receive an annual wage in excess of Aberdeen’s turnover. It’s a miracle that the ‘diddy’ clubs survive at all – nobody should knock them for not competing with CL clubs.

  9. Morton Nil

    Ahh football. Jumpers for goalposts.
    Doesn’t help if your Diddy chart thinks the season after 1983-84 is 1985-86.
    Anyway, everybody knows that if the Old Firm want to be respected worldwide, then they need to join the English system. They would never get into any European Super-League if they are playing didy teams on Saturdays or Sundays at home.
    Does that cause a problem to Independence supporters?
    Probably does to the small-minded.
    If you want independence to mean smaller-thinking, hiding under the EU’s petticoats and otherwise isolation from the world, then Scottish Football should pull up the drawbridge.
    If you want growth in Scottish football, stop looking in envy at Rangers and Celtic.

    Everybody also knows that the reason there are at least 40 diddy teams in senior football in Scotland is because the education system abandoned sports 40 years ago.
    There is no serious talent coming through at local levels and the coaching available for those desperate to play -is a wretched standard.
    We have far more international standard kids playing football manager on a screen than we have able to kick a ball with more than one foot.
    Oh, that and the pathetic diet our working class kids have might be bigger reasons.

  10. Bernard Thompson

    Okay, Giesabrek, I’ll bite. What exactly did Celtic do in the 1990s, apart from almost go bust competing with a club that was cheating (with a friend of David Murray at BoS trying to force liquidation, win no titles from 1987 to 1996, and then pay off every creditor under Fergus McCann.
    How is that “the same”?
    Giesabrek says:
    14 November, 2023 at 2:57 pm
    Despite me being a (casual) Celtic supporter, could the same not be said for Celtic, rather than just pointing all the blame at New Rangers? What they did in the 90’s was seriously dodgy and their titles should’ve been taken off them since they had an illegal advantage, but now it’s supposedly all above-board.

  11. Tuco

    I can imagine a simple potential solution to everything you have (correctly) highlighted Rev.

    If the structure of the league(s) was altered so that points were only allocated on the basis of 1goal = 1point… highest number of points at the end of season wins the league.

    The “diddy” teams might lose to the big two, but will always have a chance to gain points in a losing game, and EVERY game would matter.

    I think the smaller teams would fare better in this scenario, but even if they didn`t I think the product on the field would improve from a fans` point of view. Can`t think of any negatives, but then again, I don`t even like football, so maybe I have this totally wrong.

  12. Republicofscotland

    It would appear that Celtic and Rangers are a scourge on Scottish football progressing, I recall years ago that both teams who are laden with religious baggage which infects the rest of Scotland were going to f*ck-off to the English Premiership, but even that lot weren’t daft enough to go through with it.

    I wonder if the SPL is the most uncompetitive league in the world or if its a two horse race in most other football leagues around the world.

  13. Dave Hansell

    Lets assume that the entity calling itself Glasgow Rangers ceases to exist.

    Would this solve the problems described in this blog post? Or would another club – Aberdeen/whoever? – simply replace Rangers in a two horse system in which all the money goes on just two clubs in a ten team league?

    The point being that the SPL is not the only league which does not do what it says on the tin in terms of being competitive.

    The same problem exists in the English Premier league in those terms. Where the same disparity of financial resources exists – albeit with around six clubs rather than two. With twenty clubs playing 380 games a season it is probably being over generous to say that in terms of competitiveness that only about 20% of those 380 games over a season produce what it says on the tin.

    Because the disparity in finances towards a small number of clubs has resulted in a situation in which a few clubs are paying silly amounts of money not just in transfer fees but wages for international players to sit on the bench and get maybe fifteen-twenty minutes on the pitch if at all.

    Now the question arises why pay £100,000 a week plus for players who are barely being used or not used at all? It seems a waste of money.

    However, whilst an aspiring international goalkeeper such as Arsenal’s Ramsdale (purchased from Sheffield United) may be sat on the bench twiddling his thumbs not playing for Arsenal he also not playing for the opposition. And ditto for a plethora of other players who would be in the starting line up of every other club/team outside that small selection of clubs and providing more genuine competitive games.

    Right now those few clubs could field their reserve eleven in the Premier League who would all likely finish in the top half of the league table.

    Until the financial disparities are addressed this process will increase and become worse. Whatever league we are talking about.

  14. Bill mackay

    Oh dear what has become wings fs bring back sturgeon ???

