It would be very easy to say that the decision we made was pathetic. We needed administration to survive and we voted for a proposal to make life harder for other clubs who could be on the verge of extinction. The SPL has many flaws but on the surface trying to push clubs closer to the abyss is surely one of the worst mistakes yet. Indeed, due to the nature of our debt, if we were not allowed to sign new players at lower wages, there would have been no chance of the administrator, Bryan Jackson, being able to do his job successfully.
The ten point penalty is less controversial but still a kick in the teeth to any club who faces it. Going into administration will almost certainly mean a relegation battle – on which your very survival could depend – and the ten point deduction might turn out to be the fatal blow.
However, it did seem clear that something needed to be done about clubs going into administration. There are now points penalties for fiscal recklessness in England and countries in Europe, such as France, Germany and Italy, have even stiffer sanctions – demotion to the amateur leagues until your finances are secure again. UEFA, with it’s licensing scheme, is already beginning to put pressure on national institutions to get their own houses in order. With the inferred threat being that if you don’t, we will do it for you, as can be seen by the potential ban on Motherwell and Dundee playing in Europe next season.
During all the rumours of administration punishments, common sense suggested it would never get past the SPL vote. Okay, so if Motherwell were being cynical it could benefit us and you just know Maryhill Moaners were desperate for it. But what lurking threat could have persuaded Dunfermline and Killie to introduce these rules? Even clubs like Hearts, Aberdeen and, whisper it, Rangers are having to make almighty changes to keep creditors at bay.
So, whilst it would have been nice if our club had taken a principled and moral stance to stand up to people who wanted to kick clubs in administration whilst they were down, chances are it was never viable. The only question was what would actually happen and there is little doubt that the current resolution would have been some sort of compromise between the eleven (excluding Dundee) in the knowledge that UEFA were breathing down their necks. You can only wonder what could be more harmful than the ban on signing players, a move which would have killed us stone dead had it been in place last year. Our club has been made to look hypocritical and opportunistic – I only hope the behind the scenes reasons for this can justify it.