McCall explains 'SPL knackered' comment
Updated Thursday, 31st May 2012
Stuart McCall has responded to the criticism of his views as published in The Sun. Many Motherwell fans disagreed with the sentiment that "Without Rangers the league would be knackered" and the manager has tried to explain the context of the quote.
Writing in an email to fans McCall admitted that he was quoted correctly but that the interview took place some weeks ago, probably before the last game of the season.
He feels that the comments (“I know a lot of supporters are saying they should be liquidated and come back as a new club in division three. But that would be the end for Scottish football — there certainly wouldn’t be any TV deals and the element of competition would vanish because Celtic would walk away with the SPL. Financially speaking, Rangers mean a lot to us because of the revenue that comes into the coffers when we play them. The SPL without Rangers is unthinkable and I’m sure lots of clubs would go to the wall without them.”) have taken on a heightened significance since the recent BBC programme was aired. He then attempts to explain his thoughts in more detail.
He accepts that Rangers should be punished but makes the case that any reduction in income to Motherwell FC that might result would lead to a reduction in the quality of player that we could afford. The strides that the club has taken in aspects of communication, administration, Youth development and the infrastructure at the ground would be at risk. He points out that that fact that he has been a player for Rangers makes no difference to his argument and that the same view would be held if Celtic were in a similar position.
He supports the board’s position that any possible decision about a Newco would follow consultation with Motherwell fans and that the long term interest of our club will be paramount.
Whether his explanation persuades fans to change their attitude towards the appropriate punishment for Rangers remains to be seen but his willingness to explain his thinking is welcome.
The text of his email follows....
Good afternoon ‘Well fans,
I felt I had to email you to explain the comments reported in the Scottish Sun this week as I know this whole issue is causing some worry and anxiety for our fans. I need to clear it up as while the report is accurate and I did say these comments, they are not in the context in which I meant them when I spoke to Kenny MacDonald.
Firstly, it is worth pointing out that this interview took place weeks ago – before the Dundee United game as I recall and the vast majority of it centred on Leeds United which is rightly reflected in the article. Why it has taken so long to get to print, I am not too sure.
The significance of that is that I understand some of the feelings around this issue have become heightened since then, particularly in recent times following Mark Daly’s BBC Documentary broadcast last week; incidentally a programme I have not seen as I was at an Under 20s tournament in Holland.
I think it is also worthwhile highlighting the clubs’ position which has been made clear to me and made public last week which is a fairly simple one. They (the Board that is) can only really take a stance if a ‘Newco’ application is brought in front of them – and that will come after discussions with you, the fans which is a very responsible line and one I not only support but applaud.
I understand representatives from the board took part in discussions at the SPL yesterday and the outcomes of that were made public which brings more clarity. That’s a good thing, as is the SPL taking a similar position to the MFC Board on that ‘Newco’ issue.
But let me try and explain what I meant by some of the comments in the paper which, as I’ve said, look much different in print than they do in a discussion. The caveat to it all, and I’ve been quoted on this before on the Motherwell website, MFC TV and various news source; Rangers should absolutely, without question, be punished for any wrongdoing that has happened or may prove to have happened.
In the paper I was quoted as saying the SPL would be in serious trouble. By that, I simply meant the current standard and quality of Scottish Football as we all know it now. Some people might be quite happy with that in that they don’t think much of what we have anyway, I don’t know, that is very much up to you as an individual to make up your own mind and I respect every fans view on it.
Would there be a TV deal? Yes, I think there would be just not of the same value as now. That combined with other revenue streams that would dry up would essentially mean our club would have to downsize pretty radically and very quickly.
Look, at the moment we are pretty much competing with some League One, some League Two and even non-league clubs in England for players. In recent years, Motherwell fans have enjoyed players like Chris Porter, Lukas Jutkiewicz, John Ruddy, Darren Randolph, Nicky Law, Giles Coke, Nick Blackman, Steve Jennings and others because we are just about able to compete with those leagues I mentioned. If you reduce the budget to the extent we have talked about then none of that is possible. It’s not about what other clubs do, it’s about us and who we can attract to come and play at Fir Park! That’s not a threat; it is, I am afraid, the reality of the situation.
We are constantly losing good players from the SPL who are choosing to go and play in England. Yes, that’s happened for a while now but just look at the players in recent seasons that have crossed the border which weakens our league. Just about every SPL club has an example from Maguire at Aberdeen, Bryson and Kilmarnock, Goodwillie and Conway at Dundee Utd and so on. Reduce the budget and we naturally have to reduce the quality of player that we can bring to the club. A ‘lesser’ player equates to a ‘lesser’ product on the park for supporters. As much as we want to win football games, we also want and have a duty to entertain and give value for money. Our better players are being drained away from the SPL. Massively reduce what we spend and that is exacerbated even more.
I think it would also have a serious implication to the people who work for the club off the park too. I’ve only been here eighteen months but even in that time, I can see for myself some of the great strides that have been made by the club and those that run it day-to-day to make it more fan-friendly, to improve communication and administration, to better community links, to improve the youth infrastructure and that can only happen with the budget we have currently. Reduce the budget to the level predicted and, unfortunately, a great deal of what you come to expect from your club on a day-to-day basis becomes very difficult to maintain.
I just want what is best for Motherwell Football Club!
I am also very, very keen to stress that what I have said either previously or in this email is not in any way influenced by what club is involved. Yes, I was a Rangers player and enjoyed my time at the club but my focus is on Motherwell FC. I would be saying the exact same thing if Celtic were in the same situation and again, I have gone on record as saying that.
The board has already said they will consult with you, the fans before making a call, if that comes around. If what I have said above is something everyone in the game in this country is prepared to accept, then I respect that too and we will all do our very best to try and overcome that! You may not agree with what I have said, but it gives you a better understanding of what I meant and not spread over a couple of paragraphs that didn’t quite get across what I was trying to say.
It’s not about the preservation of another club; it’s about the continuous growth of this football club, building on the three of four years of success and growth. I reckon it would be such a shame if that whole process was jeopardised and hamstrung through no fault of the clubs.
So please all be assured that as the Board have said whatever decision is taken and whatever our role as a club our focus is on what’s best for Motherwell long term and that means the sustainable success of our club. We think that goes hand in hand with the integrity of our sport. That will be our focus.
Meantime let’s not let the worries elsewhere distract us too much from the hope and happiness around our Club. We have a lot to look forward to and we must stand together to keep growing the success of our team and our club which I know we can.
Thanks for taking the time to read and I look forward to seeing you all again either at one of our pre-season matches or the big Champions League match in late July.
All the best,
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