  15. Garrion

    So, as someone who would rather be bathed in wasps than watch football, let me get this straight; the ‘old firm’, which has both dominated Scottish football my entire (56yrs) life, has kept sectarian hatred and violence alive and very well, AND suppressed the rest of Scottish football in terms of winning anything ever on a national and international stage, to ensure that we don’t get any uppity ideas as a nation?

    Makes sense.

  16. Antoine Roquentin

    A great piece, Rev! Also: how do we rid ourselves of that corrupt, untouchable caste: the ‘invisible’ Scottish establishment? By alerting people to their existence and modus operandi would seem like a good place to start.

  17. Leslie Ross

    Depending on profit from player sales is an integral part of club financing for dozens of european clubs otwith the mega-wealthy. Ajax, Benfica and Dinamo Zagreb to name but three have been doing this for many years

  18. William Barlow

    A single club is screwing things up? Two clubs, surely: both bits of the Old Firm.

  19. Garrion

    @ Antoine Roquentin 5:02

    Exactly! Because as we have all learned, this invisible “Scottish” establishment has zero interest in the disruption entailed by independence.

    They would have to compete on a level playing field with the rest of us. That’s just not cricket.

  20. Anton Decadent

    Even men with steel hearts love to see a dog on the pitch.

  21. twathater

    I’m with Garrion on this one , football shmootball I couldn’t give a shit , however what does rip my piss is the observable untouchability of all these clubs especially the UGLY SISTERS , HOW can supporters stand by and agree with the wages some of these primadonnas demand , what f**king planet are they on ,they are definitely NOT brain surgeons or cancer specialists HOW and WHY do they deserve those disgustingly inappropriate salaries,and HOW can any of these clubs avoid or evade paying tax
    The recent furore of players registering as charitable entities or whatever was happening just highlights they are greedy selfish arsewipes who don’t even want to pay their taxes, and again not one of them faced prison

    Football clubs are just there to keep the mugs from seeing the truth of what the establishment get up to and the UGLY SISTERS have caused more violence and hatred in Scotland and elsewhere deliberately

  22. Johnlm

    I thought the Ugly Sisters were going to join the English League?

  23. And spouse

    Stu, to suggest a “big boy (David Murray) done it and ran away is not the best argument? You think?
    Stats are important, agreed, you can interpret from them. Can we get upset when teams are first or second, if only they weren’t there, then the third team would win?
    My son and I have this discussion about WW2, it was the spitfire that won the war, no it was the Sherman tank, not it was the Lancaster, no it was the floating barges for DDay.
    What I’d don’t get though is why the teams outside the old firm didn’t take a bigger advantage of the situation when the “ team formerly know as Rangers” were in the lower leagues. If they had wanted they could have taken a bit more control.
    Sun Tzu, “in the midst of chaos there is also opportunity”

    I always thought it was when the Pools Company started moving money from Scottish Football and gave it to lower league English clubs. How come we don’t see any BT money in Scottish Football? But many of us in Scotland have BT and watch BT sport. Why do we all watch Match of the Day and support another country, why does Gary Lineker get paid more than the Beeb puts in to Scottish Football? If there was more money in Scottish Football

    Directors are tasked with making the business profitable, that’s part of it.
    Rebecca gave a great wee speech in Ted Lasso about what football is all about. That’s one of the reasons Rangers fans say Rangers and others say Sevco. Why should Aberdeen get upset? Trying being Cowdenbeath!

  24. John C

    I’ve normally been against the idea, but now if the Old Firm were to join the English League, or the once proposed ‘Atlantic League’ then Scottish football might just be left to break free of pandering to a pair of teams that don’t really care about the grassroots of the game.

    As it stands I don’t think either is likely, though with the way the Champions League is mutating & the number of big sides quietly advocating a breakaway year-long European league I can see it in a decade or so when new marketing tricks are sought.

  25. John Main

    I have a few ideas for improving the beautiful game:

    1) If everybody in “real life” has to suffer from the lunacy of diversity quotients lumbering us with sub-standard services from barely literate no-hopers who have the job only because they tick some box on a checklist, then sport and football should not get a bye. Make every team include a quota of gay, trans, female, ethnic, differently abled, etc. etc. If it’s good enough for important stuff, e.g. the NHS, then it’s good enough for sport.

    2) End the penalty shoot out. After extra time, the game should go on until somebody scores a goal. If teams don’t want to run the risk of being stretchered off with exhaustion, learn to fecking score in normal time.

