GLF79 - Geoff Baby's view from the seaside.
MOTHERWELL Champions League, you’re having a laugh. Probably, but while there’s life, or a lack of it at Ibrox, there’s hope. In our favour is our team spirit and confidence. Against us is an increasing number of yellow cards for key players and that could cost us dear. Third place is currently ours to lose and we now have a target above us that we didn’t have a couple of months ago. A target above us may help us avoid worrying about the clubs below us. The home game against Rangers at the end of March is shaping up to be a real humdinger. If anyone had forecast all this back in July I’d have laughed in their face. Of course, as a seasoned roller-coaster rider I know that we are bound to suffer a few slumps before the season ends, let’s just hope they are not critical ones.
FINANCES Nice to see that we managed to post a profit in our recently released figures, and a reasonably sized one at that. Although maybe it isn’t so reasonably sized when you look at what we actually achieved over the year. A cup final, two other Hampden trips, Europe and a good showing in the league and we post figures of £540,000. Turnover showed a sizeable increase and the income from player sales was only £190k. The board are predicting a loss in next season’s figures so it looks like we desperately need to get to Hampden again (hopefully twice) in the cup but we’ll still be looking to sell over the summer to balance the books.
PORTSMOUTH It looks bleak for Portsmouth but they only have themselves to blame. While I have a degree of sympathy for their fans they themselves have wanted success for the club and refused to live within their means. Bear in mind that the last time they went into administration it was because they were in debt to the tune of…£135m. And they haven’t learned their lesson from that? Interestingly of their 33 redundancies this time round not one of them was a member of the playing staff, surely among the higher paid at the club. Players have supposedly been asked to defer their wages for a few months. A few days later the administrators stated that the club may not even make it to the end of the season. Well, I’m sorry but they deserve everything they get.
RELEGATION So who’s for the drop this season? It’s not just exciting just below the top slot in the league; it’s also interesting down the bottom. Hibs certainly belied their position when they came to Fir Park recently and gave us a fright. Dunfermline were/are probably everybody’s tip to go down but that is by no means going according to plan. These two look too far adrift of Inverness and St Mirren to see anyone else dragged down but you never know. My preference? Hmm, a close one but in a strange way it would maybe benefit Hibs to take a drop and to rebuild. Remember they did that under McLeish and came back all the stronger. If Dunfermline were to go down I’m not sure that they’d be capable of bouncing straight back up. Given their recent financial results they may not survive going down. Relegation is of course subject to developments in Scotland’s big story at present (not in my house though, unless I fancy a good laugh)…
RANGERS Where to begin with this saga? I’ve delayed writing this section for as long as I can but every day brings new revelations so whatever I write will be instantly out of date. I was expecting the administrators to begin their cull of players but that is currently delayed. Surely the job of administrators is to save money as soon as they can, not to continue paying out needless wages. It didn’t take us long to wield the axe, or indeed any of the other clubs in a similar position. Rangers may be a big club by Scottish standards but that doesn’t mean they are immune from prosecution or investigation. I initially expected that everything that could be done to keep them alive and to get them in Europe would be done. That looks increasingly unlikely. Whatever happens this is the one opportunity for the diddy clubs to flex their muscles and to get some say in how football is run in this country. Let’s dump the 11-1 vote and distribute the TV cash more evenly for starters, maybe even bring back a percentage share of the gates for away teams. If Rangers somehow negotiate some kind of agreement to leave administration then I hope financial safeguards are put in place which will restrict them and not allow them to return to their old ways. Oh, and just how funny was it to see Jim White’s face on Sky on the day administration was announced? On top of that they spoke to Charlie Nicholas about it but due to language difficulties I couldn’t understand a word he said because I only know English.
HANDSHAKES I've never understood the need for everyone to shake hands before matches & was disappointed to see us follow the English in adopting it. Obviously there was the recent issue with Suarez and we've previously had John Terry & Wayne Bridge. To be honest I’d rather we didn’t bother with it at all but now FIFA in all their wisdom, led by Franz Beckenbauer, think that all the players should meet in the centre circle and shake hands after each game. Whatever next? Well, Franz would like the two teams to come back onto the park together after half-time for starters. These decision makers need to be taking a good look at the bigger picture methinks.
OJAMAA I’ve already waxed lyrical (or something like that) in OSB about Henrik but since then he's continued to raise his game to even greater heights and inspired everyone around him. It’s still very early days as far as his 'Well career goes but if he continues in his current vein that may not last too long. Well done to the club for tying him down on a deal so that if the wolves (or any other Premiership club) come snooping we'll at least get some kind of half decent financial return. Question is though, given his recent displays just where would we want other teams to start the bidding? If he maintains his high standards then our transfer record is going to get blown out of the water. The only downside so far has been his propensity to pick up cheap & needless yellow cards; in fact he’s turning more into Faddy every game. Oh, and to Craig Brown who said in turning down Henrik, & I quote “we (Aberdeen) hope to secure someone better” - What a senile old buffoon.
ROSS COUNTY We could well be extending a welcome to Derek Adams & his Ross County team if things carry on as they are in the 1st Division. Our old boy seems to have done well as he has them playing good football & they sit atop the table with games in hand. Not only that but they are also planning to get seating in place in order to comply with SPL regulations. Good luck to them though there's still the possible elephant in the room that Rangers go bust, rise again & are granted a place back in the SPL. This would no doubt lead to the relegated SPL team appealing demotion & could impact on County. 14-team league next year anybody?
BLACKPOOL As far as automatic promotion goes that seems a definite no-no but Pool are still in the mix for a play-off slot and from there anything could happen. A recent surge took them to the brink of the top two but a humiliating home defeat to, admittedly high-flying, West Ham could have an impact on Pool’s season. That Pool managed that despite playing against ten men for 37 minutes and only 2-1 down at sending off time takes some doing. Never mind that it was the keeper who got sent off and they didn’t have a reserve keeper on the bench! Okay then, maybe it might be asking a lot of Blackpool to get back in the Premiership. Meanwhile, Pool midfielder Matty Phillips was named by Scotland in their squad to face Slovenia before he was injured (he learned quick). He’s been having a good season but will he be a one season wonder or has Craig Levein actually done something sensible in tying him up. That remains to be seen but it is Craig Levein we are talking about here.
Come On Ye Well
High Scoring Matches Quiz Answers
1 Coke, Sutton, Hateley, Jutkiewicz (4pts) 2 Nish, Riordain, Stokes (3 pts)
2 John Spencer and Robbie Winters (2 pts) 4 Brian McLaughlin
3 5 Raith Rovers (5-1, 5-0) 6 Stuart Rennie 7 Joe Harper
4 8 Stevie Ferguson 9 Lasley, Craig, McFadden (3 pts)
5 10 St Mirren and Rangers (2 pts)
19 pts Motherwell 8-0 Celtic 14-18 Motherwell 12-1 Dundee Utd
9-13 Motherwell 9-2 Flamengo 5-8 Motherwell 6-6 Dumbarton
1-4 Motherwell 1-7 Celtic 0 Aberdeen 8-0 Motherwell
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