    3) Increase goal sizes. They have been static since a tall player was 5 ft 6 inches and trained on chip butties. The physical condition of the players is an order of magnitude better than it was when the goal size was set. Increase it to make the game more entertaining and exciting.

    4) Show the “show the red card to racism” campaign the red card in the professional game. Anybody who wants to pay me £100k a week can be assured that I will willingly accept that kind of dosh in exchange for some monkey noises. Pandering to the spoilt prima donnas while they greet about fans being not nice to them gets on my goat. They should man up or feck off.

  26. Mark Boyle

    Only THREE TIMES since the inaugeration of the Scottish League
    has there been a season when neither of the Old Firm have won at
    least one major domestic trophy.

    1954/1955 Aberdeen (League), Clyde (Scottish Cup), Hearts (League Cup)
    1951/1952 Hibernian (League), Motherwell (Scottish Cup), Dundee (League Cup)
    1894/1895 Hearts (League), St Bernard’s (Scottish Cup)

    That is a pretty shocking state of affairs for any domestic football set up, let alone one with pretensions to be a first world nation in soccer terms.

    Before anyone points to the Spanish League being a “duopoly”, here’s the same, except with it being without Real Madrid and Barcelona winning at least one.

    2013/2014 Athletico Madrid (League and Cup)
    2003/2004 Valencia (League), Real Zaragoza (Cup)
    2001/2002 Valencia (League), Deportivo La Coruna (Cup)
    1999/2000 Deportivo La Coruna (League), Espanyol (Cup)
    1983/1984 Athletic Bilbao (League and Cup)
    1976/1977 Athletico Madrid (League), Real Betis (Cup)
    1972/1973 Athletico Madrid (League), Athletic Bilbao (Cup)
    1965/1966 Athletico Madrid (League), Real Zaragoza (Cup)
    1955/1956 Athletic Bilbao (League and Cup)
    1949/1950 Athletico Madrid (League), Athletic Bilbao (Cup)
    1943/1944 Athletic Bilbao (League), Athletico Madrid (Cup)
    1942/1943 Athletic Bilbao (League and Cup)
    1939/1940 Athletico Madrid (League), Espanyol (Cup)
    1934/1035 Real Betis (League), Seville (Cup)
    1930/1931 Athletic Bilbao (League and Cup)
    1929/1930 Athletic Bilbao (League and Cup)

    This is usually the point Old Firm apologists will say,
    “Ah! But they have only two trophies to compete for!”

    So let’s remove the Scottish League Cup from the equation, and see what happens:

    1983/1984 Aberdeen (League and Cup)
    1982/1983 Dundee United (League), Aberdeen (Cup)
    1957/1958 Hearts (League), Clyde (Cup)
    1954/1955 Aberdeen (League), Clyde (Scottish Cup)
    1951/1952 Hibernian (League), Motherwell (Scottish Cup)
    1894/1895 Hearts (League), St Bernard’s (Scottish Cup)

    Only three more appear – leaving the totals as happening five times in the last seventy five years whereas in Spain it’s happened twice as often.

    Face it, Scottish domestic football is as bent as a nine bob note, and is designed to be for the benefit of the Old Firm.

  27. Bortwhiskels

    When the SPL was formed as means of securing old firm domination, it had an 11-1 voting system to protect that domination from uppity diddy teams.

    My genuine question is why didn’t the diddy teams take advantage of FC Rangers of Glasgow being in amongst the really really diddy teams for four years to foist some changes on that structure, starting with the prize money allocation and the voting structure?

  28. Albert Herring

    “why didn’t the diddy teams take advantage”

    I seem to remember they tried, but Aberdeen voted against.

  29. JockMcT

    Dear oh dear, football? No thanks, I’m out of this one. Bad move Rev, this one is a splitter. Hardly what we need.

  30. Scott

    Morton Nil says:
    14 November, 2023 at 3:36 pm
    Ahh football. Jumpers for goalposts.
    Doesn’t help if your Diddy chart thinks the season after 1983-84 is 1985-86

    You might want to take another look at this Mr Graph Reading Expert

  31. Bortwhiskels

    Thanks Albert, I obviously missed that happening.

  32. Penvelope

    You should stick to talking about your gastric problems mate.
    I’m a DUFC fan.
    Celtic & Rangers are two sides of the same coin.
    They have consistently- for decades – hoovered up any player in a Scottish club who showed any promise & often stick them on the bench.
    You seem to have a down on Rangers- I get it.
    But Celtic are just as bad – happy as the current heavyweights in Scottish football to beat the crap out of the welterweight opponents who they meet week in and out.
    What happens when they meet a real heavyweight- 6 fucking nil- they can’t defend because they never have to in Scotland.
    Stick to politics & your gut problems & don’t talk about stuff you manifestly know fuck all about.
    When’s the last time you went to a match in Scotland?

  33. matt

    interesting article Rev., summing up the way the big city clubs get the lions share of the income even when their financial standing is shaky. I’d suggest that similiar patterns can be seen in other countries, including the big five in England ; Spain (is it Barca who are on the rocks?), Portugal – the Benfica show & so on. TV money props up the top clubs, together with changes in distribution of gate receipts – less for smaller clubs now.

    Smaller clubs are occassionally propelled to success by outstanding or eccentric managers – Cloughie at Derby & Forest; Ranieri at Leicester; Ferguson at Aberdeen; but this is generally short lived.

  34. Iain More

    The problems of footie and for the average Scottish footie supporter are compounded by the fact that UEFA is also corrupt. That corruption is worsened by the fact that the SFA are utterly useless.

    Sunday night International Games are also criminal sheduling. many of us will not be able to get home on Sunday nights due to fewer bus and rail services. If we dont drive we get shat on from a great height in otherwords. I will not be going to the Norway game even though I have a ticket as I dont want to amPutate my right arm to pay for a hotel room.

    Oh and I am not paying Viaplay a bean of my hard earned coin either. I am not going to the Aberdeen v Ugly Sister final as the scheduling again fuckin sucks. I wont be watching that on Viaplay either. Oh and I stopped paying The English TV Tax and I will be fucked if I subsideise Englands Corrupt big 5 or 6 teams and thier generally entiled supporters.They share that in common with the ugly sisters.

  35. David Hannah

    Aberdeen has sold out their allocation for the cup final. Yet Rangers were given more tickets. That’s not fair. That’s an injustice. I remember Aberdeen taking over 40,000 to Celtic Park for the cup final in 2014.

    I hope the Dons win the cup. Barry Robson has good fighting spirit but it was absolutely lacking at Parkhead on Saturday. The movement of the strikers was abysmal. They did no pressing. As a result Celtic ran the show. And I thought Celtic was absolutely crap for most of the second half.

    VAR scrap it. Aberdeen capitulated after the VAR.

  36. Molesworth

    The English will never allow Celtic and Rangers to join their league. The booing of the National Anthem and the disrespect for Remebrance Day silence makes that an absolute certainty.

  37. Rev. Stuart Campbell

    “Aberdeen has sold out their allocation for the cup final. Yet Rangers were given more tickets. That’s not fair. That’s an injustice. I remember Aberdeen taking over 40,000 to Celtic Park for the cup final in 2014.”

    It’s such an uncomplicatedly obvious outrage that Rangers are being handed yet another unfair advantage by the ticket allocation. It was never in doubt that Aberdeen could sell half the tickets – we took 40,000 to our last League Cup final – and in that circumstance it is THE most basic principle of fairness that they get them. If it’s Ross County or something and it’s genuinely unlikely they could sell 25,000 then fair enough, it’s daft to have thousands of empty seats, but a 50/50 allocation should ALWAYS be the default.

  38. dearieme

    The one single act that would most improve Scotland would be God destroying Rangers and Celtic and everyone associated with them.

    When I was a wee lad I used to go to watch the football – the away supporters seemed overwhelmingly to be decent people except for the troglodytes who supported those two sides.

    It wasn’t even the matter of having the bad luck to be Glaswegian. Supporters of the Jags, Clyde, and Third Lanark were just fine.

    The Auld Firm should be despatched to Auld Nick.

  39. Rev. Stuart Campbell

    God did destroy Rangers. But the SFA revived them.

  40. Breastplate

    It’s not the fault of Celtic and Rangers that the rest of the league are pish.

    What sort of investment is in grassroots players and coaches?
    I would suggest that there is as little funding as the suits in SFA think they can get away with.

    It also doesn’t help that sport in general and football in particular is frowned upon by too many people that are at every level of government, they’re all much more interested in cultivating large arses.

    Even with the handicap of apathetic lardies in positions of power (my kids went to primary schools where the teachers actively stopped them playing football in the school) prioritising anything else that doesn’t involve breaking a sweat, football clubs should still be able to train kids to an acceptable standard that 11 kids from Scotland can play football at the highest level, like other smaller European countries can do, Netherlands, Denmark and Croatia to name some.

    It’s ultimately a failing of the clubs themselves for not being able to coach the kids to the level they demand, including Celtic and Rangers.

  41. North Chiel

    Perhaps in the near future ( probably beginning to happen now) the revenue accrued from EUROPEAN football “ leagues” over the season will begin to exceed revenue derived from “Scottish” football competitions. Thereafter, as the gap widens , could it be possible that both Rangers & Celtic will have virtually 2 teams ( one for Europe ,and another for domestic competition ) . Perhaps thereafter the Scottish leagues & cups could be more competitive with the other home teams better able to compete with old firm “ second elevens” ?
    Another aspect of the European scene as regards “ the old firm “ and competition against the major European sides ie Man City , Liverpool, Arsenal, Athletico Madrid , Barca etc etc is the huge competitive edge these football “ businesses” have over both Celtic & Rangers due to the massive subsidies ( in particular or SKY&BT bankrolling the top English sides) had via domestic broadcasting contracts etc , which give them a massive financial advantage over the smaller counties teams ( eg Scotland) . How can it be fair for UEFA to allow this situation to exist , as is this not unfair competition in relation to European football competitions ? ( All football clubs are businesses after all and surely the bankrolling of in particular English football clubs within the European football context should be questioned)

  42. Ali Clark

    Matheson’s data usage coinciding with the Ugly Sister’s unfestive panto?

  43. therealijn

    Indeed, Rangers have spent the last decade playing to the gallery with a healthy broth of bitterness and paranoia. Ultimately, it’s simply because they’re just sore effing losers. I’ve often thought Rangers could play a significant role in the move towards independence. How so? Simple. Have the SFA/SNP sponsor a manifesto pledge of a compulsory purchase order of Ibrox for one billion pounds. Job done. Overnight, half a million Rangers supporters become SNP voters. You can thank me later.

  44. Toto

    Essentially they are the establishment, quintessential British club & are in all but name – state sponsored.

    They are a vehicle for unionism & monarchy, no one likes them & they very much do care.

  45. James

    Thanks, interesting read and really not much to debate tbh. One thing – Glasgow has around 100k season tickets alone from a population of 635k ( June ’21).Hearts and hibs are nowhere near that despite similar Edinburgh population (526k). If a sixth of Aberdeen had a season book – (213k pop.) Almost 35k in pittodrie for home games every season! Ok, I accept there are many variables attached but the underlying potential is there. Instead of attacking the incumbents for doing what any business would – shouldn’t we be talking about solutions from the competitor perspective? Waste of time complaining about the status quo – we all know the facts and accept them. Survival of the most adaptable – not the can be as commercially fit as you like but that doesn’t guarantee survival.

  46. Bobbyp

    I dont and have never subscribed to sky or bt, because i dont want my money going to pay vastly overrated epl players wages. While the Scottish game gets the crumbs that these broadcasters throw at them. In this digital age why can’t football teams have their own streaming services and charge pay per view to watch live games outside their own country, so it does’nt affect gate revenues.

  47. Chas

    Are people not aware that you can watch ALL football, rugby, golf etc on your pc for absolutely nothing? An Ad Blocker is necessary but that’s it. You can even watch without the blocker but it can be a pain in the erse.

  48. Stoker

    To the one or two folk further up thread who don’t like the appearance of a football related article on WOS, Stuart has produced several really good articles on football. There’s also a few really good articles based on various Olympic games. And usually these articles, whether folk like it or not, generally speak to the political climate in Scotland at that particular time.

    There is even a cracker of an article by a former WOS regular by the name of Dave McEwan Hill who is, as i understand it, a Catholic and a Celtic supporter as well as a staunch indy supporter going way back to the days of Madame Ecosse’s Hamilton victory.

    Dave explains in his article the history of the Labour Party in Scotland using the Scottish Catholic community in their campaigns against Scottish independence with their fearmongering etc. Some times the elephant in the room just cannot be ignored no matter how ugly it is. And i for one am grateful for folk sharing their experienced knowledge of “delicate” matters.

    All those articles i speak of are worth looking out for a greater understanding of Scotland in relation to certain issues. Well worth trawling WOS archives for them. Wee tip: I think they are all pre-September 2014 additions to the archives so that should narrow your searches considerably.

    @ Tuco on 14 November 2023 at 4:02 pm

    I’ve been an advocator of that idea for quite some time. I think it’s one way, of many, to improve the game. It would certainly make it more entertaining, i think. So for someone who doesn’t follow football your suggestion is a good one as far as i’m concerned. 😉

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